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Issue 16 — Thursday, November 16, 2017

'Little School With Big Heart'
Hosts Veterans Day Celebration

SHOHOLA — Shohola Elementary came together once again to host the 18th annual celebration in honor of our local veterans.

Approximately 70 veterans and their families attended the event on November 10. The honorees included 35 who served the U.S. Army, eight in the Marines, nine in the Navy, 10 in the Air Force and two in the Coast Guard.

Student Council Advisor Kathy Maida said that the Veterans Day Celebration is a "big event for Shohola, requiring a lot of teamwork and participation from the PTA, faculty and students."
There were several groups who put on performances during the ceremony. The Shohola Advanced Orchestra performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "March Across the Sea." The Shohola Chamber Orchestra performed "Wind Beneath My Wings" and Girl Scout Troops 203 and 744 performed the song "Heroes." Cub Scout Pack 26 served as the Color Guard for the ceremony and Alec Hattar of Pack 26 recited Ronald Reagan's 1988 Veterans Day speech. Finally, the Student Council put on a presentation about the history of each branch of the military.

Fifth Grade teacher and retired Lieutenant Colonel Denise Goudreau addressed the veterans thanking them for their service. In her speech, Goudreau said that there are three things she would like people to do. First, she encouraged everyone to take the time to help a service member in need or their families while they are deployed. Second, that those with military service promote the military to the younger generations as a viable career and a worthy experience. Finally, she asked that the veterans share their story with others that it not be forgotten and could inspire others.

The celebration, which has steadily grown over the last 18 years, took up half the gym with organizers expecting next year it could be even bigger. Veterans Day Director Edward Sokoloski said the celebration originally was held in the library, eventually moving into a cafeteria and has now grown so large it must be held in the gym.

Superintendent John Bell addressed the crowd saying the event was a perfect opportunity to teach students to respect veterans and that he is proud to be a part of "the little school with a big heart."

Students created all the decorations for the event, including small grab bag gifts for the veterans. After the celebration, the students lined the hallway for a veteran's day parade, singing songs like "America the Beautiful" and waving American flags. Any veterans were invited to stay after the event and share their stories with the students.

Officials Dubious
About Gambling

MILFORD — As townships around the state consider the possibility of allowing a "satellite casino" within their boundaries, with 350-700 slot machines, or "truckstop" gambling sites, with five or fewer gaming terminals, Blooming Grove Township Supervisor Chair Nick Mazza opposes it. So do the region's state legislators, Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Reps. Rosemary Brown, R-189, and Mike Peifer, R-139.

All three voted against Act 42, the new legislation that allows 10 new satellite casinos as branches of established casinos, situated not less than 25 miles from another casino, along with "truckstop" gambling. The issue is made immediate by a requirement that townships must pass an ordinance against the new gambling sites by Dec. 31, 2017 to be able to prohibit them.

Mazza says he has talked to residents. "Some ask about the economic impact. Others say they moved here to get away from all that," he says. "Jobs might increase, but so would housing and services needs and taxes."

Mazza worries about personal dangers, having watched a friend damage her life with a gambling addiction. The other two township supervisors, Tammy Gillette and Randy Schmalzle, have expressed interest in hearing residents' views, he said.

"I'd like to research whether anyone is thinking of bringing gambling here," Mazza said. "It's like with the gas industry. As it moved closer, we went to meetings and did research. From a jobs perspective, it's positive. But what if it ruins the attractiveness of the area?"

Although Peifer voted no on House Bill 271, which became Act 42, he said he encourages local discussions to consider pros and cons of local gambling.

Brown voted no on the bill, because, she said, "While it included good consumer protections on internet gambling, the risks outweigh it. The definition of truck stops was pretty basic: anything could be considered a truck stop."

She feels current casino revenues could be distributed more equitably, with no local share account allocated to Northampton County from Mt. Airy, as Northampton has its own casino.

Meanwhile, Baker issued a statement asserting that previous efforts to fill budget gaps with gambling measures "did not come anywhere close to projections, contributing to the structural deficit that has complicated budgeting."

"There is no reason to believe the current package, much larger by several degrees, is any more carefully crafted," she said. "Easier access to more gambling outlets will necessarily aggravate the social problems that attend to gambling."

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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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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

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Yard Conflicts Led to Dingman Township Shootout

DINGMAN — Standing on the Milford Road driveway where Jeffrey Van Slyke, 68, was shot to death, and Howard McElnea, 78, was critically wounded, Don Gavoille pointed to the wood fence section lying on the ground nearby. That likely sparked the violence between them around 1 p.m. on Nov. 2, he said. On McElnea's driveway, they shot each other with handguns, and Van Slyke died at the Dingman Township scene with five bullet wounds "scattered around his body," according to Pike County Coroner Christopher Brighton.

McElnea, in critical condition with multiple bullet wounds, was airlifted to Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, according to state police. Brighton said he underwent surgery. "When I went out at 10 a.m., the fence was up. When I came back at 11a.m. [Nov. 2] the fence was down," said Gavoille. "Adrian (Khillawan) asked who took the fence down. He was hot tempered, and his mother (Indra VanSlyke) was there taking pictures of the fence." Gavoille did not see Jeffrey VanSlyke when he passed them, but said he might have been there, as he usually visited when his wife did. Gavoille, who lives next door to Khillawan, went home, retreating from the conflict. Gavoille was splitting wood with a friend when he heard multiple gunshots and a woman screaming.

"My friend told me there was a dead man on the driveway," said Gavoille. He said that Khillawan built the fence along his property, adjacent to McElnea's yard. The fence, about six feet high, is wire and transparent until the last few yards, where it becomes solid wood as it meets busy Milford Road. That opaque wood fence made seeing what was coming up Milford Road, also known as Route '01 difficult for a driver coming down McElnea's steep driveway.

"The wood part was strictly for spite," said Paul Gavoille, Don's brother, who lives a few houses away. Hand-painted in pink on the driveway near the downed fence were the words, "PENN DOT remove," and "R.O.W.," apparently for right-of way. According to the Gavoille brothers, tension had been building for months between Khillawan and McElnea. McElnea, known to friends as "Stan," had lived in his house for decades and had a reputation as a friendly, generous neighbor. His daughter and son-in-law live close by, according to Paul Gavoille.

"I wouldn't have believed he was involved," said Gavoille. "Howard's an excellent person. He'd do anything for you.

Busy Weekend For Pike County Veterans

MILFORD — Veterans groups in the Milford area had a busy day on Veterans Day last Saturday. The local Marine Corps League unit ran the memorial ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Milford Borough. Each year, the four Milford area veterans groups rotate the responsibility of running the major veteran ceremonies, such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, in Milford.

Those groups are the American Legion Marsch Kellogg Post 139, Mountain Laurel Post 8612 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps Gung Ho Detachment #909, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Tri-state Chapter 623. This year, at the monument, the scheduled keynote speaker, Mathias Nicholas, was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, according to League Commandant John Harding. On short notice, Harding filled in. He said that many veterans share a bond of fellowship, like being part of family. He expressed his disappointment that the world and specifically our nation has recently accelerated what he perceives as a downward slide of values.

As one example of the erosion is the controversy swirling around professional football. Harding suggested that the essence of the controversy comes down to patriotism. Harding's response is that those who compromise patriotism in whatever way denigrate the sacrifice of all veterans past and present who committed themselves and often put themselves in harm's way to preserve our freedoms.

But, Harding found one silver lining. Rather than watch sports on weekends and have to face the negative aspect of the patriotism issue, he said, "I decided to spend more time with my family." Harding is so enjoying his family that he said, "I found that I now don't need to watch sports." League Chaplain Anthony Cerrone presented the dedication and benediction. He prayed for the safe return of all veterans now serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Following the memorial ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the VVA officer George Savistedes, VVA, and Legion members conducted on behalf of the League a memorial service at Milford Beach honoring those who died at sea. Participating in tossing the wreath into the Delaware River were Marine Corps veterans Devin Rinaldo, and his grandfather Richard Terracina. Following both memorials, American Legion Post Commandant Richie Diaz, who is also Commander of the local chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and his Sergeant-at-arms Nick Sands, presented patches to two club members, John Sedlock and Paul Palmeri.

The Patching Ceremony followed a luncheon held at the post, which is located on Route 2001 and Christian Hill Road. Patching ceremonies typically only take place during the two major veteran holidays, noted Diaz.

After the ceremony, Diaz announced that the Legion is sponsoring the 20th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the post for seniors and shut-ins who live in the Milford area. Last year, the Legion served 200 meals to seniors and delivered 205 meals to shut-ins. It's not too late to participate. Register with the Pike County Area Agency on Aging office at 570-775-5550 or 800-233-8911. The dinner starts at noon on Nov. 18.

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