Main News
County Living
Church Announcements
Dated Events
Military News
Subscribe to the Transcript

Watch This space for information on upcoming events in Susquehanna County.

Please visit our kind sponsors

Issue Home November 5, 2002 Site Home

Oakland Twp. Byway Blown Away
Elected Officials Get Pay Raises
MASD Scores Are Impacted
Court House Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Sewage and Water at Blue Ridge
MASD Hears Assessment
Mountain View Aims High

The Oakland Township Supervisors met on October 31 for their first meeting since September 3. All were present as well as assistant roadmaster Richard Norris and auditor Howard Potter.

Among items discussed during the roads report were potholes on Erie Ave., and what was said to be "a big job" on High St. Several options were discussed; a final decision as to what repairs can be done will be made when the budget for 2003 is prepared.

Supervisor Cowperthwait related that all amusement tax reports are "up to speed." But, he said, one in particular should be addressed further at the end of the year, and possibly be discussed with the township’s attorney.

Several codes violations were discussed. Mr. Cowperthwait reported that he had met with the operator of a quarry on Bedbug Hollow to discuss road maintenance. A trailer installed in violation of township law had been removed. A situation where there was a boundary dispute has not been entirely resolved; Mr. Cowperthwait said that, on advice from the township’s attorney, the supervisors will not take any further action until some related legal issues are settled.

The township’s SEO has been working on sewage permits with several property owners. An ongoing problem with one township property has not been resolved; it was said that the permit process could take until next spring to be completed. Mr. Cowperthwait noted that some (sewage permit) paperwork still needs to be picked up from COG; he had been away and was unable to get it, but will do so. And, DEP has been investigating a violation in a trailer park in the township, where there are broken sewage lines and unsecured collection wells. The SEO will notify the property owner of what needs to be done. Supervisor Glasgow commented that there had been problems at this site (before) that had never been corrected. Mr. Cowperthwait stated that he will keep track of the situation.

A question was raised about a home being built on Skinner Hill; it was not known who the owner is, as the township has not issued a building permit.

The meeting recessed for a short break; when it resumed, several other codes violations were discussed. In a related discussion, the supervisors discussed a training seminar on the new state international building codes, being offered by the Endless Mts. Builders Association. Mr. Cowperthwait noted that the association could be a source for the township for building inspectors, which the new codes will require.

The township has received notice that there will be an increase in insurance premiums.

Correspondence received included information regarding legislation to limit the percentage a municipality can levy for amusement tax. Mr. Cowperthwait commented that if the legislation is approved, the township may have to "scrap" its amusement tax. And, he noted that Rep. Major is no longer sponsoring the bill that would require changes in what may be charged.

A letter from Susquehanna Boro councilman Roy Williams was discussed; the letter was to alert the supervisors of a potential problem in the township. Mr. Cowperthwait said that he had looked at the site in question, but had not seen the problem. He invited the other two supervisors to check it.

One communication received elicited a heated discussion; it was asking for the supervisors’ support to have the Rte. 92 corridor declared a scenic byway. Mr. Cowperthwait spoke of the tranquillity that the area had been known for in years gone by, and was of the opinion that creating a situation where tourists would be drawn to the area would destroy that tranquillity and lead to congestion, increased traffic and noise. "We have to be concerned about our township and what we’re doing to it," he said. "We have to be concerned about the outcome. When someone challenges my right to privacy, because of economic development... I don’t have to be run over by tractor trailers and vehicles in my front yard." There were, he said, a lot of problems not addressed in information received.

A letter the supervisors received was discussed, although not read aloud; it was, Mr. Cowperthwait said, seeking political support and it was not appropriate to enter it into the meeting.

A letter had been received from Rep. Sandra Major, appealing for support of rural ambulance companies, who may be having difficulty remaining in operation due to state regulations. Also received was a letter informing the supervisors that Barnes-Kasson Hospital will no longer be offering Advanced Life Support services as of the end of the year. And, a meeting is scheduled for November 8 at the fire hall, hosted by the area EMT council to assist citizens of the area who will be affected by the withdrawal of life support services.

And, the supervisors received a copy of a letter sent to the PA Game Commission, from a resident whose property is adjacent to a boat ramp at the river. It listed concerns, several of which Mr. Cowperthwait said the property owner would have to work with the Game Commission to resolve. Issues raised that the supervisors should address included people using the site, who used the adjacent property for "restroom purposes." He asked if any consideration had been made for sanitation when the project was in the planning stages. "I thought the boat ramp was a great idea when it went in," he said, but now it is not used just for fishing, but for jet skis, drinking parties and "cavorting." It was agreed that the supervisors should send a letter to the Game Commission to ask what they plan to do about providing sanitary facilities and trash receptacles, and policing the area. In a related discussion, he asked what sanitary facilities would be provided to expected visitors who come to the township to visit the Mormons’ property. Many county people have been in favor of the site being an attraction; but, he said, "Who’s going to have to deal with sewage when it gets to be a problem? Us."

Fire protection for the township for the year 2003 will be in the amount of $8,525, an increase of approximately $400.

The meeting concluded with review of several proposed budgets for the year 2003.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 p.m. in the township building.

Back to Top

Elected Officials Get Pay Raises

Elected Susquehanna County officials will get four percent pay raises in 2004 and 2005 according to last week’s 2-1 vote by the Board of County Commissioners. And, in another 2-1 vote, the commissioners set the annual increments for the elected officials in 2006 and 2007 at 1.4 percent.

By law, the commissioners must establish the salaries of elected county officials one year before their respective offices are up for re-election so that the salaries cannot be changed during their terms in office. A new four-year term of office will begin on Jan. 1, 2004 so the salaries were set for the years 2004 through 2007.

The exception to the raises was in the county coroner’s position, where Anthony Conarton pleaded for more money and left the meeting room with his second 20 percent pay raise in four years. In 2000, the commissioners increased Mr. Conarton’s pay from $19,063 to $23,067. In 2004, his salary will jump from $25,697 to $31,000.

Mr. Conarton produced documentation indicating that his workload has increased to a point where it is close to full time. He said he is approaching a 40-hour work week and pointed out that he is on call 24/7.

The county commissioners, whose current annual salary is $41,110, will receive $42,754 in 2003; $44,464 in 2004; $46,243 in 2005; $46,890 in 2006; and, $47,547 in 2007. With the exception of the county judge and the district attorney, the commissioners are the highest paid elected officials in the county.

The so-called "row offices", which include the treasurer, recorder of deeds, prothonotary, and the Sheriff, will receive $38,254 in 2003; $39,784 in 2004; $41,375 in 2005; $41,954 in 2006; and, $42,541 in 2007. The treasurer, recorder of deeds, and the prothonotary, all of whom hold other offices as allowed by law, will receive an additional $4,082 in 2003; $4,245 in 2004; $4,414 in 2005; $4,476 in 2006; and, $4,539 in 2007.

The motion to approve the four percent increases in the years 2004 and 2005 was made by Commissioner Calvin Dean. After a long pause, Commissioner Gary Marcho seconded the motion and it passed by a 2-1 vote. Mr. Marcho explained that, because the previous administration had set the salary increases for the Prothonotary, Clerk of Courts, Sheriff and Jury Commissioners at four percent for the years 2004 and 2005, the current administration was bound by law to set the same increases for the other elected county officials.

Commissioner Lee Smith, who cast the dissenting vote, has been quoted by some of his supporters as stating that he wanted the commissioners to hold the increases to 1.4 percent for each of the four years, the same increase Uncle Sam has allotted to Social Security recipients for 2003.

Ironically, Mr. Smith’s motion setting the increases at 1.4 percent for the years 2006 and 2007 drew a second from Mr. Marcho and was approved by a 2-1 vote. This time, Mr. Dean cast the negative vote. While Mr. Dean made the motion to award increments of four percent for the years 2004 and 2005, one source at the meeting quoted Mr. Dean as stating that he favored a freeze on the salaries for the years 2006 and 2007.

Annual salaries for the two elected jury commissioners will be $6,750 in 2003, $7,020 in 2004, $7,300 in 2005, $7,402 in 2006, and $7,506 in 2007. Per diem salaries for the three part-time auditors will be $101 per day in 2003, $105 in 2004, $109 in 2005, $111 in 2006, and, $113 in 2007.

Back to Top

MASD Scores Are Impacted

A report by Superintendent Mike Ognosky on the results of PSSA Reading and Math testing of the District’s fifth, eighth and eleventh graders in Spring 2002 led off the November 1 work session of the Montrose Area School Board of Directors.

And while the results are good, they are not as good as the ones the District got this time last year. Then again, the rules have changed since then, too.

Ognosky reminded the Board and visitors that under old PSSA test rules, the District fared very, very well by comparison with seven other counties in the State. "This time," he said, "the federal government, by way of the No Child Left Behind law, has changed how we look at these assessments. The old rules and measurements don’t mean anything any more. The key thing now is for these tests to show adequate yearly progression, which is then used as the cornerstone of a school district’s success," he explained, adding that it is the state that defines what "adequate yearly progression" is.

In the case of Pennsylvania, this means that 95% of all students must be tested and meet the established criteria, including those in subgroups such as disabled, special ed, IEP (learning-support), and minority students. The State will also measure adequate yearly progress at the elementary level not only through PSSA scores, but also through attendance rates; at the high school level, through PSSA scores and graduation rates.

A state also sets its "level" – or base – of achievement by which it will measure scores and adequate yearly progress. Of the four levels contained in the new federal law – below basic, basic, proficient and advanced – Pennsylvania has chosen to set the educational bar high, with progress measured at the proficient and advanced levels. Other states have chosen to measure at the basic level.

The goal, then, is to have 100 per cent of students in Pennsylvania reading and doing math at the proficient or advanced level by 2014 – a full elementary and secondary education time span from when the testing began in Spring 2002. In other words, the state wants "no child left behind."

There’s more. States can choose to measure progress from one testing year to the next on either a linear basis (for example, setting the base where 40 per cent of students test proficient or advanced in 2002, with this percent rising incrementally each year to attain the 100 per cent goal by 2014), or an intermediate basis (for example, 40 per cent for a few years of testing, followed by years that show percentage leaps significant enough to attain the 100 per cent goal).

After explaining the new ground rules, Ognosky presented the results of the District’s 2002 base-year testing. For reading skills, the State wanted to see 45 per cent of those tested to be either proficient or advanced in them. Measured against this new standard, District students did well. At Lathrop Street, 57.6 per cent of fifth-graders tested proficient or advanced; 56.2 per cent at Choconut; 65.7 per cent of eighth-graders; and 58.3 per cent of eleventh-graders. "This means," said Ognosky, "that we are already at the State’s 2006 goal."

For math skills, the State wanted 35 per cent of those tested to be either proficient or advanced in them. Results for District students tested in 2002 are, for fifth-graders, 47.1 per cent at Lathrop Street and 39.7 per cent at Choconut; for eighth-graders, 50.7 per cent; and for eleventh graders, 41.7 per cent – again, ahead of the State’s 35 per cent goal for its 2002 baseline year.

An audience member wanted to know if proficiency of 100 per cent of students by 2014 was a reasonable goal. Ognosky said it wasn’t, and listed potential penalties if a school district shows no improvement. These range from being requested to institute remedial programs and given a couple of years to get scores up; to giving students a choice to attend school in another district if scores do not go up; to replacing faculty and replacing administration for longer-term failure to increase scores. However, there was also comment that the State may start adjusting its test or changing its parameters if future testing finds itself far from its goal, or that the law could change in the meantime.

Nevertheless, the new law and new testing is something that must be addressed now. And while Board member Chris Caterson thought the goal of no child being left behind was admirable, he wondered if it were possible.

"If the standards make educators try harder," said Ognosky, "there’s nothing wrong with that. And if a district does well, perhaps they could get more funding for performing well. Is it extremely idealistic for 95 per cent of all students to be tested and show that 100 per cent of them are proficient or advanced at skills in 2014?" he asked, answering, "Absolutely. But is it wrong for them to set it as a goal? I don’t think so."

Director Sean Brown wondered if the new approach would lead teachers to teach for the test. Gould added that the feeling at a recent education conference he attended was that teachers’ contracts would be shorter, given that a district underperforming for several consecutive years would need to replace faculty.

Ognosky reported that the State has yet to define its base for elementary school attendance rates and high school graduation rates. "They may say that 95 per cent of a senior class has to get its diploma, tracking the class as it stood at the beginning of ninth grade, less students whose families relocate," and not how many September seniors become June graduates.

"What’s your magic plan?" Caterson asked the superintendent. Ognosky answered it would be to focus on the below and basic students, as identified in the test, and work with them so that, next time around, they do better. "The challenge for us as educators is to find a way to get through to them," he said. One way to do this is by way of a program the District started last school year, which is to send a $500 voucher to the parent/guardian of a student scoring at basic or below, to apply to a state-approved remedial program.

"But the biggest thing we have to do is with our own curriculum," he said. "What we’ve done over the past few years is reflected in the scores we got. We are at the higher part of the band in reading as far as expectations for our kind of rural school. We weren’t there two years ago."

Ognosky added that while the District has done well in math, this year both he and the math faculty were disappointed. "Six years ago," he recalled, "We put together a math curriculum team, refined how we teach math, and our scores shot up. We’re still basically teaching what we taught six years ago. In the meantime, the state has changed the basis of the test." Ognosky pointed out that now the basis of the math test seems to be oriented more toward numerical reasoning, and less on disciplines such as algebra or trigonometry, which District students continue to do well on. "It’s time to go back and see what we do in math and how to make a difference," he said.

As for the actual scores (as opposed to the percent who tested proficient or advanced), here are the results of the Spring 2002 testing. Grade 11 math: District score of 1280 versus state average of 1320, which the State says is not a significant difference and in the mid-range of similarly schools’ results. MASD strengths were data analysis, statistics, trigonometry. Grade 11 reading: 1310, as opposed to the state average of 1320, with the District in the upper range of similar schools.

Grade 8 math: 1310 versus state average of 1320, again in the upper range of the school band. Ognosky noted that 19.4 per cent of these students tested at the "below basic"" level, versus 27 per cent statewide. Grade 8 reading: 1320 versus state average of 1310.

Choconut Valley Grade 5 math: 1250 versus state average of 1320. "This has really shaken the math teachers, and they are ready to look at what they need to do," reported Ognosky. Choconut Valley Grade 5 Reading: 1330 as opposed to state average of 1320.

Lathrop Street Grade 5 math: 1260 versus state average of 1320. Grade 5 reading: 1320 as opposed to state average of 1310.

Ognosky’s overall recommendation? To provide academic assistance to all students scoring at the basic and below basic levels, to convene the math curriculum team and review results and recommend curriculum revisions that will put the District on a fast track; meet with teachers in each building to improve areas, identify weaknesses and ensure consistency in math education between the two elementary schools going forward. "Our kids are going to have the same organization, the same opportunity, the same program," Ognosky said, concluding his report.

Next up for discussion at the work session was the difficulty, as reported to and experienced by Board president Ken Gould, of parents to get hold of a copy of their child’s test for review purposes. Gould said that it takes a lot of e-mails and calls to some teachers to get back a test their child took.

Ognosky explained that faculty will not hesitate to sit down with parents, but some have been reluctant to give a corrected test back and let the student keep it for a few reasons. These include the fact that students had not yet taken a particular test; some teachers keep a test file, given to the student during class at the end of, say, a quarter to study and review purposes; fear of a student losing the test; and that some teachers use the same test every year (this last was not well received).

Board member Linda LaBarbera was hesitant to direct responsible, professional teachers to give tests to parents. "The tests should be available if a parent requests them in an appropriate manner," she said, a suggestion with which board vice president concurred. Gould noted that some parents could not get to the school during regular school hours because of work/travel time, and LaBarbera suggested that teachers try to make accommodations for such parents.

Further discussion followed, with the net result being that, since this seems to be an issue at the secondary school level, and that requests from parents for their children’s tests are few and far between, current procedure will continue, with teachers requested to accommodate parent requests with a minimum of time and effort on both their parts.

At the last work session Ognosky was asked to follow up on a number of items, one of them being a discrepancy in school-picture prices between the high school and the elementary schools. Ognosky spoke with Craig’s Boutique, the photographic studio, to clear things up. Craig’s said that it annually negotiates school picture contracts with the elementary schools separately from those of the high school. The difference in price reflects differences in services, with more services provided to the high school. This includes a lot of club/event/athletics photos that make their way into the yearbook, and the fact that the elementary and high school packages are different in terms of what’s included in the package. And while Craig’s has taken the District photos for the past 20 years, there has never been a contract, although it would welcome one.

Ognosky recommended that each school prepare specifications for its school-picture needs, that would then go out to bid, including to Craig’s, which Ognosky called good business people. That would ensure that everyone bids on the same package, with materials, such as quality of paper, included in the specs, and everyone has exactly the same shot at the same deal that the schools decide upon. Director George Gow, who prompted the follow up because of erroneous information given to a friend by a Craig’s employee, was satisfied that there was no wrongdoing, and Board members fully agreed. In all likelihood, next school year will see a proposal for photo services for the various schools.

The Board also agreed to pay substitute registered nurses at the same pay scale that the District reimburses substitute teachers. Such RNs would substitute in a health situation for the regular school RN, but not in a teaching position, which requires a special certification.

As for the substitute teacher pay scale, Ognosky reported at the last work session about the administrative unworkability of having a graded scale over five years that translated into about 25 different pay scales, based on performance and hours worked per school year. He has revised the scale, keeping it at five years, and basing it on performance and days worked, but bringing the number of pay scales down to a more manageable nine. The Board approved the revised scale, which will become effective next year (with some grandfathering for current substitutes), and Ognosky will notify the current substitute roster of the changes.

Book covers and a company that would inexpensively provide them to the school by, it turns out, aggressively approaching businessmen to advertise on them was brought up by Director Jim Blachek. He noted that District business owners were put off by the company’s aggressive tactics and would rather give the District money than deal with them. Ognosky reported that he called the company and told them to stop.

After some comments about how paper bags make good book covers, Director Sean Brown asked Ognosky about the progress on the track, which is waiting for its last layer to be applied to become playable. Unfortunately, said Ognosky, if we don’t get an Indian summer with three consecutive days of 50-degree temperatures, the track will have to wait until Spring to be finished. Should that happen, Ognosky will meet with the track coaches and see what they think about practicing elsewhere for three days in early April during which the last layer would be applied and "cured," and ready for competition.

Ognosky also reported that the hurdles do fit on the new track, following up on a report last month that they didn’t. He also reported a call from Sue Stone at the Montrose branch of the Susquehanna County Public Library, which is outgrowing its space. The tentative plan is to use the current library building for the Historical Society and move the library elsewhere. She asked Ognosky if, at some point, the District would entertain the thought of selling them at least three acres of land on which to build a library. To find out more, Ognosky will ask Library representatives to attend its December meeting.

In last pieces of business, Ognosky reported that the after-hours library and writing lab, approved at last month’s work session, is turning into a success story, with good use since hours were extended last month. Gould has spoken with both Lathrop Street principal Greg Adams as well as Rick Clapper about the school bell, and offered to pick up the cost of a stand for it if the building or grounds can accommodate it.

The next work session of the Montrose Area School Board is scheduled to immediately follow the Board’s regular meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on December 6.

Back to Top

Court House Report




Kenneth W. Seamans & Ethel Swartz, individually & as Executors of the Estate of George E. Seamans and Elbert Seamans and Hollis Seamans to Kimberly E. Mundy & Michael C. Mundy in Harford Township for $1.

Thomas J. Lopatofsky, Jr. and Charles J. Browning & Lisa M. Browning in Ararat Township for $18,450.

Michael Rayanic to Stephen A. Rayanic in Auburn Township for $8,000.

Margaret Evelyn Pantraz aka M. Evelyn Pantzar to Human Resources Center, Inc. in Forest City Borough for $500.

Leta M. Mendelsohn to Alphonsus W. Beckett III in Harford Township for $38,000.

Sheila D. DiSabatino to Leighter Corp. in Herrick Township for $47,000.

Irene L. MacDonald and Morgan MacDonald to Irene L. MacDonald and Morgan MacDonald in Dimock Township for $1.

Rose Genovese to Kurt Stiles in Herrick Township for $40,000.

Susan M. Purtell aka Susan M. Colwell and Lawrence Purtell to Kathleen A. Quinn in Great Bend Borough for $57,650.

Mabel Fitzsimons to Gardner-Warner Post 154 American Legion Home & Club Association in Dimock Township for $15,000.

Nancy L. Hinchcliffe to Allan L. Hinchcliffe in Liberty Township for $1.

Mary Ann Sweisberger to Leo G. Davidovich and Deborah E. Davidovich in Harmony Township for $21,000.

Gladys Fitzgerald to David B. Johnson in Choconut Township and Friendsville Borough for $15,000.

Eugene J. Rizzo and Julia Rizzo to Jeffrey Herbert in New Milford Borough and New Milford Township for $69,430.

Gary K. Munson and Susan Munson to Michael Nelson in New Milford Township for $27,500.

David Jayne to Joseph P. Demchak and Billie S. Demchak in Auburn Township for $95,000.

Nancy Johnson to Gary L. Kilmer and Robin Johnson Kilmer in Lenox and Clifford Townships for $1.

Robin Johnson Kilmer and Gary L. Kilmer to Nancy Johnson in Lenox Township for $1.

Stanley G. Sherrard and Susan L. Sherrard, David M. Reitz and Andrea K. Reitz and Patricia M. Traverse to GPU in Harmony Township for easement.

Donald L. Carruthers and Suzanne R. O'Connell to Donald L. Carruthers in Gibson Township for $1 (two parcels).

Theresa Ann Karanik and Mary Pauline Karanik to Theresa Ann Karanik and Mary Pauline Karanik in Herrick Township for $1 ogvc.

George Healey and Jean Healey to Walter J. Petro-Roy in Ararat Township for $87,000.

Kathleen Reddon to Borough of Susquehanna Depot in Susquehanna Borough for $4,259.

Richard D. Atkinson and Lorrine L. Atkinson to Thomas A. Oleniacz and Cynthia I. Oleniacz in Liberty Township for one dollar and love and affection.

Claudia Ann Colman to Samuel Colman, Jr. in Silver Lake Township for $1 ogvc.

Friends of Salt Springs State Park, Inc. to Friends of Salt Springs State Park, Inc. for $1 ogvc.

Brinton J. Gardner and Anne M. Gardner and Curtis L. Gardner to Brinton J. Gardner in Bridgewater Township for $1.

Assimina Demetrious Tsouti aka Assimina Tsouti Schillinger Attorney-in-Fact for William C. Schillinger aka William Schillinger and Assimina T. Schillinger to Jerry W. Guizar, Jr. in Bridgewater Township for $12,000.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Bank of New York in New Milford Township for $1,888.35.

Singer Living Trust, Robert M. Singer, Dorothy V. Singer Trustees to Michele R. Mabus and Loree A. Mowrer in Herrick Township for $100.

Michael J. Turock and Jane E. Turock to Seth Turock in Lenox Township for $1.

Kenneth W. Gumaer, administrator DBNCTA of the estate of Clara E. Gumaer, and individually and Susanna Gumaer to Kenneth J. Gumaer in New Milford Township for $1.

Kenneth J. Gumaer to Kenneth J. Gumaer in New Milford Township for no consideration.

Robert Roosa and Jeanette Roosa to Richard P. Methot and Suzanne L. Methot in Auburn Township for $65,000.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Key Home Equity Services in Harford Township for $1,989,47.

Marjorie Dean to Charlotte D. Bush and George M. Bush in New Milford Township for one dollar and love and affection.

David R. Hack and Kristy G. Hack to David R. Hack in Great Bend Township for $1.

Steven J. Galloway and Betty J. Goff, Co-Executors of the Estate of Sidney N. Galloway, Jr. to Everett Clapper in Hallstead Borugh for $30,000.

Everett Clapper to Roy Clapper and Deborah Clapper in Hallstead Borough for $30,000.

Robert A. Housel and Jennifer H. Housel to Francesca Buonpastore in Lenox Township for $92,597.

Beverly J. Everitt, Trustee, under the Everitt Living Trust and Beverly J. Everitt to Michael K. Swartley and Jill L. Kutz in Choconut Township for $165,000.

Frank J. McCarthy to Kim K. Capwell in Silver Lake Township for $22,000.

Karen Winan Wergann to Ronald A. Konczyk in Dimock Township for $84,500.

Ruth Ann Obelenus and Sylverter J. Obelenus to Henry J. Carter in Forest City Borough for $25,000.

William H. Brady, Executor of the Estate of Joseph J. Brady, Sr. to William H. Brady and Mary Ann Brady in Auburn Township for $1.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Citifinancial Mortgage Co. Inc. fka Associates CDC in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $3,997,50.

Carol Brown, Executrix of the Estate of Loren Groover, Jean J. Groover, Carol Brown and Gerald Brown and Todd G. Groover and Betsy Groover to Jean J. Groover in Bridgewater Township for $20,000.

William D. Black and Catherine E. Black and Robert S. Brown and Bonnie S. Brown to Robert S. Brown and Bonnie S. Brown in New Milford Township for $1 (transfer tax paid on half of fair market value of $71,394).

Chester Kilmer, Jr. to Talmage P. Steward, III and Maura J. Stewart in Springville Township for $86,000.

Gail H. Zellers to Frank P. Boyle and Sheryl L. Boyle in Silver Lake Township for $35,000.

Gail Zellers to Earl L. Nelson and Andrea K. Nelson in Silver Lake Township for $29,000.

Max E. Smith and Phyllis Smith to Joshua N. Payne and Amy L. Payne in Jessup Township for $72,000.

Paul S. Rappoport and Cynthia H. Rappoport to Mary Beth T. Zazzera in Bridgewater Township for $105,000.

Carl W. Fleischer, Jr. and Mildred A. Fleischer to Katharine C. Watrous Life Time Trust No: 1 in Franklin Township for $51,600.

Patrick J. Shields and Mary Ellen Shields to Carl Hensel in Forest Lake Township for $14,000.

Carl Hensel to Carl Hensel in Forest Lake Township for $1.

Beth M. Burrows to Beth M. Barnhart in Liberty Township for $1 ogvc.

Aurora Loan Services to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Hallstead Borough for $1 ogvc.

Roy W. Piper to Christine Lewis in New Milford Township for $117,000.

Edward Donald Oliver to Robert S. Warriner in Dimock Township for $110,000.

Donald J. Ramey and Carol A. Ramey to Carol A. Ramey in Springville Township for $1.

Thomas P. Fitzsimmons and Linda Fitzsimmons to Susan L. Nardone and Frank A. Nardone in Forest City Borough for $99,900.

Michael C. Buck to Nathan P. Lewis and Melanie L. Lewis in Apolacon Township for $77,500.

Ruth N. Gross to Michael Joseph Yoder in Auburn Township for $95,000.

Dean A. Johnson and Valerie Johnson to David W. Phillips in Harmony Township for $19,900.

Jacquelyn E. Holgate to Richard Brian Holgate in Harford Township for $1 ogvc.

Sharon L. Ott to Joseph L. Honney in Springville Township for $18,000.

Robert Wallace and Lila M. Wallace to Richard Estabrook and Kathy Estabrook in Lenox Township for $65,000.

Lennart A. Lundberg to Stacey P. Glover and Lori A. Glover in Harford Township for $17,500.

Margaret Wirts and Robert Wirts to Linda Dovin in Forest City Borough for $1.

Marion G. Hudson and June L. Hudson to Michael A. Depaola and Patricia A. Depaola in Dimock Township for $185,000.

Chris Cole and Jamie Cole to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County of Susquehanna in Auburn Township for $210,679.20 for Agricultural Conservation Easement.

James Chales Sheib to Sidney H. Schwartz and Oratai Schwartz in Clifford Township for $122,000.

Paul Walter Truskolaski and Sadie Jane Truskolaski to Tara L. Truskolaski in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $1.

Back to Top

Gibson Barracks Report


Brian J. Smigielski, 23, Harveys Lake, was not injured when he steered his 2000 Chevy pickup truck to the right to avoid two deer on the roadway. This maneuver caused him to lose control of his vehicle which then struck a guide rail with its right front, then traveled across both lanes of State Route 29, Springville, before coming to rest on the west berm facing north. The incident occurred on October 29 at 6:30 a.m.


A 1995 Mitsubishi 3000, owned by Karen White, Montrose, was "keyed" while in a parking lot at the Elk Lake High School. Anyone with information on this October 25-26 incident may call the PA State Police at 570-465-3154.


Someone gained entry into a residence at State Route 2041, Hop Bottom, and removed several items prior to the arrival of owner Frederick Fry, Colonia, NJ. The burglar(s) may have been surprised by the arrival of the owner and fled the scene. The incident occurred on September 18 between midnight and 2:45 p.m. Anyone with information is asked to call the PA State Police at Gibson.


Someone removed a green 20" Huffy 18-speed mountain bike from Paul Schwarztrauber's residence at State Route 29, Dimock, near the PA DOT shed between September 22-25. Anyone with information is asked to contact the State Police at Gibson.


Linda Leigh Bucksbee, 22, RR1, New Milford, was caught, according to the police report, exiting Lockharts store, State Route 29 at State Route 3029, South Montrose, Bridgewater Township, through a large hole in the front glass door on September 29 at 4:31 a.m. She had items in her hand belonging to Lockharts. A male fled the scene in a red and gray, two-door Chevy S-10 Blazer. Linda L. Bucksbee was taken into custody at the scene and charged with burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and theft. She was arraigned before DJ Gene Franklin of Harford and remanded to the Susquehanna County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.

A suspect was listed as Kenneth C. Bucksbee III, 25, RD1, Hallstead.

An investigation is continuing.


On October 27, someone drove on a lawn on State Route 267 and tore up the grass. Over six complaints were made to the police, and anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at Gibson at 570-465-3154.


A three vehicle collision occurred on October 4 at 9:40 p.m. on State Route 11, Great Bend Borough. David Hine, Waymart, was arrested for DUI, after traveling south in his 2000 GMC pickup at a high rate of speed and hitting a 1992 Chevy pickup truck, traveling in the same direction, in the rear. The Chevy, driven by Mark Kotar, no address given, traveled off the roadway and struck a tree.

Hine's vehicle continued south crossing the center line, striking a 1991 Toyota Corolla, driven by Timothy Bennett, no address given, which was coming in the opposite direction.

In Hine's vehicle, passenger William Dixon, no address given, received moderate injuries. Operator Kotar and passenger Marissa Kotar both received minor injuries, while no injuries occurred in the Bennett car.


Matthew A. Forsyth, 39, Binghamton, NY, was driving a 1986 Lincoln Mark 7 on October 19 at 6:15 p.m., going west on State Route 848, New Milford Township, when a deer ran onto the roadway. Forsyth applied the brakes to avoid a collision, but the front end struck the animal. Forsyth was not injured.


A crash occurred on State Route 11 and Susquehanna Street, New Milford Borough, on October 18. Daniel Martinez, 26, Hallstead, was arrested for DUI, and transported to PA State Police at Gibson barracks where he refused a breath test. He was then transported to the Susquehanna County Jail and lodged on a detainer issued by the Susquehanna County Probation Office. While in the intake area, according to the police report, Martinez threatened two troopers. Charges of DUI, Terroristic Threats and numerous traffic violations were filed in District Court, New Milford.


John and Ken Manning, Factoryville, were in a 1993 Ford Escort on September 27 when the operator (not designated in the report which person it was) failed to negotiate a curve and struck a guide rail. The accident happened on State Route 106, Lenox Township. No one was injured.


Between 10:30 p.m. on September 27 and 10:00 the next morning, someone removed a blue, 2001 Yamaha Blaster, (ATV), from the yard of Lynn Silfee, Township Route 582, Chet's Rd., Herrick Township. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police, Gibson.

Back to Top

Sewage and Water at Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge School Board began its second meeting of the month on the 28th as it customarily does, with concurrent meetings of its major committees in advance of a general workshop. As a workshop session, the Board took no formal action, but discussed general issues and heard reports from each of the committees and administrators.

The Facilities and Grounds Committee is chaired by Board member Tom Phillips, who first recognized Brad Warren, a student and candidate for Eagle Scout, who is asking the Board to approve his Eagle project, a proposal to build a concession stand beside the track and soccer field. Mr. Warren presented a preliminary drawing and ideas for a design that he hopes will provide a more comfortable dining experience for sports fans. He said he is committed to completing the project by June 11 of next year, and hopes to begin construction in the Spring, with help from his friends and fellow scouts. He'll need a lot of them.

The project is very ambitious: a 10-by-16-foot structure with overhanging roof and bluestone walkway would be placed on the slope between the fence and the parking lot. Members of the committee peppered young Mr. Warren with questions, suggesting that a concrete pad might be necessary, and maybe even a concrete retaining wall. If the building is sided, would it need to be securable; if not, what kind of structure is proposed? Board President Alan Hall said that the Board couldn't take the proposal much further without a more detailed design. Mr. Warren said that he wanted only the Board's blessing to begin, and would produce a complete design, and perhaps one or more alternatives, over the winter.

Asked how the project would be paid for, Mr. Warren said he expected contributions from the community and from local businesses. District Superintendent Robert McNamara noted that Eagle Scout projects have "all been well- supported by the community."

The committee moved on to consideration of how to spend some already-available funds – always an agreeable situation for the Board. Last year the District received a grant of over $450,000 from the state for technology and renovation. Nearly $34,000 of that was earmarked for technology upgrades, including computers and audio-visual equipment. Of the remainder, over $358,000 was allocated to the roof project, which is now complete. Another chunk, $69,600, will be paid to the Municipal Authority for the privilege of connecting to the new sewer system. That leaves about $18,000. The committee wants to spend almost $12,000 for a new well and associated work. The campus is now served by only a single, aging well, and repairs in recent years have led to school closings when the water supply has had to be cut off. A second well would provide a more reliable source.

After all that, what remains is a little over $6,000, which the committee hopes to use to cover, at least in part, the re-routing of the sewer line (which now runs under the track and soccer field and is also showing its age) to connect to the new sewer system at the road. The committee pored over a map of the campus to identify the best locations for some of these projects, which will come to the full board over the next few months.

When the full Board gathered, they heard reports from the various committees, and from the several administrators. Harold Empet, chair of the Transportation Committee said that "most of our transportation and busing issues have subsided," since the introduction of the new scheduling system.

Business Manager Loren Small said that the remaining problems are minor and are being worked on.

Lonnie Fisher, chair of the Activities Committee, reported on a seminar he and other members of his committee attended recently in Wilkes-Barre. He also said that the 7th-grade boys and girls basketball programs each need coaches. Mr. McNamara said that these are the only two positions remaining to be filled at the present time.

High School Principal Michael Thornton told Board members that the student assistance program that is intended to help students and their families having a variety of difficulties is much busier than usual for this time of year.

Middle School Principal John Manchester reported on a visit of a group of 8th-graders to the University of Scranton. Another group will visit Marywood, and Mr. Manchester hopes that by year's end, all of the 8th grade will have had an opportunity to visit an institution of higher learning as an introduction to a potential future after high school.

Superintendent McNamara told the Board that the District had received one of only two grants in the state from the 3M Corporation for "media security." The $10,000 will be used for equipment in the libraries to help minimize losses and vandalism. Mr. McNamara also mentioned the heavy work ahead to comply with the so-called "No Child Left Behind" program, which has emerged from the Federal government as an 1100-page document, most of it presumably rules and regulations. "We're gonna get through it; we're gonna make it happen," said he.

The Blue Ridge School Board will meet only once in November, on the 18th, at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria in the Elementary School. Committees will meet beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Back to Top

MASD Hears Assessment

The full complement of directors of the Montrose Area School District met on November 1 for its regular monthly meeting that saw bills paid, subs hired, and a good portion of it given over to a status report by Jonathan Loiselle, associate and architectural designer with Highland Associates, the firm conducting the District’s needs-assessment study.

But before giving Loiselle the floor, the Board recognized students Nathan Aldrich and Allison Jerauld, who well represented their fellow students at a Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) in Hershey earlier this year, and faculty member Eric Powers, advisor to the 130-member Student Council.

While neither student was able to attend (football player Aldrich represented the school against Lakeland the night of the board meeting) and sent their regrets and thanks for the opportunity to participate in the PSBA meeting, Powers was there to accept his certificate of appreciation. He took it as an opportunity to recognize how hard, he says, the Board works on behalf of the students in the District. "When we went to Hershey, it didn’t take long for us to recognize that you folks have an uncommon level of commitment and expectations for the District, and the students appreciate it," Powers told the directors. "It is refreshing to see the interaction you have with our students, and it’s important for the community to know you are an uncommon school board," he added.

One of the things to come out of the Hershey meeting was scheduling a meeting on November 23 at 10:30 a.m. between the Board and the Student Council. Members of the Council will be identifying "hot topics" (which could be, said superintendent Mike Ognosky, things such as school safety or dress codes), make resolutions on them, and present them at the Board/Student Forum meeting for discussion. It’s things like this, said Powers, that make MASD "perhaps the most progressive student council/school board in the state." Powers hopes that the board/council meeting will become an annual event. The public, by the way, is invited to attend this meeting on the 23rd.

The work-in-progress needs assessment study was next up. This study is expected to be completed by January, 2003, and preliminary findings along the way may be changed until all information is collected and analyzed for the final report.

Highland Associates’ Loiselle led off his report by noting that the facilities study review and building evaluation portion of the project were pretty well complete, with some minor items outstanding. The results of that review include a few things, one of the most significant of which is the cost to bring the District’s facilities up to current building standards. Not that the District has to do this, but this information is required by the State.

Loiselle gave a good "for-instance" of what he meant: A school may have a fully functional and operating boiler which does not, however, have the currently-required back-up system to it. "There would be no reason to replace the boiler," he said. "A school can use it until it goes, and then replace it according to current standards." What the study would provide is the estimated cost to replace it.

Loiselle reported responding to the Board’s request to include maintenance issues in the building study, adding that he has already met with Rick Clapper to that end.

In interviewing faculty at the three schools, Loiselle said that a concern arose from one of them about mold in one of the Lathrop Street classrooms. A Highland Associates mechanical engineer, school principal Greg Adams and the teacher met in the classroom in question and could not see anything that would cause a mold issue. There was, in fact, no sign of mold.

It turns out that a mold-like smell was present in the room early in the day. When the door to the room was opened, the smell dissipated. A storage room next to the classroom, where run-of-the-mill, non-toxic, perfectly safe art supplies are stored and which give off a new-car smell, was the culprit. Once the door to the non-ventilated storage area was opened, the smell went away. Highland recommendations to deal with the odor include rethinking where some art paints are stored or ventilate the storage room. It is issues like these that will be included in the thorough needs-assessment review.

Loiselle said that the binders he would distribute to Board members (for their review after the meeting) also included an Education Program review. He noted that a running comment in Highland meetings with the Community Advisory Group, student groups and other faculty and administrators, was that care be given to the tax base in the community, and to remember the economics.

The Education program review includes the pros and cons of a separate middle school for the District. Loiselle explained that Highland meetings with the 7th/8th grade student council and with seniors showed that they were "very much two different groups." "The middle-school-age kids could be best characterized as feeling that they’re the second fiddle in the school," he noted, while the seniors and juniors were "very much aware of their environment, really smart, and on top of it."

The younger group got to talk about some of the difficulties of coming to a large school like the junior/senior building. He also observed that some of the bonding between students at both the Choconut and Lathrop Street elementary schools appeared to be broken up at the high school. Highland Associates observed that faculty and administration appear to support separating the spaces in the current facility to better respond to middle-school-age students’ needs.

These issues, and recommendations with costs attached, are addressed in the report, as are others. For instance, Choconut currently uses folding walls to partition space for class work. These walls do not stop sound, and have no power to plug in computers, overhead projectors, and lights. Real walls instead of folding ones would be one answer.

The list of issues, brought up by Highland as well as District students and staff, goes on. Things like the quality of light, music and band storage, support spaces, all-day kindergarten, rest rooms, team teaching, gym seating, classrooms for curriculum additions, parking, additional administrative and guidance space, privacy and file storage issues, large-group instruction and testing areas, and others.

The report’s Summary of Construction Options includes addressing additions to the Choconut and Lathrop Street schools to accommodate all-day kindergarten and 7th and 8th grade. However, Highland’s Loiselle noted, "It is not economically feasible to put an addition on Lathrop Street," which is space-constricted. "That school," he said, "is about as big as we want it to be, but expanding kindergarten is still an option." He referred to Lathrop as a great neighborhood school able to do great after-school services, and cited as one option the purchase of property adjacent to it as such property becomes available.

Director Jim Blachek asked if any political change in the state could impact the study. Loiselle, acknowledging that Harrisburg moves very slowly when it makes changes, answered that Highland is already hearing some things – such as the potential for mandating all-day kindergarten or pre-kindergarten – and keeping tabs on them. Blachek also wanted to know if the final study would be presented in a public forum. Loiselle replied that was a board decision, but that the State does mandate going forward with some information. "It’s actually a good idea," he said, "and it’s frequently done."

Ognosky wanted to know if the final study would be limited to one recommendation, and the answer is, not really. "We are currently down to four recommendations," said Loiselle, "with options attached to them as well as price tags. Pluses and minuses for each will be included." He noted that there are always intangibles, and room is being left in the study for recommendations that could come from the Community Advisory Committee, faculty, administration – anyone who wants to make a written recommendation to the Board as part of public knowledge.

"So we can take the recommendations and pluses and minuses and go to the people we got input from and discuss it with them," said Ognosky. Loiselle thought this would be a chance for good feedback, as well as leaving a copy of the report in the District secretary’s office where it would be available to the public.

At the conclusion of Loiselle’s report, MASD superintendent Mike Ognosky reminded visitors of another meeting among the Board, Highland Associates, and the Community Advisory Committee on November 20 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to observe the proceedings.

Because considerable time was taken by the Highland Associates report, Director and Finance Committee Chair Chris Caterson decided not to read the bills to be paid that were in excess of $3,000, as is usual procedure. Caterson said he went over the bills and there was nothing unusual or extraordinary about them and included the usual operating and other regular expenses of the district – payroll, benefits, special education, and so forth. The Board voted to pay the bills.

It also unanimously voted to approve the following hirings: Robert Black, junior high assistant boys’ basketball coach, $960; Edward Goldsmith, freshman boys’ basketball coach, $1,550; Adam Rauch, junior high assistant wrestling coach, $960; and Magda McHenka, basketball cheerleader advisor, $700 plus $25 for each event attended.

The Board voted to accept with regret the resignation of Linda Upright as part-time cafeteria worker at Lathrop Street, and to approve as substitute support staff Lisa Frey, JoLynne Kinney, Susan Consodine, and Mary Zuber. It agreed: to employ Tracy Dunn as a substitute third grade teacher at Lathrop Street from mid-November to early February while the regular teacher was on medical leave; to appoint Mary Ann Cunningham as a mentor teacher for social studies at the high school for this school year at $250; to hire Linda Blaisure as a part-time cafeteria worker at Lathrop Street at $6.50 an hour; and to approve Cheryl Lesch as a substitute elementary school teacher.

Wrapping up the meeting was a unanimous vote to exercise, effective immediately, the District’s 30-day option to be released from a contract with Kelly Services to provide substitute teachers.

The next regular monthly meeting of the Montrose Area School Board of Directors is scheduled for December 6 at the Junior-Senior High School immediately following its Special Reorganization meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Back to Top

Mountain View Aims High

At the October 28 Mountain View school board meeting, Superintendent, Art Chambers, presented Certificates of Appreciation to two members of the Board as they are added to the Honor Roll of School Board Service. Thomas E. Salansky, School Director for 15 years and James W. Zick, School Director for 20 years were honored by the Pennsylvania School Board Association. The Executive Board of the PA School Board Association each year recognizes those who serve on school boards over ten years. The certificates noted that the men were recognized for their unique role of school board service and the long-term contributions they bring through their energy, talent and values to the guidance of youth and public education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Pictured (l-r) is Arthur J. Chambers, Superintendent of Mountain View Schools presenting school directors James W. Zick and Thomas Salansky with Certificate of Appreciation awards for their service on the board.

A member of the present board, Ron Phillips commented favorably that, "Jim (Zick) had a sense of history that was helpful"and added in a lighter vein, "Tom (Salansky) has taken me on the roof and helped me with construction information." Phillips continued, "Both of you have my greatest respect. I want to say ‘Thank You.’ (This) School is a better place."

Later in the evening, Elementary School Principal, Margaret S. Foster, presented an informative picture on the advances that are being sought through graphic illustrations on the PSSA Math Analysis of the School. She particularly noted the district goal #1 being in the field of mathematics that included the schools standings in geometry, trigonometry and calculus. In her remarks she noted that it was a major goal to use collected data to address certain areas and is earmarking her pupils to move more into the Advanced and Proficient standards that are noteworthy. Among her targeted results are 55% of all 5th grade students will score proficient or above in the 2003 PSSA Mathematics assessment through the Math Study Group that was established in spring 2002. The action plan formulated included, among other items that building-wide benchmarks will be published and Title 1 faculty will provide parental math classes to assist parents in standards based math instruction.

Other items on the agenda included the authorization of the signature of Sondra E. Stine, 2nd Vice President on documents, checks and vouchers for the payment of current expenses and salaries in the absence of First Vice President, John Halupke for the period October 29 through November 8, 2002.

No visitors chose to speak in the first or second hearings open to the public in the meeting. Financial reports were presented by Kevin M. Griffiths. These included the cafeteria, elementary school and high school student activities finances, project cost payments and a payment of $4,625.00 to Murphy, Dougherty and Company for their CPA services approved in a contract of March 11, 2002. The board also approved a snow plowing bid for the 2002-2003 school year for Mike Daniels Construction.

Griffith further presented for approval the low qualified bid from Lynch Bus Service for the 2002-2003 Washington trip. Audit services for the year ended June, 2002 were approved for Vieira, Skiadas and Co., LLP, certified public accountants.

There were no reports from the Legislative, Negotiations or Transportation Committee chairs. Discussion covered the approval of a policy draft regarding backpacks and book bags and another policy draft covered Sunday Activities which included only limited Sunday practice was permissible and not until 2 PM. Even then, prior approval of building principal, in consultation with the superintendent is required. Further, no student shall be required to participate in Sunday activities or practices or be penalized for not participating.

In addition of approval for numerous conference and field trip attendance, Susan Mahdavi, Francine Freund-Friedman, Suzanne Dotten and Rhonda Levine were appointed to the substitute lists. The resignation of Theresa Harvatin from her supplemental positions was accepted. Long-term substitute approval was given to Michael Talabiska and Markie Pratt.

The Mountain View school board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next meeting will be held on November 8 in the High School Library at 8 p.m.

Back to Top

News  |  Living  |  Sports  |  Schools  |  Churches  |  Ads  |  Events
Military  |  Columns  |  Ed/Op  |  Obits  | Archive  |  Subscribe

© 2002 Susquehanna County Transcript. All Rights Reserved