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Issue 26 — Thursday, January 29, 2015
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Amendment To Nix Open Carry Prohibition In Park
By James Worrall

DINGMAN — An amendment that would eliminate the prohibition of legally carrying firearms in Dingman Township parks was proposed during the Jan. 20 Board of Supervisors meeting. If adopted, the ordinance would still prohibit the discharge of firearms in municipal parks.

Dingman Solicitor John Klemeyer explained that starting this month a state statute has gone into effect that prohibits municipalities from creating ordinances that “attempt to control the possession of firearms.” The state has determined that such ordinances run contrary to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act, which protects the right of law-abiding adults to open carry in public spaces.

The current language of Dingman’s ordinance states, “No person except authorized members of the Police shall carry or discharge firearms of any kind in a park.” The amended language strikes out the words “carry or” from the original ordinance, but still prohibits the discharge of weapons on park grounds. Concealed carry will still require the necessary permits.

Although Pennsylvania is an open carry state, carrying a gun is still prohibited in public areas like court facilities and schools, as well as the city of Philadelphia... for complete story get this week' s issue.

Perfect SAT Score
First In Decades
By Ken Baumel

WESTFALL — Drake Eshleman, a junior at Delaware Valley High School, is the first DV student to get perfect 800 scores in both the SAT Math and English Language Arts exams since 1989, according to Delaware Valley High School Principal Brian Blaum.

Eshleman said on Monday, “I thought I could get the 800 in Math because that is my strong suit. I scored 790 in the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) when I took it as a sophomore, but I didn’t think I could get the 800 in English because I only scored 700 or 710 [in the PSAT].

“But, I think I was fortunate. I did feel well prepared and I was always good at taking tests.”

So, what is Eshleman’s key to acing the SATs? Surprisingly, he said that he did not depend on SAT cram courses, which many students take for years. Instead, he took a lot of Advanced Placement (AP), college level courses.

Eshleman said that his methodology also included a fitness regimen to build stamina, maintain strength, and develop mental endurance needed for SAT tests that typically runs a shade under three hours.

Eshleman said, “It’s also about understanding the structure of questions and avoiding stress during the exam. You have to avoid loss of focus.”

The fitness regimen included lifting weights, doing push-ups and pull-ups, and preparing for ballet recitals. He is a lead in an upcoming spring ballet, “Swan Lake"... for complete story get this week' s issue.

National Survey
Of Homeless
Persons Targeted
For Jan. 28

MILFORD — Ms. Christine Kerstetter, Executive Director of Pike County Community Planning and Human Development, announced that the annual, national survey of unsheltered homeless persons will take place overnight Wednesday, January 28. Ms. Kerstetter said “we have expanded the survey effort this year with survey teams from the Pike County Hands of Hope.” She noted the survey teams will be able to actively seek out unsheltered homeless persons for a more accurate and complete survey.

The survey, known as the “Point in Time Survey of the Homeless,” or PIT Survey, is a national effort by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Kerstetter noted that this survey helps find our local residents in need of shelter, provides data for planning solutions to homelessness, and most importantly can provide the homeless persons a contact and first step to seeking assistance and suitable housing.

Pike County Hands of Hope (PCHOH) Vice President Jim Pierce will lead the survey team effort. Pierce said “we’ll send out two-person teams starting at 10 p.m. the night of the survey. We will seek out unsheltered homeless persons on the street, in shopping center parking lots, and other locations not normally associated with overnight stays.” Additionally, he noted that homeless persons in emergency shelters and those placed in hotels or motels by agencies or charitable organizations or others can be included in the count.

Pierce has appealed to community organizations and agencies to notify PCHOH of known locations of specific homeless persons to assist the survey teams. Contact Pierce via PCHOH Hopeline toll-free number 855-296-HOPE (4673), or via email at vp@pchoh.org.

For additional information on the survey, contact the lead agency Executive Director Christine Kerstetter at the Pike County Administration Building, 506 Broad Street, Milford PA 18337, via phone at 570 296 3434 or email at ckerstetter@pikepa.org.

 

Fired Lackawaxen Treasurer Denied Unemployment

LACKAWAXEN — Supervisors discussed a request from former Secretary/ Treasurer Shawn Roe regarding her recent filing of an unemployment claim. Supervisors Bob Cocchi and Mike Mancino and Township Solicitor Tony Waldron discussed the issue during Waldron’s Solicitor Report at a regular meeting held at the township building last week. Supervisor Rich Krochta was unable to attend due to illness.

The previous Lackawaxen supervisor board terminated Roe’s employment on 2013 after the township allegedly found financial irregularities going back to 2003. State police arrested and charged Roe with seven felonies related to the financial matters in December. Cocchi noted in an interview after the meeting that he and Waldron had attended an Unemployment Compensation Board hearing in December, but since Roe did not appear, the board denied her initial claim.

Meanwhile, Cocchi and Waldron noted that Roe filed another claim, subsequent to a divorce, this time under her maiden name, Ghostlaw. Cocchi and Waldron are awaiting word from the Unemployment Compensation Board about that subsequent claim. Mancino briefed the board, Waldron, and the public on the feasibility of the supervisors forming a Citizen’s Audit Committee, an ad hoc advisory group that would research and suggest ways the township could tighten up finances in the wake of the ongoing investigation regarding the financial irregularities.

Mancino noted in an interview that he has had numerous talks with resident Frank Borelli, who is chairman of the Lackawaxen Emergency Medical services (EMS) and is a retired chief financial officer in the finance industry. Borelli has extensive experience serving on hospital and university boards. Mancino said that Borelli suggested that since hospitals and universities typically have audit committee boards that review financial controls and set financial standard-operating procedures, such a procedure could be valuable for municipalities. Borelli suggested a three-to-five-member board for Lackawaxen.

Such a committee would recommend best-management practices and additional internal controls, if needed, besides those suggested by township auditors in the past year. Meanwhile, supervisors reported that they have already implemented township auditor and State Police advice on steps to tighten up finances.

Mancino noted that he and Borelli would seek a pool of potential residents to serve on the committee. These should be responsible persons, who have suitable qualifications, such as knowledge of bookkeeping and financial procedures, and who have time to serve... for complete story get this week' s issue.

Recent Détente Cheers Tri-State Area Cubans

MILFORD — Cubans in the Tri-State area are cautiously optimistic about the new détente engineered by the Obama administration and Cuba.

Cuba and U.S. agreed to relax their strained relations. The U.S. had sought to isolate Cuba after Fidel Castro took over power in the 1950s and replaced the military dictatorship with a Communist regime.

Many Cubans fled during the Castro period and most of those who stayed suffered economic privation.

Lehman Township resident Elizabeth Diaz Oistacher was a child when she left Cuba in 1961. She and some family members fled with only the clothes they could carry. Her dad, Celestino Diaz, tried to flee by boat, but was caught. He became a political prisoner and lost his photography and boxing promoter business.

Oistacher went to Florida, but later went to live with her aunt in Queens, New York, and later, after marriage, bought a house in Lehman. She said last week that she still has cousins and other relatives living in Cuba.

Oistacher did not see her Dad until she was 18 years old. After serving time, he managed to find a way out. Oistacher said that since she left Cuba, she had continued to correspond with family members and that she was aware that the economic conditions in Cuba were bad.

Oistacher said, “I think it is a good idea to open relations between Cuba and the United States. I think it will help the people economically. I am looking forward to visiting Cuba again later this year to attend a wedding. We are hoping for more visits to bring the family back together.”

Ed Diaz, a Sussex County resident, unrelated to Elizabeth, left Cuba in 1980 when he was 14. His dad could not emigrate after the Bay of Pigs because he was an engineer. Cubans needed professionals such as engineers and doctors, so Castro prevented their exit. But, when his dad signed on to take continuing education courses outside Cuba, he was able to take his family, including Ed, to Mexico. From there, his dad sought and got political asylum for himself and family members in the U.S.

When Castro started conducting an aggressive agrarian reform movement, it displaced large landholders in the country. Diaz’ family members had 1,000 acres of land given to them in the early 1800s as a pension for service to the Spanish royalty and the military. The pension recognized the family for their service to Spain as horse trainers.

The Diaz family continued to train horses and give riding lessons for two centuries, but Castro started breaking up the Diaz property by 1980. This left the family with only a few acres, not enough land to graze horses. So, some of Diaz’ close relatives emigrated.

Diaz said, “I am hopeful that the Cuban government would allow more businesses to open again. They have already started to allow small businesses, such as sandwich shops, to operate. Right now, some of my family still trains horses there, but they are working for the government... for complete story get this week' s issue.

Ice Festival Dedicated To Late Dick Snyder

MILFORD — Michael Carson Productions and their Frozen Feet Theatre Ice-skating Production Company, in cooperation with Milford Recreation Committee, presented the 7th Annual Winter Lights Festival in Milford Borough last weekend. At the kick-off ceremony held on Saturday at Ann Street Memorial Park Ice Rink, Carson said the festival this year was dedicated to the late Dick Snyder, with this year’s musical theme inspired by the Roaring ‘20s.

Snyder was one of the guiding forces behind the streetscape upgrade and restoration of historic buildings, such as the Hotel Fauchere on Broad Street and the old Milford School building on West Harford Street. The festival began on Friday at the Columns Museum with a fund-raising dinner, aided by local restaurants.

On Saturday, the public got to taste entries at the festival’s popular Mac n’ Cheese and Chili cook-offs. After the cook-offs, the skaters entertained with the company’s original skating interpretations of classic 20’s music, ragtime, George Gershwin compositions, and other popular classics outside the 1920s, such as Nina Simone’s “Run to the Rock.”

Frozen Feet Theatre Choreographer Beth Woronoff styled some of the skating numbers as a life-sized dramatic puppet show, with costumes designed by Sara Peatie. Whereas in past years the productions featured costumed skaters performing ancient myths, this year, they skated to “Run to the Rock,” as a Biblical theme of a sinner whose soul is being contested by Lucifer, the Devil, and the Archangel Michael, representing God.

Skaters who performed in the Grand Opening performances included DV graduate and collegiate champion Jordan Hartey... for complete story get this week' s issue.

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