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Issue 27 — Thursday, February 4, 2016
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Solicitor To Detail Westfall’s Issues With Hydrants

WESTFALL — Township supervisors are readying to resolve longstanding differences between the township and Matamoras Borough/Matamoras Municipal Authority. The concerns prompted supervisors to withhold the authority’s quarterly hydrant leasing fee, which supervisors have placed in an escrow account, pending a resolution to the differences. At Monday’s regular meeting, held at the township building on Delaware Drive, supervisors directed Township Solicitor Bob Bernathy to write a letter to the authority’s solicitor about supervisor concerns.

Westfall Fire Dept. President Bill Koferl spoke about one concern. He said that the authority had indicated it was replacing the mains three years ago, but had not done so yet. Mill Rift Fire Dept. member Chuck Pranski asked whether supervisors could ask the authority to allow Westfall to obtain an independent inspection agency to inspect the mains and hydrants. Supervisors started withholding payment of the authority’s $680 quarterly hydrant fee last spring because of continuing concerns about unresolved issues.

Bernathy advised supervisors that Westfall should ask the authority to address issues fundamentally, rather than focus just on hydrant fees and details about technical issues. Bernathy said, “Supervisors have the option to assess township residents a hydrant fee for any properties within 780 feet of a hydrant or they can pay it out of the General Fund. “Supervisors could ask the authority for a water-main inspection schedule, a repair schedule, including for malfunctioning hydrants. They need to address the functionality of hydrants, maintenance, and testing. It’s their responsibility. Maintenance should be part of the authority’s schedule.”

Supervisor Chairman Bob Melvin said, “If our fire departments have to access the hydrants, they need to know that they are functioning. We should be getting a hydrant review.” According to Matamoras Borough Council members, last spring, council members voted to extend the authority’s charter to 2060, because of conditions imposed by United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), which is committed to lending the authority close to $1 million for replacing aging water mains in Westfall.

Councilman Dave Clark, who is a board member of the authority, explained that the authority is a utility company providing water services to Borough residents and businesses as well as 300 Westfall residents and commercial businesses on Rose Lane, such as Riverview Inn, Best Western Inn, Heritage Pointe senior home, and Home Depot. Clark said that the council extended the charter to assure the USDA that the authority would still exist when the loan payback term ends in 2060. USDA is lending the authority $976,000 and providing $283,000 additionally as a grant for the Westfall main replacement.

In response to supervisors’ refusal to pay bills pending the authority making room on its board for a representative designated by Westfall supervisors, Clark said that the authority notified supervisors that if supervisors continue to refuse to pay the quarterly water hydrant bill, the authority would bill the Westfall users directly, prorating the appropriate amount to be paid by each user... for a complete story, get this week's paper.

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!

Milford Repeals Verge Restriction,
But PennDOT Has Final Say

MILFORD — Rock on? Not exactly.

Milford Borough Council officially repealed the ordinance passed in September barring rockers and other items on the borough’s verges – the portion of land between sidewalks and streets. The issue came to a head last year when the former council banned placement of rocking chairs on the verges, issuing citations to at least one business that failed to comply with the ruling. It was such a hot issue that it resulted in a November election sweep by a write-in contingent specifically created to battle the ruling.

But, despite the repeal of the controversial ordinance, the verges are not necessarily free space for placement of any items. While the borough will not cite businesses for placing relatively innocuous items there, the Broad and Harford Street verges are considered part of state roadways and are under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

And the borough won’t allow merchandise and obstructions on the verge, either, according to Council President Patrick Beck. “It doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all,” he said at the Monday, Feb. 1, council meeting.

Council Member Robert Ciervo said rockers are still not technically allowed under PennDOT rules.

The question was raised whether the planters located along Broad Street are to be banned, but Borough Solicitor R. Anthony Waldron said the borough had consulted PennDOT on the matter and received approval.

“The ball’s in PennDOT’s hands now,” commented Mayor Robert “Bo” Fean.

Fean called council’s attention to one outstanding citation – for Hotel Fauchere – and said a hearing date has already been set. But Council Member David Wineberg quickly moved to rescind any outstanding citations on the matter, a motion that was immediately and unanimously approved... for a complete story, get this week's paper.

Port Man Charged With Homicide In Overdose Death

PORT JERVIS — Last week, city police charged 58-year-old Kevin Pelton of Port Jervis with Manslaughter 2nd Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide and drug charges for a drug overdose fatality that occurred on Nov. 3 at Pelton’s home, according to City Police Chief William Worden.

Although police arrested Pelton on Nov. 3 on drug charges, the manslaughter investigation required in-depth interviews with witnesses and evaluating Orange County Medical Examiner’s toxicology and autopsy reports. Worden reported that police and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) arrived at Pelton’s residence at 6 Mount William St. on Nov. 3 in response to a call from a woman at the residence about an unconscious man needing medical assistance.

Since no one informed police and EMTs about an overdose, they attempted to revive 51-year-old Joseph Vara of Nanuet, New York with CPR. When Pelton did not respond, they transported him to Bon Secours Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. After a preliminary investigation, city police charged Pelton with Criminal Sale of Controlled Substance 3rd Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd Degree (Class B felonies), and Criminal Injection of a Narcotic Drug (Class E felony).

Further police investigation determined that Pelton allegedly injected Vara and another man with heroin. Police reported that the manslaughter and homicide charges applied because Pelton apparently failed to seek medical attention for Vara after he fell into unconsciousness and after he had difficulty breathing following the narcotic injection.

Worden said, “Neither the police officers nor medical personnel who attempted to aid Mr. Vara were ever informed that Vara had just been injected with heroin, notwithstanding Pelton’s presence in the home.”

Worden noted that in response to increasing heroin overdoses, city police officers had been carrying Naloxone whenever they are called for assistance. Naloxone is a medication that can immediately reverse overdose effects involving opiates such as heroin. Worden noted that had police been informed that narcotics use was a factor in the incident, standard police response would have been to administer naloxone. Such administration might have revived Vara... for a complete story, get this week's paper.

Milford Heroin Dealer Sentenced To Prison

MILFORD — A Dingmans Ferry woman was sentenced to 18 months to 4 years in state prison Thursday for possession with intent to deliver 1,250 bags of heroin that were found in her desk at a Milford Borough realty office. Dorothea Gunderman, 49, was arrested on the morning of Aug. 1, 2015, at her Harford Street office with 29 baggies of heroin in her purse. Previously, Milford Borough Police had found 25 bricks of heroin stashed in some plastic bags in her desk.

An office manager told Milford Police Chief Jack DaSilva that he had received an anonymous tip that Gunderman was selling drugs out of the office. DaSilva came to the office and in his presence the manager opened a desk drawer, removed an American Eagle bag, and took out some plastic bags, whereupon 25 bricks of drugs fell out on the floor. DaSilva later field-tested the drugs, which proved positive for heroin.

“The heroin just fell out on the floor,” DaSilva said of the arrest. “So long as it didn’t fall into the hands of the kids in Pike County,” Borough Mayor Robert “Bo” Fean said later. Gunderman pleaded guilty to two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, one for the drugs found in her desk and another for the drugs found on her person. Sentencing Judge Greg Chelak said the sentences would run concurrently.

Gunderman’s attorney, Asst. Public Defender Jason Ohliger, agreed that the prison term was appropriate, but he argued that the proposed fine of $10,000 would amount to a “crushing financial burden” once his client was released from prison. Asst. District Attorney Bruce DiSarro said the fine was appropriate because the case involved a substantial amount of heroin with a street value of from $13,000 to $26,000.

Ohliger said Gunderman had no assets because the real estate slump had drastically reduced her income for several years during which her life had been falling apart, and that rather than being a typical “cottage industry” type dealer, Gunderman was financing her own $100/day drug habit with the sales of her office stash.

Chelak nevertheless imposed the $10,000 fine, $5,000 for each count. Gunderman, who was out on bail, was placed in custody after the sentencing hearing, then taken to the Pike County Jail to await transportation to state prison.

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