New leads in 1997 arson-homicide case
MILANVILLE, PA — It has been 23 years since Patricia Madeline Woll passed away in a structure fire on River Road in Damascus Township. At the time, …
MILANVILLE, PA — It has been 23 years since Patricia Madeline Woll passed away in a structure fire on River Road in Damascus Township. At the time, state police ruled the fire an arson and Woll’s manner of death a homicide. No one was ever charged for either.
Now public information officer Robert Urban says that “several new investigatory leads and evidence were uncovered that are actively being pursued by investigators.” No further details have been released about the investigation thus far.
The Pennsylvania State Police Honesdale Criminal Investigation Unit has asked the public for assistance. Anyone with information regarding the 1997 homicide is asked to contact the Honesdale state police barracks at 570/253-7126.
ALBANY, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that casinos and video lottery terminal facilities will be allowed to reopen starting September 9 with a 25 percent occupancy limit. Casinos throughout the state, including Resorts World Catskills casino in Monticello, have been eagerly awaiting the governor’s go-ahead to reopen.
All venues that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including strict enforcement of face coverings except when eating or drinking, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open.
HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman have renewed their call on the legislature to take up the legalization of adult-use cannabis to help with the state’s economic recovery amid COVID-19. “Legalization will also create more outlets for important restorative justice programs in the commonwealth,” Wolf’s office said in a statement.
“Now more than ever, we see a desperate need for the economic boost cannabis legalization can provide. So today I am proposing we legalize adult-use cannabis here in Pennsylvania with a portion of the revenue going toward existing small business grants,” Wolf said. “Half of these grants would be earmarked for historically disadvantaged businesses... The other portion of the revenue will go toward restorative justice programs that give priority to repairing the harm done to crime victims and communities as a result of cannabis criminalization.”
MONTICELLO, NY — Around 1,500 Sullivan County residents signed a petition to nominate Frank LaBuda for District Attorney on a third party line in this November’s election. However, the county’s board of elections—after identifying a number of invalid signatures—have decided to deny the petition.
LaBuda, a former Sullivan County judge who won the Republican nomination for DA in the spring primary, responded to the decision with a statement on Facebook, excerpted here:
“Although I do not agree with the county election commissioners’ decision, I must accept their decision and not waste time, money and effort in protracted litigation to contest it in a court of law. Nonetheless, the support of all these voters is overwhelming and gratifying to me.”
NEW YORK STATE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chancellor Jim Malatras announced September 6 the launch of a SUNY system-wide COVID-19 case tracker dashboard. The centralized dashboard will provide real-time information on COVID-19 cases, testing and quarantine and isolation space availability across SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities.
Campuses will be required to report data every 24 hours; that data will be added to the dashboard daily. The case tracker dashboard is available at www.suny.edu/covid19-tracker.
MONTOUR COUNTY, PA — The Penn State Extension (PSE) has advised farmers to be aware of a new invasive pest identified in Pennsylvania. Jumping worms—also known as Asian jumping worms, crazy worms, Alabama jumpers and snake worms—were found on a farm in Montour County last week. Though about two hours south of Wayne County, PSE said “we don’t know” how widespread the jumping worms are.
“Jumping worms are highly destructive to soil quality; they grow fast and reproduce quickly, and consume large amounts of organic matter,” the extension said. Aside from destroying farmers’ soil, they can destroy the mulch layer on the forest floor, making it impossible for many plant species to germinate and establish themselves.
Adults are about five to six inches long and are more active than nightcrawlers. They appear to jerk or jump when disturbed. The clitellum (the narrow band around the middle) on the jumping worm is flush with the rest of the body and goes all the way around the body, while on a nightcrawler, it is slightly raised and does not go around its underside.
Jumping worms “move with soil.” PSE is advising farmers to clean soil from their equipment and shoes before moving to another field or another farm. Found on a small scale, jumping worms should be collected, destroyed and disposed of—not used for bait or compost.
PIKE COUNTY, PA — Both state funding and local recording fees brings $300,000 to Pike County’s Emergency Safe Housing Assistance Program (ESHAP) and Senior Bridge Rental Assistance Program (SBRAP).
Pike County recently received $150,000 through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund. In addition, a $150,000 match will come through the Optional Affordable Housing Funds Act, which allows counties to fund affordable housing efforts through fees charged for the recording of deeds and mortgages.
ESHAP assists low- to moderate-income households with staying in their home during an emergency financial situation. To apply, call the Pike County Human Services at 570/296-3434. SBRAP assists low-income households with rental assistance when at least one member of the household is a senior citizen who is rent burdened, moving to new rental housing, or is in the Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) program. To apply, call the Pike County Area Agency on Aging at 570/775-5550.