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Issue 25 — Thursday, January 22, 2015
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Dispatch Letter Helps Get
Local Stations Back On Air

MILFORD — Two local network affiliates, WBRE and WYOU, are back on the Blue Ridge Cable feed in Pike County, thanks to an avalanche of phone calls, letters to the editor and social media response after BRC pulled the stations on Jan. 1.

“The people of Pike County spoke,” Bob Bee, the vice president and general manager of WBRE said Tuesday. Hundreds of calls, letters, emails and social media posts verging on a thousand were the primary driver leading the two stations and BRC to sit down and work things out, Bee said.

The problem began because Pike was, and still is, in the New York City primary market, and its in-market NBC station is WNBC not WBRE, Bee said. During recent contract negotiations, networks decided not to offer discounts to cable providers to carry out-of-market affiliates like WBRE in Pike County. As a result, BRC said, “the customer’s monthly bill would have dramatically increased if we continued to carry both affiliates.”

Without going into details, BRC, WBRE and WYOU, the local CBS affiliate, worked out a way to keep costs down, Bee said.

“Cable operators have a responsibility to carry home market stations,” Bee said.

Bee said one of the drivers of the turnaround was a letter to the editor from Shohola resident Mike DeVita that appeared in the Jan. 15 Dispatch, saying “for Pike County residents not having local market broadcasts available to us is a disaster waiting to happen.”

DeVita said that having local TV coverage available is crucial in natural and man-made disasters like tornados or the recent manhunt for trooper shooting suspect Eric Frein.

On Monday, DeVita sent a new letter to the editor (see below) thanking the Dispatch for printing his Jan. 15 letter.

“I am happy to report that both WBRE and WYOU have been returned to the Pike County line-up,” DeVita wrote.

“I watched the 6 p.m. news Monday on WBRE and at the end of the broadcast the anchors welcomed back the Pike County viewers and thanked the viewers for their help.

“During the process, I heard directly from Congressman Marino’s office via telephone and provided them with information and a copy of the editorial [letter].

“Again, thank you for your prompt attention to real concerns of our citizens. It is good to know that the Pike County Dispatch truly cares about the safety of the people they serve,” DeVita wrote.

Michael Devita's Letter To The Dispatch

To the Dispatch,

I want to thank you for printing my editorial concerning WBRE and WYOU being removed from the Blue Ridge Communications channel line-up.
I am happy to report that both WBRE and WYOU have been returned to the Pike County line-up.
I watched the 6 pm news today on WBRE and at the end of the broadcast the anchors welcomed back the Pike County viewers and thanked the viewers for their help.
During the process, I heard directly from Congressman Marino’s office via telephone and provided them with information and a copy of the editorial.
Again, thank you for your prompt attention to real concerns of our citizens. It is good to know that the Pike County Dispatch truly cares about the safety of the people they serve.

Michael DeVita
Shohola, PA



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!

Confusing Pike Place Names Part Of Our History

MILFORD — Pike County and Shohola Township official historian, George J. Fluhr said in an interview last week that insights about a community’s history come from founders, famous people, events, and place names. Fluhr devoted a section of his out-of-print book “Pike County Notebook” on the names of villages and municipalities, which can often be confusing.

Fluhr explained that Pennsylvania localities such as Bushkill, Dingmans Ferry, Lords Valley and Greeley, often called villages, are named on maps, might even have a post office, but have no downtown and are not legally constituted municipalities, as villages are in New York state. According to Fluhr, Pennsylvania “villages” have no boundaries. When pioneers and settlers built homes, that area often became a village as the family grew.

Many “villages” in Pike were named after a family, such as Conashaugh (between Milford and Dingmans Ferry), derived from Conrad A. Shaw, an early settler in pre American Revolutionary days. Conashaugh is no longer a village. All that remains of the name is a road off Route 2001 in Dingman Township and a private community development on Route 739 incorporated as Conashaugh Lakes.

Some places were named for a landscape feature, such as Blue Eddy, a canal lock along the Lackawaxen River, named because the river appeared blue at the lock location. Baobab Village, also on the D&H Canal in Lackawaxen Township, was named after baobab, a monkey-bread tree. When the D&H Canal closed operation, the villages and communities along its path also disappeared. Fluhr said that he enjoys the work as historian because of tangential stories emerging from research of place names that shed light on the personal lives and overall history of an area.

Milford Borough streets and alleys were originally laid out after the American Revolution in the late 1700s by Philadelphia circuit judge John Biddis, a developer, in a then innovative street-grid used in Philadelphia. The community became a village in 1796 and incorporated as a borough in 1856.

Biddis named alleys for locally prevalent fruit trees and berries bushes, and streets after his children. Broad and High streets were named for streets in Philadelphia. Harford Street was named after the Harford family and Harford House, the oldest building in the borough. According to Milford Borough Secretary Liz Samuelson, the borough encountered a little controversy about the naming of a private road that served households in Raspberry Ridge, off Bennett Avenue in the borough.

Two residents wanted a whimsical, punning moniker. Residents objected, but the Borough Council had already adopted the name, county officials approved it, and the street sign still reads, “Crimea A River Lane... for complete story, get this week's issue.


Gaughan To Challenge Tonkin For Pike DA

PAUPACK — Attorney Kelly Gaughan, a Republican, threw her hat in the ring in the Pike County District Attorney (DA) race. Gaughan made her candidacy announcement at a dinner held at Ehrhardt’s Restaurant in Paupack last Friday. She is challenging incumbent DA Ray Tonkin, also a Republican.

Gaughan, a vice president of the Levy, Stieh and Gaughan law firm in Milford Township, stated her platform and credentials at the event and in her press release announcing her candidacy. Gaughan noted that her courtroom advocacy and previous work as deputy sheriff, demonstrate her strength, toughness, and determination to render justice. Her concern and commitment to the community is demonstrated by her service and activities on the boards or as member of many organizations.

Gaughan said, “My promise to the people of Pike County is that I am going to be tough on crime and will be a strong voice as a trusted prosecutor.

“I bring 15 years of tested courtroom experience to the office and will continue to maintain a strong courtroom presence as your Pike County District Attorney.” Gaughan suggested the she would set a new standard, raising the bar for prosecutions, especially for child-abuse cases,yet be sensitive to needs of families. Her credo is “Committed to Core American Values.”

Gaughan said, “My top priorities are to establish a child advocacy center in Pike County for children who were victims of abuse, implement a Veterans Court which will deliver justice fairly and provide treatment to members of our armed forces. It’s time for a change.”

County Solicitor Tom Farley spoke on Gaughan’s behalf. He said that Gaughan would be so tough that she would be willing prosecute even difficult cases. He said that she would be willing to take risks and let the jury decide the outcome. He said, “She is already respected by attorneys in Pike and her peers... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Amid Controversy, Delaware Township Adopts Donation Policy

DINGMANS FERRY — Several resolutions were passed at the Delaware Township regular meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 14, including a new donation policy. Resolution 2015-03 requires that any donation of money or property to the township be first approved by the Board of Supervisors, with the exclusion of some “food type items and inconsequential items” such as flowers, pens, T-shirts, or fruit baskets.

Employees are not allowed to accept unapproved donations, and transportation of property will be determined on a case-by-case basis. No donations can be made for the personal benefit of any employee or official of the township, and disciplinary action will be taken for violations.

The policy was written to address the recent controversy over Supervisor Chairman Tom Ryan’s donation of $6,414 worth of materials and scrap metal to the township in September without notifying the solicitor or other supervisors.

Township employees transported the donated materials, and, following residents’ concerns expressed at a special meeting Dec. 30, Ryan reimbursed the township $128.96 on Jan. 14 to cover a $50 dump fee and wages for one hour each for the four employees involved. While the township log recorded two hours each for the job, the other hour was attributed to moving materials not taken in as scrap.

The materials donated by Ryan included 150 sheets of Masonite to be used as subfloor at Akenac Park and 416 lbs. of scrap material which earned the township $64. The donation was brought to the attention of the other supervisors and solicitor when former employee Luis Barrios was interviewed by the Pocono Record in December.

Resident and former Judge Stephen McBride voiced concern over the “appearance of impropriety” of Ryan’s actions and suggested that it could be considered “theft of services.” Township Solicitor Tom Farley disagreed, saying that the donation was not made for personal benefit.

Ryan apologized multiple times during public comment on the resolution, acknowledging, “It was a mistake,” and said of the restitution, “I was not involved in the calculations.” McBride echoed other residents concerned about the situation, saying that he thought they had the township “cleaned up.” Farley repeated that his desire as solicitor is that “Everything should be in the sunlight,” with total transparency for such actions... for complete story get this week's issue.

State DEP Approves Gas-Fired Engines For Compressor

WILKES-BARRE — The state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it has issued an Air Quality Plan Approval to Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC to modify their existing natural gas compressor station in Milford Township, Pike County.

The company will replace two existing engine-driven compressors with two new natural gas-fired compressor turbines and replace a generator with a new emergency generator.

“The department has conducted a thorough review of Columbia’s air quality plan approval application and we’re confident that the project satisfies applicable requirements, including best available technology for reducing emissions,” said DEP Northeast Regional Director Mike Bedrin.

“I’m very disappointed with that,” Milford Township Supervisor Gary Clark said Thursday of the DEP decision about the compressor, which is located on Fire Tower Road in the township. “The best practice is electric motors. There are no emissions from electric motors.”

Clark said that because Pike’s economy is based solely on tourism, the County should have “top-notch” air quality.

“If they went electric, we wouldn’t have problems 10 years from now if the [federal] Environmental Protection Agency standards are tightened,” Clark said... for complete story get this week's issue.

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