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Issue 39 — Thursday, April 28, 2016
Frein Statement
Hearings Put Off
For Second Time

MILFORD — Common Pleas Judge Greg Chelak continued a suppression hearing in the case of Eric Frein, accused of shooting two state troopers, and one fatally, at the Blooming Grove State Police barracks in September 2014. The hearing on statements Frein made in custody on Oct. 30, 2014, had been rescheduled for Friday, April 22, but Frein’s attorneys, Michael Weinstein and William Ruzzo, asked for a continuance Thursday, just before a separate hearing on an objection by media against holding the suppression hearing in judge’s chambers instead of in open court.

Chelak said the postponement of the suppression hearing made the media motion on closed proceedings moot, but it could be revisited without prejudice at a later date. He instructed media and the public to click on the News Media bar on court.pikepa.org for updates on rescheduled hearing dates on this and other major cases. He also said that during the brief gathering in judge’s chambers at the original suppression hearing last Tuesday, before the media objection, no testimony took place.

Frein’s defense also made a pending motion on change of venue, and a hearing on that motion is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 3 in Pike County Court.
Attorneys for interveners the Times-Tribune and WNEP-TV said state police already informed the public of statements Frein made while being interviewed while he was in custody and that closing the hearing on suppression of those statements was unnecessary.

“It’s not the content of the statements while in custody, but the manner in which the content was obtained,” Weinstein said.

He said that during interrogation, state police failed to honor Frein’s invocation of his right to silence and failed to afford him of his right to counsel under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

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Official Paper More Than
Forty Years

MILFORD — Although it has been publishing much, much longer, the Pike County Dispatch has been the newspaper of record for the County of Pike for more than 40 years. That means the Dispatch is the place to go to find out about public meetings, estate notices, bids, public hearings, real estate sales and transactions, and Sheriff sales.

The Pike County Commissioners listed the Dispatch as an official newspaper for legal notices during their opening meeting of 2014, and once again, during their annual reorganization meetings on the first business day of the New Year, most of the other municipalities in Pike County followed suit. So far, Milford and Matamoras Boroughs, and Westfall, Dingman, Delaware, Shohola, Blooming Grove. Milford and Lehman Townships have made it their business to have the Dispatch as an official newspaper.

So make it your business to keep up with all the news in Pike to print, including official business and legal notices from your town.

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The Voice Of Pike County
Since 1826

The Pike County Dispatch is not only Pike County's largest circulation weekly newspaper, it is also the oldest.

Founded as the Eagle of the North, it has been in continuous operation reporting news and covering local events since 1826. It is, and always has been, the mainstay in keeping the local citizenry informed. Today, subscribers are as far afield as California and Florida

The Dispatch has covered the historic events that have shaped Pike County for almost as long as that history has been in the making.

Over the years, hometown news has shared pages with national and world events, and world events were sometimes right here in Pike County, Pennsylvania.

Its pages carry news of joy and sorrow, homespun advice, births, deaths, marriages, spats, feuds, political controversy, scandals, murders, heists, social affairs, dedications--in short, all the news in Pike to print.

Look for the Pike County Dispatch at local news dealers, and read all about it!

Community Spats Could Go To
Attorney General’s Office Under New Bill

MIDDLE SMITHFIELD — State Rep. Rosemary Brown (189th District) drafted and is sponsoring House Bill 1774 to allow the state Attorney General’s office to provide alternative mechanisms for residents living in community developments to resolve matters such as election fraud, access to community development records, covenants and by-law issues, and harassment of community members who express concerns at community meetings. Brown represents a part of eastern Pike County and part of northern Monroe County. Last week, the House Urban Affairs Committee convened a hearing at the Middle Smithfield Township building to gather feedback on the proposed bill.

The bill puts more teeth into existing real and personal property legislation that covers planned communities. If HB 1774 passes, it would provide additional investigative and mediating powers assigned to the Consumer Protection Bureau to resolve complaints on planned communities, cooperatives, and condominiums, according to Committee Chairman Scott Petri, a House member from Bucks County. The current law does not cover much beyond a community’s refusal to provide some financial documents, but does not allow presenting complaints of other violations of consumer rights and benefits, such as election fraud and other administrative abuses in the community development.

Brown said, “There are more than 300 community developments in northeastern Pennsylvania. More than half the residents in my constituency in Pike and Monroe County populations live in community developments (planned communities). “We have been getting complaints from residents in community developments for years. So my staff and I drafted legislation [that covers] such issues as whether the community is following its by-laws, fairly applying its by-laws, providing for fair voting, making proper disclosures, and are being transparent.”

Brown said that northeastern Pennsylvania has more than 300 community developments. Pike County has more than 60 percent of its population living in planned communities. The national Community Association Institute (CAI) board member Marshal Granor testified that CAI was originally opposed to the legislation as too broad in scope (covering noise, pets, trash, and quality of life issues that the community should be able to resolve.) Granor said, “Most [quality of life] disputes, such as noise, trash, pets, and fences, should be settled locally. Embezzlement and threats should be handled by police, not the AG office.”

Granor said that since Brown introduced the legislation, the committee scaled back the scope of AG intervention, so CAI is now an advocate of the bill. The current proposed bill limits the AG office scope of investigations to major issues, such as rogue bidding, election rigging, and administrative harassment of association members who publicly or in writing express a complaint, financial mishandling, and public access to association records.

At the hearing, a Bucks County lawyer said, “I don’t want the government stepping into private organizations. We want to allow the community’s internal dispute process and alternative resolution process. If there is no compromise and there is opposition to these processes, then the disputes can go to the AG office... for a complete story, get this week's paper.

 
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