Heffley Announces District Office Hours for July 4 Holiday

Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) is reminding residents that his district offices will be closed Thursday, July 4, and will remain closed through Friday, July 5, in observance of the July 4 holiday. Offices will re-open on Monday, July 8, at 9 a.m.

The district office phone numbers are:
  • Weissport: 610-377-6363.
  • Lansford: 610-377-6363.
  • Albrightsville: 570-722-8700.
Heffley’s office may also be reached online at RepHeffley.com, or his Harrisburg office at 717-260-6139.
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PennDOT/BPD-I Set to Begin I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project Construction 

Motorists are advised that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Bridging Pennsylvania Developers I (BPD-I) will begin pre-construction activities for the I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project in preparation for the start of the replacement of the I-80 bridges eastbound and westbound over the Lehigh Gorge State Park and Lehigh River in Carbon and Luzerne counties.

On or after June 24, 2024, the construction contractor, Bridging Pennsylvania Constructors (BPC) and Major Bridge Subcontractor Wagman Heavy Civil, will begin the first of two main construction stages, with project completion anticipated in the summer of 2028. Initial activities will include the closure of River Road and beginning of detour activities for both River Road and Bicycle Route L through summer 2028. Additionally, to ensure public safety during construction the Lehigh Gorge State Park entrance from Main Street in White Haven will be closed to the public through construction. Wagman will begin E&S installation, clearing trees, and start reconstructing the I-80 EB median shoulder to prepare for a traffic shift. 

Effective June 24, the entryway for Lehigh Gorge State Park’s White Haven South Access Area will be restricted to the Route 940 access road. Parking will be restricted to the overflow lot. The trail in this area of the Lehigh Gorge/D&L Trail will remain open to trail users, with some temporary closures to ensure public safety. Whitewater boaters will have designated launch areas within the existing Commercial Boat Launch. The public restroom will remain open and available to trail users.

Visitors are asked to follow posted signage and to visit DCNR’s website for advisories or call the park at 272-808-6192 with questions during business hours.

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, PennDOT and BPD-I hosted the I-80 Lehigh Pre-Construction Public Meeting in White Haven to introduce key members of the I-80 Lehigh team and provide an update about specific pre-construction and anticipated upcoming construction activities, traffic plans and scheduling. To download the presentation click here.

This project is part of the ongoing PennDOT Major Bridges P3 Program. Bridging Pennsylvania Developers – I (BPD-I) is led jointly by Shikun & Binui Ltd and Macquarie Capital as Lead Project Developers and Equity Members. The Bridging Pennsylvania Constructors (BPC) joint venture (JV) consortium includes the design & construction expertise of S&B USA Construction (Pittsburgh, PA) and FCC Construction. S&B USA Construction is the construction arm of Shikun & Binui Ltd and is also the parent company of Fay, S&B USA Construction (Pittsburgh, PA), one of the four BPC Major Bridge subcontractors. Other Major Bridge subcontractors include the H&K Group (Skippack, PA), Kokosing Construction Company (Westerville, OH), Wagman Heavy Civil (York, PA), and Lead Designer, Michael Baker International (Pittsburgh, PA).

Motorists can check conditions on major roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Berks, Carbon. Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District5.

Information about infrastructure in District 5, including completed work and significant projects, is available at www.penndot.pa.gov/D5Results.

Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at https://www.projects.penndot.gov/.

Find PennDOT news on X, Facebook, and Instagram.
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Honoring Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

By Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe)

On Memorial Day every year, we pause to remember those military members who made the
ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation. These brave men and women did so to protect our
American way of life, and they carried out their duties with dignity and honor.
Since the birth of our great nation, we have faced many threats to our safety and security, and
without hesitation or expectation of reciprocity, our armed forces have risen to the challenge of
defending their generation and the many that would follow.
As President Ronald Reagan once said, “Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re
just braver five minutes longer.” The bravery of the individuals we remember on Memorial Day
truly marks them in the annals of American history.
Their courage endured through the battles here at home, in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian
Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of ordinary men and women displayed extraordinary
fearlessness. While their lives were not unlike any of ours, their deaths made them heroes. The
Memorial Day holiday allows us to recall those heroes, who were special in life and transcendent
in death.
We must not forget the sacrifices of our heroes, as we continue and will continue to face trials of
the greatest magnitude. Americans will never cease to answer the call, rise up, and lay down
their lives when necessary. The character of our nation has been tested and proven by the
sacrifices of so many, and it will continue to shine as our soldiers face new dangers and threats.
More than 660,000 Americans have fearlessly given their most sacred gift of life so that those
who would come after them would have the occasion to live in a free country, a land of
opportunity and promise.
May God bless our fallen servicemen and servicewomen, and all the families and friends who
have supported them in their service to our country.

Check for Ticks to Prevent Lyme Disease

By State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe)
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. As you spend time outdoors, it is important to check yourself, loved ones and pets for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.
The first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions outdoors by treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, using insect repellent, and avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass or leaf litter. When you return indoors, check your clothing, gear and pets for ticks; shower as soon as possible after being outdoors; and check your body for ticks, particularly in areas such as under the arms, in and around the ears, back of the knees and other similar areas.
If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the appearance of a bull’s eye rash, though the rash does not develop in all cases. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache and muscle aches. However, symptoms may progress to arthritic, neurologic and cardiac symptoms if not treated.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the bite of a blacklegged tick or deer tick. If you pull a tick from yourself, a loved one or your pet, you may have it tested to determine if it carries Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. More information about how to get a tick tested at the East Stroudsburg University Tick Lab is available at  www.esu.edu/dna.
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NEPA MPO Announces Opening of Public Comment Period and Public Hearing on Draft 2025-2028 Transportation Improvement Program

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA), designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill counties, is the organization that will consider and approve the plans and programs and the Federal and State funding for highway and transit systems in the four-county MPO area. The NEPA MPO recently developed its 2025-2028 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and related documents. These documents include the 2025-2028 TIP including highway, bridge and transit project listings; TIP administrative procedures; Air Quality Conformity Analysis and reports; Environmental Justice Analysis Determination; and related policy documents.
These documents concern highway, bridge and transit projects for Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill counties, for the four-year TIP, which will become effective on October 1, 2024.  The Air Quality Conformity Analysis reflects the compliance of the transportation projects in Carbon County portion of the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton nonattainment area to the 2008 8-hour ozone standard as written within the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.  The Air Quality Conformity Analysis also includes Monroe County designated as an Ozone Maintenance Area in accordance with guidance issued by EPA (EPA-420-B-18-050).
The 30-day public comment period began on May 13, 2024, and closes on June 14, 2024. TIP documentation is available on NEPA Alliance’s website at www.nepa-alliance.org/tipPaper copies of the TIP Documentation can be requested by calling (570) 655-5581 or writing to the NEPA MPO at 1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640. Paper copies of the draft plan can also be viewed at the following locations:
Carbon Co. Office of Planning & Development, 44 Susquehanna St., 2nd Floor, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, 1060 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103
Monroe County Planning Commission, 701 Main Street, Suite 405, Stroudsburg, PA 18360
Monroe County Transportation Authority, 134 MCTA Drive, Swiftwater, PA 18370
Pike County Planning Commission, 506 Broad Street, Milford, PA 18337
Schuylkill County Planning Commission, 401 N. Second St. (Courthouse), Pottsville, PA 17901
Schuylkill Transportation System, 300 Wade Road, St. Clair, PA 17970
NEPA Alliance, 1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640
A public hearing to provide comments on the draft TIP will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 9:30 AM.  The hearing will be held virtually and at the following locations:
Monroe County Planning Commission, 701 Main Street, 4th Floor, Stroudsburg, PA 18360
44 Susquehanna Street Building, 44 Susquehanna St., Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
Pike County Administration Building, 506 Broad Street, Milford, PA 18337
Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, Union Station, 2nd Floor, 1 Progress Circle, Pottsville, PA 17901
A link to the virtual meeting can be found on the NEPA website at www.nepa-alliance.org/tip.  Individuals providing oral testimony will be allotted five minutes. Those unable to attend may provide written testimony by sending comments to the NEPA Alliance office at 1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640 or by emailing kmcmahon@nepa-alliance.org.
The NEPA MPO Technical Planning Committee and NEPA MPO Policy Board will conduct a joint business meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at 9:30 AM to consider the endorsement and approval of the 2025-2028 TIP and action on other business matters. Following approval of the TIP, it will be submitted to the Commonwealth and the Federal Highway Administration.
For additional information on the TIP and transportation planning in the region, visit www.nepa-alliance.org/transportation.

PennDOT Invites Applicants to the Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Applications will be accepted until June 6 
Harrisburg – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that the department is accepting letters of interest and resumes for voluntary positions on the Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PPAC). PPAC advises and comments on all aspects of cycling and pedestrian program activities being undertaken or financially assisted by PennDOT and other agencies of state government. Applications are reviewed by PennDOT and ultimately subject to approval by the Governor.
“This critical committee that provides direction on policies and programs for bicyclists and pedestrians across the Commonwealth,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “For the sake of our most vulnerable road users, it is crucial that we continue PennDOT’s diligent work around sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails, applying our expertise as transportation professionals with the same care we do for highways and bridges.”

Members will serve a three-year term after appointments are made. Letters of interest and resumes are due by June 6, 2024 and must be submitted through the PennDOT website.

Pennsylvania's Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PPAC) was established by Act 72 of 1995 and consists of 17 members including the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Majority and Minority Chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, and eleven public members appointed by the Governor. PPAC is required to meet at least once annually but typically meets quarterly and meetings are hybrid with both an in-person and virtual option.

The user groups represented on the committee are as follows:
  Two members representing urban and suburban constituencies in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas. One member representing Statewide constituencies. One member representing a metropolitan planning organization or rural planning organization. One member representing trail constituencies. One member representing pedestrian constituencies. One member representing senior citizen or disabled constituencies. One member representing children and education constituencies. One member representing a recreational cycling club. Two at-large members representing the general public.

PennDOT is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion and strives to provide representation from geographic areas across the state.
Members shall strive to be familiar with applicable federal, state, and local laws, modern transportation standards and innovations, funding, and other policy and equity issues affecting the transportation needs of all populations.

Questions about PPAC can be directed to RA-PDBIKEPEDPA@pa.gov.
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Weekly Bible Story Reading & Saturday Seminars at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior

Celebrating their 60th Anniversary, the Lutheran Church of Our Savior encourages daily/weekly Bible reading and prayer. Sunday, April 14th, their weekly Family Bible Story goes back to Genesis 1, God Creates the World. For anyone who would like to read and discuss the Bible, Christianity, and the Lutheran Church, the public is also invited to attend, free of charge, two classes (seminars) scheduled for Saturday, April 27th and Saturday, May 4th, both from 10 am - 12:30 pm. Snacks begin at 9:30. For further information, please call Rev. Peter A. Richert at 570-839-9868 or email him at richertp@yahoo.com.
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New Military-Themed License Plates Now Available

by State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe)

Three new military-themed license plates are now available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT): the Air Medal license plate, Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans license plate, and Blue Star Family license plate.

Applicants for the Air Medal plate and the Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans plates must submit a completed Form MV-150, along with a legible photocopy of their DD214. The Air Medal plate contains the standard Pennsylvania license plate colors and depicts an image of the Air Medal.

The Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans plate is offered only to veterans who served in both theaters of operation. The license plate contains the standard Pennsylvania license plate colors and depicts images of both the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal.

Applicants for the Blue Star Family plate must submit a completed Form MV-920 and certify they are a family member of an active-duty, Reserve or National Guard service member. The license plate contains the standard Pennsylvania license plate colors and depicts an image of the Blue Star Family flag, which has a red border around a white background with a blue star in the center.

All are available for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds for a fee of $23. 

More information about these and other specialty plates is available at www.dmv.pa.gov.

Scotland the Brave

Great vantage point for see the Massed Bands at the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem on September 25.

Nature at Risk: This Dinosaur-Era Fish of the Delaware River Is on the Brink

Sturgeons have existed for 200 million years. The flesh and eggs of this huge, ancient, bony fish were likely staple food for the indigenous Lenni Lenape in our area. The enormous abundance of the native Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) is arguably one of the reasons human encampments along the Delaware River go back thousands of years. 
Fast-forward to the 1800s, when the Delaware was known as the “caviar capital of North America.” An estimated 180,000 Atlantic sturgeon females spawned in the Delaware. More than 3 million pounds of sturgeon were taken from the River over just five years in the 1890s. 
That was then. This is now. 
Over-harvesting and other human impacts have shrunk the Delaware’s adult spawning population to fewer than 300. Because bony plates cover its body, the Atlantic sturgeon is safe from most predators, but not from human actions.
One of many subspecies of sturgeons, the Atlantic sturgeon is large, up to 6 feet long and 150 pounds, and long-lived, up to 50 years or more. After living and growing in the freshwater river where they were born, juveniles head downstream to the sea. Fifteen or more years later, they return to their home river when they are old enough to reproduce.
The Atlantic sturgeon was spared one human-caused negative impact: a dam proposed for the Delaware River. The proposed Tocks Island Dam was never built, thanks to unstinting and unrelenting work by local people and organizations led by Nancy Shukaitis. 
Other rivers — and their fish — have not been so lucky.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “in the United States, more than 2 million dams and other barriers block fish from migrating upstream. As a result, many fish populations have declined.” In some cases, fewer than one-half of one-percent of historic fish populations remain.
Sturgeons are among the most endangered group of species on Earth. Humans overfishing to meet the demand for caviar and causing habitat loss, often by dams, are the main culprits. 
Find out what is being done! Check out the World Wide Fund for Nature “Sturgeon Strategy” at https://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?270173/Saving-Sturgeons
Nature at Risk is a series published by Brodhead Watershed Association. See brodheadwatershed.org

Clean Water Is up to You: Make Smart Choices and Ditch Single-Use Plastic

Plastic can be a menace.
Plastics don’t decompose or “go away.” They just fracture into smaller and smaller smithereens — small enough to slip through the blood-brain barrier in humans and other mammals, with effects that still are not understood.
Of the more than eight billion tons of plastic created since 1950, only nine percent was recycled. The rest of it is still loose in our world — and its effect is enough to make your hair stand on end.
Tiny microplastics have been found deep in the ocean, in Arctic snow and Antarctic ice, in shellfish, table salt, drinking water and beer, according to nature.com, as well as floating in the air and falling in rain — basically everywhere. 
In the world’s oceans, entanglement and starvation from filling their bellies with food-lookalike plastic kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually.  
Here at home, these plastics contaminate creeks and streams, groundwater, and wells. So-called “purified” water — bottled in plastic — has much more plastic contamination than tap water: People who drink mostly bottled water in place of tap water may be doubling their annual intake of these tiny particles.
On a macro level, in Monroe County in 2018, a truck accident dumped 27,000 pounds of plastic pellets into Sand Spring Run in the Brodhead watershed. Brodhead Watershed Association worked on a cleanup, but the pellets quickly flowed with the water three miles and more. So plenty of that pollution will be with us, well, forever. 
Then again, plastic is also widely useful in modern life — in everything from prescription bottles to cars to building materials. 
But single-use plastic? We can all do without that. Drinking straws, water bottles, shopping bags, plastic forks, styrofoam takeout boxes — we can make better choices for all of these things.
Tell the server “no straw, please,” when you order a drink. Use your own refillable water bottle. Keep a reusable box in the car for restaurant leftovers. And the world is full of cloth and other multi-use shopping bags, often free for the asking.
Keeping plastic out of our freshwater creeks and streams protects drinking water, and helps keep plastic debris out of the Atlantic — and out of the guts of shore birds, sea turtles, whales, and other vulnerable creatures. 
For more on freshwater plastic pollution, visit www.cleanwateraction.org

Clean Water Is Up to You is a series published by Brodhead Watershed Association. See: brodheadwatershed.org.


Nature at Risk: A glimpse of an original snow-bird

An hour into the pontoon river cruise, the naturalist had pointed out several manatees, countless alligators, two osprey, a bald eagle, egrets, purple gallinules, even an owl. But the bird he slowed to a crawl for was virtually invisible: an American bittern, hiding in plain sight. 
In its concealment pose, the bittern points its narrow bill to the sky, lengthens its body, and sways with the breeze, looking for all the world like the cattails and reeds of the wetlands and shorelines it prefers. Streaked with brushstrokes of buff and brown, this elegant, secretive heron is a master of disguise. Only its brilliant gold eye gives it away.
The American bittern is large, up to almost three feet tall, with a 50-inch wingspan. It flies with hunched neck  and rather ungainly wingbeats, its solid black flight feathers on display. On the hunt, the bittern stalks deliberately along the water’s edge, or stands rock-still ready to snap up small fish, frogs, snakes, insects, and even small mammals, and swallow them whole.
Like many of the passengers on the pontoon boat, the bittern is a “snow-bird,” which flies south to winter in Florida, the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean and Central America. In spring, they migrate back north where they mate, nest, and raise young. From the far reaches of Canada’s Northwest Territories across the northern U.S., their peculiar, booming “plump-a-lunk” mating call is unmistakable.
But here in Pennsylvania, the American bittern is endangered. According to the PA Game Commission, they have become “uncommon to rare” migrants in most places. The culprit: habitat degraded and disrupted by humans. 
 Marshes and wetlands where breeding bitterns once nested by the thousands have been filled in, shrunk, choked with sediment, or contaminated with chemicals and runoff. This harms both nesting areas and the birds’ food supply. 
That’s bad for the birds — and can also be bad for people. Wetlands help keep drinking water clean and plentiful, slow down stormwater, prevent flash floods and stream bank erosion, and reduce flooding on downstream properties.
What you can do:
•    Tell your local officials that protecting wetlands from development, road runoff, and overloads of nutrients is important to you.
•    If you’re lucky enough to have wetlands on your property, leave them alone — don’t mow, fertilize, or apply pesticides anywhere near them.
•    Support local land conservation that protects wetlands.
The naturalist on that river cruise didn’t need to ask the passengers how many were seeing an American bittern for the first time — the oohs and aahs told the story. Today, American bitterns are a rare sight in the Brodhead watershed. With healthier wetlands, maybe we can invite them back.
For information about protecting clean, abundant water go to brodheadwatershed.org
For local land conservation information go to phlt.org
Find more about the American bittern on the PA Game Commission website: www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/EndangeredandThreatened/Pages/AmericanBittern.aspx

Nature at Risk is a series published by Brodhead Watershed Association. See brodheadwatershed.org.

Clean Water is Up to You: Gardening for Wildlife and Water

Do you have a bird bath in your yard? A few shrubs? A brush pile by the back fence?
If the answer is yes, you’re well on your way to a backyard habitat that’s good for native wildlife — and for protecting drinking water. 
A welcoming environment for you and wildlife
The Audubon Society, National Fish and Wildlife and many other outfits will guide you in creating and certifying an official “backyard habitat.” Having a goal like that can be fun. But you can start providing for wildlife with baby steps.
A bird bath, for instance. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, just be sure whatever you use is no more than 2.5 inches deep. An orphaned garbage can lid, old deep-sided sheet pan or jumbo pot saucer all work. Find a stump, or stack some bricks, concrete blocks, or stones to elevate the bath at least two feet off the ground, preferably three. Put a flat rock in the middle to hold it down and provide a landing place, add water, and you’re in business.
Birds are attracted to the sound of water, and a fun project for the kids is to add a drip to the bird bath. Repurpose a gallon jug by using a hot needle to pierce a hole at one of the bottom corners. Thread a rope loop through the jug handle and hang it on a garden hook or tree branch a foot or two above your bird bath. Make sure it drips at least 10 drops a minute (if not, widen the hole slightly), and you’re likely to see birds taking a shower within a day.
If a bird bath isn’t your thing, consider that brush pile. Just letting it be provides shelter and cover for all kinds of critters. A few evergreens also provide shelter and cover, year-round. A fruit tree or white oak tree are great food sources. Shrubs serve up berries and nesting sites, and native flowering plants like golden rod, black-eyed Susan and Joe Pye weed produce seeds for an all-winter bird buffet.
What NOT to do
As part of your growing backyard wildlife habitat, you’ll want to cut back on some common practices that harm the critters you are attracting. 
That means reducing the amount of lawn you have to maintain and reducing or eliminating chemicals. Lawn is basically a wasteland when it comes to food, cover, and nesting sites. Insecticides kill not just nuisance insects, but also good ones like bees and butterflies. Herbicides kill food sources that caterpillars need, thus harming the butterfly population, not to mention being bad for humans, too, and polluting water.
Among the chemicals to avoid are fertilizers. Most people overuse them and end up burning their plants — or worse still, inhaling or even touching them which can make you sick. Synthetic agricultural fertilizers also pollute creeks and groundwater.
So, taking a thoughtful, intentional approach to attracting wildlife to your garden can mean less maintenance, lower costs, and fewer powerful chemicals in your own habitat. 
Now, where’s that old garbage can lid….?
For more information
Interested in getting your garden certified as a bird-friendly habitat? Go to 
Penn State Extension has great ideas for your backyard:
A word about cats and dogs: In the U.S. wild and pet cats and dogs kill millions of birds and other wildlife every year. If your pets roam outside, be careful to place your feeders and baths near tree cover, but not near shrubs where pets can hide and their natural instincts can lead to mayhem.

Clean Water Is Up to You is a series published by Brodhead Watershed Association. See: brodhead watershed.org.

Tunkhannock supervisors approve warehouse conditional use

by Lori R. Cooper

On May 4 Tunkhannock Township supervisors held a conditional use hearing at the Tunkhannock Fire Department for the proposed warehouse in the township. It was held there as the Township building could not accommodate the large crowds at the past two Board meetings in which the warehouse was discussed.
Board President Fran DiPiano began by thanking solicitor Harry Coleman, secretary Tina Kernan, zoning officer Kate Lambert, and township residents for their help and input. He explained that all letters from the community were put into eight different categories and input from the Planning Committee, led by new supervisor Kevin Weiand, were “thoroughly reviewed” when making a decision. 
Board member George Ewald voluntarily recused himself from voting as his employer, Pocono Raceway, has ownership in the property. 
The proposed warehouse would be located on Route 115 in Long Pond, Tunkhannock Township, which is a C-2 (commercial) zoning district. Conditional use was approved by the Board as “it is a matter of right” unless the board deemed the warehouse would negatively affect the “health, safety and welfare of the Township”.
The motion for approval was granted and approved subject to conditions listed in a 42-page handout available at the meeting, and on the township website, longpondpa.com.
Residents expressed concern about the 60-foot building height limit, increased from 30 feet as of January 13, 2022. It was explained that this decision occurred as every surrounding township already had a 60-foot height limit. Residents also had many questions about the perc test, water flow, emergency vehicle access and availability, Hazmat preparedness, blasting and wildlife and forestry preservation.  
It was explained that the project will be overseen by many different agencies. The Conservation District will be involved as needed. The land developer, 115 Associates, will address specific issues such as fire company availability and ability and traffic studies. There are specific conditions as precursors to land development. Some conditions, such as lighting and perc tests can’t be done until the project moves along. 
It is estimated that the project could take up to two years. 

Reading program is big success for PMSD

by Patrick Albano
The Pocono Mountain School District held its regular meeting on May 4, at 7 p.m. at the Swiftwater Campus. President Marion Pyzik called the meeting to order and with all Board members present a motion to approve the minutes of the previous agenda passed unanimously. 
At the May 4 PMSB meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elizabeth Robison reported that “East High School received an award from the Chamber of Commerce and Tobyhanna Elementary held a pep rally for grades 3-6 which was a tremendous success.” Robison continued; “the district raised over $4,000 in four years for pediatric cancer.” Robison discussed the Community Night Roundtable held at Northampton College stating, “this was the sixth meeting supported by over a hundred community agencies and I am proud of the representation and participation.” Robison also mentioned WBRE and its upcoming live coverage of West High School to promote the school’s Safety Council.
Over 200 hundred students from pre-k and first grade participated in the district’s Early Literary Family Engagement Series entitled Spring into Reading. Program director Stacy Kulics stated, “Our focus is on rhyming.” “Families that register receive a packet of books and rhyming games to take home.” “The books have picture cards and kids match words on cards.” Kulics added, “volunteers put together a Google classroom and that parent’s feedback is positive and for the kids a wonderful experience.” 
Board approved a tick mitigation study after learning children aged 5-12 are at elevated risk for Lyme disease. Monroe County will be evaluated, and several school properties will be selected to spray along the wood-line. 
Business manager Joseph Collazo gave updates on factors impacting the fiscal year budget stating, “Cyber-Charter could be over budget by $700K as of next year.” Board member Rusty Johnson added, “I have been on the Board 11 years, and this is the most challenging budget. Over the last 10 years we worked hard and did not raise taxes-these are factors not caused by the district but COVID.” 
Board president Marian Pyzik added, “I applaud the previous Board for not raising taxes.” 
Board member Anna Lopez differed stating, “I am not for this Budget, and you are not going to take from my family.” The conversation then turned more heated between Johnson, Lopez and Collazo with Lopez asking about a $36K budget transfer amount and stating,  “I ask for accountability, I would like to see things written down and do not want to dig for things.” Collazo explained the $36K figure as for contingencies and Lopez responded, “it’s as a blank check.”
Recognition of visitors included comments from former board president Meg Dilger who directed her comments to Lopez stating, “your behavior and conduct is appalling…Posting vulgarity on social media is setting a bad example for youth…Executive sessions are confidential and should not be discussed publicly…Complaining on social media is not professional and you need tough skin to dodge the punches.” Dilger reminded Lopez “you can be recalled by your voters and the board can recall your position.”

Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services Annual Subscription Drive Delivers + Expands to Commercial Subscriptions

Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services kicked off the nonprofit’s Annual Subscription Drive with “Membership making a difference” for the community and ambulance organization alike. Responding to nearly 7,000 emergency calls in 2021, while operating costs including building and vehicle maintenance, equipment acquisition, as well as, training classes for medical professionals increases. Created as a means of offsetting these expenses and continuing to provide quality care, PMREMS turns to the community for help.
Delivering a win/win concept comes naturally as residents can be enrolled in “Drive” coverage June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023 for just $75 and receive transportation as part of the Subscription that covers Emergency Ambulance Services generated through the 911 system. Ambulance transportation of an emergency nature must be “medically necessary” by the applicable insurance plan in which the subscriber is enrolled.  
Expanding the ability to provide signup opportunities, the nonprofit also offers Commercial Subscriptions where area businesses can sign-up to cover employees should emergency medical transport for care be needed from at the place of business.
PMREMS continues to not only distribute a direct mailing sent across the region; but has created a lineup of easy access online. Connect through email newsletter or social media, even convenient website online registration at PMREMS.org/subscription by May 31st.
For more information about the Subscription Program and Pocono Mountain Regional EMS, a nonprofit 501(c)3 ambulance organization serving Barrett, Coolbaugh, Paradise, Price, Tobyhanna and Tunkhannock Townships, along with the Borough of Mount Pocono and assisting the surrounding Monroe County area please visit PMREMS.org

Office of Consumer Advocate urges Consumers to Know their Options in face of Rising Energy Prices

Recently, there has been a lot of news about increases in home energy prices both for electric and natural gas supply.  Many companies began notifying their customers that the cost of electricity will be increasing beginning June 1 for customers who remain with their utility for what is called “default service”, which is the rate that you are charged if you do not choose a competitive electric supplier.
“Like most Pennsylvanians, I am concerned with the impact that rising energy prices have on consumers’ ability to afford their electricity bills. While we have seen news about recent price increases for non-shopping customers, it is important to remember that your utility does not make money on your default service rate and that while the competitive market may provide some savings for consumers, folks need to be careful to make sure that they know the product terms, fees, and variability of their energy contract if they choose to shop for an alternative provider,” said Acting Consumer Advocate Patrick Cicero.
Shop Smart: If you choose to shop for an alternate supplier, the OCA recommends following these basic tips.  
Consider enrolling in a utility’s standard offer or customer referral program. These programs provide a 12-month fixed rate contract that offers 7% off the utility price at the time of your enrollment. Your rate will be fixed, and it will be lower than the utility price at the time you enroll, but the actual percentage of the savings you see may change (or be eliminated) if the price to compare changes in the future.   Contact your utility to find out more. Do your research to ensure the selected supplier offers the type of service that you want and is licensed to provide service in Pennsylvania.  We recommend checking the OCA’s natural gas and electric shopping guides or visiting papowerswitch.com and pagasswitch.com. Both are official state hosted and monitored websites. Use their filters to filter for the terms that you want. Before signing up for service, learn of any additional fees that may be associated with the contract. Looking at the price per kWh is not the only factor. Some suppliers charge additional fees that may include but are not limited to monthly fees, customer charges or early cancellation fees.  After enrollment, calendar the end of your contract.  Although suppliers are required by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s regulations to notify customers of the end of their contracts, it is best to keep track of this information to ensure the account is not rolled into a variable or higher rate when the contract expires.  Stay vigilant with your account.  Be sure to monitor your monthly electric and natural gas bills to ensure you are being charged the agreed upon rate with your selected supplier. 
If you are already enrolled with a natural gas or electric supplier, review your bill and your contract: It is important to understand the contract length, price per unit of usage, cancellation policy, and any additional monthly fees that may be applicable. Detailed information about your contract can be found in your disclosure statement. Review carefully. If you do not know how much you are paying for your energy, contact your utility and ask them whether you are being served by them or a competitive supplier or check your bill.
Contact your utility company to check eligibility for assistance programs: Call your electric and natural gas distribution company to learn more about company-specific assistance that may be available. Some utilities have customer assistance programs, budget billing (which spreads your payments evenly out over the course of the year), usage reduction programs and hardships programs run by community organizations. 
Contact our office if you have questions:  Our office has a consumer hotline that can assist households who have questions about their energy bills.  Call 1-800-684-6560 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email us at consumer@paoca.org
About the PA Office of Consumer Advocate: The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility consumers in cases before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), federal agencies and state and federal courts. The OCA uses its resources to help the greatest number of consumers and generally focuses on the needs of residential consumers. Attorneys and staff advocate for Pennsylvanians’ access to reliable, safe and affordable utility service. 


Pocono Mountains United Way seeking 80 honorees from Monroe County 
Stroudsburg, PA - As part of its eightieth anniversary event, Pocono Mountains United Way is looking to recognize 80 leaders, groups, organizations, and businesses that have made an impact on Monroe County.  “Recognizing 80 honorees is a great way to thank those who are doing impactful work, or have been for years, to make Monroe County a better place to live for all,” said Michael Tukeva, President/CEO of Pocono Mountains United Way.  
The honorees will be recognized at the eightieth anniversary event set for Saturday, September 24 at Kalahari Resort and Conventions in Pocono Manor. For consideration, an honoree must show a contribution to the community in the areas of education, childcare, health, workforce development or financial stability, leadership, community advocacy, volunteerism, or business development. Nominees can be living or deceased, and individuals, groups or organizations will be considered. 
“Our community has been greatly enriched by the groups, leaders, and businesses we have had in the history of Monroe County. The success of our community has been because of the extraordinary acts of those who stepped up to make an investment in these areas and make Monroe County better for future generations. They have all made a difference to improve lives in their own ways, and we intend to honor them at our celebration dinner,” Tukeva said.  
The community is invited to make online submissions for consideration via Pocono Mountains United Way’s website at www.poconounitedway.org/nomination.
Pocono Mountains United Way engages and mobilizes resources to improve lives through accelerated community change. For more information about Pocono Mountains United Way, please visit www.poconounitedway.org. 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Is Extended

Department of Human Services continues the LIHEAP program until May 20 
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services announced the extension of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Due to excess funding, LIHEAP will remain open until May 20, 2022.   
“We are pleased that the Department of Human Services has agreed to extend the LIHEAP program for two additional weeks.  This will allow households that are struggling to pay their home energy bills the opportunity to get some much needed assistance.  I urge all Pennsylvanians who need help with their bills to reach out to their utility company and apply for LIHEAP.” stated Patrick Cicero, Acting Consumer Advocate. 
LIHEAP is an emergency and seasonal program designed to assist low-income families pay their heating bills in three different ways.  
Types of LIHEAP Grants 
Cash Grants: income eligible households who have home heating responsibility. Customers do not need to be facing termination for this grant.  Range from $500-$1500.  Crisis Grants: income eligible households whose heating service is turned off, about to be turned off or off due to lack of fuel. Customers must be considered in immediate need. Range from $25-$1200  Crisis Interface: repair or replacement of broken or inoperable heating system(s)
*Households may be eligible for all three types of LIHEAP assistance. 
Universal Service Programs
Utility companies have programs that are designed to assist eligible customers with their bills each month. 
  • Budget Billing: divides total annual energy costs evenly over 12 months 
  • Payment Agreements: agreement between the customer and the utility company to pay the outstanding bill after its due date but before the date of the next bill
  • Customer Assistance Program (CAP): payment assistance that provides a lower monthly bill and may forgive past due balances 
  • Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP):  helps reduce energy use and lower energy bills through free efficiency, conservation and weatherization after a home energy audit is complete 
Application Information 
Consumers may apply for LIHEAP by visiting Pennsylvania’s COMPASS website or filling out a paper application at their local county assistance office. For additional information on company specific programs, they can contact the appropriate utility directly. 

About the PA Office of Consumer Advocate: The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility consumers in cases before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), federal agencies and state and federal courts. The OCA uses its resources to help the greatest number of consumers and generally focuses on the needs of residential consumers. Attorneys and staff advocate for Pennsylvanians’ access to reliable, safe and affordable utility service. 

REAL ID deadline now one year away

by State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe)

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding state residents that in one year federal enforcement of the REAL ID Act will begin at airports and secure federal facilities nationwide.
Beginning May 3, 2023, a federally accepted form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial domestic flight or visit a secure federal building that requires ID at the door. 
To date, approximately 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have chosen to get a REAL ID product. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID. PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs that can be used for other identification purposes. 
Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: 
  • They may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified. Their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days.
  • They can visit any PennDOT driver license center that is open for driver license services, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days.
  • They can visit one of 13 REAL ID centers and receive their REAL ID product over the counter at the time of service. There are centers located in Allentown and Wilkes-Barre. 
Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the applicant’s identity, Social Security number, physical address, and all legal names changes. 
More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and information on required documents, can be found at www.penndot.gov/REALID

Ramp Closure Scheduled for May 7-8 at Route 903 Interchange

Northbound ramp closure needed for electronic toll equipment maintenance.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission advises motorists traveling to the Northeastern Extension (I-476) in Carbon County that the northbound entry ramp from the State Route 903 Interchange, Exit 87, will be closed from 10 p.m. Saturday, May 7 to 6 a.m. Sunday, May 8, to allow technicians to safely perform tolling equipment maintenance.
During this ramp closure, motorists will not be able to enter the Northeastern Extension at State Route 903 in the northbound direction.  Motorists should seek alternate routes to enter I-476 north by using the nearest available interchange on I-476 depending on your travel destination.  
Work schedules are subject to change based on weather conditions.

To report an accident or other emergency on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 via mobile phone. To learn more about PA Turnpike conditions, use one of these resources:

  • 511PA Smartphone App: real-time, hands-free PA traffic advisories
  • Waze Smartphone App: real-time alerts from other drivers
  • Digital Message Signs: more than 100 boards along the Turnpike
  • 511: dial from any PA roadway for local travel information
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike Customer Assistance Center: 1-800-331-3414, Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. (Outside U.S., please call 717-831-7601)

Live in Carbon County? Get a free smoke alarm

Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death from home fires in half. Carbon County Residents can register to have free smoke alarms installed their homes by calling 570-846-3328. Installation will be completed on Sunday, May 15, 2022 and Monday, May 16, 2022. Appointments are required for installation of the smoke alarms. 
The program is sponsored by: American Red Cross, UGI, FedEx Ground, EQT, Sound the Alarm-Save A life, Erie Insurance, MSA- The Safety Company, and UPMC Health Plan.
Learn more at: SoundTheAlarm.org/GPA.

Emergency Roadwork on Route 437 postponed due to weather

Emergency Roadway Restoration Work on State Route 437, Wright Township, Luzerne County
Dunmore, PA – There will be emergency roadway restoration work on State Route 437 (Woodlawn Avenue) between Crestwood Road and Tunnel Road, Wright Township, Luzerne County. The project will start at 6:00 PM on Friday, May 6, 2022 and is scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 9th at 6:00 AM. Preliminary work will also be performed beginning Thursday May 5th and throughout the day on Friday, May 6 under a single lane restriction with flaggers until the roadway closure at 6:00 PM. The detour is as follows:
Traveling North on Route 437
  • turn left onto I-80 West on-ramp;
  • merge onto I-80 West;
  • continue I-80 West for 9.3 miles;
  • take Exit 262 for Route 309;
  • turn right onto Route 309 North;
  • continue Route 309 North for 9.8 miles; and
  • the detour will end at the intersection of Route 309 North and Route 437.
Traveling South on Route 437
  • continue south on Route 309 for 9.8 miles;
  • turn left onto I-80 East on-ramp, merge onto I-80 East;
  • continue I-80 East for 9.3 miles;
  • take Exit 273 for Route 940;
  • turn left on Route 940 East;
  • continue Route 940 East for .3 miles; and
  • The detour will end at the intersection of Route 437 and Route 940.

Stop Tolling of I-80 Bridge

John Zugarek offers history of attempt to toll Interstate 80 bridge over the Lehigh River at a meeting in White Haven on March 31.

Luzerne County concerns

Luzerne County acting county manager Romilda Crocamo discussed the effect the tolling of the Interstate 80 bridges in White Haven and Nescopeck Township might have on the county during the meeting in White Haven on March 31.

Stop the Tolling of I-80 Bridge_3

Nescopeck Township's manager explains what the tolling of the bridge in her community could mean…especially if trucks take the diversion route proposed by the PennDOT.

Stop the Tolling of I-80 Bridge_4

Chamber of Commerce president Linda Miller talks about the effect on the small businesses of White Haven that will be created by the tolling of the Interstate 80 bridge.

Submit Tunkhannock Twp. Conditional Use Hearing Comments

Contrary to the information in the most recent Journal of the Pocono Plateau, the board of supervisors did not continue the conditional use hearing for a warehouse in Tunkhannock Township. They will, however, consider proposed conditions during their work session scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6. (See notice below from their website.)
The meeting can be accesses in person or via Zoom:
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 820 3651 8727
Passcode: 953352

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Tunkhannock Township Board of Supervisors held a Conditional Use Hearing on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, to consider the application of Route 115 Associates, LLC for conditional use approval pursuant to Section 1208, et al. of the Tunkhannock Township Zoning Ordinance to use a portion of the premises on Rt 115, near the SR 903 and RT 115 intersection, for a warehouse.

The Board of Supervisors request that the members of the public submit conditions, based on the evidence presented at the hearing.

All suggested conditions can be submitted to the Township via email: tunksec@longpondpa.com by Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 8:30 am.  Please put “Conditional Use Suggestions” in the subject of the email. 

Treasurer Garrity Announces Auction of Unclaimed Property

Online bidding to take place March 23 & 24
Harrisburg, PA — Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced that the next auction of unclaimed property items from Treasury’s vault, including an 1882 $50 gold certificate, will take place online over two days: Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24.

“Our goal is always to return unclaimed property to the rightful owners,” Garrity said. “But even though we have the largest working vault in the United States, we need to have auctions periodically to make room for incoming items. Every piece of unclaimed property we receive is held for at least three years while we work to connect with the rightful owner. And all auction proceeds will remain available for the owner to claim – whether that happens next month or 50 years from now.”

Treasury partners with Pook & Pook, Inc., of Downingtown for appraisal and auctioneer services. Items in this week’s auctions are included in the March 23 coins and jewelry auction and the March 24 decorative arts auction. Auction items can be previewed at pookandpook.com.

Nearly 4,000 items from Treasury’s vault will be available at the two-day auction, some combined into lots of Treasury-only items. In addition to the 1882 gold certificate, items of interest include:
  • A Rolex Oyster watch with an 18-karat gold case and a stainless band;
  • An 18-karat gold chain link bracelet;
  • An 18 karat gold ram’s head bangle bracelet;
  • A one-ounce gold bar; and
  • South African Krugerrands.

Treasury receives unclaimed property in accordance with Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law, which requires that abandoned or forgotten property be turned over to Treasury after three years of dormancy. Most of the tangible property held in Treasury’s vault comes from abandoned safe deposit boxes, with some also arriving from sources such as college dorms, nursing homes, and police evidence rooms. Other unclaimed property can include forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, stocks, and insurance policies.

Treasury currently safeguards more than $4 billion in unclaimed property. It’s estimated that one in ten Pennsylvanians has money waiting, and the average value of a claim is $1,500.

Pook & Pook works closely with Treasury to track and document the sales of unclaimed property items to ensure proceeds are available when a claimant comes forward in the future. The upcoming auctions also include items from other consigners and sellers, and Treasury’s items are not separately identified in the auction catalogs. Treasury employees and immediate family members are prohibited from bidding.

For more information about Treasury’s unclaimed property program or to see if you have property waiting to be claimed, visit patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property.

I-80 bridge work eastbound starts Monday

Carbon County: Interstate 80 East Lane Restriction to Begin on Monday 

Allentown, PA - 

County:  Carbon
Municipality:  East Side Borough and White Haven Borough
Road name:  Interstate 80 East
Between:  Exit 273 (PA 940)  and Exit 274 (PA 534)
Type of work:  Bridge Repair
Work being done by:  PennDOT Contractor
Type of restriction:  24 Hours
Restriction:  There will be a 24-hour a day lane restriction in the eastbound direction for emergency bridge repair work. Please use caution when traveling through the work zone.
Start date:  3/14/22
Est completion date:  3/25/22
Restrictions in effect (time of day):  12:00 AM To 12:00 AM
Will rain cause delays?  No

Subscribe to PennDOT news in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties at www.penndot.gov/District5
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1000 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
Follow regional PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAAllentown.

TTRC objects to changing Long Pond into an industrial complex

Tunkhannock Township Supervisors made one small change via a zoning amendment but expect to see big results in the form of up to four 60’ tall warehouses and potentially a manufacturing facility on commercially (C2) zoned lands in Long Pond. Approximately 30 residents attended a Public Hearing on January 13, most toprotest the supervisors’ proposed ordinance amendment that will allow commercial buildings in the C2 zone tobe 60’ tall
rather than the current 35’ limit. The Supervisors also received 37 letters and emails from residents opposed tothe change.

Board Chairman Fran DePiano stated that the proposed change will make the area more attractive to commercial businesses. Two warehouse developers have provided sketch plans for four warehouses in the township, one just south of Routes 115 & 903, the other three warehouses are being proposed along Route115 opposite the Dixon Miller Recreation Area.

DePiano pointed out that the township has a lot of protected land that does not provide tax revenue. He said one warehouse would provide an estimated $50,000 in tax revenue yearly, and that Tunkhannock Township supervisors have not raised local taxes in years.

In November, the township’s Zoning Hearing Board unanimously denied the request from one of the warehouse developers for a height variance to enable them to build a 58’ warehouse. The minutes indicate the primary reason given for the increased height was to make the project more economically beneficial tothe developer.

In December, after the Zoning Hearing Board rejected the height variance, Township Supervisors Fran DePiano, George Ewald and Steve Malaico, overruled the Board’s recommendation and proposed an amendment to raise the C2 building height limit to 60’.

All residents who spoke at the Public Hearing were against the proposed height
change. Most were particularly worried about adding to the truck traffic on Routes 903 and 115, the township’s main thoroughfares. Residents of Brier Crest, located just off of the intersection, showed concern for the estimated 250 trucks per day, every day, 24 hours a day, from just one warehouse addition. Their onlyaccess point, directly on Route 903, has
already become more hazardous with the opening of the turnpike interchange, and additional trucks wouldonly add to their risk.

Another resident reminded the Supervisors that the Township’s Volunteer Fire Company does not have a ladder truck to handle emergencies at 60’ buildings. Others pointed out that they moved to the LongPond area for its beauty, wildlife and natural lands.

A woman who grew up in Long Pond and recently returned to raise her children urged the supervisors not to raise the height limit, a move that would attract warehouses and other businesses that are inconsistentwith the township’s rural nature.

Several residents pointed out a connection between the Routes 115 & 903 warehouse to Pocono Raceway, which is located down the road. The Township Supervisors stated that the project was not affiliated with the Raceway, however late in the meeting, Raceway CEO Nick Igdalsky spoke via Zoom, saying that the land being sold for the warehouse was owned by a shell corporation of the Raceway.

After listening to nearly 75 minutes of township residents’ urging them to not raise the height ceiling for C2 businesses, the supervisors closed the Public Hearing and unanimously voted to approve the ordinance, changing the permitted height in C2 zones to 60’. This will affect all C2-zoned land in Tunkhannock Township, of which Pocono Raceway owns more than 1,000 acres.

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact Tunkhannock Township Residents Committee by emailTTRC570@gmail.com; or call 570-243-1763.

VETERANS CORNER Commentary by John Kearns 

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was initially set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. In legislation passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”
As the nation's veterans celebrate their service, there are too many who cannot. In an era where our government will give big money to illegal families who break our laws while leaving our disabled and homeless abandoned is not acceptable.
Veterans took an oath to defend our nation to the death. It is time to reflect and investigate how we are all being misused and given false information. It’s time to awaken and stand for all Americans who can no longer stand and ask why an Army of migrants are cared for with tax dollars, while veterans lie helpless in the streets.
The US Marine Corps Ball at the White Haven VFW Post 6615 on November 13 is a long-standing tradition. This Saturday, the 245th Birthday of the US Marine Corps will be celebrated. Rich in military tradition, highlights are the cake cutting; recognition of the oldest and youngest Marine present; and a guest speaker, followed by dinner and dancing. The event is open to all, tickets are required.
The Tavern on the Trail on Main Street in White Haven has live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday with prizes for Saturday's Patriotic Vehicle contest, and Sunday's Home-Made Baked Goods Contest (and sale). 50/50 raffles will benefit the White Haven Veterans Memorial Fund, and there is a prize drawing for everyone making a Toys for Tots toy donation.

White Haven Center Relatives & Friends and Other Friends

  A stakeholders meeting of White Haven Center families, staff, legislators, and community organizations and residents is being called for Sunday, November 14, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., at Saint Patrick’s Parish Hall in White Haven. 
It’s been a while since our last meeting and it felt necessary to continue discussion of strategy; fundraising; staffing shortage; morale, especially of residents and staff; legislation, etc. to prevent the closures of White Haven and Polk centers.  Invitation is extended to all concerned.  
Attorney York continues to be pro-active in his effort to bring our case to trial as evidenced by his initiative of filing a “Motion for Preliminary Injunction” to prevent forced transfers to community and other state facilities.  See attachment # 1 of page 1 & 2 of this “Preliminary Injunction” which will be a topic for discussion at the meeting on Sunday.
Ann Mack is working hard in her effort of fundraising with her most current called “Let’s Climb the Eiffel Tower Together.”  The prize will be a cash prize of $500.00; and if the funds raised exceed $10,000.00, the prize money will climb to $1,000.00.  Tickets are $20.00 apiece, or $50.00 for three, or $100.00 for seven.  Mail checks payable to “White Haven Center Legal Defense Fund.”  Mailing address is Ann Mack, 4 Genoa Lane, Shavertown, PA  18708-9606.  See attachment # 2 for fund-raising event at Bakery Delight in Plains Township on 10-30-2021.
It is only fair to note that the families and friends of Polk Center have also been working hard at fundraising and their contribution to the WHC Legal Defense Fund has been extremely complimentary.
It is important to understand that there is increased intensity by administration to move residents from White Haven and Polk centers to other locations at this time, and that may grow.  It is recommended to make scheduled meetings, but not to make any decisions or sign any papers while the litigation in federal court moves forward.  If it felt that pressure is being implemented for a forced move to another location, that action should be reported to Attorney York. 
In conclusion, it is noted once again that we sorrow over of the loss of our loved ones as the toll continues to rise, not only at White Haven Center, but also at Polk Center.  We must go on and remember in our hearts and minds the memory of those residents, family members, friends, and staff who have passed on since these terrible times have been initiated by Governor Wolf.
Tom Kashatus, President                                                                                                                WHC Relatives & Friends                                                                                                570-736-6981

Suicide Awareness event this weekend at Eurana Park

The 2nd Annual Remembering Joshua Suicide Awareness Event will be Sat. Sept 4th & Sun. Sept 5th from Noon to 4pm at Eurana Park, 560 3rd Street in Weatherly. There are over 60 baskets/gift cards available in the chinese auction- including a remote car starter with install- courtesy of Northeast Light & Sound. There will be lunch and  baked goods available for purchase, a DJ and mental health resources. All proceeds benefit American Foundatiin for Suicide Prevention. In memory of Joshua Naegele, WAHS 2016 graduate and Wilkes U student who took his life in 2019.

Septemeber is Suicide Prevention Month.

Fly-in, Drive-in Breakfast Postponed

On Friday, the latest edition of the Journal of the Pocono Plateau came out with a half page ad for the Mount Pocono Rotary's Fly-In, Drive-In Breakfast on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
On Saturday morning, the Committee announced the difficult decision to postpone the Fly-In until Memorial Day Weekend Sunday, May 29, 2022. While disappointing, the Covid numbers are going in the wrong direction. Please support the Rotary and the Salvation Army, their designated beneficiary for this breakfast in other ways if you can.

Harmful algal blooms: Our own version of toxic ‘red tide’ 

From Brodhead Watershed Association

Florida summers are plagued by what is commonly called “red tide,” a dangerous concentration of microscopic algae, K.brevis. Toxic to fish, dangerous to swimmers and shellfish eaters, K.brevis can even cause serious breathing problems for beach-goers.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) also happen here in Pennsylvania. Here, HABs are caused by a different organism — blue-green algae or cyanobacteria — but many of the health effects can be similar.
Not all algal blooms are bad for you! Stringy green algae, pond scum and aquatic plants like duckweed may be annoying, but not a health risk. The dangerous kind is very fine-textured and grows as a thin film, either just below or on the surface of slow-moving, warm water. People say it looks like paint, or fine streaks, or pea soup. It’s insidious, too, because HABs are temporary and even after a bloom clears, toxins can remain.
Protect yourself, family and pets: Don’t swim, fish, or boat in areas where you suspect a HAB. 
And check out this factsheet for information from the PA Department of Health: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Environmental%20Health/HAB%20FS.pdf. See PALakes.org, too.
More on invasive plants can be found at brodheadwatershed.org/invasive-species-management-plan/

Honoring Our Heroes on Memorial Day

By State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe)

Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day – a day set aside to honor the more than 1.1 million
Americans who have died in wars which the United States has fought over the last 245 years.
Please take a moment this weekend to remember these men and women who sacrificed
their lives for our nation and consider participating in Memorial Day events in your community.
The holiday has a patriotic history of which you may be unaware.
  Just after the Civil War ended in 1865, a group of southern women visited a cemetery in
Columbus, Mississippi. Their purpose was to decorate the graves of those who died defending
the Confederacy. When the women finished, they noticed that nearby Union graves were
unattended and forgotten. These ladies could not bring themselves to ignore the graves of the
fallen soldiers and carefully decorated the Union graves as well.
  This story inspired Major General John Logan, national commander of the Union Army’s
veterans organization, who in 1868 proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day, “a day for decorating
the graves of the comrades who died in defense of their country and whose bodies now lie in
almost every city, village, or hamlet churchyard in the land.”
  In 1882, this annual observance became what we now know as Memorial Day – a
national day of remembrance for those who have died serving our nation.
Today we continue the tradition of decorating the gravesites of brave American
servicemen and servicewomen of all military wars and conflicts who unselfishly gave their lives
in defense of our country, our flag and the freedom that all of us enjoy.
So, on Memorial Day 2021, as we celebrate their lives and honor the commitment they
made to the preservation of freedom and our American way of life, we offer our heartfelt thanks,
understanding that it will never be enough. May God bless them all.

PennDOT Shares Draft Transportation Funding Study for Public Review, Comment

Virtual public meeting available until June 1

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is hosting an on-demand virtual public meeting and comment period for a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study exploring sustainable transportation funding options. The public meeting is accessible online at all hours of the day through June 1, 2021, at www.penndot.gov/funding.

The PEL study, in support of the PennDOT Pathways program, is being conducted to identify near- and long-term alternative funding solutions and establish a methodology for their evaluation.

In February, PennDOT announced candidate bridge projects being considered as a part of the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative. This initiative, the first of the PennDOT Pathways Program, was formed in response to one of the early findings of the PEL study – that tolling of major bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation is a potentially viable near-term funding solution. The draft PEL study report is currently available for review and comment and identifies additional medium- to long-term funding alternatives that could be considered for implementation.

PennDOT encourages the public to review the materials presented in the virtual meeting and to provide comments, which will be accepted throughout the duration of the meeting. Online comments can be submitted directly from the meeting website or via other comment submission methods, including:For more information about the PennDOT Pathways program, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.
The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), which was established by Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order on March 12, today received a briefing on the draft PEL study. When completed, the final PEL study will be provided to the TROC.
PennDOT will make all reasonable modifications to policies, programs, and documents to ensure that people with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency have an equal opportunity to enjoy all of its programs, services, and activities. In accordance with Governor Tom Wolf's COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the Virtual Public Meeting will be held online only.

To request assistance to participate in the virtual public meeting or review the PEL study, please contact PennDOT's Communications Office by emailing dotcomm@pa.gov or calling 717-783-8800 from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM. PennDOT will not place a surcharge on an individual with a disability or those with limited English proficiency to cover the costs of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy. If you have other questions or challenges, please contact PennDOT's Bureau of Equal Opportunity to request help by emailing RA-penndoteoreports@pa.gov or calling 1-800-468-4201; TTY (711).
Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.gov/news or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot/

New Law Updates CDL Requirements for PA Veterans, Service Members

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) announced today that a new Pennsylvania law waives the requirement for Pennsylvania residents who are current and former military members and who operated a commercial vehicle as part of their duties, to take a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Knowledge Test when applying for a CDL. Previous legislation – Act 133 of 2008 – established a waiver of the CDL skills test for these individuals.
“We are pleased to announce this important change and hope that it helps military members in their transition to civilian life find good-paying, sustainable employment to begin their new lives,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian.

Act 131 of 2020 allows the PennDOT to waive the CDL Knowledge Test for Pennsylvania residents on active or reserve military duty or recently honorably discharged veterans, provided those service members have at least two years of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle as part of their military job requirements.
The waiver applies to CDL applicants who wish to operate vehicles similar to those they operated in the military. For example, those who drove combination type commercial (Class A) motor vehicles in the military will be eligible in Pennsylvania for a waiver to drive a combination type vehicle and those who drove a single motor vehicle of commercial type (Class B) in the military will be eligible in Pennsylvania for the waiver to drive that type of vehicle. Applicants must complete form DL-398, “Application for Military CDL Test Waiver,” to request the waiver.

Doubles, triples and school bus endorsements cannot be waived under this program. PennDOT will waive the knowledge test specified, subject to the limitations in the 49 Code of Federal Regulation Section 383.77, to an applicant who meets all the requirements for a waiver.

“Service members gain many valuable skills in the military that translate well into the civilian job sector,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s acting adjutant general and acting head of the DMVA. “This program is a huge opportunity to assist our veterans and service members with these skills to get good jobs as Pennsylvania is critically short in CDL drivers.”

Military personnel and veterans interested in taking advantage of the CDL skills and knowledge test waivers can find further information by visitingwww.dmv.pa.gov, click on Driver Services and choose Military Personnel Veterans from the dropdown. Form DL-398 can be found under Forms and Publications on the homepage.

WASD Virtual Holiday Concert

Click to hear some terrific performances by students, grades 5 through 12, in the Weatherly Area School District music program.
Weatherly virtual winter concert

Helping Veterans and Active Duty Military Cope With Social Isolation

(StatePoint) As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of veterans and active duty military personnel are on lockdown, many suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance abuse. With the additional challenge of social isolation, finding ways to combat depression, anxiety and loneliness is critical.

That is why Help Heal Veterans (Heal Vets), a nonprofit founded during the Vietnam War, has gone into overdrive, shipping more than 90,000 free craft kits since the beginning of the pandemic and creating a newly designed kit to help veterans make the masks they need to stay healthy and safe.

Operating on the principle that not all medicine comes in a bottle, Heal Vets distributes kits in craft categories like masks, leatherwork, models, woodwork, jewelry, paint-by-numbers, needlecrafts, poster art, scrapbooks and more. Crafting can provide therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits, including improving fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, memory and dexterity, and can help alleviate feelings of anger and the severity of negative behaviors triggered by PTSD and TBIs.

With demands flooding in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, kits have been distributed to more than 90 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers around the country and a large number of military bases, state veteran homes and other locations where the need is great.

“The coronavirus is overwhelming, but being alone in a pandemic crisis can be terrifying and deeply debilitating,” says Joe McClain, retired Navy captain and Help Heal Veterans CEO. “Our goal is to give our veterans what they need to heal during this time of enforced isolation.”

In a recent survey of vets, 94 percent of those polled who use Heal Vets craft kits said the kits helped them have a more positive outlook on life, and 98 percent said the kits took their mind off problems.

With many of the nation’s veterans labeled high-risk now in lockdown with little contact from others, (no visitors, no family allowed, no volunteers and limited staff interaction), it is particularly important to address suicide prevention, according to McClain.

“We’re working closely with the VA Suicide Program to start including VA-produced suicide prevention awareness and education material with our kits,” he says. “Our concern is that during this time of increased stress from isolation and financial uncertainty, some veterans may be at higher risk of taking their own life. We are hoping to raise awareness and improve access to craft therapy kits to help mitigate that risk.”

To learn more about Heal Vets and the organization’s COVID-19 efforts, as well as find out how you can help, visit HealVets.org.

Anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges can be exacerbated during this quarantine period. Luckily, there are tangible ways to support isolated and sick veterans in their most significant time of need.

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates on Driver Licenses, ID Cards, and Learner’s Permits

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, and learner’s permits, will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Effective April 30, 2020, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner's permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020, are now extended through June 30, 2020.
These extensions are in addition to those announced on March 27.
Additionally, all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers and the Harrisburg Riverfront Office Center in Pennsylvania are closed until further notice effective close of business on Monday, March 16
As a reminder, customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via the Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver's license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.
More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

White haven ambulance

Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty, Resources Extended to Older Pennsylvanians

Senator Lisa Baker is reminding older Pennsylvanians and their caretakers that a number of steps have been taken this week to protect seniors during statewide efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging recently issued guidance to help older adult day centers, adult protective services, and senior centers continue to meet the needs of older adults while coronavirus mitigation measures remain in effect.

Some of the guidance addresses temporary senior center and adult day center closings, congregate meal alternatives, and processes that can temporarily be completed via telephone rather than in person. These guidelines are available here.

The department is also relaxing restrictions in the PACE prescription assistance program that require a person to use 75 percent of their medication before seeking a refill. Enrollees who wish to receive an exception must have their pharmacy provider contact PACE at 1-800-835-8040.

All enrollees should be able to receive free home delivery of medications from their pharmacy. Enrollees who have difficulty obtaining their refills can call Cardholder Services at 1-800-225-7223.

In addition, the deadline for older Pennsylvanians and disabled state residents to apply for the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program has been extended from June 30 until December 31. The program provides rebates of up to $975 for eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

The Online Customer Service Center remains open for applicants who have questions about the program.

National Museum of Industrial History Launches ‘Virtual Museum’ with Live Programming, Lectures, and More

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – With individuals and families across the nation practicing social distancing and self-quarantine, the National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH) is taking its mission of educating the public about America’s industrial past and inspiring the visionaries of tomorrow online. 
The museum is launching a series of live online lectures and presentations, featuring staff from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, rare looks inside Martin Tower prior to its implosion from NMIH’s staff photographer, and a fascinating and timely look at how the 1918 influenza pandemic affected Bethlehem Steel and industrial manufacturing.  Additional programming includes a daily online ‘industrial story time’ featuring award-winning and New York Times bestselling children’s books focused on industry and architecture.
Virtual patrons can also take a 360 degree tour of the entire museum on Google Maps, a service donated by Bethlehem’s HomeSpot Media.  “While it’s no substitute for the real museum experience, we hope this e-tour will give residents of the Lehigh Valley and our fans across the world a little respite in these trying times,” said Glenn Koehler, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at NMIH.  The museum is also offering its self-published book, “The Big Green Machine,” about the story and restoration process behind its massive 115-ton Corliss steam engine, in digital format for the first time.  For $18 patrons will be able to download the book and receive a physical version shipped to them following the museum’s reopening.  One-hundred percent of the proceeds go towards helping the museum recover from the effects of the coronavirus closure.
The museum realizes that millions of businesses and workers are feeling the effects of the current situation right now. As a non-profit museum, we’re no different. We’re deeply grateful for any help provided to the museum during these trying times.   Additional ways patrons can help support the museum’s mission include purchasing memberships, shopping in the online gift shop, adopting an artifact, making a gift to the museum’s annual fund, or booking a future event.  For a full list of ways you can help the museum, please visit http://www.nmih.org/nmih-coronavirus-update. 
Online Family Industrial Storytime
with Amanda Steele, Family Engagement Manager and Leap Into Science educator at Community Services for Children
Saturday, March 21st at 1PM

Sunday, March 22nd at 7PM
Monday, March 23rd at 10AM
Tuesday, March 24th at 1PM
Wednesday, March 25th at 7PM
Thursday, March 26th at 10AM
Friday, March 27th at 1PM
Saturday, March 28th at 7PM
Sunday, March 29th at 10AM
Monday, March 30th at 1PM
Tuesday, March 31st at 7PM

To see a full list of story time books and how to stream, go to nmih.org/virtualmuseum.
Scheduled live lectures include: 

Monday, March 23rd at 2pm
Inside the Demise of Martin Tower with NMIH Director of Marketing and Public Affairs Glenn Koehler

As part of the museum’s staff, Koehler accompanied volunteers, the museum’s curator, and the museum’s historian as they recovered artifacts for the museum’s collection prior to demolition of Bethlehem Steel’s former headquarters in May 2019.  This intimate look spans five years of photography, from when the building was still intact to its final, gutted form prior to implosion.  His presentation and Q&A will show views and areas few got to see, from the boiler room in the basement of the building to the sweeping vistas as seen from the rooftop. 
Tuesday, March 24th at 2pm
Bethlehem Steel, Industry, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic with James Higgins

102 years ago, the great influenza pandemic swept across the globe, claiming as many as 50 million lives. In the United States, Pennsylvania was hit the hardest. More than 67,000 Pennsylvanians died during the crisis' most acute phase. This haunting and timely look will examine the virus’s impact on industry, and detail how the then-prosperous Bethlehem Steel helped the community around it suffer some of the lowest mortality rates.
James Higgins is a historian of medicine and concentrates especially on the history of the influenza pandemic in Pennsylvania and Texas. He now lectures at Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. 
Thursday, March 26th at 2pm
The President’s Pump with Mark Connar
It is well known that Bethlehem is the home of the first municipal water pumping system in the United States. A replica of this machine is located in its’ original stone building in Historic Bethlehem’s Industrial Quarter. Much less known is that, little more than a century later, the largest steam driven single cylinder stationary water pumping engine in the Americas was erected only a few miles away at a zinc mine in the Upper Saucon Township village of Friedensville. This engine, renowned at the time as The President Engine, was designed and constructed by Cornish engineers using time tested old-world technical know-how coupled with American manufacturing talent. Although not publicly accessible, the remnants of this machine still exist today. This talk will focus on efforts underway to preserve the surviving engine house ruins and to convert the surrounding property into an open-air interpretative museum and heritage park.

Mark W. Connar is a retired businessman with an AB degree in anthropology from Brown University (1972) with post graduate study in archaeology at the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. He has participated in archeological surveys in the United States and the United Kingdom. He also holds an MBA degree from Lehigh University (1984). He is on the Board of Trustees, Historic Bethlehem Partnership and is a Founding Member of the National Museum of Industrial History. Further, he is a member of the Mine History Association and the Society for Industrial Archeology. 

Monday, March 30th at 10am
From the Archives: Mining Photography of George Bretz
Shari Stout from The Smithonian's National Museum of American History will be presenting an online lecture featuring the historic mining photography of George Bretz. The National Museum of American History is home to an array of mining lamps, hats, and safety equipment, much of it from the anthracite mines of Pennsylvania. In 1884, the Smithsonian displayed a series of photographs taken inside a mine in Pennsylvania by George Bretz, a photographer from Pottsville, PA. Shari will show us some of these photos, talk about the history of these collections, some of the materials collected with them, and the original curator who initiated the photo shoot.

Shari Stout is a collections manager in the Offsite Storage Program at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, and holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She has worked at the Smithsonian since 1999, installing exhibitions and caring for a wide range of collections, including the mining collections. Ms. Stout works with everything from glassware to sculpture to locomotives, but specializes in planning and overseeing the movement of the museum’s largest objects. Ms. Stout played a key role in the installation of the Smithsonian collections for the 2016 opening of the National Museum of Industrial History.

Other Programming includes:

Virtual Watch Party: Bethlehem Steel’s Last 20 Years - Building Bridges and Buildings
Saturday, March 28th at 2pm
Join retired Bethlehem Steel Civil Engineer Gordon Baker as he talks about the history of Bethlehem Steel’s bridgemaking operations, which saw some of the world’s most famous structures come from its mills. From the Golden Gate to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, Bethlehem Steel helped build it all.  Four people from the audience will become part of a live suspension bridge and we will learn how a suspension bridge works.

Gordon Baker worked for twenty years at Bethlehem Steel’s Fabricated Steel Construction Division working on bridges and buildings. During this period, he was a Field Engineer in New York, worked in the Engineering department in Bethlehem, was Assistant Works Engineer in the Leetsdale Pittsburgh plant, and was Superintendent of the large Pittsburgh shop facility. His career included working on two suspension bridges in New York, the Commodore Barry Bridge, Martin Tower, the world’s largest radio telescope in Puerto Rico and numerous other structures. Gordon is a retired Licensed Professional Engineer and a graduate of Lehigh University’s civil engineering program.
Virtual Museum Tour
Virtually visit NMIH with this 360 degree tour that HomeSpot Media graciously did for us back in December. https://goo.gl/maps/GzRevYyvCGERZnuc6
**For best results please view on a laptop or desktop. Mobile users may experience some compatibility issues.**

For more information on how to stream lectures and see additional programming, go to nmih.org/virtualmuseum.

About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.  Learn more at nmih.org.

Appeals Process Created for Business Impacted by Wolf Shutdown; Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Can Apply for Disaster Loans

HARRISBURG – Senator Lisa Baker is working to reduce the impact of Governor Wolf’s order on Thursday for all non-life-sustaining businesses to close. A list of business types that would be affected by this order is available at www.pasenategop.com/covid-19-resources.

Any company that believes they should be considered a life-sustaining-business can apply for a waiver at this email address: RA-dcexemption@pa.gov. Business owners can address questions about whether they need to close by emailing ra-dcedcs@pa.gov.

Senator Baker is also encouraging businesses and non-profits who have suffered economic losses during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak to consider applying for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Loans are available through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which helps businesses that are unable to meet financial obligations and operating expenses during an emergency situation. Loan amounts are calculated based on the actual economic injury and a company’s financial needs.

Additional information is available by contacting SBA’s disaster assistance customer service center by calling 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

COVID-19 Small Business Financing Assistance

Carbon County – March 19, 2020-   Our communities and businesses in Carbon County continue to feel the increased impact of COVID-19. Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corp. (CCEDC) along with our partner Northeast PA Alliance (NEPA) have been engaged since the onset of this outbreak to be sure businesses stayed informed and know what assistance is available. 

CCEDC will assist businesses with the following:
  • The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) will provide up to $100,000 to eligible small businesses at 0% interest with no payments due for 12 months after funding. 
CCEDC is currently awaiting guidance from PIDA on the application process and more information will be available shortly. CCEDC will assist all business with these applications.

NEPA will assist with the following:
  • Federal:
    • SBA will soon have the Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance available for businesses. These loans can be used to cover expenses still incurred during the shutdown period.  
  • Local:
    • NEPA Alliance has 11 small business loan programs that are available to assist small businesses during this time.
Information relating to the available programs is changing rapidly, please be sure to check CCEDC’s website, social media and media releases for any updates about the various programs noted above. For information on the Federal and Local assistance programs, CCEDC will refer businesses to NEPA.

Urgent Blood Drive in White Haven

The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

To date, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.  We must ensure a readily available blood supply for patients who are counting on us.

An Urgent Need blood drive will be held:

Wednesday, March 25
White Haven VFW Post 6615
3 VFW Rd  White Haven PA
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Drive is open to the public.  Walk in donors welcome.
All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross t-shirt.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

Centenary UMC in Weatherly cancels services

As numbers continually increase within our country and even right here in Pennsylvania, starting immediately, Centenary UMC will be taking precautionary measures to do our part in preventing the spread of this virus. Our Sunday services for March 22, and March 29 are hereby canceled. We ask you to please refer to our website for information and live streaming worship opportunities. The website can be located at  https://www.weatherlycumc.org/
 The prayer shawl group will also be canceled until  after Easter.
Services will resume once we can be sure it is safe to do so. Until then, please contact us via email if there is any way we can be of service to our community during this difficult time. And remember, God is with us. It is in these difficult, trying, and uncertain times in which Jesus often shows up in the most powerful ways to offer comfort, strength, and peace, throughout scripture, and here, now, today.