Voter Registration for Primary Closes April 17th
HONESDALE — Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, May 16, when Democratic and Republican voters in Wayne County will choose a nominee for a 10-year term as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, with votes being cast for other statewide judicial posts on the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts as well.
The parties will also choose nominees for School Board Director, municipal Auditors and tax collectors, township supervisors, borough council members and mayors. The parties will also elect their municipal election officials with each voting district choosing a Judge and an Inspector of Elections.
To view the unofficial list of candidates for these posts, visit www.WayneCountyPA.gov/BureauofElections.
The last day to register to vote in the Primary Election is this Monday, April 17. To register you must be a citizen of the United States for at least one month, be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days and be 18 years of age.
You can register in person at the Bureau of Elections on the third floor of the Wayne County Courthouse Annex in Honesdale between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Thursday, April 13, and Monday, April 17. The office is closed Good Friday, April 14.
You can also register online at http://www.votespa.com/en-us/register-to-vote/Pages/How-to-Register.aspx
Wayne/Pike Suicide Loss Support Group Meets April 27
HONESDALE — The Wayne/Pike Suicide Awareness Committee meets on Thursday, April 27, at Wayne Memorial Hospital, 601 Park Street, Honesdale, beginning at 7 pm.
The group provides a positive support time to help deal with suicide and loss of a loved one. Individuals 16 years of age and older are welcome to attend the meetings. The meeting takes place in Conference Room #3, 2nd floor (take the Orange elevator “A”).
The committee hosts the Wayne/Pike Suicide Awareness Walk each year, and on Saturday, September 23, it will be at the Wallenpaupack Area High School. Registration begins at 9 am and the walk begins at 10 o’clock.
For more information, contact Michelle Valinski at 570-253-9200. Volunteers are welcome to serve on the Wayne/Pike Suicide Committee.
Wilkes-Barre VA Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Honesdale
HONESDALE — The Wilkes-Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center will host a community town hall meeting on Tuesday, April 25 at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale. This meeting will start at 5:00 pm and will provide an open forum for Veterans, family members and the public to ask questions and express their concerns. Representatives from the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center will be available to answer questions.
PA Launches Tax-Free Savings Plan for Those w/Disabilities
HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th) joined Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) to officially launch the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE program, a landmark tax-free state savings account to help alleviate some of the financial challenges faced by families raising or caring for those with disabilities.
During remarks made Monday, Baker noted the importance of the program for a family’s financial health and well-being.
“The ABLE program reflects sensible and solid change. Initiative and family responsibility are rewarded. The door opens for individuals to take steps to increase their ability to function and contribute. When families can set aside funds for a better safety net, worry diminishes. No longer will so many families be forced to make an impossible choice between services and savings,” she said.
Sen. Casey led the effort at the federal level, and Baker worked with disability advocates from throughout the state to bring the program to Pennsylvania. Administered by the state treasury, ABLE accounts:
- Provide people with disabilities with a way to be more financially independent.
- Save on taxes; accounts grow tax-free and, when used for qualified disability expenses, are tax exempt.
- Protect eligibility for means-tested federal benefits and state disability, medical assistance, health, and student aid benefits.
- May be used to pay for a wide range of disability expenses including basic living, housing, education, health, legal, transportation, and more.
- Allow others to give funds to the eligible individual without the gift impacting benefits.
Praising those that helped to ensure families have a way to plan for the lifetime support needs of individuals with physical or intellectual limitations, Baker said, “The people deserving commendation are the families, the groups, and the individuals who engaged in the advocacy and education efforts…your caring and commitment truly made the difference.”
To learn more or to enroll, go to: http://www.paable.gov/
Wayne County Recycling Celebrates 25th Year
HONESDALE – The Wayne County Recycling Center at 66 Volunteer Drive, Honesdale, celebrates 25 years serving the community. In February 1992, the County took its ground breaking step towards cutting down on waste and saving resources for generations that will follow.
To mark the occasion, Director of Solid Waste and Recycling Randy Heller said the facility will be marking Earth Day by offering a free gift to those who bring in their glass bottles, metal cans, plastic bottles, newspapers, magazine, and cardboard from April 17 through April 28.
By recycling at the ‘Center’, you not only get a sense of accomplishment and of doing your part, but you are also helping to support local government and the Community Service Program.
In addition to the traditional materials, you may also recycle gently used clothing, shoes and accessories and scrap metal free of charge. Tires and refrigeration items can also be recycled for a small fee, and there is a backyard composting display, that demonstrations ways to eliminate food scraps from your garbage.
The County also operates a free drop-off program in many boroughs and townships throughout Wayne County at bins which are conveniently located. Call 570-253 9727 to see when your community recycles. There are no hidden fees and you’ll walk away knowing your items will be recycled and that you are not throwing out trash like there’s no tomorrow.
For details on what and how to recycle visit http://waynecountypa.gov/recycling/.
PennDOT Outlines Construction Projects for 2017 Season
HONESDALE — PennDOT recently unveiled its plans for the 2017 construction season in Wayne County, with 83 miles of state roads scheduled for surface improvements along with 10 bridge projects, a half dozen slide repair jobs and other safety projects and enhancements. View the map here.
More than half of the surface improvements will take place in the northern part of the county, while most of the bridge work is in the south and central regions.
The county maintenance crews will be applying oil and chip treatment on Callicoon, Conklin Hill, River, Adams, Brook, Pond, Finn Swamp, Spinner, Weniger Hill, Kinghill, Starlight Lake, Starrucca Creek and Rock Lake Roads along with Miller Drive. Calkins, Rutledgedale and Beech Grove Roads will receive base and edge repairs this year while Smith Hill and Gallilee Roads will be paved.
The 2017 schedule includes bridge projects on Routes 191, 296, 371 and 652 and the Narrowsburg and Kellam bridges over the Delaware River.
Contractors will also be paving just over half a mile of White Mills Road from Route 6 and just over eight miles of Cortez Road. Crews will also be repairing a series of slides along Routes 191, 370 and 590 as well as on Milanville Road, Owego Turnpike and Maple Grove Road. The Route 191 and 590 four corners in Hamlin has also been slated for improvement.
Finally, crews will be paving the shoulders of Route 652 from the Delaware River to Route 6 and installing edge line rumble strips to improve safety.
PennDOT continues the major reconstruction project on Interstate 84, with the rebuilding efforts moving into Wayne County this season.
Wayne Receives Gaming Grants for Infrastructure
HONESDALE – The Wayne County Commissioners received good news about grant funding for two important projects this week: an expansion of broadband service to the Sterling Business and Technology Park; and the creation of a space for the Newfoundland Area Food Pantry.
Overall, the Commonwealth Finance Authority announced grants for five projects in the county from the Local Share Account, funded by gaming revenues from Mt. Airy Casino.
The county received $300,000 to support efforts to extend high-speed, broadband internet service from its existing terminus in South Canaan along Route 296 then Route 191 to the Sterling Business Park.
The authority also awarded the county $136,000 for a collaboration with Pike County to create space, through the expansion of a municipal building, to house the Newfoundland Area Pantry program.
The Commonwealth Finance Authority also approved grants from the Local Share Account to the Palmyra Township Supervisors for an expansion of their municipal building, $100,000; to Honesdale Borough for the next phase of the Blake’s Creek storm-water project, $93,000; and Canaan Township for replacement of the Davis Road Bridge, $120,000.
Teen Teaches Programming at Stourbridge Project
HONESDALE – In just over a year since it opened, the Stourbridge Project business incubator and accelerator already has the makings of its first success story in 16-year-old Bruce Johnson. The home-school student has a keen interest in computers and technology.
Bruce approached the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance about the possibility of teaching classes in computer programming, the electronics platforms called Arduino and the microcomputer called Raspberry Pi. Bruce’s endeavor named Pi Crafters fits well into the Stourbridge Project’s mission of promoting the entrepreneurial spirit and a focus on technology.
Bruce has developed his own semester long curriculum and worked with a professional software engineer mentor to refine the program. Bruce also produces his own video tutorials that he posts on his website for additional how-to support for his students. The class welcomes everyone, from ages 13 on past retirement age.
The Honesdale teen traces his fascination with computers to when he was about eight years old, when he began tinkering with old computers that the members of his church would drop off. A few years ago, he and his brothers were saving to buy a laptop. Bruce suggested the inexpensive Raspberry Pi would allow them to build their own machines. They did and had so much fun doing it, Bruce asked for a little space at the Wayne County Public Library to host a class where he now teaches robotics. The Pi Crafters group kept growing and could no longer fit in the youth room at the Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale, which led him to the Stourbridge Project.
He started last summer leading a gaming group and began his programming classes in the fall. From learning the basics of circuitry to working in four programming languages, participants learn to construct their own machines and projects throughout the class and design their own websites as well as program computers.
Bruce hopes he can raise the overall hands-on technical skills in the community by training more and more people in programming and electronics. Pi Crafters classes are $30 and run for five months. Wednesdays from 5 to 7 pm at the Stourbridge Project and are repeated on Mondays at the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance in Hawley.
This summer the Gaming Team, which is free, returns to the Stourbridge Project on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm where teens can play computer games and enter a MineCraft Competition.
Bruce has planned an event to introduce people to the fun and excitement of electronics. This Saturday April 1st is National Arduino Day, named for the open-source platform that has revolutionized electronics and programming. The event is from 9 am to 2:30 pm, in the cafeteria at the Wayne County Park Street Complex, 648 Park Street, Honesdale, PA.
The event includes an introduction to Arduino and how it is changing the world of electronics, Arduino-based robotics stations to learn the basics of programming and several free classes to help get you started. There will also be an open showcase of Arduino projects. The doors open at 8:45 am and the project showcases begin at 1:30 pm. Food is available for purchase. For information visit http://arduinodaynepa.weebly.com/.
County Gathers Storm Costs in Hopes of Disaster Aid
The major winter storm that dropped two to three feet of snow on Wayne County two weeks ago, also forced some municipalities to shell out money they hadn’t budget – even as a mild winter seemed to be coming to an end.
County Emergency Management Director Steve Price told the Commissioners the agency has been collecting data from the townships and boroughs regarding their storm expenses, in the hopes of seeking reimbursement from state and federal disaster programs. The state needs to meet a minimum threshold to trigger federal disaster aid, but that could prove difficult with only a handful of counties in the state being impacted by the storm.
On a first pass, he said those local municipalities hit hardest by the storm, which was considered a 48 -hour event, incurred costs of more than $360,000. Price said the municipalities calculated their preliminary expenses based on the most-costly 48-hour period, which came after the snowfall for the boroughs in particular, since the more densely populated areas tended to rack up higher costs because the snow needed to be removed, not just pushed aside.
“Some spent this year’s and some of next year’s budget for snow removal,” Price explained.
At the height of the storm, the county sought the help of the National Guard, in particular two Humvee units, which were paired with Advanced Life Support rigs to ensure emergency medical assistance could reach anyone in need.
Overall, Price said the Wayne County was well organized and prepared for the event.
Commissioners Laud Four for Years of Service
Each quarter, the Wayne County Commissioners recognize long-time employees marking major milestone of at least 15 years. In March, the commissioners presented certificates to, seated from left, Donna Ace of District Justice Linus Myers office, who is marking 15 years; Patrick Robinson for 23 years in as Assistant District Attorney; Cheryl Davies for 30 years in the Tax Claim Office; and Sue Schroeder for 25 years in the Human Services Fiscal Office. Linda Shuman from the Prothonotary’s Office and Deborah Wilson, who serves District Justice Ronald Edwards and the Central Court, were unable to attend the March 23 meeting.
County Agrees to Apply for River Trail Study Grant
A grassroots movement to build an interconnected trail system from Honesdale to Hawley and possibly beyond gained the support of the Wayne County Commissioners, who agreed to allow the county to serve as the applicant for a grant to fund a feasibility study.
Members of the newly formed Wayne-Pike Trails and Waterways Alliance hope to build – or improve – vibrant and safe trails for hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, nature education and other activities along the Lackawaxen River, the Stourbridge Rail Line and Honesdale Borough parks.
“We are thrilled to have the Commissioners on board,” said Alliance member Dan Corrigan. “It’s a big step in what we anticipate to be a multi-phase journey, a very long – and very exciting – road.” Corrigan noted that the Wayne County Community Foundation has agreed to be the non-profit organization through which funds are collected and funneled for the project.
Wayne County, on behalf of the foundation and the alliance, will apply to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for matching funds to support a Greenways Trails Feasibility Study, estimated to cost approximately $80,000. The study will review property owner issues, lease arrangements, existing municipal and county plans, water access possibilities and cost estimates for any needed construction. It will also seek public input throughout the process and look at potential funding sources.
“The Wayne County Community Foundation has also approved our first funding request for $5,000,” added Corrigan. We have another $5,000 committed from other sources and are looking to the community for the remaining $30,000.
The Alliance is a consortium of four groups with a common goal. The Stourbridge Rail and Trail group, along with the Honesdale River Project and HonesTrails, and the Wallenpaupack Trails and Lock 31 Group all envision a trail system embracing the river that runs through the Honesdale-Hawley corridor and the natural beauty of the area’s parks and woodlands.
The partnership will be soliciting commitments for funds to meet the grant applications deadline of April 12. “We won’t need the money until we know the grant has been received,” said Corrigan.
For more information or to donate, visit https://www.honesdaleriverproject.com or follow them on Facebook.
Planning/GIS Mapping Projects Grow More Interactive
HONESDALE – In large part, the work of the Wayne County Department of Planning and Geographic Information Systems happens behind the scenes, like updating addresses for the 911 system so the EMTs can find you when you need them.
But that’s been changing of late.
Director Craig Rickard recently presented the 2016 Annual Report to the Wayne County Commissioners, noting the department’s mapping work has become more and more interactive.
It really started with “The Map,” an interactive digital map of the county that was overhauled last year to provide even more information and resources that people can access on home computers and mobile devices. If you have never used the Wayne County Interactive Map, it’s pretty likely your cable guy, your realtor or your contractor has.
In 2016, the department also did some mapping for the Wayne County Historical Society for its Secret Garden Tour and Past-Port initiative, and a Planning/GIS-generated map of the region helped gamers at The Cooperage Project’s annual International Table Top Day pinpoint where they came from.
Most notably, the department played an important role in the Wayne County Walk of Honor honoring veterans buried in the county’s 150 cemeteries. A project of the Business and Professional Women of Wayne County, it involves the display of the names with an associated reference, which corresponds to a location on a Planning/GIS-generated map etched into a permanent monument at the site next to the Courthouse in Honesdale.
And there’s more to come. The Planning/GIS Department recently provided preliminary mapping for a nascent community development project aimed at activating the river corridor in Honesdale. The Honesdale River Project has engaged a variety of stakeholders to create additional public access and around and beyond the confluence of the West Branch Lackawaxen and the Dyberry Creek.
To access the complete 2016 Annual Report or for a link to the Wayne County Interactive Map visit http://waynecountypa.gov/county-department-of-planninggis/.
Adult Day Services Support Family Caregivers in Hawley
PA Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne (top left)) joined the Wayne County Commissioners, the Wayne and Pike Area Agencies on Aging and other dignitaries on Friday for the grand opening of the new Wayne County Adult Day Services Center in a new addition at the Drake Senior Center in Bingham Park in Hawley.
The Secretary spent much of her career in Northeast Pennsylvania and told the crowd of well-wishers she knows first-hand the sincere drive of all the partners in the center, which is being operated by Telespond Senior Services, to use their limited resources to care for the most vulnerable.
Sec. Osborne called it important work, “but it must be imbedded in reality. Our Senior Citizens expect and deserve real action to give them access to the support they need to live safely and well in their community.”
The impetus for the Adult Day Service Center sprang from a local support group, which first identified the need that was later validated by a community needs survey.
Adult Day Centers primarily serve older adults with either dementia-related conditions or adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The core services include personal care, nursing services, therapeutic activities, social services, nutritional and therapeutic diets, and emergency care, giving family caregivers peace of mind and a much-needed respite.
Telespond Board member Warren Watkins says the non-profit company is starting out small at the Hawley facility, but expects the program to grow as they have at the Lackawanna County facilities.
“The opening of the Wayne County Adult Day Services Center is vital to improving the lives of older Pennsylvanian’s and their caregivers in this largely rural area,” Secretary Osborne said.
Among those attending the open house and ribbon cutting were Wayne County Commissioner Joe Adams, whose mother served as the first director of the Hawley Senior Center. He was joined by Commissioner Wendell Kay, State Sen. Lisa Baker, State Rep. Mike Peifer, Governor’s Northeast Regional Director Cassandra Coleman and Hawley Mayor Kevin Hawk as well as members of the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council and the Telespond Board.
Wayne Offers Match for Ag Economic Development Study Grant
HONESDALE – In examining the county’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, the Wayne Tomorrow Initiative and its work groups saw agriculture as an ideal way of moving toward several of its highest priorities.
Wayne Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mary Beth Wood calls farming, “The ultimate small business that also provides healthy food and promotes a sustainable environment.”
So the Wayne County Commissioners and WEDCO are asking the Appalachian Regional Commission for a grant to help fund an economic development study focused on agriculture, and where and how the county can build up the industry.
Wood said the pre-application has resulted in an invitation to formally seek the $50,000 grant, and the Commissioners recently provided a commitment letter for the $ 50,000 required match.
The scope of work includes traditional land use planning but also other types of infrastructure planning. The Wayne Tomorrow analysis has also shown, for example, that farms are trending toward smaller operations that need more support.
There’s also the question of building a qualified workforce to address needs in all elements of the industry from new farmers to veterinary services to post-production processing.
Efforts to revive agricultural education and workforce development here in Wayne County prompted state labor officials to recently add farming to the list of the Commonwealth’s high priority occupations.
“The agriculture industry,” said Wood, “is fundamental to our economy and to our standard of living.”