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Issue 4 — Thursday, August 27, 2015
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DA Releases Statement About Ballot Petition

MILFORD — Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin released the following statement last Friday in response to the attempt to remove his name from the Democratic ballot in the November general election:

“It is disappointing that supporters of my opponent are attempting to deny Pike County voters the opportunity to have a choice in the November election by attempting to limit ballot access through the courts. The actions by her supporters contain false information and inaccurate statements with the intent of robbing voters of a choice for District Attorney in the fall.

It is important for voters to have trust in their elected officials, especially the office entrusted to enforce and uphold our laws. In addition to having prosecutorial and law enforcement experience, it is critical that the District Attorney has the right temperament to conduct themselves in an ethical, independent and judicious manner.

It is unfortunate that my opponent’s supporters have decided to once again misrepresent fact and to be untruthful with the voters of Pike County all in an attempt to reverse the results of the primary election and the will of the voters.

The truth is that after the primary election, I inquired and personally spoke to a Pike County Board of Elections official, Gary Orben, who indicated that no additional fee was required to be paid for my candidacy to appear on the November ballot.

I intend to fully defend this attempt to have the courts change an election and am confident that once all of the facts and law are reviewed, I will prevail.

The District Attorney has the responsibility of enforcing the law in a fair and ethical manner to ensure that our laws are upheld, our citizens safe and justice is served."

Action Bikes & Outdoor
On List Of America’s
Best Bike Shops

MILFORD — The National Bicycle Dealers Association has named Action Bikes & Outdoor of Milford as one of America’s Best Bike Shops for 2015. There are approximately 4,000 bike shops in the United States, and fewer than 300 were chosen “America’s Best.”

The shops were asked to fill out a detailed application describing what sets them apart from the average retailer. Mystery shoppers then evaluated the business in more detail by visiting the store, reviewing their website, and contacting the shop by phone to assess the performance from a consumer’s perspective.

The program is designed to help consumers find great stores in their areas that will provide the expertise and professionalism they need to get the most benefit from cycling. The recipients of the America’s Best Bike Shops title not only offer great shopping experiences, but are also rated on their support for their communities, as well as support for bicycle advocacy both locally and nationally.

“I set a goal of achieving this award by 2017,” said Action Bikes proprietor T.C. Crawford. “I applied this year with the intentions of moving on toward being one of America’s best bike shops. I was very pleased to find out that we actually qualified for 2015.” Crawford said he would travel to Las Vegas in September to attend the awards reception.

For more information, contact: Karen Townsend, National Bicycle Dealers Association, karen@nbda.com or the NBDA office, info@nbda.com.

Twp. Looking Into 2016 Gypsy Moth Program

DINGMAN — Dingman Township residents are being encouraged to consider participating in gypsy moth spraying for 2016, but funding confusion is leaving township officials unsettled. The Dingman Board of Supervisors reported during its Aug. 18 regular meeting that the Pike County Commissioners are in the process of gathering information about the state suppression program sponsored by the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The issue, as the Commissioners explained it during an information session held on Aug. 12, is that no program in the county has been officially approved yet, as the spraying would be contingent on undecided state and federal funding. A minimum of 23 acres for a spray-block size is required, and there is a non-refundable application fee of $20 for individuals and $50 for communities. The board encouraged neighbors to get together and discuss participating in the program. The application deadline is Sept. 1, and paperwork is available at the Pike County Conservation District’s website at pikeconservation.org.

“We haven’t seen a huge problem here yet, but they are coming back,” said Supervisor Chairman Tom Mincer. “It is better off applying now in case we do have a [spraying] program instead of finding ourselves unprepared during the middle of a gypsy moth infestation.”

The county has encouraged the township to provide some funding for its residents to help offset costs for spraying, but because no set-in-stone costs have been made available to the board, it was leery of making any definite commitment. The board did approve sending a letter of intent that it would budget funds in case of a program coming to the area, but did not commit to any particular amount.

“The township would surely contribute to a reasonable cost [of the spraying],” said Supervisor Denny Brink... for complete story, get this week's issue.

BG, PennDOT Agree On 24/7 EMS During Bridge Work

BLOOMING GROVE — Township supervisors announced that they negotiated an additional ambulance service to provide 24/7 emergency services for residents and businesses on both sides of Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Route 739 Bridge replacement project. Supervisors Nick Mazza and Randy Schmalzle spoke about the need for additional services and the outcome of township negotiations at the regular township meeting held at the township building on Route 739 on Monday.

Mazza said that past few months, supervisors have been meeting with PennDOT and the primary fire and ambulance company representatives that are closest to Blooming Grove. Blooming Grove supervisors recognized that residents and businesses north of the bridge deserve a nearby ambulance service during the bridge closure period. During the duration of the bridge project, though PennDOT set up two detour routes, one for cars and light-duty trucks and one for heavy trucks, both routes create an unacceptably long delay for ambulances responding to emergencies.

Therefore, Schmalzle asked PennDOT if they would be willing to cover the cost for fielding an extra Hemlock Farms Fire Rescue Department ambulance and crew during the closure period. Schmalzle said that PennDOT agreed to foot the bill. Pike County agreed to host the ambulance at the Training Center on Route 739. Mazza said, “The ambulance would operate from the county facility. It would be a 24/7 operation. Blooming Grove Township holds the charter for the Hemlock Fire and Rescue and ambulance corps even though they are located in a private community.

“The bridge replacement is weather sensitive. If the weather holds up, PennDOT anticipates completion by the end of November. If not, it could run into December.

“PennDOT told us that they would put crews on for 20 hours a day for about two weeks in September to speed up the [bridge replacement] process. The extra ambulance is scheduled to start operating on Tuesday, Aug. 18... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Artist Donates Portrait Of Slain Trooper

DUNMORE — Ryan Ritterbeck, 34, of Scranton, donated an oil-on-canvas painting of Cop. Bryon K. Dickson, II, for the Blooming Grove barracks. Dickson was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the barracks one year ago. Ritterbeck holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Marywood University. He studied in Florence, Italy, concentrating in Renaissance Art of the Old Masters. He also worked three years for Disney drawing pictures for the resort.

Ritterbeck works at Robert A. Ritterbeck Painting in Scranton, specializing in liturgical artistry and church restoration. He is the fourth generation of the Ritterbeck family to work in the business, which was started in 1946.

Last Chance To Enter Gypsy Moth Suppression Program

MILFORD — Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary Kelly Heffner was present at the Aug. 19 Pike County Commissioners’ meeting to announce that the final deadline to be considered for inclusion in the Pike County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program is Sept. 1. This deadline is final. There is a fee of $75 per community and $20 per individual for an assessment. Upon receipt of this fee, a representative will come out to your community and/or home to conduct an evaluation. It does not, however, guarantee inclusion into the program. It covers only the evaluation.

Heffner stated that their office has received many calls regarding the program, and encourages the public to move quickly if they have interest in being included. The last time the area was sprayed was 2009. Unfortunately, this is a state run program, and the state has yet to decide on its budget. That being the case, there is some uncertainty regarding the program’s funding. This is the case for all current programs that depend on state and federal funding.

Despite this uncertainty, the program must carry on under the assumption that their program will receive its expected funding.

More information can be received at pikeconservation.org or by calling 570-226-8220. Applications can be downloaded on the website or by visiting the County Administration Building on 506 Broad St. or the Gypsy Moth Suppression Program at 556 Route 402, Blooming Grove Township.

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