Two Mark 20 Years of Service to Wayne County
HONESDALE (June 21, 2017) — The Wayne County Commissioners issued Certificates of Recognition to long-time county employees, John Dunsinger, seated at left, in the Juvenile Probation Office and Laurie Collins from the Prothonotary’s Office, who each have dedicated 20 years to their respective departments. Chairman Brian Smith, center, noted the public is often not aware of the important work of the county’s many dedicated employees and these anniversaries are an opportunity to change that. Commissioner Wendell Kay, left, lauded the pair for their work in assuring the smooth functioning of the county court system, and Commissioner Joe Adams said since joining the board he has been struck by the number of hard working people who have had such long tenures serving the county.
Two Win Bikes at Safety Fair for Kids
HONESDALE (June 20, 2017) Each year, Elegante Restaurant and Pizzeria in Honesdale donates one girl’s and one boy’s bike to be raffled off at the Wayne County Safety Fair for Kids. Five-year-old Joey Haines (left) and Jordan Hattler, 6, both of Honesdale, were the winner and can start perfecting their skills. The two attend Stourbridge Primary Center with Jordan heading into first grade and Joey looking forward to the start of kindergarten. The training wheels will remain for the time being, but both were excited to get riding. The raffle was open to any child who visited at least half of the safety tables at the event back in May. Elegante staff members Courtney Peck (left) and Lisa Cowger (right) join Leann Wash (center), one of the event coordinators, at the Main Street, Honesdale, eatery for the presentation.
Old Glory Takes Center Stage on Flag Day
HONESDALE (June, 14, 2017) – The US Army Recruiters Color Guard unfurled the American Flag over the Wayne County Courthouse this morning as the Commissioners marked Flag Day with a ceremony on the front steps.
County Veterans Affairs Director Frank Muggeo coordinated the program and spoke about his connection to the flag during his years of military service in theaters throughout the world.
County Commissioner Chairman Brian Smith shared three stories about the American Flag that illustrated the pride, hope and sacrifice it represents. Commissioner Wendell Kay reflected on the connection to the flag as an iconic symbol, not just individually but as a whole nation. In leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, Commissioner Joe Adams encouraged everyone to consider the meaning of those very familiar words.
Honesdale High School senior Emily DeCrotie and HHS Choral Director Martha Curtis provided the music for the ceremony, including the National Anthem.
As part of the observance, local school students produced artwork and other items for display in the lobby of the Courthouse, and the public is welcome to view the exhibit from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm through this Friday.
The annual ceremony ends with a group photo on steps of the Courthouse.
Veterans with questions about benefits and services can contact the Office of Veterans Affairs Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 570-253-5970 ext. 1752.
Wayne Honors Three New Eagle Scouts in Lake Ariel
LAKE ARIEL (June 13, 2017) — Wayne County Commissioners Wendell Kay (left) and Joe Adams presented Certificates of Recognition to three members of Boy Scout Troop 102 in Lake Ariel for their outstanding character, leadership and citizenship. The accomplishments of Wil Petersen (center), Austin Kidder and Dalton Buckman (right) were celebrated at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on Sunday at St. Thomas More Church.
Wayne Lauds Pocono Fox Trot Fundraising for Parkinson’s Disease
HONESDALE (June 6, 2017) – As the Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, they learned that Northeast Pennsylvania’s only Michael J. Fox Foundation event has raised more than $50,000 in its first two years.
Roland Grote said the third annual Pocono Fox Trot 5K Walk/Fun Run and 1 Mile Community Walk for Parkinson’s Research will be held, rain or shine, Saturday, June 17, at Ann Street Park in downtown Milford. Registration starts at 8 am.
“We hope to remove the stigma associated with Parkinson’s Disease and offer support to patients and families,” Grote noted.
The event was founded in 2015 not only to raise money for a cure but also to bring together all the Parkinson’s Disease resources available locally. It raised $22,000 that first year and another $30,000 last year. The goal for 2017 is $35,000.
The After-Party includes the Resource Fair, free food, music and a gift basket raffle at the Ann Street Park.
The 5K Fun Run and Walk begin at 9 am and the one-mile Community Walk gets underway at 10 o’clock with a Kids Dash and Virtual 5K planned as well. Register for all four events online.
If you are not able to attend you can donate online, or send checks payable to Pocono Fox Trot 5K, Box 2776, Gold Key Lakes, Milford, PA 18337.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded more than $700 million to speed a cure, investing more than half of that in altering the disease by helping develop a treatment to restore damaged dopamine neurons, nearly a quarter on defining Parkinson’s and nearly as much on addressing untreated symptoms of the disease. Learn more at the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.
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/
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 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.”