Falls Township Bridge Project Addressed – Commissioners Meeting Cut Short

Deputy sheriff Joseph Miller (back, right) was congratulated on Tuesday morning by sheriff Bob Roberts (back, left) and Wyoming County Commissioners (front, from left) Tom Henry, Rick Wilbur and Ernie King for completing his course work with the state’s sheriff training academy

Story by Rick Hiduk

(Exclusive to EndlessMtnLifestyles.com readers)

A discussion aired publicly last week at a meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners gained traction in the days that followed as Sen. Lisa Baker, Rep. Karen Boback and the commissioners worked with PennDOT to avoid a planned closure of Rt. 92 for a bridge replacement.

In a press release from Sen. Baker’s office on Tuesday, it was disclosed that PennDOT would instead install a temporary traffic signal when they start the work of dismantling a historic hand-laid stone bridge under the roadway just south of the former EIHAB facility.

Following input from Wyoming County business owners and community leaders, PennDOT has revised plans for a 29-mile detour, the statement read.

There are numerous businesses located along this corridor that would not be able to manage such a lengthy disruption,” said Rep. Boback. “We also heard from residents who explained why the detour would be burdensome.”

We appreciate the department’s willingness to listen to the community and go back to the drawing board,” Sen. Baker stated. “We are glad we were able to find a practical solution.”

The legislators also thanked the county commissioners and Fall Township supervisors for advocating on behalf of citizens. The work is expected to begin next year.

The matter would likely have been brought up again by the commissioners this morning at a planned virtual meeting. But the Zoom system that they have been using for public meetings was not working properly. A few people were able to join by phone but, after beginning the monthly prison board meeting and finding it difficult to juggle questions from reporters who could not hear everything that was going on, the commissioners decided to cancel the meeting and reschedule it for Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Prior to adjourning, warden Ken Repsher reported that there are currently 54 inmates in the system, including 39 men and 15 woman. Six are boarded out, and five are out on furlough. The latter, Repsher explained afterward via email, are inmates out for special purposes, such as rehab, special programming, evaluations, and funerals. There is no additional cost to the county.

The outsourced individuals are all in Wayne County. “This is to allow us to maintain available space for segregation of new commits until they are cleared to go into the general population with a negative Covid response,” Repsher explained. There are still no Covid cases at the jail in Tunkhannock, for which he expressed gratitude.

He also addressed the recent departure of deputy warden Gordon Traveny, who took a post in Lackawanna County. “Our loss is their gain,” said Repsher. “He’s going to be missed up here.” The Wyoming County Correctional Facility is still short on staff. Ads have been placed for more corrections officers, Repsher noted, but there has been no response. He thanked his staff for keeping operations up to speed despite being stretched thin.

The commissioners congratulated Joseph Miller for completing state-certified deputy sheriff training in a relatively short period of time by attending classes six instead of five days a week. “I think this is the first time this has been done,” commissioner Henry said of Miller putting his training on the fast track.

Lastly, commissioner Rick Wilbur asked for a moment of silence to recognize the passing of Irene Baker, widow of former county commissioner Willard Baker.

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