Front Page News...

Issue 19 — Thursday, December 8, 2016
New Director Named
For Agency

MILFORD — Tamara Chant has been named the new Executive Director of Safe Haven of Pike County. In a press release, Safe Haven said that while there is a misconception in the community that the agency is closed, the reality is it is rebuilding:

"Our clients are currently being serviced by sister agencies, as the Board of Safe Haven, along with the new Executive Director, rebuild and restructure the agency to meet the critical needs of Pike County," the release stated. I am excited to join Safe Haven," says Chant. "There is great hope here. We will offer a listening ear, and active encouragement for each client along with a safe place for those in need to lay their head, so that everyone can envisage their new beginnings."

Chant is a native of Milford and the daughter of Realtor Davis Chant. For the past 31 years Tamara has lived in Europe and the Middle East, recently returning to Milford to join her children and parents. She is a DVHS and Smith College graduate. After winning a scholarship to NYU and attaining a certification in Fundraising, she shifted her focus to nonprofit organizations including Nepali women and girls focusing on the need for education to escape poverty. In her Paris community, she worked with women's urgency centers and Global Potential, a youth empowerment organization that brings mentoring to Paris' most disenfranchised youth. Since 2012, she has been on the Board of Directors of Nepal Orphans Home, a 501C3.

In addition to announcing Chant as new Executive Director, the Safe Haven Board has unanimously elected Board member Valerie Seitz O'Hare as the new President of the Board, replacing veteran Board member Karen Kontizas, who resigned due to a family illness. Allison Taylor has been named Vice President. Brian O'Hare continues as Board Treasurer. People needing immediate assistance should call VIP at 570-253-4401 or Women's Resources at 570-421-4200.

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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.

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!

Throngs Usher In Season At Milford Tree-Lighting

MILFORD — Christmas songs, cookies, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa Claus were all part of the festivities Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Milford Community House. The small yard at the house was packed shoulder-to-shoulder as hundreds of local people arrived to welcome the yuletide season with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. The youngsters could hardly contain their enthusiasm as they filled their stomachs with goodies and waited eagerly for the arrival of St. Nick. Among the visitors were Terry and Rob, with their daughter, Maggie, 7. It was their second year in a row to celebrate at the tree. Maggie said she was going to ask Santa for a Cozmo, a tiny toy robot.

"I'm on the good list," she insisted.

Colleen Demmo of Dingmans Ferry and her daughter, six-year-old Arianna, were on hand for the first time. Arianna, who said she could hardly wait for Christmas, said she wants a Furby and "lots of presents."

The Dingman Delaware Middle School chorus, kicked off the evening by singing songs of Christmas under the direction of Brian Krauss. But the evening had two big moments. The first was the lighting of the tree. The second was the arrival of Santa, riding a Milford Borough fire engine, siren blaring, to be mobbed by kids of all ages, asking for presents and wanting a picture with the jolly old elf.

Accompanying Santa was a team of motorcycle-riding reindeer from the Pike County chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE. The borough was also adorned with wreaths and lights in the trees lining the streets, while Broad Street businesses remained open to welcome the crowds.

After the tree lighting, a live nativity with readings from all four Gospels and the book of Isaiah took place at the corner of Broad and Ann streets, on the grounds of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Milford. Actors young and old paraded from within the church to the outdoor set, where a mock barn, a live donkey and three live baby goats waited to present the look of the birth of Jesus.

Pastor Ben Willis read passages representing every aspect of Christ's birth from Old Testament prophesies to New Testament eyewitness accounts, as the scene changed to represent each scripture.

This was the 33rd year the live nativity has been presented, Willis said. Roughly 75 people watched and listened as the meaning of Christmas was delivered with song and verse.

Historians Research Tri-State
Descendants Of Emancipated Slaves

PORT JERVIS — With the 200th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in New York State a tad more than seven years away, two Orange County historical experts, Gumaer family historian Judy Gumaer Testa and Minisink Valley Historical Society Executive Director Nancy Conod, are unearthing and piecing together evidence of Afro-American slaves in Deerpark whose descendants apparently later settled in the Milford area of Pike County as free persons. For most Americans, emancipation is associated with President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation issued during the Civil War.

But, the New York state emancipation took place almost a half-century earlier, in 1824, according to Testa, who also does research on the eight pioneer families who settled in Deerpark in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

Testa and Conod spoke to the Pike County Dispatch last week about their research and efforts to find more about the slave families last week. They spoke at the Minisink Valley Historical Society Library, which has their facility in the Port Jervis Free Library building on Pike Street in Port.

Testa and Conod are working independently, but circumstances involving the Gumaer Cemetery in Godeffroy in Deerpark have prompted much collaboration on the historical research about slaves. Testa gave some background on the ongoing research.

The Gumaer family members celebrated the dedication of a historic marker for Gumaer Cemetery in Deerpark in August 2014, during which Testa and Conod spoke about three gravestones of slaves found since 2010 in a section of the cemetery that was dedicated for slaves.

In 2015, Conod and society volunteers found another early 19th century gravestone that was buried under some compacted leaves in that section. Testa said that the stone was inscribed with the name, Adam Santicy. Testa noted that their research indicates that descendants of Santicy (spelled in various historic 19th-century documents as Santike, Santikee, or Santik) later settled in the Milford area after the 1820s' emancipation period. She said, "We believe that some "Santicys" are still living in or near Milford."

In August 2015, Bruce Simpson and Conod found the Adam Santicy stone while leaf blowing during a regularly scheduled cleanup... for complete story, get this week's issue.

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