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Issue 3 — Thursday, August 17, 2017
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Whistle Blower
Gets Settlement
By Ken Baumel

BUSHKILL — Petrizzo's Italian-American Restaurant recently posted a new sign a quarter mile from Lehman Township on Route 209. The sign recognized Wayne Rohner and his lawyer Cletus Lyman's recent legal victory. Rohner sued Middle Smithfield in Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in a wrongful termination suit related to his work as the former township zoning officer.

Lyman negotiated a $221,800 out-of-court settlement. Rohner is currently the Westfall Township zoning officer. In an interview, he said that Middle Smithfield terminated him after he refused to grant a certificate of occupancy (CO) permit to East Stroudsburg School District (ESASD) for a Middle School building project. He said that he refused to issue a CO because he found rotting roof trusses, multiple roof leaks, and other conditions incompatible with a CO.

He filed a suit under the federal Whistle Blower Act. He noted that subsequent to his dismissal, the district closed some classrooms at that school due to mold. Rohner said that the settlement was a vindication and the closure showed that his decision not to issue a CO was valid.

In fall 2015, Rohner won a seat on the ESASD board where he said he is is committed to fight for transparency and sound budgets.

Fire Dept. Tricky Tray

BLOOMING GROVE — The Blooming Grove Volunteer Fire Department is holding a Tricky Tray fundraiser on Saturday, August 19, at the Blooming Grove Volunteer Firehouse, 484 Route 739, Lords Valley (Hawley), PA 18428 (one mile north of I-84).

The doors open at 5 p.m.; calling starts promptly at 7 p.m. There is a $1 admission fee. There will be thousands of dollars in valued prizes. Some free refreshments will be available with an opportunity to purchase: hot dogs; hamburgers; cheeseburgers; french fries, with or without cheese; nachos; chili; and beverages.

Call 570-775-7355 and leave a message for: details about the event, renting the meeting hall, or becoming a member of the fire department or auxiliary. Visit us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BGVFD.STA25/.

Antique Cars Cruise
Through Milford
By T. A. Crerand

MILFORD — Three antique cars stirred some excitement a week ago when their drivers traveled through Milford and pulled into the Turkey Hill Minit Market on West Harford Street to fill their gas tanks.

They were an eye-catcher parked at three of the pumps! The driver of the car on right [seen walking on left] from Connecticut said they were on their way to a car show in Gettysburg. His vehicle is brown trimmed in a cream color.

The other two are black with one trimmed in bright red and the other in white. Several motorists and customers at the convenience store quickly pulled their cell phones out to take photos of these early American rides by the Ford Motor Company.

Shohola Favors Own Zoning Over UDC Solar Farm Plan

SHOHOLA — Township supervisors and Shohola's Upper Delaware Council (UDC) Liaison Aaron Robinson oppose a Delaware River Management Plan tweak relating to large-scale commercial-solar land uses. The National Park Service's Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (UPDE) and the UDC jointly developed the proposed amendment. Robinson spoke at last week's regular Shohola Township meeting. He said that such an amendment might be a first step in expanding federal powers and would likely cede some local power to another regulatory body.

UDC Executive Director Laurie said in an interview on Monday that the UDC is not a regulatory body, only an advisory one. UDC has 13 voting members (eight in New York and five in Pennsylvania) on its board. Ramie said that the amendment proposal would not restrict local zoning. She said, "We developed a position paper that would include commercial solar projects...compatible with the River Management Plan."

"Our intent is to provide guidance to local government in reviewing large-scale solar projects. When the River Plan was developed in 1986, the solar technology was not developed.

"At next month's UDC meeting, the UDC is proposing a resolution that would support the position paper. Each municipality would still be responsible for their zoning decisions.

"The resolution [is] describing how the position paper recommendations would be incorporated into the "Schedule of Compatible, Conditional, and Incompatible Land Uses" contained in the Land and Water Guidelines, part of the River Management Plan.

"The Guidelines [should] assist local, state, and federal governments in developing and administering land and water-use controls to implement the 1978 legislation that created UPDE."

"It is [our] conclusion that the potential impacts to scenic, recreational, and ecological resources and values can be adequately addressed through special use/conditional use criteria implemented through town/township zoning and ordinances in the Upper Delaware corridor."

Robinson said that the UDC requires a unanimous vote to get such a resolution passed. Supervisors Raser, Greg Hoeper, and George C. Fluhr gave Robinson discretion to vote against it, if he felt that was appropriate. They commended Robinson's watchdog posture. UPDE Superintendent Kristina Heister was unavailable for comment at press time... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Motorcyclist/Councilman Says Grass
Clippings On Road Are Dangerous

MATAMORAS — Grass clippings blown on Pennsylvania Avenue and local streets in summer are just as dangerous as snow blown on streets in winter, according to Borough Councilman Kevin Rose. Rose, a motorcycle owner, suggested that the council should pass an ordinance prohibiting borough property owners and contractors from blowing grass clippings onto streets.

Rose spoke at this month's regular council meeting held at Borough Hall. He said, "Grass is so slippery that a biker could go down. It is a hazard."

Rose said that he was on his bike recently when he saw a contractor blowing grass onto a local road. He said, "When I complained about it, the contractor threatened me with force."

Council members agreed with Rose that the issue merits further discussion. Council President Joe Sain then referred the matter to the council's General Government committee. The council received a letter of resignation from Recreation Advisory Committee Chairperson Ami Greiner. The resignation is effective immediately, but Greiner agreed to continue to help coordinate Tuesday Tunes entertainment (part of a comprehensive Airport Park summer program) on Tuesday evenings through the summer.

Township Secretary/Airport Park Manager/Borough Zoning Officer Bob Fitch said that Greiner's resignation leaves a huge hole. Even though Tiffany Ferguson joined the board last month, with Greiner's resignation, the board has two vacant seats. Board Vice Chairperson Lynn Homer is acting chairperson. Interested candidates should send a letter of interest to Bob Fitch, Matamoras Borough, 10 Avenue I, Suite 100, Matamoras Borough, PA 18336... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Stack Meets With Matamoras Mayor

MATAMORAS — During a fact-finding trip to Pennsylvania's easternmost county, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack last week met with Matamoras Mayor Janet Clark and members of council to talk about the challenges facing the small town that sits at the convergence of three states.

"Matamoras has some unique challenges because public policy change in any one of the three states have an impact on all three," Stack said. "Mayor Clark was extremely gracious and I was impressed by the bipartisan cooperation that keeps local officials on top of the issues they face."

Stack was in the area to discuss with local food service workers the vastly different minimum wage rates in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. When he discovered other public policy differences, he asked to meet with the mayor.

Matamoras, with a population of 2,500, has 19 cigarette outlets along its main road as well as a pair of large fireworks distributors that fill the highway in the weeks leading up to July 4. New York's cigarette tax is nearly $2 a pack higher than Pennsylvania and the Empire State doesn't allow the sale of fireworks. Pennsylvania allows the sale of aerial fireworks, but only to out-of-state residents.

Stack talked with the mayor, Councilman David Clark, and Council Vice President Peter Sigreto at the Two Rivers Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue. The group also met with Borough Secretary Bob Fitch during a tour of Airport Park.

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