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The approaching demise of the Ames Store in Montrose has become the basis for a letter that could impact on future business and economic development in the county.
Justin Taylor, director of the Susquehanna County Economic Development Department, was given the green light to respond to the letter at last weeks meeting of the EDD Board of Directors.
"I am writing," the author said, "to express my concern and my wish that we try to have a Target Store replace Ames Store in Montrose definitely not a WalMart. And we need to keep any new store and other commerce and shops all going in Montrose not New Milford."
Mr. Taylor said his response will focus on the theme that the Economic Development Department is a county-sponsored organization that was formed to promote business and industrial development throughout the county.
"I would like to point out," Mr. Taylor emphasized, "that the Economic Development Department works for the county not just Montrose."
Mr. Taylor said there is no letterhead indicating the source of the letter. He refused to disclose who signed the letter but he did say it is a form letter that apparently was distributed to whomever was willing to affix their signature to it.
"We want to respond," said Robert Templeton, county planning director, "to show that we do care, but that our goal is to secure business and industrial development throughout the county."
Concerning the soon-to-be-empty Ames Store, Mr. Taylor said he has had some inquiries but nothing promising. He said he is following up on all leads and maintaining contact with store chains that might be more receptive to locating in Montrose.
While he was not optimistic about finding a replacement for Ames, Mr. Taylor told the directors that "things are looking good." He said he is getting inquiries about retail business sites but they are scared away from the Ames Store by the price tag to lease or buy.
In another matter, the directors approved a motion authorizing Mr. Taylor and his staff to offer business places in the county the opportunity to share some space on the EDD Web Pages.
In a meeting of the countys Rail Committee, which is an EDD spin-off committee, Mr. Taylor reported that four counties, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming, are united in their efforts to restore passenger service to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Mr. Taylor said one thought under consideration is the joint purchase of a "shuttle bus" on rails that would carry passengers from the four counties to railroad stations that feature passenger service to all parts of the country. However, Mr. Taylor emphasized that it is an idea for the future. The "shuttle bus", which is similar in appearance to a subway car, would carry a maximum of 92 passengers.
In a related matter, the committee approved a motion seeking approval from the Board of Commissioners to spend $1,500 as its share of a four-county inter-municipal rail study that will focus on technology and the feasibility of coordinating expanding rail service.
Mr. Taylor and Rowland Sharp, EDD chairman, brought the committee up to date on the problems the county is having taking over the access road in the SOLIDA Industrial park. Both men agreed that the county should support SOLIDA in a condemnation proceeding to acquire some 200 feet of the access road now owned by the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Mr. Sharp said Myron DeWitt, SOLIDAs solicitor, would initiate the condemnation proceedings and that it would not cost the county any money.
Mr. Sharp said the condemnation proceedings could be started while SOLIDA negotiates with Norfolk Southern on the amount of money it owes the railroad. SOLIDA and the railroad were recently given 90 days to reach an amicable agreement on the debt or the matter will go before a Public Utility Commission Administrative Judge.
Despite the absences of the chairman, vice chairman and secretary, the Susquehanna County Planning Commission held its regular meeting on September 24 in the County Office Building and attended to a varied assortment of issues.
County Planning Director Robert Templeton reported that he and secretary/planner Amy Payne will be meeting with comprehensive plan coordinator Carson Helfrich this coming week, to assemble the completed draft components and reconcile these with the proposed table of contents. Then this work will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and outside reviewers. Templeton says, "In the introduction to the plan there are certain questions asked and problems identified. We need to find out if what has been written so far answers those questions or addresses those problems." Updating the county comprehensive plan has been a big project that is finally coming to fruition.
Disregarding the urging of the Planning Commission at the August meeting, the County Commissioners did not pursue the possibility of appointing a representative to the Community Education Council. Consequently, the Planning Commission is joining other interested officials in working with Montrose Area High School to provide distance learning to the community through Mansfield University. Course offerings are being chosen and classes may begin as early as January. Positive responses have also been received from Marywood, Wilkes University, Keystone College and Penn State University Worthington Campus.
The Planning Commission will offer a letter of support for the designation of route 92 as a PENNDOT Scenic By-way. This could lead to a grant, similar to those given for Rails to Trails. If the Scenic By-way designation is acquired, a committee will work with PENNDOT to implement the project.
The electronic age is causing some confusion on survey maps. The raised, signed seals of surveyors are being replaced by electronic copies and the Planning Commission voted to accept only maps that carry the original seal. New subdivisions included granting preliminary acceptance for Andre & Son, Inc. commercial development of their lands on SR 706, contingent upon a favorable municipality report from Bridgewater Township, the erosion and sedimentation review from the Soil Conservation District, and clarification of the location of an electric line right-of-way. Preliminary and final approval was given for the major two-lot subdivision of Donald Belcher in Gibson and Clifford Townships, and preliminary and final approval of the Thomas and Arlene Motter three-lot major subdivision in Lathrop Township.
Deputy Director Eleanor Kurosky noted that there have been more subdivisions this year than in previous years. The Planning office has also approved more plans. She attributes this to additions and properties being subdivided for family members, rather than for more businesses.
The Planning Commission reiterated that meeting dates will be off schedule in October and December due to conflicts. The October meeting will be held on the 22nd, and the December meeting will be December 17. All meetings are in the County Office Building at 7:30 p.m.
Based on information relayed by Secretary Margaret Biegert, a motion carried to accept the minimum obligation (contribution) for 2003, to the police pension fund. Mrs. Biegert said there would be more information available at the finance meeting on October 8. The boros insurance costs for the coming year will be considerably less than anticipated, $1,500 below what had been quoted. And, Mrs. Biegert completed Quick Books payroll training, which was offered through DCED. One suggestion presented was to consider the Sesquicentennial committees account as a donation, as the committees records are not kept at the boro office; the committee would need to continue to provide the boro with yearly financial reports, as they have been doing. A motion carried to accept the secretarys report.
Mayor Kelly reported that the American Heritage River Initiative committee representatives have attended municipal meetings in the Montrose area to explain the procedure to get Rte. 92 declared as a scenic byway. Hopefully, she said, the committees efforts will culminate in the communities along the river being declared a tourist area. Mrs. Kelly attended a DCED sponsored Greenway meeting, which had been held in the boro on September 18. The program is similar to a federal program and is still in the preliminary planning stages. It had been, she said very informative.
Council president Ron Whitehead read two letters council had received, from high school students who will serve as junior council members. Sara Buccis letter stated that she is interested in local government, has been active in a political party, and is interested in current events. Amber Hurlburts letter stated that she is interested in getting involved in local politics, and is intrigued with how the local system of government works. Both will be invited to an upcoming council meeting to be "sworn in."
Also read was a letter from the Susquehanna County Historical Society, which stated that they are working on budget for the coming year, and have not received a 2002 donation from boro. The library is also requesting that contributing municipalities consider increasing their donations. The letter added that the library has approached surrounding municipalities who do not make contributions, to ask them to consider financial support. Mrs. Biegert said that the 2002 donation had been paid; she will contact the library to clear up the matter, and to get an idea of what they are looking for regarding an increase.
Council read a letter received from Adams Cable, in response to a request made for a representative to attend a council meeting to discuss concerns that had been raised by residents. The letter outlined plans for the boro and the surrounding communities; they will be upgrading their system, adding 30 more channels and high speed internet access, so that residents will be provided with the same services that other areas currently receive from Adams. It is expected that the upgrades will be complete by the spring of 2003.
Boro resident Jackie Tarbox requested time on the agenda, to discuss ongoing problems with the owner of an adjacent property, and to ask for help. The situation, she said, was affecting the property values of homes in the area, and she provided photographs so that council members could see some of her concerns. One recurring problem she has encountered is that, when vehicles are parked on the adjacent property, the boro police have been sent to her home to find the vehicles owners; the owners are not at her home. "I cant prevent others from parking there," she said. She said that there are "no parking" signs posted at the property, but they have been moved to different areas of the property from time to time.
Mrs. Tarbox asked if the area has been zoned residential; if so, why is a business being conducted from there? There have been raw materials dumped at the site, which is adjacent to Drinker Creek. There have been concrete slabs dumped, which have rolled down into her yard. She asked if the owner would be required to put up a retaining wall, , which would have to be done according to code specifications. "Im worried about safety," she said, as well as the lot being an eyesore for its neighbors. "Id like to sell my house some day, but (the site) is bringing property values down." There was also a concern raised from another audience member, that there is an exposed drainage pipe on the property. Mrs. Tarbox said that the drainpipe is emptying into the creek. There have been trucks and bulldozers at the site, and water is being pumped out of the creek into a tanker truck. She has contacted the state, but their only response was to say that the "no parking" signs could not be moved around. DEP was contacted, but would not conduct an environmental impact study; neither would several county entities she contacted.
Mrs. Tarbox related that a tree on the adjacent property is leaning onto her roof. She estimated that it could cost several thousand dollars to take down. Council member Todd Glover suggested that she contact her homeowners insurance carrier to request an inspection, which would most likely result in the property owner being notified that the tree must be taken down, as it has created an unsafe situation. He also gave Mrs. Tarbox some information for contacting the state.
When asked for his input, CEO Shane Lewis responded that it was a tough situation that would require teamwork on behalf of the boro police, codes and council. "Theres a number of things were going to have to do," he said.
Mr. Whitehead expressed appreciation to Todd Glover, Steve Glover, Robbie Hall, and Roy Williams and his son, Derrick for the successful tire cleanup that had been held earlier in the month.
Streets Commissioner Steve Glover reported that the boro building parking lot had been paved on September 12 , and that the lots storm drains had performed well over the previous weekend, during a particularly heavy rain, and that his department had "striped" parking spaces on the lot.
Discussion continued regarding a retaining wall on Vine St. Mr. Glover said that he had spoken with a contractor who suggested one way to fix the wall; there was no cost estimate yet, as shrubs and an existing wall would need to be removed first to see what is behind them, under the road. Repairs would have to be coordinated with the property owner; Mr. Glover said that a meeting would need to be set soon up to discuss the cost factor, as well as financial responsibilities so that the work could be completed before winter. A motion carried to draw up an agreement with the property owner, outlining the percentage of financial responsibility on behalf of both the boro and the property owner. If the cost estimate falls within legal limits (for the boros portion) and does not require formal bidding, Mr. Glover will proceed with the project.
To accommodate the work, Mr. Glover planned to rearrange scheduled projects so that work can begin on the wall as soon as possible; street sweeping would be done the week of September 23, instead the following week, as had been planned.
When asked about repairs to a catch basin on West Main St., Mr. Glover said that he had postponed the work because a house near the basin had been scheduled for demolition, which had been delayed. Once the house was taken down, the repairs would be done.
A motion carried to advertise sale of the boros 1993 truck, with bids to be opened at the October 22 meeting.
Mayor Kelly related that there had been a problem at the boro building the previous Saturday night; parked vehicles had blocked access to the police office. When the owners were requested to move them, the officer on duty had been given a hard time. Could "no parking" signs be put up in this area? It was agreed to put up three signs, on poles, rather than painted on the macadam, which would not be visible in the event of snow. Four handicap signs will also be put up.
Mr. Lewis reported that four condemned structures are slated be demolished, two on Erie Ave., one on Prospect St., and one on West Main (other than the one previously mentioned). He was scheduled to meet with the county Housing Authority to take samples to test for hazardous materials. If no problems were found, the properties will be put out to bid shortly, and hopefully be taken down in March.
A motion carried to advertise the final draft of an ordinance to regulate inspection of rental properties. Mr. Lewis asked for council members input to compile a checklist of criteria for inspections. The inspections would be checking items relating to the basic health and safety of tenants, such as bare electrical wires, or a fuse box not properly attached to the wall. Mr. Lewis said that he planned to meet with a local HUD inspector for some additional input, as their inspection criteria is quite strict.
One question was raised; would the boros liability insurance cover an instance where a property was inspected, and later a situation arose where the boro could be held liable for subsequent problems occurring? Mrs. Biegert will check to see if a situation like this would be covered under the boros "errors and omissions" insurance, or whether additional protection would be needed.
And, continuing a discussion from the last meeting, Mr. Lewis said that he had obtained information that he, as CEO, could issue a violation, but a citation would need to be written by a police officer.
Mr. (Todd) Glover asked police officer Phil McDonald about an abandoned oil truck kids have been seen playing on, on Columbus Ave. Mr. McDonald said that the owner had promised to have it moved, but that he would keep an eye on it.
Mr. Glover asked whether a situation on Washington St. had been resolved? Apparently, there had been complaints about household trash not being disposed of properly. Mr. Lewis responded that a neighbor had told him that trash has been put out for collection most weeks, but sometimes it wasnt. There wasnt any trash visible from the road, Mr. Lewis said.
Mr. Glover responded, "Im not satisfied with having to pay you guys to keep going back (to check on recurring situations). If you have to ticket, do it. We (council) will stand behind you. I want you guys to start working together better... things are falling through the cracks again." Mayor Kelly stated that if Mr. Lewis didnt have police backing, it is because of scheduling. One solution, she said, is to raise taxes and put on more officers. "He doesnt have anyone consistent to work with." Mr. Glover answered, "Some people are really frustrated. This is a recurring problem. You think you get it fixed, you go back, theyre doing it again. Cite, arrest, whatever it has to be."
Mayor Kelly reiterated that the problem was scheduling; the CEO works days, when there are no police on duty. She added that the subject of police scheduling was to be discussed at that evenings executive session. Mr. McDonald stated that when Mr. Lewis gave him a report, he (Mr. McDonald) always follows up on it. Mr. Glover responded that other officers should be capable of following up, not just Mr. McDonald. Mr. McDonald replied, "You would think so."
Mrs. Biegert suggested that a form be drafted, to list violations, the date it occurred, what action had been taken and by whom, with copies going to the CEO, the police, and council.
The home improvement award for September will go to Paulette Mayhew, at 519 Fourth Ave.
On a final note, council member John Bronchella reported that he has received several complaints about dogs "dirtying" on Main St. He suggested that council put a notice in the newspaper, warning pet owners that they would be responsible for their pets actions.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Michael C. Ross, 24, Scranton, and Lindsey Nicole Browning, 18, Brooklyn Township.
Paul Francis Leatso, 23, Great Bend Township, and Elizabeth Ann Rowe, 18, Meshoppen.
Richard M. Empett, 28, Harford Township, and Dana Irene Harvatine, 27, Herrick Township.
Jeffrey Alan Stone, 26, Newport, NC, and Christina M. Yoder, 26, Newport, NC.
Chad Donald Norris, 23, Lanesboro Borough, and Bobbi Jo Perry, 23, Lanesboro Borough.
Catherine M. McHale to D & M Partnership in Forest City Borough for $23,000.
Richard Michael Manchur to Richard Michael Manchur in Jackson Township for $1.
Richard Michael Manchur to Richard Hoffman in Jackson Township for $1 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $12,921).
Dudley H. Neville, Jr., and Elizabeth Nykun in Middletown Township for $250,000.
Charles H. McMahon, Jr. and Hazel McMahon to Charles H. McMahon, Jr. in Ararat Township for $1.
Donna J. Cornell to Gloria M. Cook in Forest Lake Township for $ 1.00 & L&A.
Anna C. Popelka to James E. Popelka in Apolacon Township for $1.
Beverly Dunham to Diane Dunham Jeffer in Silver Lake Township for $1.
Bernard Zembrzycki and Rose Zembrzycki to Bernard Zembrzycki, Jr. in Herrick Township for $1 (two parcels).
Paul Becker and Phyllis Becker to Joseph Gowat and Judy Gowat in Clifford Township for $132,500.
Marion O'Malley, on behalf of Darrell R. Andras and Cynthia L. Charnecki, to Mark Scheiter and Donna Scheiter in Lathrop Township for $71,000.
Robert D. Anderson aka Robert D. Anderson and Gloria J. Anderson to Salvatore N. Gatto and Michelle L. Gatto in Choconut Township for $92,000.
Arthur R. Barnes and Amy Barnes to Arthur R. Barnes and Amy Barnes in Oakland Township for $1.
Mary Constance Flaherty to Robert Jalbert in Herrick Township for $50,000.
Jeffry Sheldon to Jeffry Sheldon and Diane Sheldon in Thompson Borough for $1.
George W. Chalker and Betty Y. Chalker to Stanton M. Rush and Elizabeth A. Rush in Jessup Township for $90,000.
Barbara L. Beauchamp-Freelove to Helena M. Hatch in Great Bend Township for $38,000.
Jirina Vlcek nbm Jirina Shupp and David E. Shupp to Roger Taylor and Marybeth Taylor in Choconut Township for $175,000.
Paul C. Woodbridge and Dawn M. Woodbridge to Matthew Gardoski and Ronalyn Corbin in Lathrop Township for $70,500.
Linda E. Martinelli to Walter W. Turk and Beth M. Turk in Harford Township for $60,000.
Joseph F. Blatchley and Anna Blatchley to Anna Blatchley in Great Bend Borough for $1.
Joseph F. Blatchley and Anna Blatchley to Suzanne Schermerhorn in Harford Township for $1.
Allen R. Louquet and June M. Louquet to Kenneth L. Macialek to Auburn Township for $110,000.
Manzek Land Co., Inc. to John L. Sprout and Rebecca E. Sprout in Bridgewater Township for $29,000.
Dwight Gordon Smith and Pamela J. Smith to Angelo Scarfalloto and Jacqueline Scarfalloto in Bridgewater Township for $72,000.
Richard D. Lutman and Geraldine M. Lutman to Scott T. Long in Oakland Township for $55,000.
Vincent Kuzlusky to Lillian I. Langendoerfer in Forest City Borough for $39,000.
Ronald E. Whitaker to Kenneth E. Decker in Harford Township for bluestone mining operation.
Citimortgage, Inc. to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Montrose Borough for $1 ogvc.
Paul N. Fallon aka Paul Fallon and Pauline J. Fallon, Richard L. Fallon aka Raymond Fallon and Helen A. Fallon to Paul N. Fallon and Pauline J. Fallon and Raymond L. Fallon in Gibson and Harford Townships for $1.
Charlotte V. Marlin to Edward Dietzel in New Milford Township for $3,000.
Donald Lockhart and Shirley Lockhart to Timothy Masters and Jaime Masters in Bridgewater Township for well agreement.
Cora Sterling nbm Cora MacGeorge and Arden L. MacGeorge to Timothy Masters and Jaime L. Masters in Bridgewater Township for $21,000.
Audrey Lahoda to Darlene L. Bayuk in Great Bend Township for $1.
Minnie P. Andrews and Harry D. Andrews by his Attorneys-in-fact Lucille Bunnell and Pauline Foote to Paul Andrews, Douglas Andrews, Lucille Bunnell and Pauline Foote in Bridgewater Township for $1.
Searle D. Noble and Jean Noble to Larry Noble in Brooklyn Township for $31,500.
Harold E. Lynch and Janet V. Lynch to Russell A. Lynch & Ruth I. Lynch in Great Bend and Oakland Townships for $1.
George Dale Howell to Dale Howell Enterprises, Inc. in Oakland Borough for $5,000.
George Dale Howell to Dale Howell Enterprises, Inc. in Susquehanna Depot borough for $5,500.
James R. Baker and Christine M. Baker and Larry D. Baker and Bonita M. Baker to Dennis K. Hollister and Darlene E. Hollister in Dimock Township for $4,000.
John Kwiatkowski and Gertrude Kwiatkowski to Stanley Kwiatkowski and Lisa Kwiatkowski in Springville Township for $1.
Joseph B. Watrous, Jr. Lifetime Trust #1 to Peter S. Watrous in Franklin Township for surface mining activities.
Ronald E. Dury and Carol L. Dury to Anthony L. Gargiulo and Elizabeth A. Gargiulo in Silver Lake Township for $100,000.
Keith N. Meagley to Keith N. Meagley in Harmony Township for bluestone mining operation.
John Keselowsky and Irene Keselowsky to Jane D. Ellis in Clifford Township for $127,500.
Charles H. Snyder and Michelle L. Snyder to Charles H. Snyder in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $1 (two parcels).
Robert E. Lee, Jr. and Beverly B. Lee to Tri-King Ventures, LLC in Great Bend Township for deed of easement and right-of-way.
Tri-King Ventures, LLC, to 13787 Hallstead Properties, LLC in Great Bend Township for $1 for deed of easement and right-of-way.
Emma E. Phillips to Karel Motl in Ararat Township for $97,000.
Raymond W. Cody and Rosemarie Cody to Franklin C. Miller and Marlene B. Miller in Auburn Township for $153,250.
Alan Strawn & Violet Strawn to Thomas R. Ackley and Kathy A. Ackley in Hallstead Borough for $72,000.
William L. Vandervort and Shirley L. Vandervort and Jack Vandervort and Sherry E. Vandervort to Randy Pease and Gail Pease in Choconut Township for $60,000.
Stanley J. Cutler and Valerie H. Cutler to Edward Adams in Thomspon Township for $110,000.
George T. Marble and Rita D. Marble to George T. Marble in New Milford Borough for $1.
Patricia D. Zujkowski to Edward J. Burke in Dimock Township for $13,500.
Leroy Edwin Frisbie and Mary Helen Frisbie to Arthur Danelli and Henry Danelli in Apolacon Township for$5,000.
Mark Rouilliard and Susan Rouilliard and Greg Rouilliard and Ann M. Rouilliard to Francis Graytock on Forest City Borough for $40,000.
Russell F. May and Swendolun May to David A. Reid and Laura K. Reid in Ararat Township for $127,000.
Todd A. Ruegner, et. al. to Todd A. Ruegner and Tracy J. Ruegner in Liberty Township for $1.
STATUTORY SEXUAL ASSAULT
Jason Nile Masteller, 20, Little Meadows, was arrested on September 22 at 5:00 a.m. and charged with Statutory Sexual Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault and Corruption of Minors, with the police report indicating the victim was a juvenile female.
Masteller was arraigned before District Justice Gene Franklin and committed to the Susquehanna Co. Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. The incident occurred in Forest Lake Township.
FATAL TRAFFIC COLLISION
Charity Parker, 22, RR 6, Montrose, was fatally injured in an accident at the intersection of State Routes 167 and 2024, Brooklyn Township, on September 21 at 1:45 p.m. The collision occurred as Parker's 1995 Pontiac was traveling east on State Route 2024 and a 1995 Chevy truck, driven by John S. Aldrich, 24, RR 3, Montrose, was traveling south on State Route 167. According to the police report, Parker apparently did not see the approaching vehicle and drove into its path. Aldrich could not avoid the collision, according to the report, and collided into the driver's door and continued south for a short distance. Parker's vehicle came to rest on the east berm of State Route 167, while Aldrich's vehicle came to rest facing east on State Route 167, across the width of the roadway. Parker's five-year old daughter was life-flighted to Geisinger Hospital, Danville with unknown injuries. Aldrich was not injured.
No injuries occurred on August 26 when Joan Basel, 64, Brackney, did not notice a second vehicle driven by Benjamin Shaddock, 17, Meshoppen, when turning onto State Route 267 from Quinn Road, near St. Joseph's Rd, Choconut, and a collision occurred.
Both operators were wearing seat belts.
During the night of August 23-24, someone attempted to break into the Trail Diner, State Route 11, New Milford, but access was not gained. Damage was done to the doorways of the business. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police, Gibson, at 570-465-3154.
James Lewis, 22, Hallstead, lost control of his vehicle on State Route 1010 (Harmony Rd.), Great Bend Township, and impacted with a residential garage.
Lewis was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol with charges subsequently filed with District Court in New Milford.
The September 23 meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mr. Hall.
Committee reports came pouring in as Mr. Hall addressed different sections of the table. Mr. Small addressed the board on the manner of transportation, by saying that most of the problems were fixed and that the overall system is running smoothly. Mr. Thorton said that the teacher in service held on this day taught the teachers how to use the Internet in their classrooms at a maximized learning capacity. He also reminded people that the open house would be held on Thursday, September 26. He completed his remarks by saying that this year the Blue Ridge teachers are networking the school into one big system. It was made known that there is a need for a seventh grade basketball coach, a fourth and fifth grade basketball coach, a fourth and fifth grade wrestling coach, a Junior Varsity basketball coach, and a cheerleading advisor. Another thing that was discussed during this time was the admission for fall sports. An activity meeting will be held October 28, to discuss all final arrangements. Mr. Empett brought up the Youth Soccer Program that is helping keep kids from 6 years old to 14 years old, busy. This countywide program operates in Susquehanna, Montrose, New Milford, Hallstead, and the Blue Ridge School. In the New Milford area alone, there are over 600 people coming on Saturdays. There are twenty-four teams in the New Milford area. There is discussion in process now about forming a traveling team this winter. No final arrangements have been made yet. The building committee used their time at the table to submit their annual wish list. Some of the items on this list were: sewer connection, secondary water well, elementary parking lot, bleachers, new steps, and equipment to repair and maintain the over used activity field. They also discussed the completion of the repair work on the high school roof. The entire project was completed without unaccounted for expenses.
The meeting ended at 7:30 p.m., when the board went into an executive session to discuss personnel problems.
A special public opinion forum replaced the normal meeting of the Harford Township, on the future of the Odd Fellows Hall in Harford.
The meeting came to order on September 25, at 7:30 p.m. Supervisors Pisasik, Ketterer, and Van Gorden were all present for the forum.
The public forum consisted of several main questions, with different ideas attached to the question by every person in the room. These questions were: "what purpose is it serving," "does it have historical value," can we lease the property if the building is tore down," and "how much will it cost to fix the building?" Mr. Pisasik and Mr. Ketterer did their best to answer all the questions that were being put before the board.
To answer the question of: "what purpose it is serving," Mr. Pisasik said "none." He went on to explain that the Odd Fellows still use the building on some occasions and that the fire company uses it for meetings until the new fire hall is built. Several citizens stated that with the completion of the new fire hall there would be no use for a building that is in such a state of disrepair and that is so small. The director of Old Mill Village and several other citizens in attendance explained that the fire hall will be too large of a hall for small gatherings, and that the Odd Fellows Hall would serve as a great place to hold luncheons and all day meetings. Several members of the fire department closed this area of discussion by informing the supervisors on the cost to install and maintain a kitchen that would meet ADA standards.
The question, "does it have historical value," was another conflict. Some people feel that because it is an old building that is contains historical value, while other people say that it is just old memories. The Odd Fellows Hall was constructed circa 1915. Not only did it serve as the meeting place for the group known as the Odd Fellows, but also it served as a schoolhouse and a theater where plays were performed on the stage that has fallen into disrepair.
Mr. Pisasik and Mr. Ketterer explained to the people in attendance that because Harford does not have any code standards the only way they could control what happens to the land is by leasing the property. If the property is sold outright, "(there would be) no jurisdiction of what will be built there or parked there," to borrow a quote from Mr. Ketterer. Skip Tracy, who was in attendance at the meeting as a concerned citizen said, "I think that you should make money on it." When asked on the specific value of the land if they rented it or even sold it outright, Mr. Tracy said that he would have to compare it to another building before he can make any statements. Mr. Van Gorden said that the property is insured at $116,000. Skip Tracy explained that insurance companies go by material value, not by fair market value. Whether or not the property is rented or sold, the building must be torn down.
The problem with repairing the building is not the uses that it may serve or even its historical value, but the problem is the cost of repairing this building and bringing it up to ADA standards. The estimated price five or six years ago was $14,000, just to replace the windows, replace, the doors, and paint the roof. Since this estimate, the roof has been painted but the price of doors and windows have increased. Only a few places exist where the windows and doors may be purchased because it seems that the Odd Fellows carried their name even into their building.
The purpose of this meeting was to determine what the general public opinion was and to determine what wording should be used on the referendum. The meeting ended with a 0-2 score, with the public walking out because nothing was being solved.
All members of the Mountain View School Board were present at its meeting on September 23. President Ordie E. Price particularly welcomed back Jim Zick, who had a serious illness that prevented his recent attendance. Zick represents areas in Lenox Township on the Board.
The project cost payment of $593,481.15 was approved for payment as well as $152.623.35 for construction management services as presented to the Board by Kevin Griffiths.
There were no reports from the Legislative, Policy or Transportation chairpersons, Bryce Beeman, Ron Phillips and John L. Beeman, respectively. However, Beeman did quip no "wheels have come off yet (the school buses)." His remark brought smiles all around.
John Halupke, Jim Zick and Tom Salansky of the Negotiations Committee chaired by Halupke have postponed a meeting, scheduled for September 23, to October 2.
Tom Salansky, Chair of the Building and Site Committee, presented information as per the Boards report. There was some discussion about construction work billed for the high school project concerning a number of items which included a punch list item of a window that was not originally in place.
Ms. Sondra Stine, who represents areas around Hop Bottom, and chair of the general committee, presented conference information attendance and costs to cover same for Holly James, Peter D. Regeski, Elizabeth Bennett, Gail Jackson, Maureen Kless, Lauren Weilage, John Michaels, Kevin Griffiths and John Halupke. All of these items were approved.
Elementary school trips that received approval include Pizza Hut in Tunkhannock, Manzers Greenhouse, S. Gibson, Recycling Center, So. Montrose for Kindergartners.
Trips to an orchard, Keystone College, Kirby Center and Lackawanna State Park were approved for first graders. Farm trips to five local farms, Roberson Center, Binghamton, a play at Marywood, and Lackawanna State Park for second graders received a positive vote. The nod was given to third graders who will attend a Binghamton, NY play, the fourth graders at the Lackawanna Coal Mine and Museum and the fifth grade which will take trips to the PA State Museum, National Civil War Museum and the Old Mill Village. The sixth grade was given the go-ahead on their Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC trip. Trips for learning support students will include bowling in So. Montrose and the Special Olympics. The Chimettes will be going to local nursing homes, and attend a song fest next spring. Sixth grade NEPA Philharmonic trip to Scranton Cultural Center was approved as well as the middle school band fest at Dallas Middle School. Mountain View Student Council will go to a PASC District IX Conference.
Superintendent of Mountain View Schools, Arthur J. Chambers, opened his report with information that he yielded to Colin Furneaux, high school principal to embellish. Furneaux shared information about a technology grant that he is working on with Peg Foster, elementary principal. Furneaux noted that this is a highly competitive grant, but he felt that the school district already had a "leg up" after working on the Title 9 grant. The grant application will be ready on October 7.
Chambers went on referring to declining enrollment. However, he felt that the school system could develop a relationship with realtors feeling this would help bring more families into the district. He looked at making sure the target focused on student achievement. Believing that the district has two goals that need to be worked upon by administration and teachers; student achievement that exceeds every school like us and classes with supportive environment, he will be examining a few issues. Among the issues of importance are learning results, improving upon them and having extremely clear targets and benchmarks. In aligning with district goals, personalization for each teacher, administrative official and other personnel is important.
The board approved a number of new supplemental positions and voted to include Susan Barlow, John Mihal, Sr., David Coyle Wendy Walczak, Mary Rosasco, Mary Thoden and Travis Lick in the substitute list in their specific areas. Joe Kulyeski was approved as a volunteer varsity and junior varsity soccer coach with a majority vote. 450 hours on DocStar, the new school retrieval system were approved for Diane Makosky. The work is to be evaluated when she reaches 350 hours.
There was no new business reported from the board members. A visitor asked Ordie Price and John Halupke why they did not approve items for the building project. Both of the men refrained from answering, noting their reasons were personal.
The next public meeting of the Mountain View School Board will be on the 14th of October, at 8:00 p.m. in the board room in the elementary school.
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