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Carbon groups urged to send support for narrowband-capable radios grant

Published July 29. 2011 05:02PM

Municipalities, ambulance organizations, fire companies, and police in Carbon County participating in a nearly $2 million grant application for the purchase of narrowband-capable radios and other devices and have not yet sent the county commissioners their letter of support, please do so now, officials ask.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein stressed the importance of these letters.

"The more letters of support we have (with the application), the better chance we will have at getting the grant," he said.

Nothstein said he has been trying to contact the municipalities and emergency services who have not yet sent in their letter of support. This letter is needed as soon as possible because the application will be sent in next month.

He added that if the letter was sent to the state, the county still needs a copy of it to include in the application.

Municipalities who have not yet sent their letters of support for this project to the county include Banks Township, Kidder Township, Lansford, Lausanne Township, Lower Towamensing Township, Mahoning Township, Nesquehoning, Packer Township, Parryville, and Towamensing Township.

Emergency services that have not sent their letters yet are: fire companies: Beaver Meadows, Franklin Township, Lansford, Mahoning Valley, Penn Forest Township No. 1, Summit Hill, Tresckow, and Towamensing Township; police: Banks Township, Beaver Meadows, East Penn Township, Franklin Township, Mahoning Township, Palmerton, Weatherly, and Weissport; and ambulance: Lake Harmony Rescue, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Palmerton Community, and Greater Weatherly.

Nothstein said that if any municipality or emergency service agency needs assistance in writing the letter, they can contact him at the commissioners' office at (570) 325-3611 and he can provide some sample letters.

To submit a letter, send it to Commissioners' Office, P.O. Box 129, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229; fax it to (570) 325-3622 or email it to

In recent months, Carbon County has volunteered to take the lead on a countywide grant application for local share monies through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to help area municipalities and emergency services get the funds they need to replace their radios, pagers and other communication devices. The need to replace this equipment is due to a Federal Communications Commission mandate that is changing frequencies to narrowband frequencies, meaning that there will be more channels available for emergency services. The cost of this equipment is estimated to be between $500 and $2,000 per item. The deadline for changeover is Dec. 31, 2012.

In other matters, the county voted to increase the fines for people who park at county parking meters in Jim Thorpe and either do not feed the meter or let the meter run out. The new fines will be $10, up from $5.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that this action is consistent with what the borough of Jim Thorpe is doing with its meter fines.

What was happening, O'Gurek said, was people were parking at a meter and staying there all day on the $5 fine, instead of paying $5 and parking in the county-owned parking lot.

"This way, we are hoping to get back to the true meaning of those meters, which is to turn over cars using an allotted time," he said.

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