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Issue 51 — Thursday, July 20, 2017
 
Milford Man Sentenced In Fatal Shooting Outside Dingmans Ferry Bar

MILFORD — A Milford man who shot a bar patron in the parking lot of the Silver Lake Tavern in August 2015 pleaded guilty to third degree murder in March and was sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison last Friday. Jared Masker, 33, of Milford was also sentenced to 2 to 5 years for carrying a firearm without a license to be served consecutively to the murder charge for a total aggregate sentence of not less than 17 years nor more than 45 years. He was given credit for 695 days time served from Aug. 19, 2015 through July 14, 2017.

Masker pleaded guilty to shooting Kristopher Hanscom, 23, in the face with a revolver on Aug. 18, 2015 in the parking lot of the tavern at the corner of Route 2001 and Silver Lake Road. Hanscom died two days after the shooting. Masker was apprehended in New Jersey after police traced a cell phone number he had given to the bar owner back to the same number Masker had given state police in relation to an automobile crash he was involved in.

Witnesses identified the shooter as "J-Rod," the name he had posted on the board next to the pool table in the tavern. They described seeing "J-Rod" come up to Hanscom in the parking lot, threaten him if he didn't leave the property, then pull a revolver from his waistband, hold it under Hanscom's chin and fire.

One witness said that as he was talking to Hanscom, Masker walked over and told Hanscom he had 30 seconds to get off the property, while pulling out a revolver and placing it under Hanscom's chin. When Hanscom asked the defendant if he was going to "start popping off," the witness observed "J-Rod" pull the trigger. The tavern owner told police he knew J-Rod's first name was Jared, then provided the cell number that led to Jared Masker. Police located a driver's license photo of Masker and showed it to the witnesses and the bartender, who all identified Masker as J-Rod.

At Masker's sentencing hearing, members of Kristopher Hanscom's family described him as an artistically talented individual who was a kind family member and would always be thinking of others. District Attorney Ray Tonkin, who prosecuted the case, was satisfied with the sentence handed out. Tonkin stated: "While nothing we can do can bring back Kristopher to his family, the sentence imposed by Judge Chelak delivers justice in this case."

Delaware Township
Weighing Stringent
Policy On Donations

DINGMANS FERRY — Any nonprofit or goodwill community cause will need to dot a lot more "i's" and cross a lot more "t's" to get funding approved by the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors. A proposed township donation policy and application took up much of the discussion during the township workshop before the regularly scheduled meeting last week and appeared headed for approval before it was tabled for the next meeting.

The holdup involved getting the same wording added to the one-page policy that already was in the accompanying two-page application that requires the applicant to show that the donation will directly benefit the Delaware Township community. It's stated in item No. 13 of the 24 questions on the application.

The supervisors asked township Attorney Robert Bernathy, sitting in for lead Solicitor Thomas Farley who was unavailable for the meeting, if they could amend the motion to include that item No. 13 into the policy. After brief discussion, they decided it would be better to table the matter until drafting a revised policy with the item and then put it to vote.

The stringent policy states that the applicant must include in the request financial statements for the last fiscal year and a projected budget for the next fiscal year. It must include tax returns of the last three years. Considerations for the supervisors include how many people will benefit, particularly those who reside in the township; activities and fundraising by that organization. The township will not fund projects or services performed by the township or other governmental agencies or school activities already paid by school taxes.

The application is even more detailed, asking if the applicant has a history of service to the township community and for how long, the purpose of the donation and the reason for the project or service. It also asks who will benefit and how, admission or membership fees for any event where funding is requested and any grants received or applied for in the project. It also asks if there are other sources of revenue with an explanation.

Resident Jane Neufeld asked about application form item No. 13 to define the word "tangible" on the subject of what "direct tangible benefits to the Delaware Township community" would come from the funding. "Tangible is a hard word to define," Neufeld said... for complete story, get this week's issue.

 
 
 
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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.

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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

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Wild West, Wildlife Mingle At Zane Grey Festival

LACKAWAXEN — A horned owl who broke his elbow, a burning wheel, a cowboy magician, and a big river bug all had a place at the Zane Grey Festival in Lackawaxen on Saturday. In Grey's many novels, the Wild West and natural world had key roles, so he might have been pleased by the displays in his honor and the hundreds who visited them. By noon, 400 people had come through, with hundreds more expected, according to Rebecca Muller, an intern with the National Park Service.

Displays dotted the grounds around the Zane Grey Museum. At the "ring of fire" demonstration, John Bibalo set a steam engine's metal tire on fire to show an attentive crowd how to change tires on antique steam locomotives. The fire expands the tire to fit over the wheel, explained Bibalo, a historic preservationist at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton who maintains the old trains as well as showing them off.

Elsewhere, Bill Streeter, director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, took Harley, a horned owl, from his box to introduce to a rapt audience. Harley, found in a backyard with a broken elbow, is one of the many raptors DVRC has rehabilitated. "He flies, but the callous interferes with perfect motion," said Streeter. "Usually if birds are found roadside, we assume they've been banged up by a car. Otherwise, they may have banged into a window."

A young red-tailed hawk is one of Streeter's recently acquired rehab patients, he said later. A woman spotted the bird in the middle of Bushkill Road but could not get to it. She called Streeter and then directed traffic while he rescued the hawk, which, Streeter found, is completely blind and must be force-fed twice a day.

"He's frightened by noises," Streeter said. "It's a weird existence for a visually oriented bird."

If the bird shows no sign of vision within six weeks, Streeter said he would likely euthanize it. Several audience members approached Streeter after his presentation with their bird stories. One man asked about the jellybean-size eggs he found in his yard. Another told of capturing a horned owl when he was eight and having his fingers clenched by the owl's talons, which lock in place.

When Streeter left, a puppet show occupied the pavilion where the birds had been. A chatty beaver explained how he slapped the water with his tail when he needed to warn his family and bragged that he could swim under water for 15 minutes.

At the National Park Service booth, a woman observed a bowl of water with a large fleshy bug swimming in it: a stone fly, one of the largest bugs in the Delaware River, according to NPS Chief of Natural Resources Don Hamilton.

"The presence of aquatic insects indicates good river quality," he said. Speaking of water quality, he noted that three hydroelectric plants on the Mongaup River, a Delaware River tributary on the Sullivan and Orange County line, have licenses due for renewal by the Federal Energy Resource Commission in 2022... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Milford Squelches Rumors About Folding Police Dept.

MILFORD — At a recent Borough Council meeting Milford resident Connie Nichols told the gathering during the public comment period that she had seen a police officer on foot patrol during the early July weekend, commending the department for its coverage to protect the community.

"It was nice to see that," Nichols said.

She then asked about whether Milford Borough would continue to have its police department.

"You hear rumors that we may not have a police department and may go with the regional. I know how rumors are, but is it true?" Nichols asked, referring to Pike Eastern Pike Regional Police Department. "I know our mayors have always been in favor of having a police force here over the years through Mayor Bo Fean, and now Mayor (Sean) Strub has spoken in favor of having the local police force."

Council members, including President Patrick Beck, said they have not heard of any discussion on that matter.

"We're committed to having a local police department, both full time and part time," Beck said. "I have not heard any discussion on that. Maintaining a local police department is a big part of the budget. We're currently in favor of keeping the police force local."

A business owner added her endorsement of the efforts of the department to ensure Milford's safety.

"I have heard no discussion of regionalization (of the police force) of any type," said Jack DaSilva, who serves as chief of the department consisting of eight officers, including six part-time. He has been chief since late 2014 when Gary Williams retired after 40 years of service, DaSilva said when contacted after the meeting.

"I have not head of any rumors (on the street) but that's been going on for years, since the Pike Eastern Regional started about six years ago," DaSilva said.

Strub, who was not in attendance at the meeting, said there is no change for police coverage and in fact endorsed the hiring of two part-time police officers and then commended the council when it was approved for June.

"There is zero such discussion or consideration under way by me or, to my knowledge, any council member," Strub said in an email. "What is under consideration is a look at how over the long-term we sustain and fund effective locally-controlled policing for Milford Borough. The cost of police services is rising faster than other municipal services, yet we are at our maximum millage rate.
"We need a long-term funding plan," Strub said... for complete story, get this week's issue.

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