Local News...

Issue 25 — Thursday, January 19, 2017
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NPS Announces
Winter Weather Plan

BUSHKILL — Superintendent John J. Donahue announced that the 2017 winterization plan for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area includes keeping several visitor use sites open and closing others.

"Plowing and treating the main roads through the park is a top priority when we have snow and ice. Secondary roads, administrative buildings, and visitor use sites will be plowed after the main roads have been cleared and are safe for travel and may be closed temporarily in the interim," said Donahue.
The following locations will remain open through the winter but may not be cleared of snow and ice immediately following a storm: Blue Mountain Lakes, Smithfield Beach, Dingmans Access, Milford Beach, Point of Gap Overlook, and Millbrook Village. The McDade Recreational Trail is accessible from Smithfield Beach, Milford Beach and Dingmans Access.

Sites that are closed for the remainder of the winter include: Bushkill Access, Eshback Access, Hialeah Picnic Area, George W. Childs Recreation Site, Dingmans Falls Visitor Center, Pocono Boat Launch, Turtle Beach, Van Campen Inn, Watergate Recreation Site, Namanock Recreation Site, Resort Point Overlook, Raymondskill Falls, Mountain Road (Buttermilk Falls), Kittatinny Point, and the dirt section of Old Mine Road south of Van Campen Inn.
The sites that are closed through the winter were selected based on factors including water supply systems requiring winterization, reduced custodial staff, and other priorities for snow and ice removal.

In addition, Park Headquarters in Bushkill will be closed to visitors from January 17-22 while renovations are completed in the lobby and visitor information desk area.

For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and site openings and closures, call park headquarters at (570) 426-2452, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.; visit our website at www.nps.gov/dewa; or follow us on Facebook at
www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.

Senator Baker Seeking
Public Input On Proposed
State Prison Closings

HARRISBURG — The Senate Majority Policy Committee, Democratic Policy Committee and Judiciary Committee will hold a joint public hearing on Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg to review the Wolf administration's decision to potentially close two state prisons. Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20th, has created a public comment page at www.senatorbaker.com/proposed-prison-closings for community members, prison employees, businesses, elected officials and others impacted by such closings to express concerns, provide information and to add their voice to the conversation.

On Jan. 6 the Department of Corrections announced that it would close two state prisons in June. Five locations are currently under consideration, including SCI Waymart, SCI Retreat and SCI Frackville in northeastern Pennsylvania, and SCI Mercer and SCI Pittsburgh in the west. The Wolf Administration is scheduled to make its final decision as to which two prisons will close on January 26.

The committees' goal is to look at various aspects of the proposed closings including cost to taxpayers, public safety, transparency, prison overpopulation and the impact on local communities. "Any decision to close state prisons has substantial consequences for public safety and community welfare. It is far more involved than just weighing cost implications," Baker said.

Shohola Liberalizes Public Comment Policy

SHOHOLA — After more than eight years of wrangling with vocal members of the public who wanted more opportunities to voice opinion at regular supervisor meetings, Shohola Township supervisors voted unanimously to relax their policy. Supervisors Greg Hoeper, George C. Fluhr and Keith Raser took action at their regular monthly meeting held last week at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Supervisors' first action was to rescind the three-minute-per-person limit on public comments. The new policy is not restricted with a time constraint.

Resident Shirley Masuo, one of those who has attended most regular meetings for years and who has frequently been a gadfly at township meetings, commended supervisors on the unlimited-minutes' policy. But, Masuo asked if supervisors might also rescind the policy of having those who want to comment at a meeting to log in on the sign-up sheet available up to the meeting start time. Under that policy, if a person had not signed up by the time the meeting was called to order, that person was not allowed to comment. Supervisors agreed to rescind the policy governing sign-ups. Many meetings in past years, a handful of residents had lobbied supervisors for a more liberal public comment policy. In the past, township Solicitor Jason Ohliger said that Shohola supervisors had total discretion on designing their Public Comment policy as long as it was consistent to federal Constitutional law and state laws governing free speech.

Ohliger noted previously that each municipality in Pike County, and even the county commissioners, could customize the Public Comment policy. And that such policies differed from venue to venue. Ohliger was often called upon at Shohola meetings to arbitrate between residents with a beef and one or more supervisors... for complete story, get this weeks issue.

Wilson Promoted To Senior Deputy DA

MILFORD — District Attorney Ray Tonkin announced the promotion of Assistant District Attorney, Sarah A. Wilson to the position of Senior Deputy District Attorney. Attorney Wilson has served in the District Attorney's Office for nine years as an Assistant District Attorney. During her service, Attorney Wilson has prosecuted numerous types of cases from DUI to Child Abuse. In the position of Senior Deputy District Attorney, Wilson will directly oversee Child Abuse investigation and prosecution for the District Attorney's Office.

In promoting Attorney Wilson, DA Tonkin remarked, "Sarah is an outstanding, hardworking Attorney who has served this community for nine years. Sarah started her dedication to children in law school by serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for child victims of abuse and neglect, and will now continue that dedication in this position."

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