Aging in Place services expand in Wayne, Lackawanna counties and more

What's going on in your community October 21 to 27

Posted 10/19/21

Comment period still open for Skinner’s Falls / Milanville Bridge project

MILANVILLE, PA — The project advisory committee for the Milanville-Skinner’s Falls Bridge project met on …

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Aging in Place services expand in Wayne, Lackawanna counties and more

What's going on in your community October 21 to 27

Posted

Comment period still open for Skinner’s Falls / Milanville Bridge project

MILANVILLE, PA — The project advisory committee for the Milanville-Skinner’s Falls Bridge project met on Thursday, September 23, with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) informing its community partners of the project’s current status.

PennDOT is currently assembling the comments it received on the Milanville-Skinner’s Falls Bridge project as part of a Planning and Environmental Linkages Study; according to executive director of the Upper Delaware Council Laurie Ramie, who sits on the project advisory committee, PennDOT received 286 responses to its survey and 192 email comments, together with comments that came through the mail. After evaluating those comments, PennDOT will draft a Purpose and Need Document for the bridge, which will itself be subject to public review with a 30-day comment period. Following that comment period, which is expected to occur by the end of the year, PennDOT will use the comments it received to finalize the Purpose and Need Document, and will move to considerations of repairing, replacing or removing the bridge.

Anyone wishing to submit comments to the PennDOT regarding the Milanville-Skinner’s Falls Bridge can contact the project hotline at 610/234-5148 or email Skinnersfallsbridge@aecom.com. For more information, visit www.bit.ly/3BujMdh.

Aging in Place’ services expand in Wayne, Lackawanna counties

SCRANTON, PA —  NeighborWorks NEPA and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) announced the award of a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand Aging in Place services in Lackawanna and Wayne counties. Awarded as part of HUD’s Older Adult Home Modification Program, the grant will fund safety upgrades and home improvement projects in 225 homes to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners in the two counties.

During a press conference September 27, Jesse Ergott, Neighborworks NEPA President and CEO, thanked the local foundations and supporters who helped them focus on Aging in Place needs among seniors. The program served 400 Lackawanna County residents in four years. Ergott said the $1 million in HUD funding “will allow us to double down on our efforts in Lackawanna County and expand into Wayne County. Overall, the grant is expected to serve at least 200 additional seniors, and more if the funding can leverage additional resources.”

Wayne County Area Agency on Aging Director Mary Ursich said the program will help seniors who need ramps to access services and bathroom modifications to help with bathing. The program will also provide jobs for local contractors. Wayne County residents seeking Aging in Place services can call the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging at 570/253-4262.

Rental assistance available for NY landlords

LIBERTY, NY — Landlords whose tenants are unwilling to apply for the state’s emergency rental assistance program, or in cases where the tenant has left the rental property, are now eligible for New York State’s new Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP).

Announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul on October 7, the program is designed to relieve landlords of the burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords approved for LRAP may receive up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 1, 2020.   Priority is currently being given to those landlords owning small-to-medium-sized properties.

LRAP will not pay for future rental assistance or utility arrears.

All landlords can apply at https://otda.ny.gov/programs/landlord-rental-assistance, which also lists the various documents required. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds are available.

Tusten board inconclusive on cannabis dispensaries

TUSTEN, NY — In a Tuesday, October 12 meeting, the Tusten Town Board voted 4-0 against allowing business with on-site consumption of cannabis to operate within the town, and voted 2-2 on allowing retail cannabis dispensaries. Supervisor Ben Johnson abstained from both votes due to a potential conflict of interest; since the board meeting, he has consulted legal counsel and determined that he did not need to abstain, but that the board committed a procedural error in how it split the vote between both issues.

A petition to hold a referendum on the cannabis issue had been circulating in Tusten prior to the town board meeting; the board’s decision was subject to permissive referendum, and if it voted to ban cannabis dispensaries outright a referendum could have overturned that decision. With the board’s vote being split, the referendum has a good chance of being held and of deciding the issue.  

Sen. Baker working to limit influence of lobbyists, political consultants

HARRISBURG, PA — On October 13, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) announced that she is working with her Senate colleagues to implement new transparency and ethical standards for lobbyists and political consultants in order to limit their level of influence in state government.

Specifically, Baker is advancing legislation (SB 803) to prevent lobbyists from also being registered as political consultants. Additionally, the measure would prohibit a political consultant from lobbying a state official who was a client for the remainder of the term for which consulting services were provided.

Other bills contained within the reform package include Senate Bill 801, which would require lobbyists to register any clients seeking state financial assistance or grants and prohibit kickbacks and inducements for referrals; Senate Bill 802, which would prohibit any state entity from hiring an outside lobbyist or political consultant to lobby any branch of government; and Senate Bill 804, which would require all registered lobbyists to complete mandatory annual ethics training developed by the Department of State.

Gov. Wolf announces funding for affordable rental housing

HARRISBURG, PA — On October 14, Gov. Tom Wolf announced awards totaling more than $43.6 million in tax credits for low-income housing, more than $7.4 million in PennHOMES funding, and more than $15.9 million in National Housing Trust Funds (NHTF) for the construction of 1,974 affordable multifamily rental units in Pennsylvania. When completed, the developments thus funded will create an additional 1,974 total rental units, including 1,886 for low-income Pennsylvania residents, with 93 units for people at or below 30 percent of the area median income supported by the NHTF.

The 37 multifamily housing developments that were awarded tax credits on October 14 can be viewed on the PHFA website at https://www.phfa.org/mhp/; see the list of tax credit recipients under “News: 2021” and dated 10/14.

New phishing scam targeting vaccine verification

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Division of Consumer Protection and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) warned New Yorkers about a text-message phishing scheme targeting those attempting to validate vaccine status as a way to steal personal information.

The State of New York and many private employers recently required certain employees to be fully vaccinated, and scammers are exploiting the policy to try steal people’s personal and private information. The illegitimate text message attempts to impersonate the NYSDOH and tells the recipient they are required to enter their information to validate their vaccination status. The site the message links to is also fraudulent. Anyone who receives such a text message should delete it right away.

For more information on phishing scams, as well as steps to mitigate a phishing attempt, visit the NYS Office of Information Technology Services Phishing

Clarification

The article “We have the power to regulate it,” printed in the September 23-29 issue of the River Reporter, stated that, according to a member of the public who spoke at the September meeting of the Tusten town board, Bar Veloce hadn’t opened its Narrowsburg location due to an injunction from a neighboring business.

At the board’s October meeting, the owners of the Narrowsburg Union, Kathy and Brendan Weiden, submitted correspondence refuting that rumor and stating that Bar Veloce had not yet opened due to issues with code enforcement. (The Weidens have also written a letter to the editor included in this week’s edition of the River Reporter.)

Tusten supervisor Ben Johnson confirmed in conversation with the River Reporter that he was not aware of any injunctions against Bar Veloce. A review of Bar Veloce’s architectural plans conducted by Barton and Loguidice for the September meeting of the Tusten Planning Board stated that “the rooftop improvements [for Bar Veloce] exceeded the limits of work covered in the planning board approval for the first floor cafe,” adding that full plans for the rooftop portion were only submitted to the planning board after those improvements were constructed and recommending steps to be taken for review.

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