Forest Groups Host Natural Landscape Author
WAYNE COUNTY (May 22, 2017) – “Inviting Nature Back” — into our yards, our parks and, in short, our lives — tops the agenda May 26th when the Wayne-Lackawanna Forest Landowners Association joins the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the Northern Tier Hardwood Association in presenting horticulturalist and author Claudia West at the Carbondale Jr/Sr High School.
Modern landscaping has driven nature out of our day-to-day surroundings, West believes, with gardens and lawns that need constant care. Designing plantings that are a hybrid of the wild and the cultivated that look and perform the way landscapes do in nature, West advocates vertically layering compatible plant species to create dense cover that filters rain and surface and transpires moisture back into the atmosphere.
In her plantings, the need for watering is mostly eliminated, and “weeds” (i.e. unwanted plants) are held to a minimum. Just as importantly, West’s landscapes are attractive to wildlife.
With landscape architect Thomas Rainer, West is the author of the recently published “Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes,” which shows how to design plantings that function like naturally occurring plant communities, detailing how plants fit together in nature and how to use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful, and diverse.
She currently works as the ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale supplier of perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns and vines with an emphasis on eastern U.S. natives. North Creek is based in Landenberg, Pa., about 45 miles west-southwest of Philadelphia.
West’s presentation, “Inviting Nature Back,” will be Friday, May 26, starting at 6:30 pm at Carbondale Jr/Sr High School, Business Route 6, between Carbondale and Mayfield. Admission is $10. Food catered by Arcaro and Genell’s Restaurant in Old Forge will be served after the lecture and is included in the admission price.
The following morning, West will be at a rural property in Susquehanna County to lead a two-hour walk where she’ll offer planting suggestions aimed at illustrating the concepts she discussed the night before. The Saturday session (May 27th) starts at 9:30 am at the Potter Hill Farms at 1115 Potter Hill Road in Thompson. This event is admission free.
Coffee and doughnuts, compliments of the Susquehanna County Forest Landowners Association, will be served up starting at 9 o’clock .
For more information about either event, contact Doug Sheldon at email@example.com (preferred) or at 570-906-0913.
WWE Wrestling Champ Speaks of Choices, Family & Hope
HONESDALE – Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards and Teacher Marci Jones of the Wayne Highlands School District and others have arranged for former WWE Wrestling Champion Marc Mero to present his moving and inspirational program on Wednesday, May 24.
Founder of Champion of Choices, Mero will be sharing his compelling message, which evokes personal reflection, laughter and tears as he talks “at heart level” about substance abuse, suicide, bullying, peer pressure, and most importantly hope.
DA Edwards said the Dream Big/Never Give Up program will be presented to all Middle and High School students at Wayne Highlands prior to a free community program Wednesday, May 24, from 7 to 8 pm, at Honesdale High School. The doors open at 6:30 pm and a picnic dinner will be served.
Students at Wallenpaupack, Western Wayne and Forest City will be rallying their classmates and their communities to attend the evening program.
Touted as the nation’s most requested school presenter, Marc Mero’s message of hope, the value of relationships and the importance of making good choices is accompanied by goal setting, with each participant receiving a goal card to get them started.
Edwards said, “In light of the heroin epidemic in our area, this is a message that needs to be said to as many people as possible as often as possible.’
For more information, contact Marci Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event has been organized by Wayne Highlands teachers, parents and neighbors who care about kids and the community.
Wayne Parks & Rec Sponsors Track, Golf Events
HONESDALE – The Wayne County Parks and Recreation Committee sponsors some early season events for children and adults in the coming weeks.
Frist, the Wayne County Track & Field meet, sponsored by the Wayne County Commissioners, will be held Saturday, May 6, at the Honesdale High School Sports Complex on Terrace Street in Honesdale. The competition is open to boys and girls who will be 9 to 14 years old on Dec. 31, 2017.
Events in each age group include the 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash, and standing long jump and softball throw competitions.
Registration will be held from 8:30 am until the meet gets underway at 10 o’clock.
For the Adults, the committee has announced to date of the 35th annual Early Bird Golf Tournament at the Honesdale Golf Club in Honesdale. Both men and women are invited to play the 18-hole course.
The tournament will be held Saturday, May 20, with sign-in from 12:30 until the shotgun start 1 pm, and all skill levels are invited to play.
The event includes 18 holes of golf, refreshments on the course, flight prizes and door prizes. The evening concludes with a steak dinner and award ceremony. The cost is $60 per person and $45 per person for Honesdale Golf Club members. All reservations must be paid in full by Thursday, May 18.
Open House Marks Muller Retirement
HONESDALE – The Wayne Conservation District invites the public to bid a happy retirement to the agency’s first full-time director, Robert Muller Jr., this Friday from 1 to 4 pm.
Muller joined the Conservation District in 1984, overseeing the agency on the front lines of helping landowners preserve and protect the county’s natural resources. He was instrumental in obtaining no-till seeding equipment that can be rented by property owners to reduce erosion.
Throughout his career, Muller supported the Envirothon Competition that tests the knowledge of high school students in many areas of environmental science. He served as the educational challenge’s coordinator for many years and led the soils station.
Muller coordinated the Conservation District’s Annual Seedling Sale, designed to help landowners introduce native trees and shrubs in their forests and landscapes. In 2017 alone, the program sold nearly 7,000 seedlings.
The Wayne County native grew up around farming and served the agricultural community well, working with a large number of farmers by providing technical assistance through the District and sitting on many agricultural committees.
For the last several years, Muller has served as co-chair of the Wayne Tomorrow! Agriculture Committee, as it begins making major advancements in supporting farmers and their agricultural operations in a new era of “locally grown.” Those efforts have garnered the attention of the PA Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, who has visited the county several times in recent months to learn more.
Also, he played a significant role in getting the Habitat Room at the Conservation District Office in the Park Street Complex completed during the past winter, which will provide educational opportunities to the public for decades to come.
Muller has also been responsible for the diversity of personnel serving the office, which currently consists of two Resource Conservationists, a Nutrient Management Technician, a Watershed Specialist, a Forest Specialist and a Fiscal Coordinator.
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.”