Mifflinburg officials review Sunday Pride Event

Demonstrators expressing different points of view mingled on a corner along Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg, during the Mifflinburg Pride Event on Sunday.

MIFFLINBURG — A citation was issued during the Sunday, July 26, Mifflinburg Pride Event with an investigation into another incident pending.

A summary harassment charge has been filed against Vincent R. Yonai, 47, of Mifflinburg, after he allegedly threatened John J. Grandis, 44, of Williamsport.

A release from Mifflinburg Police alleged that at about 1:18 p.m., at 629 Chestnut St., Yonai said, “I will kill you” toward Grandis, while holding a baseball bat. A non-traffic citation was filed with District Judge Jeffrey Mensch.

Mifflinburg Police Chief Jeff Hackenberg said an investigation into a separate scuffle between two adult males was ongoing. The department has asked anyone with video footage of the altercation at Fourth and Chestnut streets to contact them at 570-966-1027.

Mayor David Cooney reiterated a decision to not issue a permit to the coalition of groups which sought to hold the event using a street or in a local public park.

“The denial has nothing in any way to do with their message or the message of any of the groups that were there,” Cooney said of the roadway issue. “It was strictly, and I emphasize strictly, a safety concern.”

A motion to allow the event in Mifflinburg Community Park also died without being seconded by Mifflinburg Borough Council. The attendance expected at the time would have likely exceeded the 250-person limit imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

“There are many, many people standing on the south side of Chestnut Street, State Route 45, literally inches away from traffic that is whizzing by,” Cooney noted. “This is not a safe situation, therefore I cannot approve a permit when people are telling me they are going to stand in an unsafe situation.”

The mayor stressed his duties included maintaining the safety of residents, visitors and motorists passing through on the day of an event.

“If someone were to get injured by stepping in front of a car or what have you, that would put the borough at tremendous responsibility and I would never be able to live with myself,” Cooney said.

Cooney’s comments came after a message was posted on a Facebook page which claimed the mayor ignored the duties of the office.

The post to the If Not Us, Then Who site called for the mayor’s constituents to hold him accountable for the action they claimed did not keep them safe “if something went wrong.” The post also described Mifflinburg Borough as rife with hatred and discrimination and called on the mayor to take action.

If Not Us, Then Who was one of several groups to form the I Am Alliance as demonstrations on behalf of a variety of causes have continued in communities throughout the region.

Cooney commended Green New Deal Lewisburg, Mifflinburg Against Racism and Hate and the Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society for their contributions to the day.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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