(WBRE/WYOU) — A convicted child rapist is sentenced in Monroe County Court Thursday.

45-year-old Matthew Sisler will spend more than 63 years behind bars. He was convicted of drugging and raping a 14-year-old girl in September 2018 in Barrett Township.

The assaults happened over a period of about seven years beginning when she was just seven years old. Sisler had nothing to say in court while the victim allowed a letter about her ordeal to be read into the sentencing record.


[WNEP Article]

Update 1/7/2020 @ 10am

I am posting the remainder of the email thread between myself and Karl Stearns that didn't make it into the comments area:


1/7/2020 @ 8:45am

My reference to you not understanding correctly was that you stated the Supervisors owned Barrett Elementary School and that is not correct.  The school was owned by the Pocono Mountain School District until it was sold supposedly for “senior housing”—which never materialized.

The whole history of the building of this school and the school in Tobyhanna is convoluted.  We were told back then that the old buildings were no longer “compliant” with laws regulating access by handicapped people.  Mostly because they were multistory buildings with no elevators.  The teachers were propagandizing the issue because the whole drive was to have new schools—nothing else.  Kids were going home armed with talking points to their parents and anyone who would listen about all the poor handicapped children who couldn’t attend school because the buildings were “old”.  I witnessed one young girl it total meltdown with tears and hysterical rambling as she tried to explain it to a group of adults. Amazingly, after the old buildings were vacated, they were eventually used again by the school district for classrooms. 

The quality of the schools in the PMSD became a selling feature that helped fuel the explosion in home sales in Monroe County.  City families were seeing ads touting the “advanced” Pocono Mountain School District with computer labs, new schools, sports stadiums….hell, yeah….let’s move to the Poconos.  Oh, and the “train to New York” was “just around the corner”—like it has been for almost 40 years.  A pipe dream that has been maintained by a close knit band of politicians because it is a financial boondoggle and has provided cushy jobs and big paychecks to a bunch of hacks.  You want to investigate things?  Look into that—and look into the history of the PMSD.

So, when the BEC and TEC were closed because of declining enrollment in the PMSD—due mostly to the financial implosion of 2009, the decision was made to put them up for sale.  Naturally, the taxpayers anticipated a reduction in school taxes since our money was extracted from us to pay for these expensive schools.  “Nope” said the School Board.  “State law prohibits us from refunding money.  We are required to SPEND the money.”  So, as is usual, suddenly we had an enormous need to have the children attending the Pocono Mountain West High School obtain a sports stadium.  The reason?  Well, they needed to have “school spirit” since it was demoralizing to the poor children to have to go to the “old” high school to play their football games.  So, millions of dollars was allocated to build a facility for them—funded by the sale of the school buildings.  Then of course the “old” high school needed an expensive upgrade to the turf on their playing field…again funded by the sale of the school buildings.

The history of this, along with the supposed “train service to New York” are just a couple of examples of the corruption and lack of care for the taxpayers—and the lack of common sense often exhibited by elected officials.  You can probably research the entire PMSD thing in the Pocono Record archives because it was all written up there.  There is a railway board that oversees the “train to New York”….they even built train stations in Mt. Pocono and Delaware Water Gap.  It’s a joke.


1/7/20 @ 8:51am

Are you saying that BEC was *always* part of PMSD? 

I was under the impression that it was a standalone / separate school that was formerly owned by Barrett Township. 

Somewhere between 1989 (when the school was built) and 2009 (when I moved into town) the school district took it over, no?

Your write-up below is really good, can I post it...? 

1/7/20 @ 9:15am

It was always owned by PMSD.  The old Barrett Elementary School was owned by the township like 50 years ago, but when they formed the PMSD, the property was turned over to the PMSD, and they build the BEC on the land behind the old school.    Sure, you can post my reply.  I’m hoping some others of the people who have been here for a long time will have similar recollections.  That’s one of the handy things for politicians—when no one remembers past history so they don’t raise any issues.  People need to know, or be reminded, of how this all developed and it should affect decisions for the future.

[Original Post Below]

Editor's Note:  

If I understand correctly, at one point, Barrett Elementary School was owned by the Township of Barrett. It was later 'given' to Pocono Mountain School District? 

Now it's for sale a second time. 

Why wasn't it returned to the people of Barrett after it closed down in 2013?  


Recent History:

  • 2013 - PMSD closes school due to declining enrollment
  • 2015 - April - Barrett Supervisors issue "the following conditions" to Shepherds of Monroe County (see Supervisor Meeting Minutes, April 8, 2015; page 2) which include the "construction of an emergency access road north of the existing building, such that fire trucks could access that side of the building without getting stuck."  How much would these regulatory burdens have added to the developers' costs?  
  • 2015 - June - PMSD sells property & building to Barrett Senior Housing LP (sale price - $1.6 million)
  • 2020 - For Sale - $2.1 million

BARRETT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- For the past 35 years, Gretchen Callie Reisenwitz and her husband Mark called Callie's Pretzel Factory near Cresco home.

"This is what I've done my whole life," said Gretchen Callie Reisenwitz, Callie's Pretzel Factory.

Every day for more than three decades, Mark would show up bright and early to make pretzels.

A $50-plus million plan for the construction of a new building adjacent to the Monroe County Courthouse is taking shape as a new board of county commissioners prepares to take office in January.

The ambitious plan, discussed for years as a way to cope with an old, cramped courthouse and explosive growth in civil and criminal cases, would involve the county taking the drive-through PNC bank at Sixth and Sarah streets, either through a purchase or through eminent domain, as the county did with 701 Main St., which it took to alleviate some space constraints in county offices.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 15:34

2020 Millage Rates for Barrett Township

Per Resolution No. 121119B, Barrett Township Supervisors have set the 2020 budget and millage rates. 

For comparison purposes, I have constructed the following table showing the 2020 vs. previous millage rates:

Mills 2020  2019
General Purpose 1.7933 14.0
Park 0.096 0.75
Fire 0.2562 2.0
Library 0.1922 1.5
Road Machinery 0.16  1.25
Open Space 0.032  0.25
Ambulance 0.064  0.5
Total 2.5937 20.25


How is the millage rate calculated?
The county, municipality, and school district (taxing authorities) set their budgets for 2020. The taxing authority then divides its budget by the total assessed value of all property within the area it serves to arrive at a millage rate.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 15:06

Barrett Voters Write in Auditor

I'm honored!  A sincere thanks to the people who voted for me. 

It looks like the article I wrote last year about "suggestions for improvements to financial statements" has already helped.  The 2018 CPA audit is twice as long as 2017's, containing many more details than prior. 

Unfortunately, the 2020 budget has been released and is still under the existing format, with no actual vs. estimated, no comparisons with last year, and no notes.  This makes it difficult for voters to dissect, understand, and discuss the budget. 


Wednesday, 11 December 2019 09:12

Giant Gingerbread House in the Poconos

(WBRE/WYOU) — A delicious holiday tradition can be enjoyed at a resort in the Poconos.

A giant gingerbread house can be found at the Skytop Lodge in Barrett Township. The sweet endeavor begins months in advance with the planning stage. Then the preparations begin.

It takes 920 eggs, 612 pounds of flour, five pounds each of ginger, sugar, and spice and hours of labor. This is the 10th year for the gingerbread house.

BARRETT TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A man died this afternoon after he was pinned underneath his vehicle in an accident in Barrett Township, Monroe County.

Police say Richard Simon was working on his car on the side of the road when it fell on top of him.

Simon’s son freed him using a car jack, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.

The incident is under investigation.


Editor's Note: Read it for yourself
 Fact Finding Report

Update 12/13/19 @ 8:30am
Are PMSD bus drivers organizing an informal strike?

PMSD rejects fact finder’s report

On Wednesday evening the Pocono Mountain School District Board of Education voted to reject the fact finder’s recommendations regarding support staff contract negotiations. The vote was 7-1, with one abstention.

“It is with profound disappointment that our association learned of the board’s vote to reject the neutral fact finder’s recommendations for a fair settlement. We felt that his recommendations were a fair compromise that allowed both sides to move forward. Our members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the fact finder’s report. It’s frustrating to see the board’s lack of urgency to resolve this matter,” stated Dawn Cello, president of the Pocono Mountain Educational Support Professionals Association.


The state Senate has passed legislation to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania from $7.25 per hour to $9.50 per hour by 2022, but the move, which now heads to the state House for consideration, does not have universal support.

Raising the minimum wage “will cut off access to work experience for those trying to enter or re-enter the workforce, such as teenagers and former inmates, halting economic progress in its tracks for many Pennsylvanians,” Commonwealth Foundation Vice President & COO Nathan Benefield charged in a statement.

“Instead of pushing counterproductive wage mandates, policymakers should focus on proven ways to boost economic opportunity for all, including enacting commonsense spending limits to prevent tax hikes, lowering Pennsylvania’s extreme corporate tax rate to promote job growth, and cutting licensing requirements so low-income earners can start their own businesses and control their own futures,” Benefield added.