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Issue 43 — Thursday, May 24, 2018

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Much Ado
About Munching


By Chris Jones

MILFORD — It sounded like the makings of an X-rated movie, but it turned out to be PG.
Milford Borough Police received a strange dispatch around lunchtime Friday. It seems a passerby saw two people rustling around in the back seat of a car in the Town Square parking lot off Broad Street and thought there might be hanky-panky going on.
"Possible indecent exposure," the call came over the scanner. Can't be too careful. Kids were in the neighborhood, and besides, the incident was taking place right across Broad from the "Naked Bagel."
So one of Milford's finest responded to the scene, minus the body camera of course. Meanwhile, a stealthy local reporter could be seen peeking around the corner, trying to remain undetected.
All afternoon, wild speculation raged through the newsroom. Was it a scene from "Naked Lunch?" "Splendor in the Afternoon?" An Indie (Indecent?) movie for the Film Festival?
By 3:30, it was shift change time at the Milford P.D. The intrepid reporter stuck his head out the door and saw two police cars parked in front of headquarters. He rushed over, notebook in hand.
Right away, the responding officer, known for having eyes in the back of his head, said to the reporter, "I saw you leering – I mean peering – around the corner. It wasn't much. The windows were so tinted nobody could see anything."
"So what were they doing in the back seat?"
"Eating lunch."
So you tear off a mouthful of an overstuffed hero and shake up your bottle of cappuccino, and it sets the vehicle to rocking. No lunch spread, just a sandwich for two. Can't be too careful though. It was Broad daylight. Children of tender years about. Hold the hot peppers!

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!

Tour Reveals Storm'Armageddon'
At Childs Park


DINGMANS FERRY — Sections of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) were so devastated by Riley/Quinn storms in March and last weekend's rainstorm, according to DEWA Public Affairs Specialist Kathleen Sandt, that areas most damaged, such as Child's Park in Dingmans Ferry, might be closed to the public for years.
Sandt and DEWA Roads and Trails Supervisor Bill Tagye, accompanied by DEWA park rangers, led a media tour of a one-mile Child's Park Trail section to show the incredible damage. They also explained how DEWA plans to clean up and rehabilitate not only Childs Park, but also other areas that DEWA had to close due to damage.
Sandt termed some of the damaged areas closed to the public, such as Childs Park, Dingmans Falls, and Raymondskill Falls (among the most popular destinations in DEWA) as Armageddon.
Much of the damage occurred when a set of conditions converged during Riley/Quinn storms. The conditions were supersaturated wet soil, high winds, and heavy snow accumulation on upper branches, on aged, tall, and stately trees. The top-heavy trees with very shallow root systems could not withstand the high winds. When the century-old trees toppled over the root system often took out the embankment, noted Tagye.
The tour group had to climb over many huge trees downed tree trunks across the trail. Some trees damaged bridges........ For complete story, get this week's issue.

Know Before You Go: What's Open – Closed

DINGMANS FERRY — Although some park areas are closed, DEWA Public Affairs Specialist Kathleen Sandt said that the rest of the park is preparing to open for the warm-weather season.
Sandt gave the following update on what is open and what is closed.
• Pennsylvania sites and trails that will not open this summer due to hazardous conditions: Dingmans Falls Visitor Center and Trail; George W. Childs Park; Adams Creek Trail and drainage area; Toms Creek Trail; Hornbecks Creek/Indian Ladders Trail.
• Pennsylvania trails that are currently closed, but are likely to re-open later in the season: Cliff Park Trails, including Hackers Falls; Hidden Lake Trail; Two Ponds and Scenic Gorge trails at Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC); Conashaugh Trail.
• Pennsylvania trails that are now open: Appalachian Trail; Raymondskill Creek/Falls Trail; Arrow Island Trail; Slateford Loop Trail; McDade Trail (except the section between Conashaugh and Pittman Orchard trailheads;) Tumbling Waters, Fossil, Sensory, Ridgeline, and Trail for Everyone at PEEC.
• New Jersey trails closed due to hazardous conditions: Kaiser Trail; Van Campens Glen Trail. All other New Jersey trails are open.
• Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in New Jersey is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday through Sunday from May 25 until Sept. 3;
• All beaches and boat/canoe launches are open for the season.
• All picnic areas are open except for those at George W. Childs Park and Van Campens Glen. Check the park website for group size limits and restrictions.
• Valley View and Rivers Bend group campsites are open. Call (570) 426-2432 for information on fees and to make reservations;
• Dingmans Campground offers tent and RV sites. For more information, visit their website at Dingmans Campground. A complete list of campgrounds in the surrounding area is available on the park's website, www.nps.Rov/dewa.

County Files Suit Vs. Opioid Manufacturers & Distributors

MILFORD — Pike County Commissioners at their meeting last week talked about their lawsuit filed recently against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid painkillers that have become an addictive epidemic locally and nationwide.
"It's important that Pike County takes a direction for making and holding people responsible for what they've done," Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Osterberg said.
"We have to stop this nonsense. It's out of control," Osterberg said.
Osterberg spoke at the previous meeting about six Pike residents who died from drug overdoses over a recent two-week stretch. Ten Pike residents died from overdoses last year, the suit claims.
An announcement jointly issued from law firms Simmons Hanly Conroy and Young Ricchiuti Caldwell & Heller says they have jointly brought suit in state court for Pike County against a long list of defendants. They include drug makers Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Three drug distributors named in the lawsuit are McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Corporation.
Commissioner Steve Guccini said that because of the large number of Pennsylvania counties filing suit they have been consolidated into the Delaware County courts for pretrial proceedings. Guccini could not specify how many counties have sued but said there are "quite a few."
From there, it will be determined which ones would go to trial. Guccini could not specify the timeline of the process. "It's hard to say. It's beyond months," Guccini said.
In addition to Pennsylvania, Simmons has filed similar litigation on behalf of more than 140 municipalities in California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
The release says the complaint seeks relief for Pike County that includes compensatory and punitive damages "for the millions of dollars it spends each year to combat the public nuisance created by the drug companies' deceptive marketing campaign that misrepresents the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use." It says the crisis has strained the county's human services, social services, court services, law enforcement services, the office of the coroner/medical examiner and health services, including hospital, emergency and ambulatory services. Cumulatively, costs run into the millions of dollars.
According to the complaint, Pennsylvania saw a 20.1 percent increase in overdose deaths related to opioids in 2015, as compared to the previous year. In 2016, Pennsylvania coroners and medical examiners reported 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths. The rate of drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania increased from 26.7 per 100,000 in 2015 to 36.5 per 100,000 in 2016, well above the national average (16.3 per 100,000). Pike County had seven overdose deaths in 2015 and 10 overdose deaths in 2016, a 42 percent increase in only one year....For complete story, get this week's issue.


School Board Aims For No Tax Increase In Next Year's Budget


WESTFALL — As the school budget heads toward a vote next month, Delaware Valley School District taxpayers might see no increase in their 2018-2019 tax bill.
The district Board of Directors, after lengthy discussion at its monthly meeting last week, passed by a 6-3 vote a preliminary proposed draft for final adoption for the June 21 meeting. It will be available for public scrutiny for 30 days. All school budgets in the state must be ratified by June 30.
Delaware Valley's proposed budget reflects a "0% tax increase" at a rate of 110.71 mills with a balanced budget of revenue and expenditures at $81,995,724. Board members Brian Carso, Rosemary Walsh and John Wroblewski voted against the budget, largely over some of the proposed $4.8 million in cuts.
Carso said, with reports of an improving economy, it could be a better time for a school tax increase.
"Tax reform has a lot of momentum in Harrisburg," said Wroblewski, referring to legislation that would reduce or eliminate school taxes. "It could be the last opportunity for the district to move forward for many years. I don't want us to tell teachers we can't afford a raise (for them) and that we have to cut programs."
Board member Rosemary Walsh agreed and warned there could be another exodus of transplants escaping the high taxes and cost of living in New York and New Jersey moving into the area that could swell enrollment and strain resources as they currently stand.
"If you say, 'Go with zero (percent increase),' that's totally unrealistic," Walsh said.
"Zero percent (increase) is not neutral. It's harmful to the district," Carso said.
The board in previous proposals at the meeting voted 6-3 against the allowable 3.2 percent increase. Carso, Walsh and Wroblewski voted in favor of it. That called for a millage rate of 114.2 mills and a budget of $83,464.540. The board then rejected an increase of half that amount with a millage rate of 112.48 mills and a balanced budget of $82,730,132. That vote went 7-2, with Carso and Walsh voting in favor of it.
"This gives a general idea of where the board is headed," said school board President Jack O'Leary, who later affirmed, "I think we're looking for low numbers."
But school board Vice President Dawn Bukaj said the final numbers could change a bit, alluding to last year's budget that sent a proposed 2.05 percent tax increase to the public for scrutiny and ended up with a 2.33 percent increase.
The budget will be examined further for adjustment at next month's workshop held a week before the meeting.
O'Leary, during discussion before the vote, shared the sentiment of some board members who expressed concern over the elimination of nine proposed teaching positions.
"What I don't like is losing the school psychologist and pre-K teacher (a "half" position)," said O'Leary. "I would be willing to go forward but would like to see work done on this. That would be my hesitation."
"But who knows – a month from now I could be in favor of this," O'Leary later said.
Other new positions in jeopardy include two part-time instructional assistants as job coaches and singular part-time instructional assistants for the Pre-K program, Special Education Autistic Support, Special Education Learning Support and for the Automotive Career Technical Education (CTE) Program as well as a part-time traffic officer for the Dingman Delaware campus.
"I don't support eliminating any of these positions," board member Pam Lutfy said....For complete story, get this week's issue.


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