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Issue 46 — Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Kameen Steps Down
From County Court
By Chris Jones

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Judge Joseph F. Kameen submitted his letter of retirement as president judge of the Pike County Court of Common Pleas to Gov. Tom Wolf on May 31.
"Effective at the close of business on June 15, 2018 I am retiring from my position," Kameen wrote.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Pike County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during my tenure."
Meanwhile the governor's office has announced that it is accepting applications for an open interim judgeship on the Pike County Court.
The announcement was posted recently on the website of the state Office of General Counsel, stating that the vacancy was "a result of a recently announced retirement," but made no mention of who was retiring. Wolf's press secretary confirmed it was Kameen Friday afternoon when he emailed the Dispatch a copy of Kameen's letter.
The vacancy announcement on the website set a deadline for responding of Monday, June 11 at 5 p.m.
Kameen has been on leave from the court for several months, with senior judges filling in, but local lawyers say the situation has stressed the court dockets, which might explain the haste in attempting to get the job filled.
Kameen was first elected in November 2003, and in the November 2013 election he was retained for a second 10-year term that would have expired on Dec. 31, 2024.
A courthouse source told the Dispatch that Wolf, a Democrat, will nominate an interim judge, and the nominee would have to be confirmed by the state Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, possibly involving "horse trading" to agree on a candidate. Who gets to permanently fill out the remainder of Kameen's term would be decided in an election to be held either this November or in November 2019.

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.

To find out where to buy your copy of the county’s official newspaper or to subscribe for home mail delivery, click here.

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!

Downhill Racers Thrill To The Soap Box Derby

PORT JERVIS — The clouds and chill in the air did not stop the crowds last Sunday at Port Jervis' Annual Soapbox Derby. Smells of funnel cake and pizza filled Sussex Street as families and friends lined up to cheer on their racers.
With kids racing in four different divisions, Stock, Super Stock, Masters, and Super Kids, Port Jervis is host to the largest local Soapbox Derby in the world. Not only do many kids of the community get involved, but vendors from local businesses also gather to show their support.
"My favorite part is feeling the wind in your face when you're going down the hill," said Trevor Vicchiariello, first time racer.
Vicchiariello, 8, is excited to race again next year.
Also a first time racer is Killian Case, 9. Case's family lined the curb with signs to cheer him on. His family not only supported him in the race, but also inspired him to take part.
"My cousin has raced, and I always wondered what it would be like to go down myself," said Case.
Joshua Klotz, 19, won the Super Kids division of the Derby in 2012 and has continued to come back and volunteer at the event. This year, his favorite part of the day was marching in the parade. He loved the music playing, which inspired him to not only march, but also to dance his way down the hill.
"I love kids, so I love volunteering with them," said Klotz.
The parade also featured the Broome Street Band, celebrating their 30th anniversary. Spectators love coming to watch and enjoy the atmosphere, like six-year-old Sekai Jones, who came with her mom.
"It's my first time seeing it, and I want to race next year," she said.
With a new director, Billy McKerrel, having just taken over, this year's winners are heading to the World Championship Finals in Akron, Ohio in July.



Gardener Divulges Some Of Her 'Secrets'

MILFORD — The sounds of a 1950's Frank Sinatra song filled the air as a Milford Garden Club member (who we will call Grace because the club wants to keep the identities of the Secret Garden Tour gardeners mum for now), shared how she is preparing for the July event.
This year's tour is the club's 26th Annual Town and Country Secret Garden Tour. Grace has gone on the tour the past two years, but has never been a gardener featured on the tour.
After 26 years of developing a garden behind her home on a secluded cul-de-sac, Grace said, "I'm finally ready. I'm retired now. I'm ready to share some of my secrets.
"My gardening started when I was growing up with a marigold I planted in my mom's garden."
Grace's adult gardening life started in earnest on day one when she and her husband relocated. She said, "When we moved into our property there was no garden."
Tree, shrubs, flowers, grass, landscaping, flowerbeds and window boxes had to be thought through.
The first thing Grace and her husband did when she got serious about a garden was hardscaping, which included terracing, grading, a rock wall, brick paths and a fire pit.
Grace said, "My husband and I did some of the work, but we also worked with professional landscapers. Some of them were so helpful. One was willing to pull out some stones from the rock wall so that I could put candle holders on them."
The hardscaping – the rock wall, pavers, and steps – not only artfully defined the outdoor dining area, it also served as a great place for entertainment and a quiet area for family and friends to enjoy.
Grace said she also loves to sit there alone, at times with gin and tonic in hand, basking in this idyllic setting. That area allows her to think clearly about other parts of the garden.
Grace was not intimidated by facing nothing but a blank canvas. Maybe it was better that way. She said, "I could try ideas and test to see if something worked."
"I love the process of trying new ideas, testing concepts. It is breaking new ground [literally and figuratively in the surrounding garden areas]. I enjoy the process of watching how my inner vision about my garden materializes each year.
"I found that I didn't want flowers in the front garden. I planted trees, shrubs, and ground cover there. I found that I only wanted to plant flowers where my garden hose goes...For complete story, get this week's issue.

Pike Commissioners Announce
Caridi Retiring After 15 Years

MILFORD — Pike County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Osterberg found himself in an unusual situation sitting alone at the board's bi-monthly meeting last week.
Fellow commissioner Steve Guccini had a telephone hookup to the meeting. As for the other board member – Rich Caridi – Osterberg said at the start of the meeting, "He won't be here today."
Shortly afterward, Osterberg announced that Caridi had submitted a letter of retirement from the board after 15 years of service, effective May 31. Caridi asked that the letter be presented to the public at the meeting.
Caridi's letter reads, "After turning 70 years old in February this year, my wife and I have decided that we would like to attend to some health issues and spend as much time as we can together with our children and grandchildren for as long as God wants."
Osterberg said there are no life-threatening medical issues involved and none forced the decision.
Caridi has served as a county commission representative on planning, conservation, the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed and veterans committees. He has served as past president of the county Prison Board.
"It's not easy for him to do this and not easy for Steve and me to accept this," Osterberg told the gathering. "He taught me a lot on the job.
"He chose to do this his way. He's not looking for any other fanfare than for him to go."
Judge Gregory Chelak has 30 days to select a replacement of the same political party from submitted letters of interest to serve the remainder of Caridi's term through Dec. 31, 2019. A candidate from the 2019 Primary and General elections will start the new term. Caridi is a Republican.
Osterberg said it would be determined after the interim appointment which duties of Caridi's the appointee would inherit and which will be taken on by the seated commissioners.
Also in the letter, Caridi writes, "I must state that I have had the honor of serving with other commissioners throughout my 15-year tenure who have always placed the best interests for the county first in the decision making.
I am proud to say that the decisions made were always based on principle and not on partisan politics and I pray that that philosophy will always prevail."
"It seems to me philosophically that these days, if people are not fighting with each other, (people think) they're not doing their job," Guccini said.
"But if they do that, they're not doing service to their constituents. If we disagreed, we did it as adults and came to a reasonable conclusion. I do appreciate us working together on things."
Legacy Of Supported Projects
Osterberg said afterward that Caridi was an ardent advocate of the Pike County Courthouse Annex that will open later in the summer as well as helping form the Tick Borne Disease Task Force that was the first of its kind in the state. He also actively supported with former commissioners Karl Wagner and Harry Forbes the construction of the Pike County Training Center in Lords Valley that opened in 2012.
"From the time he was re-elected (in 2015) to maybe a year later, he was thinking about retiring but chose not to," Osterberg said after the meeting. "I said to him, 'I will support whatever you do.' He did great service for the county and its 415 employees."
Tom Ryan, founder and head of Vetstock and an advocate for military veterans, said he would miss working with his close friend. "He was able to communicate and watch our backs. He helped us with every opportunity he can," Ryan said. "We're alike that, at this time in our lives, we want to spend time with our families and he loves his kids and two grandkids. It's a huge loss (for veterans) but I have high expectations for Matt Osterbeg, who did not serve (in the military as Caridi did) but who is a patriot. I have complete confidence. Matt may not have (the same) understanding, but he's willing to learn. He'll listen to us and reach out to us. "Rich is retiring but we're drafting him for Vetstock," Ryan said...For complete story, get this week's issue.

Rise In Home Prices Highlights Pike County Growth


HAWLEY — Real estate data is a standard indicator of the state of the economy in a region, and Allan Hetkowski, CEO of the Pike/Wayne Association of Realtors, said there were some signs of improvement from a year ago during his presentation at the Pike State of the County Dinner at Woodloch Pines last week.
"The market is stable, quality of life is good. We're working on the tax situation," said Hetkowski, referring to the ongoing property tax debate in both houses for school taxes as the state budget nears its June 30 deadline.
"The market has no peaks and valley like during the recession," Hetkowski said. "As the market has come back, properties in foreclosure have been selling so much that we have a lack of inventory, a lack of homes to sell. With that, we see an upturn in construction."
Hetkowski pointed to increases in properties listed and sold from 2017, with a $30 million increase in sales volume in 2017 from the previous year, a 14 percent hike.
The average sale price rose from $156,000 to $169,000, and the days listed to sale dropped from 146 to 126 last year. From the previous year, closed sales increased by about 80 homes in 2017.
Mike Sullivan, Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority, said that for the first time since 2010, Pike County in 2017 had a year of population growth from the previous year. It was the largest uptick among nine counties surveyed in the area, and Pike was third in average wage increases at 3.9 percent.
Sullivan backed off on any notion that it is the start of a trend but said that it shows promise for the future.
"The state of the county is in good shape," said Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg. "There are a lot of initiatives to make the county better, working in collaborative efforts with private organizations for infrastructure and community health. The courthouse (addition) gives us modern courtroom procedures desperately needed."
He said infrastructure and the lack of central sewage "makes it difficult to bring in businesses." There are other challenges, Osterberg said, like the property vacancies along Route 209 and the $7 million expense of restoring and maintaining 17 bridges, which now is funded through a $5 auto registration increase.
Other challenges include the lack of Advanced Life Support/Basic Life Support emergency medical services that is "in crisis mode" and the opioid addiction epidemic that is drawing on millions of dollars in resources in Pike County and has led to formation of a county task force....For complete story, get this week's issue.


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