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Issue 12 — Thursday, October 19, 2017
Lack Of Volunteers Reverberates In Emergency Services, 4H Too

LACKAWAXEN — How to motivate first responder volunteerism is a chronic local challenge recently addressed by state legislators. The number of Pennsylvania volunteer firefighters has dropped from 380,000 to 50,000 in the last 15 years, according to Pike County Emergency Training Center director Tim Knapp, and legislators seek ways to bring volunteers back. Their efforts were discussed on Friday at the Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) at the Lackawaxen Inn.

As Melissa Morgan, PSATS policy and legislative analyst, briefed the group on new and proposed state laws, she noted legislation authorizing municipalities to provide property and earned income tax credit to active volunteer firefighters. The law became effective Jan. 20, and implementation would begin in 2018, as township supervisors work with fire chiefs to determine eligibility criteria, Morgan said. Property tax credit can be no more than 20 percent of the municipal tax, and earned income tax credit would be a set amount.

But how much of an incentive those tax credits would be for a young volunteer who may not own property was a question raised later by Lance Spodek, Blooming Grove Emergency Services Commission president. "It would be better to have a certificate that's saleable," he said.

Nick Mazza, Blooming Grove Township Supervisor chair, advocates promoting a culture of volunteerism. "I was interested in the 4-H presentation about more programs for youth," he said.

The presenter, Angie Smith, 4H extension educator, said she is working to create more community 4H clubs, but again the challenge is finding volunteers.

"There are many interested kids, but we need two screened, certified adult volunteers to work with each youth group," she said. "We're trying to find those people."

One day a month, on different days, at different times, in Milford, she holds an information session for adults on leading 4H groups. But if necessary, she said, "I'd walk someone through individually."

She noted that 4H offers opportunities beyond animal care, including service learning and community garden involvement. She aims for groups of 16 to 20 youth with two leaders per group. Each group is required to choose a community service, and firefighting training is one possibility that Tim Knapp, director of Pike County Emergency Training Center is offering to 4H groups... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Mulch Catches Fire,
Keeps Smoldering

BUSHKILL — On Sunday, Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company doused the exterior flames at a huge mulch pile on Route 2001 near Bushkill Falls Road, but smolders deep in the pile continued to burn the next day, according to Fire Chief Alex DiPaolo. Volunteers were there all afternoon on Sunday to douse the flames and try to get water into the smoldering sections. But, without excavating equipment, the company could not get to the deeper sections, noted DiPaolo.

DiPaolo estimated that the mulch pile is 100-feet long by 30-feet wide and 40-feet high. He said that a fire department officer saw the flames on the way to the company's annual National Fire Prevention Week activities at the firehouse located on Evergreen Drive and called Pike County Communication Center, which dispatched the company.

According to DiPaolo, a large mulch pile gets little water in its interior. When chips start to decompose and heat up in hot weather, spontaneous combustion can occur in the interior of the pile. Smoldering sections could ignite the exterior of the pile. DiPaolo requested that Leeward bring heavy excavating equipment to the site to move and/or break down the pile. That would allow the fire company to extinguish the smoldering area. On Monday, Leeward sent two large pieces of excavating equipment.

Bushkill Fire Company is monitoring the site and is prepared to extinguish remaining smoldering sections. Township officials said that Leeward leases the six-acre property from Lehman Township. Leeward uses the site as a staging area for their two Route 2001 projects in Lehman Township. The current Route 2001 rebuilding project runs from Little Egypt Road in Lehman Township to Rockledge Road in Delaware Township.

An early phase of that project this year was road widening, which included taking down trees deeper in the right of way. Leeward takes trees to the staging area and turns them to mulch.

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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.

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!

Sign Here Operations Moving Back To Borough

MATAMORAS — Matamoras Borough Council granted past Westfall Township Asst. Fire Chief Howard Vobis a conditional use permit to locate his Sign Here Sign Co. at 808 Pennsylvania Ave. in the borough. Vobis is a Borough resident. His family has lived in either Westfall Township or the borough for three generations. Sign Here started in the borough in 1991, but Vobis moved the business to larger quarters on Jersey Avenue in Port Jervis in 1995.

The council took action at their regular council meeting held at Borough Hall last week requesting that Vobis meet two conditions:

• Securing a Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Sewage Module plan approval;
• Filing an easement with the borough stipulating that the property owner of 810 Pennsylvania Avenue (a residence owned by Vobis) allows the 808 property a driveway access to 9th Street.
Vobis said, "I enjoyed working in Port, but I wanted to return to the borough for years. An adjacent property owner on Jersey Avenue [Samaki] wanted to expand.

"They wanted to access part of my property for a driveway. We negotiated for a year and they agreed to buy the building. I had an opportunity to buy the 808 and 810 Pennsylvania Avenue property.

"The sale of the Jersey Avenue building and the great offer on the two properties in the borough allowed me to relocate back to Matamoras.

"When I first moved to the Jersey Avenue property, it was a bakery. We had to do major modifications to make it work for a sign-company needs. With the 808 Pennsylvania Avenue property, we have a building that we can customize for a sign company."

Vobis said that Sign Here is the largest sign installation-and-maintenance contract company in the region. He serves clients mainly in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and part of Connecticut. The work ranges from the small to large. Regarding the larger work, he said, "We are the major-plaza sign contractors for the big-box stores, hotels, motels, and auto dealers."

Sign Here does smaller jobs as well, such as awnings. He did Woogie's Deli awning on Route 209 in Port, signs in Airport Park, vinyl wraps on Eastern Pike Regional Police patrol cars when they first began serving Westfall and Matamoras, wraps on consumer and business vehicles and boats, and the building signs on two fireworks-company signs in Westfall Township. Sign Here designed and installed the electronic signs for the entrances to Best Western Inn and the Delaware Valley School District main campus on Route 6/209.

According to Vobis, Sign Here has cranes, bucket trucks, backhoes, and the largest wide-format vinyl-sign printer in the area. The printer can do five-foot by 50-foot signs or seam together signs to make 10x100-foot signs or larger. For information about the company, go to or call (800) Neonlit (636-6548)... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Pike Hazard Mitigation Plan Includes Five New Hazards

MILFORD — As the physicalities of Pike County evolve, so do hazards, according to Mike Mrozinski, planning director at Pike County Office of Community Planning. He and other county and municipal officials have identified five new hazards to address in the recent update of the Pike County Hazard Mitigation Plan. The 2002 federal Disaster Mitigation Act requires states to regularly update their disaster mitigation plans to ensure their eligibility for FEMA assistance, should a disaster occur, and that responsibility was shared with counties and municipalities. So every five years, beginning in 2006, Pike County has updated its hazard mitigation plan. All 13 municipalities must pass resolutions to adopt it. The new plan is 1,153 pages, including 657 pages of appendices.

"Municipalities look at impacts over five years and see what they need, what they can remove, to minimize hazards," said Mrozinski. "It assists with grant funding."

The five hazards added to the 12 assembled in the 2006 and 2011 plans include invasive species, radon, landslides, lightning, and extreme temperatures. For some hazards, strategies are simple.

"When lightning strikes, there's not much you can do but be aware," Mrozinski said. "At sporting events, when you hear thunder, you scatter. The game is over until the storm is over. This is not a high lightning zone, but you need to be aware."

But invasive species arrive in many forms and disrupt in multiple ways. Most familiar is the tick. It becomes a problem soon after hatching, when it eats its first "blood meal," often a white-footed mouse, from which it also takes pathogens, says Mrozinski. "Then it looks toward larger mammals."

One strategy to stop the cycle involves filling toilet paper rolls with cotton sprayed with the insecticide permethrin and leaving them around, so mice use the cotton to build nests. Permethrin can also be put on rollers that slide across the heads and necks of deer at deer feeders, as they lean in to feed. But burning leaves, where ticks often linger, does not kill them, and removing leaves is difficult, he said.

"This is the perfect tick environment, with rodents, mammals, and children from urban areas who are unaware," Mrozinski said. "We work with schools and doctors, but the state doesn't do adequate testing to know the percentage of ticks carrying disease. A high percentage of them carry impactful diseases, and Lyme is most prevalent, but there are many more."

He urges walking on roads and paths away from leaves and tall grass and treating pets with permethrin regularly. "You miss a week, and things happen," Mrozinski says.

As for landslides, he said, "Flash floods and small storms send lots of water into small tributary streams, and there's more runoff. Mass erosion results in localized ground destabilization, and then landslides impact roadways." In addition to causing road washouts, frequent high water results in "bridge scour" that damages the substructure of bridges. Stormwater plans and construction techniques should take these problems into consideration, especially with poor soil permeability preventing water absorption, he said.

"Homeowners reroute water on their property, not conscious of repercussions that can result downstream. With more development, there are more impervious surfaces. With new techniques, you can keep stormwater on site."

To address road and bridge damage, five dollars was added to Pike County car registration fees, Mrozinski said. Another hazard that results from the county's rocky terrain is radon. Quiet, invisible, and odorless, it results in 21,000 cancer deaths annually in the U.S., he said... for complete story, get this week's issue.

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