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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Resident asks Township about drug bust

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  • LACKAWAXEN TWP.  - The Lackawaxen Township June 16 meeting had a large turnout once again, where attendees heard about what's occurring in the township and some people presented the board of supervisors with their concerns.
        One township resident, Sally Whalen told the Board about her latest quest to have the supervisors learn more about her newest distress that there may be a drug problem in the township. Whalen's worries come from an email she received from someone she would not name, claiming there was a drug bust in Fawn Lake May 21. Now, Whalen said she wants more information because she would like to “know if there’s a drug lord living next to me.”
          Having looked online and in the newspapers, and finding nothing about a drug bust, Whalen said she wants more information in case “there’s a meth lab in my development that’s going to blow up the community.” Supervisor and Board Chairman Bob Cocchi said Whalen’s report was the first he heard of any drug busts in the region. With a new lieutenant at the Blooming Grove barracks, Cocchi suggested Lieutenant Christopher Paris be invited to a township meeting so he could “introduce himself and let us know what’s going on in our township.” Whalen liked the idea of Paris being contacted.  
        Having read “several things that it’s on the rise in Pennsylvania,” Whalen said “drugs is becoming a very large problem in Pennsylvania.” Acknowledging the limited number of police officers, with a “bust like that,” which according to Whalen was under surveillance for some time, the whole idea of drugs is “scary.” After Whalen expressed her concerns that there isn’t a stroke care facility in the immediate region at the March meeting, Wayne Memorial Hospital Public Relations Manager Lisa Champeau and the Director of Patient Care Services James Pettinato, BSN, MHSA, RN spoke at the April meeting about new updates occurring at the hospital to enhance the hospital’s stroke care services. Pleased with what she learned about the hospital’s stroke care, Whalen said learning more about whether there’s drugs in the region is her “new venue.”  
    ••• Private property signs
        Bergit Pinkston spoke to the board about a man posting private property signs on an area of the Towpath near hemlock trees. No one was named, but the Board appeared to know who Pinkston was talking about. The private property signs are problematic, she said because according to his deed, the man does not own the property. Cocchi said he was not aware of the signs, and he was not sure if anything could be done because the property is on a state road. Solicitor Tony Waldron said he wasn’t sure if it was a township issue, unless the siren needed to be accessed.
    Page 2 of 3 - Waldron questioned whether people’s rights are being affected by the new signs. To which, Pinkston said it’s a mix between the needed access to the siren and people use the area to go swimming. She said large boulders have been placed in the area so people can’t park, and because the man is a, “hot-headed person,” she questioned what will happen.
    Waldron said the township does not have the right to enforce private property disputes regarding access to a river “or anything like that,” as that is “not a township issue.” However, if the situation affects the siren, he said the township can look into that. When the solar panel was damaged by rocks a few months back, Cocchi said although no one has been charged, “everybody knows just about who did it.” But with no proof, he added that “we’re at a loss.”
    Although Pinkston said the land is not in the unnamed man’s deed, Waldron said “that doesn't automatically mean it’s not his because sometimes deeds are defective.” If by chance the man doesn’t own the property, Waldron said it would be good to learn who does. However, “the township doesn’t get involved in private disputes” because tax payer money can’t be used to “deal with that kind of a problem.” Waldron said the Pike County tax office should be contacted, in order to learn who owns the land.
        An update regarding the solar panels that power the early warning siren, Cocchi said the state police were called and an estimated cost to replace the panel is around $3,600.
        Under new business, with a vacancy on the zoning hearing board, if anyone is interested in filling the spot, Cocchi said they need to send a resume to the township.
        A member of the public thanked the Board about an informative newsletter that had information about natural gas. The man questioned if the township would be interested in having gas energy supplement the solar panels. If possible, Cocchi said “it would be a great idea if we could get it.” Supervisor Mike Mancino said an analysis of homes and the total cost was done in the area to see what it would cost if the homes were connected with gas. Because the pipeline goes through the area, he said Fawn Lake and Mast Hope would benefit the most. Now, he said the Board is waiting to learn more about how the area could be affected by the natural gas.
    ••• Students to join Fire Commission
        In an effort to get students active in the community, and with several students from Wallenpaupack Area High School involved in an Emergency Responders Club, where the students learn about emergency services and meet with officials to discuss how the services work, Sheldon Langer from the Fire Commission has met two students who would like to become nonvoting members of the Fire Commission. The students, Langer said would be “real contributors to the group.” Langer commended the Emergency Responders Club Advisor Colleen Edwards, who is also the Career Coordinator at the high school for doing an “excellent job,” by helping the students learn more. One of the reasons for the youth’s participation, he said is that volunteerism for fire departments and emergency services is low and so the students input is essential. The Board voted to amend the bylaws of the fire commission to include the two students.
    Page 3 of 3 -     Lackawaxen Township’s next supervisors' meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the offices along Urban Road.

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