Healthcare workers honored

Accidental discharge, snow removal and Main Street parking discussed by Honesdale Borough Council

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 3/8/22

HONESDALE, PA — The Honesdale Borough Council began its February 28 meeting with a proclamation of thanks to the community’s healthcare workers and emergency responders.

“It was …

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Healthcare workers honored

Accidental discharge, snow removal and Main Street parking discussed by Honesdale Borough Council

Posted

HONESDALE, PA — The Honesdale Borough Council began its February 28 meeting with a proclamation of thanks to the community’s healthcare workers and emergency responders.

“It was about two long years ago that the first positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania… one of those cases was right here in Wayne County,” mayor Derek Williams said. “It just goes to show you that our frontline workers have been at the job from the very beginning.”

Earlier in the year, the council voted to extend the lighting of the Dick Smith star atop Irving Cliff through the end of February as a show of appreciation to the employees at Wayne Memorial Hospital, who were dealing with a critical surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the area. As February was coming to a close, Williams said the evening’s proclamation was intended to express that the borough’s appreciation continued even after the star was no longer lit.

Wayne Memorial’s CEO James Pettinato told the council that it has been a “grueling two years” for the hospital and its partners and that the borough’s recognition “means an awful lot.”

Pettinato was joined by Fred Jackson, chief executive officer of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers; Dr. James Cruse, medical director; Lisa Champeau, public relations manager; Jana Roberts, director of patient care services; Danielle Hazimof, nurse’s assistant and unit coordinator; and Tara Korb, licensed practical nurse.

“In the COVID unit, everybody learned how to cross-trade,” Pettinato said. “Everybody learned how to plunge a sink, mop a floor and stock a shelf regardless of what your duties were.”

Stephen Fish, operations manager for Cottage Hose Ambulance Corps, was also in attendance with his team of emergency responders.

“We’ve been at it every day for the past two years,” Fish said. “And, faithfully, our crews, our staff, have been there with us. It’s been an ordeal, to say the least.”

Council president Jim Hamill told the frontliners assembled before him that he couldn’t thank any of them enough.

“In my short time here on council, we don’t get enough of these opportunities to thank those in our community for all that they do selflessly to help those who are in need,” Hamill said.

In recent weeks, Wayne County has mirrored the statewide trend of steeply declining COVID-19 cases. While the county regularly logged more than 100 cases per day at the beginning of the year, by late February into early March, those numbers have dropped to single digits. In the most recent seven-day period, Wayne County’s “PCR-testing positivity rate” has also fallen below the CDC’s “substantial transmission threshold” of 10 percent to a moderate 6.7 percent.

Wayne Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Pettinato addresses the council to let them know how meaningful it is to honor medical workers after two "grueling years."
Wayne Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Pettinato addresses the council to let them know how meaningful it is to honor medical workers after two "grueling …

Accidental discharge

Later in the meeting, Williams reported that a Honesdale Borough police officer’s gun had been fired accidentally.

“It was no fault of their own. I saw the video, and the gun just went off,” Williams said. “Thankfully, it got shot straight into the ground.”

The mayor said the borough was looking into the safety of the police force’s existing weapons and the potential for replacements. Councilor and public safety committee chair Jason Newbon said that the police chief and borough solicitor were working on getting refunded for the malfunctioning firearm.

Mystery snow

Honesdale is no stranger to late-winter snowstorms. But the most recent one was no common flurry. The odd precipitation, a cross between dense snow and sleet, perplexed and frustrated public works director Dan Brown as he and his team struggled from dusk till dawn to clear the streets. They just couldn’t keep up with it, he said, after throwing “everything we had at it.”

“This was by no means a storm of my favor, I’ve never been so humiliated [by] the weather. The stuff was just rolling right off and reloading people’s sidewalks up” Brown said. “After about a 14-hour day, we sent our crews home and come in the next day at 6 a.m. and we couldn’t touch it. In 15 years, I’ve never seen a snowstorm where you couldn’t even clean up the next day… We started that storm at 2:45 a.m. and gave up well after 3:30 p.m. … It was just a very, very frustrating storm, I beat myself up a lot over it.”

Councilor Mike Augello agreed that this was a most peculiar snow-and-ice event.

“I’ve never walked on sand or sugar during the wintertime… that’s the only way to describe it,” he said, describing the aftereffects, seeing that the snow did not even melt off of his truck after sitting inside his garage all night. “It was just so dense and so compact, it just didn’t want to give up.”

Public comment on parking

During the public comment period of the meeting, new borough business owner Mike Foschino, who owns the Creative Compound on Main Street, told the council that downtown parking posed major problems for him as a business owner.

“In the last six months, I’ve had not a single issue with anything or anyone except the parking in this town. It is a massive issue; my customers have had complaints, my contractors have had complaints,” he said. A broken parking meter in front of his business caused many of his customers who park there to get ticketed. “I think there should be a little more leniency for business owners who are bringing the business onto Main Street… there’s no common courtesy. I have physically watched the parking outside get screamed at by customers because I still have a broken parking meter in front of my building.”

He said that he refuses to pay any of the tickets that he’s received on his car. He also takes his patrons’ tickets, after which point, “they don’t go anywhere.”

Foschino said that the borough should have parking passes available for the whole borough.

Hamill told Foschino that while this issue could not be rectified that night, the council and the parking committee would take his comments under advisement.

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