IN THE NEWS

Tunkhannock approves tentative budget

Henry: Jail study is just that - a study

Touch-A-Truck a big hit at Lazybrook Park

By C.J. Marshall
Wordsmith Productions

Tunkhannock Borough Council voted to approve a tentative budget on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, which, if left unchange, includes no tax increase for 2020.

On a motion from council member Marshall Davis and seconded by David Wiggins, the board approved a budget of $1,114,244. At last month’s meeting, council President Robert Robinson announced the possibility that there will be no tax increase next year, and attributed to the hard work on the part of many people who put the budget together – particularly borough manager Dawn Welch.

Council also voted to agree to a transfer of ownership, authorizing the surrender of any interest for the caboose which now sits in Riverside Park.

According to Robinson, the caboose is actually the property of the Wyoming County Historical Society. “It was given to us, but we really couldn’t accept it,” Robinson explained. “Because we don’t have a park commission.”

The caboose, which has sat in Riverside Park for the past few years, has been a problem for the borough because it has been vandalized a number of times.

Council agreed to give up its interest on the caboose to allow it to be transferred to the Miles Group, which intends to transfer it to Honesdale.

Police Chief Keith Carpenter reported that Patrolman Richard Stevens has recently completed the Enforcement of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Inspection Regulations, allowing him to conduct Vehicle Equipment Inspection Regulations on tractor trailers.

“We put him on the road for the tractor trailers. There’s more than enough tractor trailers to signify a need for it – especially in our area,” Carpenter explained.

Although a borough police officer can stop a tractor trailer, the chief said, only a person with the certification obtained by Stevens can write a citation for a violation. Previously, the borough had to look outside the area for such a person.

Mayor Stacy Huber announced that the borough’s Halloween parade will be Oct. 31, starting at the borough building at 7 p.m. Trick-or-treat will be held the same day, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Robinson announced that two new video security cameras have been installed – one outside the police department, and the other at the DPW building. Following the announcement, council voted to approve a policy regarding the use of video cameras on borough property.

It was also announced that leaf pickup will be conducted in the borough beginning Oct. 21, and continuing through Nov. 24, weather permitting.

Council member Ruth Vincenti asked about the condition of the manholes on Route 6 from Curry Donuts to McDonalds. However, it was pointed out that because the road is considered a state highway, PennDOT would have to handle the possibility of their repair.

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By C.J. Marshall

Wordsmith Productions

Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry insisted on Tuesday that the recent study to determine the feasibility of constructing a new county prison is just that at this point – a study.

Henry responded to a question put to him during the county commissioners’ meeting, asking him if there would be any discussion on the future of the jail, concerning if a decision would be made in October.

“There’s no decision being made on the jail,” Henry explained.

Henry said that what he had reported was that the feasibility study would be back in October.

“I haven’t gotten anything yet.” Henry explained.

At previous meetings, some people have suggested that instead of building a new jail, the county add another level to the existing facility. However, Henry said this would not be feasible.

“One of the reasons is being able to get permits – the way the jail is built in the middle of town. It doesn’t allow us to go up there either.”

There’s been contentions that when the current jail was built in the 1980s, it was done with the understanding and plans that additional levels could be added. However, the commissioner contested this – explaining that he has been over all the original paperwork, and has found nothing indicating such information.

“I just want to stress again,” Henry said, “that we’re not wanting to build a new jail. We’re wanting to know what it would cost to build a new jail, if that has to be an issue in the future.”

Henry emphasized that the county is only having the feasibility study done, which at this point hasn’t cost the county a dime.

During public comments, Cathy Roberts expressed some concerns about the way the county’s Children and Youth program had handled a situation involving a four-year-old child.

Henry welcomed the comments, but cautioned Roberts about revealing the name of the child, or too many details about the case.

Roberts provided a letter about the situation which Henry and Commissioners Judy Mead and Michael Stabinsky read to themselves.

Henry said he was previously aware of the situation, and has discussed it with Mike Donahue, head of Wyoming County Human Services. On Donahue’s recommendation, Henry explained, the case has been referred to the state for further investigation.

“Nobody’s been charged with anything as of today,” Henry said. “Nor do I foresee that happening. But the state is investigating everything. So I’ve been told not to talk about the case. There’s a young child involved, and that child has to be protected.”

Roberts said that she has spoken several times with Donahue, and does not need to provide further elaboration outside the letter.

“Except for, I think there’s something shady going on,” Roberts explained. “There is only certain pieces of what happened that day in the file. So they’re not documenting everything that happened to let them know what’s going on.”

It was reported during the meeting that the child in question is now in a safe environment.

Later, the commissioners issued a proclamation, declaring Oct. 20 to 27 as National Business Women’s Week.

“Whereas, women in Wyoming County are an intergral part of our economic engine and have worked diligently in pursuit of equal opportunity, both personally and professionally,” Henry read.

“Whereas, women in Wyoming County serve their communities, develop and lead successful businesses, are highly educated and trained professionals who distinguish themselves as leaders; and

“Whereas, today women in the workplace and their allies continue to advocate for programs and policies that will benefit all members of society, including equal pay for equal work and equal advancement opportunities.

“Whereas our community is strongest when we level the playing field by making opportunities available to all by establishing constructive partnerships between government, businesses and non-profit organizations; and

“Whereas, the major goal of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation is to promote equity fo all women throughout the study and advocacy of social, educational and economic issues impacting working women; and

“Whereas Tunkhannock Business and Professional Women is an active group of local women who support this mission and are spotlighting the achievements and contributions of working women.
“Now therefore, we the Commissioners of Wyoming County do hereby proclaim Oct. 20 through Oct. 27 as National Business Women’s Week in Wyoming County. In recognition of their critical role, we encourage all citizens in Wyoming County to join this salute and celebrate the achievements of all working women as they contribute daily to our economic, civic and cultural livelihood.”

After the proclamation was read, Julianne Miller, President of Tunkhannock Business and Professional Women, thanked the commissioners for the honor. Miller attended the event, along with other members of the organization.

“We’re really excited, next week, to be able to celebrate women’s choices,” Miller explained. “Whether we have the choice to say home, or choices in the workplace. Whether we decide to stay at home with our children, whether we decide to become business professionals, or if we decide to open our own businesses. We’re excited to be able to have those choices.”

In other business, the commissioners voted to ratify a resolution fro a Phare Grant, and contract with Trehab to manage the grant. The $125,000 grant is used to assist first-time home buyers in Wyoming County with down payment and closing costs.

Henry announced that sample voting ballots are now available to the public at the courthouse.

Mead, responding to some complaints she saw on Facebook about the sample ballots not being available, said that people wishing to see them may do so by going on the county’s website at http://www.wycopa.org, and then looking under the Board of Elections and Voter Registration link.

Executive Director of the Wyoming County Special Needs Association Lori Bennett explained to the commissioners that three local homeless people are having a more difficult times these days, due to the fact it is getting colder. However, Bennett said these people have indicated they do not want assistance, and it is impossible to force it on them under the circumstances. She advised that these people be treated with care when dealing with them, because there’s little that can be done, if they don’t want help.

BY C.J. MARSHALL

Wordsmith Productions

Kids of all ages came by the hundreds to Lazybrook Park on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, to take advantage of the second annual Touch-A-Truck, sponsored by the Dietrich Theater.

Folks young and old alike eagerly sat behind the wheel of a school bus, a fire engine, a police car – and many other vehicles – getting “up close and personal with them,” learning many of their secrets.

One of the event’s most popular vehicles was a military vehicle in which three U.S. Army personnel provided a hands on demonstration to eager youngsters. Participants learned that the humvee normally has a machine gun mounted on the top. An elaborate television camera, which was equipped, allows the gunner inside the vehicle to see and aim at targets. Kids were given the opportunity to aim the camera via a joystick to see how the targeting system worked.

Kids were also fascinated by a special transport – essentially a round cage on wheels – used by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to trap and remove bears to other locations. When a bear enters and springs the trap, it allows them to be safely transported out of a particular area.

Over 20 vehicles were featured, including an ambulance, rescue truck and dive truck, a construction vehicle, a fuel delivery truck, a garbage truck, police vehicles from the state police and the Tunkhannock Township police, a tow truck, tractor trailer, and a water tanker.

State police provided kids with a demonstration of various pieces of field equipment, including bullet proof vests, personal shields, and battering rams. Kids eagerly learned how to turn on the lights and sirens of the state police cruiser at the event.

The event was a huge success, with over 500 people showing up by 1 p.m. Organized by the Dietrich Theater Fundraising Committee, all proceeds raised by Touch-A-Truck will be used to free and low cost children’s programming, such as preschool music and art classes.

Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch offers Fall fun

By C.J. Marshall

Wordsmith Productions

Fall is now officially here, and folks showed up at the Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 to participate in various seasonal activities.

Many people stuffed straw into pants and other old clothing, making scarecrows out of various provided materials.

According to Stacy Field, one of the Whistle Pig’s owners, the pumpkin patch will host scarecrow building as well as other fun things every weekend into October.

“This is only the first week,” Stacy explained. “We’re going to do this every weekend.”

Cost to build a scarecrow is $3, Field said. The cost of other activities is as follows: Corn maze, $4.50; decorating pumpkins, $3.50. Folks can pay 40 cents a pound to pick their own pumpkins. Hayrides, scheduled on a regular basis, are free.

The Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch has been operating in Noxen, Pa., since 2004. Things start hopping at the patch in June, Stacy explained. That month, people can pick strawberries and rhubarb. In July, it’s red, black, and purple raspberries. Other harvests, depending on the month, include blueberries, fall red and yellow raspberries, canning tomatoes, green peppers, and of course, pumpkins.

Group campfire outings are available at various prices. People should call ahead to make reservations.

Further information can be obtained by calling 570-298-0962, or www.WhistlePigPumpkin.com.

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