Drownings, wildfires and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region September 1 to 7

Posted 8/30/22

Fifty-acre fire in Mamakating

MAMAKATING, NY — On Saturday, August 27 at 1:25 p.m., Sullivan County 911 requested Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger assistance with a …

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Drownings, wildfires and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region September 1 to 7


Fifty-acre fire in Mamakating

MAMAKATING, NY — On Saturday, August 27 at 1:25 p.m., Sullivan County 911 requested Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger assistance with a fire on private lands in the Town of Mamakating. The fire was originally estimated at approximately 25 acres. With the help of New York State Police Aviation, rangers began bucket drops to attack the fire from above. Rangers worked with multiple fire departments to install a fire line with a bulldozer. On August 28 at 9 a.m., the fire had grown to 50 acres. By 2:35 p.m., five rangers and 57 volunteers contained the fire, which started with debris burning.

First Upper Delaware drowning of the season

BEACH LAKE, PA — On August 27, a family group from Ozone Park, NY was rafting on the river when two individuals went in the river to go for a swim, a quarter mile north of the Pond Eddy Bridge in Pond Eddy, NY. Neither was wearing a life jacket. Preliminary investigations from the New York State Police revealed that Brian J. Ordenia-Flores, age 22, attempted to swim to an island in the middle of the river when he became fatigued and was caught in the current and began to drift down the river. Flores was found a short time later by members of National Park Services who immediately began life-saving measures. He was transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

This is the first drowning in the Upper Delaware region this year. Out of 75 drownings in the park since 1980, 55 percent were related to swimming and none of the victims was wearing a properly fitted and fastened lifejacket at the time of their death.

Two deceased, one in critical condition in White Lake drowning

BETHEL, NY — On August 28, the White Lake Fire Company and the Kauneonga Lake Fire Company were dispatched to a water rescue on White Lake. The Town of Bethel Constables’ boat was on the lake and reported three subjects went under and never resurfaced. Preliminary investigation revealed that a family from Bellerose began swimming in White Lake at approximately 10 a.m. At approximately 2 p.m., Basir Amin, 18, began to struggle in the deep portion of the lake. His sister, Nasrin Amin, 21, and his uncle, Afrid Haider, 34, attempted to assist Basir. Subsequently all three went under the water and did not resurface.

When a visual was made on the subjects, firefighter Andrew Liff successfully free-dove down and retrieved the first victim. After getting dive bottles, Liff recovered the last two victims. Lifesaving measures were started immediately. The victims were transported to Garnet Health Medical Center in Harris. Basir Amin was pronounced deceased.  the New York State Police reported on August 30 that Afrid Haider Nasrin had died and that Afrid Haider remains in critical condition.

This story was updated on September 2.

One-time bonus rebates for PA seniors

HARRISBURG, PA — Thousands of the older and disabled Pennsylvanians who have already received a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 will also receive a one-time bonus rebate, according to a press release from Gov. Tom Wolf. The rebates are being delivered to claimants of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.

Under the new law, Pennsylvanians who are approved for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 will receive an additional one-time bonus rebate equal to 70 percent of their original rebate amount. This means the total amount a claimant will receive could be as much as $1,657.50 (up from a previous maximum of $975). Eligible claimants of the rebate who have already filed an application for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 do not need to take any further action. Eligible claimants who have not yet filed an application are encouraged to do so by visiting mypath.pa.gov/_/. They can also download a paper application and instructions on revenue.pa.gov/ptrr.

Forest City soldier dies during training

FOREST CITY, PA — Alyssa Cahoon, a 17-year-old from Forest City with the Pennsylvania National Guard, collapsed during training on August 20 and died on August 25, according to information from the Military Fatalities Not In Combat Areas Facebook page. Cahoon served with her twin sister, Brianna Cahoon, as human resource specialists in the Pennsylvania National Guard, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 34th Regiment. According to published reports, Cahoon had an undiagnosed heart defect.

NASA industry day in northeast PA

SCRANTON, PA — NASA will offer an industry day and networking event focused on collaboration opportunities with local businesses, according to a press release from Rep. Matt Cartwright.  The NASA Northeast Pennsylvania Industry Day will be held Friday, September 23 at the University of Scranton’s DeNaples Center. The regional business-building event will include national and local speakers, presentations and networking opportunities in collaboration with the Keystone Space Collaborative, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Local business owners, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and university representatives are encouraged to attend the free event. Registration is required.

To register, visit https://bit.ly/3RkGmNp.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport receives $7.5 million

WASHINGTON, DC — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is receiving $7,257,967 in new infrastructure funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a press release from Sen. Bob Casey. This grant is an award from the Airport Improvement Program. This funding will be used to extend the airport’s taxiways to ensure smooth operations. With this funding, the airport has received a total of $9,727,967 in federal investments since the start of 2021.

EPA proposes ‘forever chemical’ rules

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is proposing to designate two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—the Superfund act. This rulemaking would increase transparency around releases of these chemicals and help to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination, according to a press release.

The proposal applies to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, and is based on significant evidence that PFOA and PFOS could present a substantial danger to human health or welfare, or to the environment. PFOA and PFOS can accumulate and persist in the human body for long periods of time, and evidence from laboratory animal and human epidemiology studies indicates that exposure to the chemicals could lead to cancer, reproductive, developmental, cardiovascular, liver and immunological effects.

Polio detected in Sullivan County

LIBERTY, NY — Sullivan County’s Department of Public Health is working closely with the New York State Department of Health in response to the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples within the county’s borders.

“We’ve been preparing for this possibility for weeks because of the wastewater surveillance results for poliovirus in Rockland, Orange and New York City, and previously secured additional polio vaccine for area healthcare providers and the county health department,” public health director Nancy McGraw said. “I want to be clear, however, that to date we have not had any cases of polio found in Sullivan County, and so long as all adults and children are vaccinated, the disease poses no threat.”

“Sullivan County is taking all reasonable steps to monitor the situation and keep the people of the county safe,” said county manager Josh Potosek. “We urge parents and adults to be vigilant and aware of their vaccination status, because polio is a disease that can be eliminated through vaccination.”

Money available for NY small-business support

ALBANY, NY — New York State has been awarded $501.5 million in federal funds through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), according to a press release from Gov. Kathy Hochul. Managed by the U.S. treasury department, SSBCI provides funds to support programs for small businesses, with emphasis on those still struggling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next 90 days, Empire State Development will establish additional program criteria and guidelines, with formal program-specific application processes announced in the fall. For more information, visit esd.ny.gov/ssbci.

Ryan, Riley, Oberacker win on August 23

STATEWIDE, NY — The votes are in and the races have been called following a round of primary and special elections on August 23.

Democrat Pat Ryan won the special election to replace former representative Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th Congressional District; Ryan will serve in that role until the end of the year. Josh Riley won the Democratic primary for the NY-19 general election, and will face Marc Molinaro in November. Incumbent Peter Oberacker beat challenger Terry Bernardo in the Republican primary for New York State Senate District 51, and will face Democrat Eric Ball in November.


The article “Sharing time and space” in the August 25 to 31 issue of the River Reporter stated in error that artist Eddie Marritz lived in Sullivan County. He lives in Wayne County.

The article “A riverwalk for Narrowsburg?” in the August 18 to 24 issue of the River Reporter stated in error that the Tusten town board chose nine members for its Conservation Advisory Council at an August 9 meeting. The board chose six members at that meeting, and has the option to choose up to nine.

Mamakating, fire, Upper Delaware, drowning, Brian J. Ordenia-Flores, White Lake, drowning, Basir Amin, Nasrin Amin, Afrid Haider, seniors, Alyssa Cahoon, NASA, industry, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Environmental Protection Agency, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, polio, Department of Health, small-business, elections, corrections


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