Surveillance Balloon Deployed In Manhunt
BLOOMING GROVE — A large Mylar balloon joins the search efforts to find Pennsylvania State Police shooting suspect Eric Frein. According to PSP public information officer Trooper Tom Kelly on Monday, “The balloon is deployed and it is in the area of the Alpine Ski resort in Henryville PA.” As of press time, schools remain open and the search areas and numbers remain the same.
The experimental balloon and camera system was donated by the Ohio Department of Transportation and joins several types of technology being used in the multi-agency search. Kelly outlined several benefits of the system, “It is very similar to a weather balloon. It is tethered, unmanned and can provide similar levels of technology as some of our aviation equipment at a fraction of the cost. It is also silent as compared to helicopters.”
Drone Aviation Corp. delivered the BiB-100 system to the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center in Springfield last June. According to the company, the helium balloon can monitor an area via cameras for up to three days at a time, and can detect a single person within 3 miles.
It has a maximum height of 480 feet, and takes 20-45 minutes to inflate the 15-foot diameter balloon at a cost of about $1,000. Ohio D.O.T. originally invested in the system to potentially monitor prison perimeters or construction sites. It is the second non-military unit sold in the U.S., Metro Nashville Police Department purchased a similar “Blimp in a Box” in 2008.
State House Candidates Square Off Over Stream Buffer Vote
STROUDSBURG — Following the passage of Pennsylvania HB 1565, which eliminates mandatory stream buffers, state Rep. Rosemary Brown’s challenger, Democrat Liz Forrest, questioned Brown’s potential conflict of interest in the vote. Forrest issued a statement saying, “This is a sad day for anyone concerned about the future environment of Monroe and Pike Counties. The pristine waters of the Poconos, and the aquatic life they contain, are a critical component in a local fragile ecosystem under constant threat from development. The local tourism economy is dependent on our environment.
“The impact on hunting and fishing activities will be devastating. Every drop of water in our wells starts as surface water in these streams and creeks. Both Monroe and Pike contain a significant number of the state’s ‘high quality’ and ‘exceptional value’ streams, which local property developers have been seeking to exploit for a number of years. They apparently have finally gotten their way following a political process that has loaded the board of the local conservation districts with pro development members, who then seek to prevent conservation district employees from warning the public of environmental dangers.
"We also believe an investigation should be undertaken into Rep. Rosemary Maula Brown’s political activities, statements of financial interest, campaign contributions and possible conflicts of interest in regard to the passage of this bill. RGB Homes is owned by her brother-in-law, Robert Brown, who is also the chairman of the ‘Government Affairs Committee’ for the Pocono Builders Association. Rep. Brown’s husband, Joe Brown, is a builder as well and is listed as Vice President of RGB Homes. Her brother and mother are owners of Empire Construction and have multiple real estate and construction interests. Residents have a right to know whether their state representative’s votes are for their benefit or for her own.”
In an email response to Forrest’s allegations, Brown wrote, “Liz Forrest is a desperate candidate spinning lies and personal attacks. She purposely deceives people when she portrays this as some sort of building free-for-all; the Department of Environmental Protection retains 100 percent oversight and final approval. The issue is that Ms. Forrest’s extreme positions do not allow her to see there is a necessary balance between protecting our environment and providing the jobs our families need. As for her personal attacks, beyond being simply wrong... for complete story, get this week' issue.