Providing Halloween fun for over 20 years, the Wysox Haunted House is gearing up for this year’s event with some new twists.
Building on last year, this year’s event will feature a craft and vendor fair in the main hall, along with basket raffles, event T-shirt sales, and much more, providing lots for people to do besides touring the haunted house. Something special this year is the new family fun, “no scare” event weekends, which are the first two weekends in October. For these two weekends, the haunted house tour will feature no scare fun nights, appropriate for young children and those who wish to avoid strobe lighting and other sensory triggers, as well as a free kid’s craft table, representatives from scouts, and more. The full scare fright night events will begin the week of Oct. 21 and will run through Nov. 2.
“The event provides so much more than Halloween fun,” says events coordinator Mary Sturdevant. “It provides a way for people to get involved with their community in a positive way. Each year we have between 40 and 60 volunteers involved with the event. Over the years, we have had many high school students do their community service projects at the haunted house. We have volunteers who come from all over the county to help. They do everything from ticket and T-shirt sales to baking cookies and, designing and building sets, and acting in the haunted house. I have to thank our leadership team as well, as they are always on the go for the haunted house and are already making plans for next year’s event.“
In addition to the craft fair and haunted house tours, the haunted house will be sponsoring the Third Annual Halloween for Hunger food drive, which benefits local food pantries in the Towanda and Wyalusing areas. Donations of non-perishable food items, bar soap, and toilet paper may be dropped off any event night. Those wishing to tour the haunted house will receive discounted admission with their food pantry donation.
The Wysox Haunted House will take place Friday and Saturday nights once it kicks off on Oct. 4. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Anyone with questions about this year’s event can reach an event coordinator one of three ways: send a message through the Wysox Haunted House Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (570) 485-4472.
Unfunded federal mandates aimed at reducing pollution from stormwater runoff flowing into Pennsylvania waterways are stretching the resources of communities across the commonwealth.
Despite the mandates, minimum control measures (MCMs) aimed at controlling preventable pollution have not reduced the volume of pollutants flowing into local and regional waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay, said Steven Taglang, acting director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Clean Water.
The requirements are part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection implements on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The federal program regulates stormwater discharges from three sources: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities and industrial activities.
“Many local leaders are facing difficult decisions in order to meet the mandated MS4 requirement,” state Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, said during a recent hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants, including trash, oils and sediment as it flows across the land and impervious surfaces such as paved surfaces and the roofs of buildings. These pollutants can damage streams, rivers and lakes.
“We have to maintain the streams, but we have to do it in a way that everybody has to be involved in it, and I think that people have to be upfront about it,” state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Bradford, said during the hearing. “That helps MS4.”
The MS4 program traces its origins to the 1990s and the EPA pushed a 2018 Pennsylvania MS4 permit requirement intended to reduce current pollution levels. Under the provision, MS4s prepare Pollutant Reduction Plans to determine the pollutant levels and develop best management practices (BMPs) designed to capture nutrients and sediment.
MS4 requirements are mostly unchanged since 2003.
“To fund BMP installation, operation, and maintenance, municipalities can use tax-based revenue sources; municipalities and authorities can also use fee-based revenue sources,” Taglang said in prepared testimony.
“DEP encourages the use of fee systems because they assign costs based on the amount of stormwater runoff generated by each parcel of property,” Taglang added. “However, DEP does not have the authority to require stormwater fee systems nor does DEP have a standard for the creation of stormwater fee systems.”
Ben Thomas Jr., the mayor of Greencastle and the manager of Cumberland Township, told lawmakers he supports the original intent of MS4 legislation, but the costs of implementation are burdening his communities.
Greencastle, a 1.6 square mile borough with 4,000 residents, began charging MS4 fees, and the first billing cost taxpayers almost $300,000, Thomas said.
“This is the largest unfunded mandate ever to financially burden us,” he said in his written testimony.
Theft of services
Michael Bunch, 48, of Brownville is facing a charge of misdemeanor theft of services — acquisition of service following an incident at the Bradford Inn in September.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Towanda Borough police received a report that Bunch had stayed at the establishment for approximately a month, but had not paid for the last week of stay.
Bunch has a preliminary hearing on Oct. 16 with Magisterial District Judge Todd Carr.
Jacqueline Churchill, 57, Skaneateles is facing DUI related charges following an incident in Sayre on July 27.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Sayre Borough police witnessed Churchill stopping in the middle of the road at the intersection of N. Elmer Avenue and Allison Street before continuing straight. Churchill is further accused of making exaggerated driving motions away from parked vehicles, according to the affidavit. A traffic stop was conducted and Churchill exhibited signs of being under the influence of alcohol. Churchill was asked to perform a standard field sobriety test and was taken for a blood draw which revealed a .263 percent blood alcohol content and the presence of THC.
Churchill is facing charges of misdemeanor DUI: highest rate of alcohol — first offense, misdemeanor DUI: controlled substance — schedule one — first offense, summary violation illegal park in intersection and summary violation careless driving.
Churchill has a preliminary hearing on Oct. 11 with Magisterial District Judge Todd Carr.
Athens retail theft
Dana Owlett, 44, of Addison is facing retail theft related charges following an incident at Walmart in Athens on Aug. 6.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Athens Township police were at Walmart when they spotted an individual they recognized from a previous unsolved retail theft in May. After taking the individual into custody, she stated that she had keys to a vehicle in the parking lot and a male was occupying the vehicle. Officers located the vehicle and talked with Dana Owlett who was in the vehicle. An investigation was conducted and it was discovered that Owlett, the individual from the previous case and a third defendant were attempting to steal items from the store in a large tote. The stolen items were totalled to $1,141.81 in value.
Owlett is facing charges of felony retail theft — take merchandise in the third degree, felony criminal attempt — retail theft — take merchandise in the third degree and felony criminal conspiracy engaging — retail theft — take merchandise in the third degree.
Owlett has a formal arraignment on Oct. 3 with Judge Evan Williams III.
Shannon Clark, 42, of Towanda is facing DUI related charges following a motor vehicle accident on June 8.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania State Police received a call relating that there was a car in a ditch. Clark was found in the vehicle and displayed “slow and sluggish” movements, according to the affidavit. Clark told troopers she was coming from a wedding and had three alcoholic beverages. Clark was asked to perform a standard field sobriety test and was taken for a blood draw which revealed a .229 percent blood alcohol content.
Clark is facing charges of misdemeanor DUI: general impairment of driving safely — first offense, misdemeanor DUI: highest rate of alcohol — first offense and summary violation careless driving.
Clark has a formal arraignment on Sept. 30 with Judge Maureen Beirne.