One million U.S. dead from COVID-19, and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region May 19 to 25

Posted 5/18/22

One million U.S. dead from COVID-19

UPPER DELAWARE REGION — In accordance with the recent presidential order, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all Commonwealth of Pennsylvania flags on all commonwealth …

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One million U.S. dead from COVID-19, and more

What's new in the Upper Delaware region May 19 to 25


One million U.S. dead from COVID-19

UPPER DELAWARE REGION — In accordance with the recent presidential order, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all Commonwealth of Pennsylvania flags on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds to fly at half-staff on Thursday, May 12 in commemoration of the one million American lives lost to COVID-19. Flags flew at half-staff until sunset on May 16.

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced flags on state buildings would be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 13 in remembrance. “Today, our country marks an unthinkable milestone—one million lives lost due to COVID-19. This tragic milestone serves as a reminder that despite our progress we must remain vigilant in the face of this pandemic,” she said.

White Lake now an inland waterway

BETHEL, NY — Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) announced passage last week of a bill designating White Lake in Sullivan County as an inland waterway. The bill is awaiting Senate passage before being sent to the governor.

This designation will allow municipalities to apply for grants through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). The LWRP provides grants to help control invasive species, clean up waterfront properties, restore habitats and generally improve the health and vitality of the state’s waterways and their municipalities.

Prison violence renews call for repeal of the HALT Act

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association has called on the New York State Legislature to immediately repeal HALT amid a series of inmate attacks and staff injuries at Greene, Green Haven and Sullivan correctional facilities.

The HALT Act, which severely limits, or in some cases eliminates, the amount of time an individual can be housed in a special housing unit separated from the general incarcerated population, was passed by the New York State Legislature in 2021. According to statistics maintained by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, since the implementation of the act on April 1, violent attacks on staff have increased by 24 percent. Meanwhile, during that same time period, inmate-on-inmate violence has increased 40 percent.

At Sullivan Correctional Facility, six officers needed to be treated at a local hospital for injuries after an inmate initially attacked staff on a transport bus and proceeded to be combative and continue the attack as he was escorted to the infirmary for treatment. In the infirmary, the inmate continued to kick and attack until staff was able to get the inmate to comply. The inmate is serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted in Erie County for first-degree manslaughter in 2007.

Arrest made for stolen guns

LIBERTY, NY — On May 4, the Village of Liberty Police Department arrested James Kennedy, 53, of Liberty after an investigation into the theft of firearms from a residence. Liberty police were initially called to a residence in the Village of Liberty for a report of a stolen shotgun and rifle on May 2. Investigation resulted in the arrest of Kennedy without incident and the recovery of both firearms. Kennedy was arraigned in front of Judge Johnstone in the Town of Liberty Court, and in accordance with New York State bail reform, was released without bail to return to the Town of Liberty Court at a later date.

One dead in ultralight aircraft crash

HONESDALE, PA — On May 13, at approximately 7:50 a.m., the Pennsylvania State Police Troop R in Honesdale received a 911 transfer call from the owner of a  property near 27 Barracuda Blvd. in Beach Lake, Wayne County. The caller related that they discovered a parachute ultralight aircraft down in a field on their property.

Members of Troop R responded to the scene and identified the operator, Jeffrey Ronald Chorba, 52, from Beach Lake, PA. Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell and deputy coroners arrived on scene at 9:02 a.m., and Howell pronounced Chorba dead at the scene at 9:12 a.m. A report from the coroners office on May 16 indicated the cause of death was blunt force from the aviation crash.

Chorba was the founder of Chorba Consulting Inc., an IT company specializing in computers, servers and networking. He provided services for municipalities, companies and individuals throughout Wayne, Pike and Sullivan counties. He was also an enthusiast of ultralight aircraft.

Landlords: Learn about fair housing

ONLINE — Pike and Wayne counties are offering a free fair housing training for landlords on May 31 at 6:30 p.m. In this online 30-minute class, landlords will learn about their rights and responsibilities under federal and state fair housing laws, how to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, what is and is not allowed in advertising, and best practices in fair housing,

For more information and to register, visit or call Jessica Dreistadt from Hailstone Economic at 484/225-4929 or email her at

Senators push bipartisan juvenile-justice reforms

HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania’s juvenile-justice system is set for action, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Sen. Jay Costa (D-43), who have been working to implement reforms needed to improve outcomes for youth, families and communities, with a continued focus on protecting public safety, according to a news release.

The senators are advancing a package of bills that they say could achieve taxpayer savings that could then be reinvested to implement more effective research-based policies. The effort includes changes to standardize the expungement process and shorten the timeline for eligibility in certain cases, and provide funding for alternative sentencing and juvenile defense expenses.

COVID-19, White Lake, prison violence, HALT Act, stolen guns, Jeff Chorba, fair housing, justice reforms


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