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December 04, 2016
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Copyrighted photo by David B. Soete

RIVER VALLEY — As many people know by now, founding father Ben Franklin thought more highly of the American Turkey than the American Bald Eagle and wrote as much in a letter home from France in 1784.

Many friends honor Chuck Myers

Scores of friends, colleagues in his many civic functions and family filled the Eldred Congregational Church on the afternoon of January 11 attending a memorial service for Charles H. “Chuck” Myers, 88, who died on December 31. The emotionally charged service featured eulogies from Chuck’s granddaughter, Wendy Myers, neighbor and Town of Highland Supervisor Andrew Boyar, emergency services colleague and Town of Highland Justice Anthony LaRuffa, and Sullivan County Commissioner of Public Safety Richard Martinkovic. As Myers had wished, private funeral arrangements were completed earlier.

Cuomo irks educators; Bonacic weighs in

ALBANY, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “The good news is we have teacher evaluation systems for every district in the system. The bad news is they are baloney.” The remark came as he addressed education in the state at his State of the Union and Budget Address on January 21. He went on to say, “38% of high school seniors are prepared for college—38%; 98.7% of high school teachers are rated effective. How can that be?”  Read more

Retiring Hawley police officer honored

HAWLEY, PA — The January 14 meeting of the Hawley Borough Council saw the board reluctantly accept the resignation of patrol officer Jane Varcoe after over a decade of service. Mayor Kevin Hawk and Chief Daniel Drake both spoke highly of Varcoe and her years of service. Her grant-writing skills had proven especially useful to the borough. She was honored with a plaque, flowers, a cake and several rounds of applause.  Read more

Pine Bush man arrested for graffiti

SPRING GLEN, NY — The New York State Police in Ellenville and Wurtsboro arrested Richard C. Hage Jr., 42, of Pine Bush, for burglary and criminal mischief.  Read more

Project will fix bridges, save money

WAYNE & PIKE, PA — With the passage of Act 88 of 2012, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives authorized the creation of the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. The project uses public-private partnerships to fix bridges, with the intention of saving taxpayer dollars, providing jobs and encouraging business investment in the state. According to PennDOT, construction will begin this summer to replace 558 bridges across the state. The following bridges are scheduled to be replaced in Pike and Wayne counties:

Shohola: State Route 1007, over Twin Lakes Creek  Read more

Baker requests Frein hearing

HARRISBURG, PA — Sen. Lisa Baker has sent letters to the chairmen of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness and Law and Justice committees requesting a joint public hearing be held in Pike County to explore improvements to the state and local emergency response networks.  Read more

Sullivan acts on HEAP complaints

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek issued a press release on January 23 saying the county was taking immediate action to address a large backlog of applicants applying for the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) through the Department of Family Services (DFS).  Read more

Parking deficit in Honesdale

HONESDALE, PA — The urgency of the parking issue in Honesdale became increasingly apparent at the borough council meeting on January 12, cropping up repeatedly and from different quarters throughout the evening. Introduced by Greater Honesdale Partnership (GHP) member Jeff Hiller, who claimed that parking meter privileges are being routinely abused in front of his place of business, it was raised again by Police Chief Rick Southerton, who requested a clarification of parking violation policy.  Read more

Climate change good for Catskills ag? Less water stress than California

MONTICELLO, NY — A visitor to the Sullivan County Legislature showed lawmakers a map of the world at a meeting of the agricultural and sustainability committee on January 15. The map showed which areas are likely to be most negatively affected by climate change. The impact on the Catskills is going to be much less than other areas.  Read more

Aileen Gunther statement regarding speaker Sheldon Silver

Albany, NY - Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) released a statement on the evening of January 27th, which said, “As we approach the tenth hour of deliberations, it is as clear now as it was in the beginning that, for the well-being of the New York State Assembly and the people we represent, the Speaker should resign his position. While the presumption of innocence remains, this situation has shaken New Yorkers’ faith in our government, and it cannot continue to distract or derail my colleagues and I from continuing the work we were elected to do.  Read more

Damascus campground proposal sparks anxiety

DAMASCUS, PA — Damascus residents turned out in force to attend the January 19 public hearing on the proposed conditional-use campground in a residential area along the Delaware River. Neither the icy parking lot, nor overcrowded supervisors meeting room kept worried residents from having their say. Although concerns were many and varied, ranging from trespass and property damage to late-night noise and potential ecological damage, there was one unifying worry: that whatever ordinances were put in place to address those concerns would be unenforceable.  Read more

Wing champs hope for another win

BARRYVILLE, NY — B.V.H. Sports Bar is trying to win the Hudson Valley Wingbowl contest for the third time running at the Saturday, January 24 Ramada Conference Center contest in Fishkill. Its wings have already been chosen twice as the best by the 1,200 to 1,500 annual visitors. Owner John Bouloukos said, “We hope we’ll win again. I’ve been working hard to make new sauces for the contest.” He works at the bar together with his brother Greg; both brothers make sauces, experimenting with the regulars who fill the bar on wing nights.  Read more

Sullivan West adopts Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemptions

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — There was standing room only at the January 15 Sullivan West Central School district’s public hearing on adoption of New York State Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemptions (AVTE) legislation. Attended by over 50 men and women veterans of wars as long ago as World War II and as recent as Afghanistan, the hearing also attracted non-veteran supporters of the proposed legislation. A dozen speakers, not all of them veterans, advocated adoption of the legislation on the grounds that it constituted sound economic policy for the community as a whole.  Read more

Tusten to repair town hall

NARROWSBURG, NY — The Tusten Town Board has been discussing it for a while, and at its meeting on January 13 they voted on it: they will begin repairs to the Tusten Town Hall building. The board voted in favor of a resolution to spend up to $30,000 from the general reserve fund.  Read more

Port Jervis utility increase opposed; Support for white-water park

PORT JERVIS, NY — Electricity and natural gas rate increases proposed by Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) to the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) came under scrutiny at the Port Jervis Council meeting on January 12. Councilmember George Belcher said Orange and Rockland rates are already among the highest in United States, and people simply couldn’t afford another rate hike. If the proposed hike goes through, O&R supplied electricity will be more expensive by 5.2%, and natural gas by a whopping 16.8%.  Read more

Delaware fills town board position

HORTONVILLE, NY — A position on the Town of Delaware Town Board which had been left open after Councilman Harold Roeder resigned at the December meeting was filled on January 14 The board voted that the seat be filled by Chris Hermann, who ran on the Democratic line in the last election. During the meeting, Hermann was sworn in and took his seat with the rest of the board.  Read more

Freezing rains bring fatalities

REGION — Freezing rain brought numerous accidents and at least two fatalities on January 18.  Read more

Micro-breweries, parking up for zoning review

ELDRED, NY — The Highland Town Board on January 13 approved and sent two requests for zoning change reviews to the town planning board.  Read more

Man charged in nude photo case

LIBERTY, NY — On January 15, the Village of Liberty Police Department arrested Michael Eason, 28, of Thompson after an investigation into the dissemination of pornographic material to a 14-year-old juvenile in Liberty. The girl had been sent naked pictures from an account in the name of a 16-year-old female and the individual had requested naked pictures of the younger girl in return.  Read more

Fire in raptor center

MILFORD, PA — On January 8, a fire broke out in the Delaware Valley Raptor Center and the director’s personal residence at 416 Cummins Hill Rd. Executive Director Bill Streeter said, “I was thawing a frozen pipe and accidently ignited a piece of insulation paper backing which got swept up in a draft behind the wall. It was my fault. Stephanie and I got out OK and we saved the birds being treated indoors as well as our dog. Fire damage was limited to three rooms, but smoke damage has made the home unlivable for at least three months while we rebuild.  Read more