Milford Readers and Writers Festival is cancelled

Milford. "Anticipating where we will be in the fall in terms of compliance, we felt it was prudent to make this announcement now," say organizers of the writers festival. Support local restaurants with All Pike County Transportation Department passengers must now wear masks. Commissioners offer resources for local businesses. Advocates remind Pennsylvanians that help is available to victims and survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence during COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Pennsylvania will ease some restrictions on building construction and vehicle sales. Liquor store closures drive drinkers to seek booze options. Drive-through test site opens in Wilkes-Barre.

| 22 Apr 2020 | 04:11

September writers fest is cancelled

"With heavy hearts and regret," the Pike Artworks Board decided to cancel this year's Milford Readers & Writers Festival, usually held in September, because of the COVID-19 crisis.

"This decision was not taken lightly, but with the knowledge that this is the right and responsible thing to do," said this week's announcement by Edson Whitney and Carol McManus. "In the interest of everyone’s health and well-being as well as anticipating where we will be in the fall in terms of compliance, we felt it was prudent to make this announcement now."

"We are already thinking creatively and have plans to offer Facebook Live events over the coming year to feature conversations with some of your favorite authors."

The dates are already set for next week's festival: "Be sure to bookmark September 17, 18 and 19, 2021. We look forward to seeing you in person then."

For more information visit

Support local restaurants with

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Tourism Office encouraged Pennsylvanians to support local restaurants by visiting the CarryoutPA website, which offers a comprehensive list of restaurants offering takeout, curbside, or delivery services during the state’s stay-at-home order.

“As this public health crisis continues to unfold, it is important that we practice social distancing and adhere to the stay-at-home order when possible,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “But it’s also critical to remember that we can all still do our part to support the restaurants in our communities as they work to provide safe dine-out options.” was developed by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association to serve as a go-to resource for dine-out options in support of the commonwealth’s restaurant industry, which accounts for 10 percent of jobs statewide. Pennsylvania restaurants that would like to be added to the registry can register on the website.

All passengers must wear masks

As of Monday, the Pike County Transportation Department is requiring all passengers to wear masks. This is in-line with recent recommendations issued by the Pike County Commissioners for county facilities, and with Department of Health protocols. For more information visit

Resources for local businesses

The Pike County Commissioners shared the following resources for local businesses regarding economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis:

Economic Development Authority: Call Executive Director Mike Sullivan for more information at 570-296-7332.

Pike County Government Recovery Resources:

Pike County Commissioners COVID-19 updates:

Resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller joined representatives from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to remind Pennsylvanians that resources and assistance are available to victims and survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence during COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“Even though we are all staying at home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we know that staying at home is not necessarily the safest place for many victims and survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence," said Miller. "I want to be clear – if you need help, help is available. You are not alone. No one should have to face an increased risk to their safety, and help is available thanks to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.”

PCAR is a network that provides sexual assault crisis services. Those resources can be found or at 1-888-772-7227 for a 24-hour hotline to be connected to a local sexual assault center

PCADV provides domestic violence services 24-7 via

Wolf to ease restrictions on construction, vehicle sales

(AP) Pennsylvania will ease some restrictions on building construction and vehicle sales, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday as hundreds of protesters defied a ban on mass gatherings to stage an anti-shutdown rally at the Capitol.

Wolf announced a first, tentative step toward reopening the state's economy after weeks of social distancing to combat the new virus, which has killed more than 1,200 Pennsylvania residents and sickened more than 33,000. Wolf said he is signing online-notary legislation that will pave the way for online vehicle sales. And limited building construction work may resume on May 8, he said.

"We are taking small steps toward regaining a degree of normalcy in Pennsylvania,'' Wolf said.

Liquor store closures drive drinkers to seek booze options

(AP) The unparalleled decision a month ago to close the state-owned stores that sell nearly all of Pennsylvania's liquor and much of its wine prompted some people to drive across state lines to stock up, risking a misdemeanor charge. Although Ohio, West Virginia and Delaware have cracked down, vehicles with Pennsylvania tags continue to crowd liquor store parking lots in New York, New Jersey and Maryland border towns amid continuing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf began closing businesses in March, and the Liquor Control Board, after consulting with him, soon shut down its retail outlets. Many liquor cabinets are running low and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's pivot to online sales has been, for most, an exercise in frustration in a state of nearly 13 million people.

"Most people don't have a large store of liquor in their house. For one thing, it's expensive,'' said alcohol writer Lew Bryson, of Langhorne. "I think people are running out of their daily drink, and that's putting the pressure on.''

A couple weeks after the outlets closed, the liquor board restarted its meager online sales system, ramping up this past week by bringing back some workers to fill boxes for home delivery. Before the pandemic, the state liquor board did about 180,000 daily transactions, but as workers began returning, it had only been able to fill more than 4,000 online orders a day. On Saturday, the board announced 175 of the nearly 600 stores will begin taking orders by phone starting Monday for curbside service, with each customer limited to six bottles.

The month of relative sobriety has reinvigorated the perpetual debate over the state's Depression-era liquor store system. Pennsylvania has about six liquor stores -- compared to 20 for typical control states -- for every 100,000 adults, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Drive-through test site opens in Wilkes-Barre

(AP) A drive-through coronavirus testing site has opened in northeastern Pennsylvania for emergency and health workers and older commonwealth residents with symptoms, state officials announced Saturday. The state's health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said the site at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, was sought because "we continue to see case counts increasing there.''

The site began testing Monday for first responders and health care workers from northeastern Pennsylvania who have symptoms of COVID-19, then on Tuesday Pennsylvania residents over age 65 with symptoms as well as first responders and health care workers each day.

Registration a day in advance on the health department's website will be required, but patients won't need a doctor's prescription. Results should be available in two to three business days, and patients will receive an email to log on to the registration site and access their results, officials said. People heading to the site will be required to return home and self-isolate after testing, and they are being urged not to make any stops along the way, such as to a grocery store or pharmacy, Levine said.

"We want people to come to the site and then go back home," Levine said.