Most Viewed 2018

The top ten stories on

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  • Tragedy unfolds at Dingmans Falls

  • Church celebrates assault rifles

  • Pill mill doctor found guilty

  • Storm damage closes trails

  • Theft, money laundering, and corruption

  • National Guard responds to power outages

  • Apple Valley seeks culprit in robbery

  • The Hunks of Honesdale pose to fight opioid addiction

  • John Filone, former owner of Mount Haven Country Resort, dies at age 75

Editor's note: One of the blurbs below linking to a story about the late John Filone originally contained an error and has been corrected here.

Church celebrates assault rifles, 30,864 views

The most-read story of 2018 was about a festival that celebrated assault rifles held one week after the school massacre in Parkland, Florida. The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church held its "President Trump Thank You" gun rights dinner in Matamoras and Day to Bear Arms at the church in Newfoundland, which attracted protestors. In recent years, the famous Moon family has brought to Pike County both a company that sells assault rifles and a church that puts them at the center of religious observances. The church's pastor and followers say their devotion to the AR-15 is rooted in Christian love, and that it's up to heavily armed "local militias" to "save our children."

Read the story: Church celebrates assault rifles

Tragedy unfolds at Dingmans Falls, 9,386 views

The devastation at Dingmans Falls wrought by Winter Storm Riley was the second most-read story of the year. The National Park Service was able after months of toil to restore walkways but not the damaged landscape of shade-loving rhododendrons and hemlocks, already weakened by an invasive species from the south. Kathleen Sandt, public information officer for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, said global warming was “absolutely” a factor in this catastrophe.

Read the story: Tragedy unfolds at Dingmans Falls

Pill mill doctor found guilty, 7,506 views

Dr. Fuhai Li was found guilty of illegally prescribing huge amounts of opioid painkillers — nearly 27,000 prescriptions in four years — out of two medical offices in Milford, in this year's third most-read story. Prosecutors found that a Honesdale woman died as a result of using the prescribed pills, and a pregnant woman gave birth to an opioid-dependent baby. Li faces a mandatory 20-year prison sentence for causing the woman's death, and up to life in prison.

Read the story: Pill mill doctor found guilty

Storm damage closes trails, 5,508 views

Readers closely followed the effect of Winter Storm Riley on local trails, many of which shut down because fallen trees blocked paths or were suspended precariously overhead, with the potential to fall on those walking below. The three-year, $2.9 million renovation at the beautiful George W. Childs Park, was largely wiped out. The remains closed indefinitely. Deputy Superintendent Keith Farrar said the National Park Service is "looking at the bigger picture, including the possibility of closing or permanently re-routing some trails to more sustainable locations rather than continually repairing damage after severe storms.”

Read the story: Storm damage closes trails

Theft, money laundering, and corruption, 4,564 views

The fifth most-read story of 2018 was about the founder of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence — the same organization that uses Har Haven, the former Mount Haven Resort, for summer camp — being charged with theft, money laundering, and corruption. The New Jersey attorney general said Rabbi Osher Eisemann stole nearly $1 million in public tuition money from a fundraising foundation for personal business ventures and to pay back taxes.

Read the story: Theft, money laundering, and corruption

National Guard responds to power outages, 3,786 views

Thousands of Pike County residents were left without power for many days after two March storms, less than a week apart, blanketed the area with heavy snow. In the sixth most-read story of 2018, the National Guard turned up to help, along with legions of electrical contractors who converged on the area from as far away as the deep south and Canada.

Read the story: National Guard responds to power outages

Noise ordinance, 2,323 views

Milford Borough, home of outdoor music festivals and a bustling tourist scene, passed a noise ordinance in the seventh most-read story of the year. The law was passed to regulate "loud and offensive sound and noise" in the borough, "promote the health, safety and general welfare of residents and visitors; and protect the interest of local businesses." It replaces an earlier longstanding ordinance that borough board member Adriane Wendell says was "open to broader interpretation with absolutely no ability to enforce."

Read the story: Milford has a new noise ordinance

Restaurant robbery, 3,208 views

Readers were interested in the robbery of Apple Valley Restaurant in Milford, which, together with Cash Masters, offered a cash reward of $5,000 for information leading to a conviction in the crime. Nearly one year later, no arrests have been made.

Read the story: Apple Valley seeks culprit in robbery

Hunks fight opioid addiction, 2,490 views

Ninth on the list of top stories in 2018 are the Hunks of Honesdale, who bared (almost) all for a calendar to fight the opioid crisis. Proceeds from their sale supported the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force. The back of the calendar says, “While this calendar is lighthearted and fun, the heroin epidemic is very serious and unfortunately hits very close to home for all of us here at this establishment. If you need help or someone you know needs help, please reach out. You are not alone. There is no shame in addiction.”

Read the story: The Hunks of Honesdale pose to fight opioid addiction

John Filone dies, 2,089 views

Rounding out the top ten is a profile of John Filone, former owner of Mount Haven Resort, who died on Aug. 24 at age 75. He was one of three brothers who bought the resort in 1966. It soon became a favorite getaway for Yankee ballplayers like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Billy Sample, Rocky Colavito, Joe Pepitone, and Phil Rizzuto, among many others. Jimmy Brozzetti of the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, a Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees, said, “Tony, Andy, and John were gentlemen — always felt like you're at home when you were there. Great dinners, great laughs, and now great memories.”

Editor's note: The above introduction to John Filone's obituary originally contained an error that John Filone was the last surviving of three brothers. This is incorrect. Andy Filone survives John. The obituary itself is accurate, as is a feature story that ran later titled "Remembering John Filone, an extraordinary host." The Courier regrets the error.

Read the story: John Filone, former owner of Mount Haven Country Resort, dies at age 75

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