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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • State Police commander briefs residents

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  • LACKAWAXEN TWP. - After hearing about a supposed drug bust in Fawn Lake in May, Lackawaxen Township resident Sally Whalen expressed her concerns about the potential for a “meth lab in my development that's going to blow up the community,” at the township's June meeting. To address her fears, Lackawaxen Township supervisors invited Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Christopher Paris from the Blooming Grove barracks to introduce himself and answer questions at the July meeting.
        Paris presented the audience with a brief overview of his time in the field and how the department's “arrest statistics are up” as the officers “are doing the best that we can.” Looking at the size and population of Pike County, he also spoke about how the department operates. This year, Paris said the department's driving under the influence arrests have more than doubled from January 1 through June 30. Heroine however, continues to be a “major problem,” even though other incidents in Lackawaxen Township hadn't seemed to increase. Many of the calls were actually false alarms. With six new troopers, who just graduated from the Hershey academy, Paris said the new troopers are going through additional training that will go into the winter.  
        Many questions came from the public, like what rights a person has if someone breaks into their home. Paris answered by telling the person what the law is and where to find further information because each incident is, “very fact-outcomes determinative.”
        When one man asked Paris about criteria for getting a carrying permit, he answered by directing the man to State Representative Mike Peifer. As the man gave his opinion about gun laws, Paris responded by saying he technically works for the executive branch, which wasn't helpful considering the topic at hand was about a legislative issue.  
        The number of crime incidents, has been steady and the department has given over 800 citations throughout the last year. With the work that is being done, Paris said the officers are doing the same job, but they are “working harder.” Very pleased with the staff, Paris commended the officers' work as they handle issues like the construction that is occurring on Interstate 84. Trying to be visible, Paris said, “we try to do as much as we can; with the staffing we have.”
        A majority of concerns the department receives, Paris said are complaints about response time. Not allowed to tell how many cars are on patrol, Paris did say the officers are out in the field because they are, “not like homing pigeons at the barracks.” With no quotas to reach, Paris said he wants “aggressive enforcement,” with officers enforcing the law as “response time is always paramount.”
    Page 2 of 3 -     A Long Island transplant, Barbara Rauch asked Paris if a police cruiser could be stationed in the area every day. Paris answered that the officers are in the region, more than once a day. When she lived on Long Island, Rauch said police were often found at fire departments and “they always know what's going on.” But here with “so many fire departments,” it takes officers longer to respond to calls. Paris answered, that he can't specifically designate a car to sit in Lackawaxen Township everyday, but the township is part of the patrol zone, where the officers are supposed to be visible.
        Also from Long Island, Vera Fredak questioned if statistics on response time are kept. She noted that Lackawaxen Township is “nothing like the island.” But, “frankly the response from you guys is kind of considered a joke.” Paris said statistics are kept, but he can't publicly release what the times are. If a person had a bad incident, Paris left his business card at the meeting so he could look into the incident. As a rural department, Paris said the “statistics bear out.”  
    ••• Westcolang Road closure
        The rumor regarding the closure of Westcolang Road is true. Cocchi said the bid for the work has been awarded, but an exact date for the road closure is not known yet. The work will not begin, until the appropriate equipment is received.
          In regards to concerns about emergency responders reaching the homes on the road, Cocchi said the Board is “working on that.” As of the meeting, there was an idea to have an ambulance stationed on the other side of the road. Supervisor Richard Krochta said even if there wasn't construction occurring on the road, it takes responders from the Central Firehouse time to reach residences. And so, for a time frame, Krochta said “hopefully” it would be a “week at the most.”
          The construction is occurring, he said because the road is collapsing, due to the rotting pipes that should have been replaced about 18 years ago. The timeframe of the project is not known as of yet, but Cocchi said people will be forewarned with signs in the area. Without a definite schedule because of the wait for equipment, Waldron said hopefully the work will be done around the third week in August.
    ••• Other items
        • Township Secretary Camille James was appointed to be the secretary for the planning commission board. James was also chosen to be the second alternate for the Upper Delaware Council Board.
        • Supervisor Mike Mancino reported that he had received emails and calls from the Board of Directors at Fawn Lake Forest regarding noise coming from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline pumping station. He said after the station was upgraded, a “consistent humming noise,” has continued. Mancino was told that a noise suppressor was placed on the unit to “reduce the vibration of the noise.” He added that the persons have done what they could to address the noise issue. And so, the Board will write a letter to the “appropriate parties,” stating township residents are upset about the noise.
    Page 3 of 3 -     Supervisor Chairman Bob Cocchi said the area's four fire departments have toured the station and the system will be shut down so members of the department can see the station better. The supervisors, he said, haven't been to the station since it was upgraded. But, after the July meeting, they planned to visit to learn why the pumping station is making a noise.  
        • Regarding the old business bond letters, Township Solicitor Tony Waldron reported that he has been unable to contact the property owners; even though they are set to get their money back.  
        • An old lot consolidation for the township, Waldron reported that the combined parcels are just over 10 acres. Two parcels will be combined with township property, and the remaining work can be done without further surveying. Cocchi said the lot consolidation was being done to “put all the properties on one.” The purpose of the consolidation, Cocchi said is to show that the township owns the property, and a salt shed can be placed on the land.
        • An amendment for the Fire Commission was passed. An addition to the amendment, was a list of who is involved, such as some high school students who participate in emergency service companies. The supervisors amended the bylaws and commission, to include a provision for two student representatives, who will serve on the Commission. The resolution accomplishes the provision. The amendment also looks at representatives for fire companies, the ambulance service, the board of supervisors having a representative and citizens at large.
        • Waldron said there was a hearing, regarding a request for a liquor license, that was transferred into the township from another municipality. This, he said, is allowed under the state's liquor law. A hearing is required though, which will determine whether the township could allow it.
         • A township resident, who told his wife he would behave, asked the Board why there was a 2 percent franchise tax on his last television bill and where the money goes. Cocchi answered the man, telling him that Blue Ridge Cable spoke with Lackawaxen Township before he was a supervisor, asking for a franchise. But now, Cocchi said he wasn't sure if the Board agreed to an increase. According to Cocchi, every township pays a franchise tax and the tax is not new. Waldron said there are provisions in agreements regarding customers asking questions for service and rates. To answer the man's concern, Cocchi said the Board would call Blue Ridge.
        • Also at the meeting, the 2014 fee schedule was amended to include a $250 fee to make a license transfer.
        The next Lackawaxen Township meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the offices on Urban Road.

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