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Issue Home November 12, 2002 Site Home

Thompson Adopts Rules Of Conduct
Great Bend Supers Set Record
Pooper Scoopers & Skateboarders
Court House Report
Gibson Barracks Report
New Milford Cuts Real Estate Taxes
Michael Fiske Is Found Not Guilty
Hop Bottom Meets At Fire Hall
Great Bend Borough Briefs
Forest City Qualifies For Grant
Starrucca Borough Council Minutes
CASS Property Gets Go-Ahead

At their November 4 meeting, Thompson Boro council reviewed information received regarding a meeting, scheduled to be held at the Susquehanna Fire Dept. on November 11, hosted by the Bradford/Susquehanna EMS council to discuss how state law and the recently announced discontinuation of Barnes-Kasson Hospital’s Advanced Life Support services would affect local ambulance companies.

The boro has received a permit from PENNDOT to allow proceeding with the sewage project; council president Dennis Price said that PENNDOT had requested several additional changes to the plan, which will be addressed by the project engineers, Nassaux-Hemsley. It is expected that the project would go out to bid in about two weeks from the date of this meeting.

Mr. Price asked police chief Rivenburg if several complaints made at last month’s meeting had been investigated, and if there was any validity to them; a resident had brought it to council’s attention that several council members’ properties were in violation of the boro’s nuisance ordinance. Mr. Rivenburg said that Mr. Gardner had taken care of several items that had been brought up; Mr. Gardner said that wood in his yard had been mostly stacked, and that a pile of dirt would be taken care of shortly, as it was to be used in his garden. After more information was obtained regarding complaints about Mr. Lloyd’s property, Mr. Rivenburg agreed to look into it further; Mr. Price said that if there was a violation of the ordinance, it would be taken care of.

In a related discussion, Mr. Price said that one reason council is looking into adapting state property maintenance code is so that complaints could be determined to be a continuing problem, and not just one or two isolated incidents. When a complaint is made now, he said, and taken to the magistrate, it is more or less decided by the magistrate. Council would need to take their time before enacting any changes to the boro’s ordinances to ensure that "nuisance" problems were addressed; some complaints could be a little "extreme," especially when compared to other problems. Mr. Gardner agreed, saying that any law that is going to control what a person has on his/her property would need to be clearly specific as to what is really a "nuisance" as opposed to what is an "eyesore." A nuisance, he added, is a situation that would affect the quality of life of those who live near the property in question.

In other business, Mr. Gardner has been working on coordinating maps of boro properties to assign identification numbers to be used by the county’s 911 system. At the present time, some numbers are not consistent, as they do not conform with accepted practice, e.g., east to west. Further action will depend on information received from county emergency management.

Mayor Delaney reported that a number of boro residents and business owners have made contributions to the boro’s newly implemented crime watch organization.

Council reviewed amendments to the boro’s garbage ordinance, which had been made as a result of public comment at last month’s meeting; some concerns had been raised as to definitions that were included in the (original) amendment, specifically regarding regulations for burning of paper and wood. A motion carried to proceed with the new version of the amendment; it will be re-advertised before a vote is taken on its enactment.

During discussion of a contract for plowing and cindering in the boro, it was noted that Jack Downton, who had performed this service last winter, had requested that those services be paid for on a monthly basis, rather than at the end of the season as had been council’s practice. Mr. Lloyd reported that Thompson Township might be interested in bidding for services for this winter, providing an agreement could be reached regarding liability for damage that might occur to structures too close to the road, such as mailboxes or fences. The township, he said, would be willing to conduct a road inspection to determine any instances where there might be a problem, with property owners to be notified that such structures could be a problem. Any complaints about damage, if the township were to agree to furnish these services, would subsequently be referred to council if the township were to contract for plowing and cindering. After some discussion, a motion carried to authorize Mr. Lloyd to obtain prices from several contractors and enter into an agreement with the contractor who offered the best agreement. Mr. Price stressed that all bidders should meet the same criteria.

Marc Yoskowitz, the new owner of the former Curtis’ service station, asked about getting "hidden driveway" signs for the portion of the road near his business; he was concerned about the potential for accidents, he said, as there may be vehicle operators unaware that there is traffic exiting his property. As the area in question is a state road, Mr. Lloyd agreed to contact PENNDOT to find out what could be done, whether the signs could be put up, and whether a traffic study would need to be completed first, as it is a state road.

Mr. Yoskowitz also asked about the feasibility of the service station being hooked into the sewage project, as it had not been included in the present plan. Mr. Price responded that the main line will not be installed as part of the plan unless Mr. Yoskowitz requests it; the former owner, he said, had not requested that the property be included with the plan; council had not been notified that there was a problem. "We followed DEP requirements," he said. "The feasibility study, which determined the scope of service, was cut off at the church. There was a public meeting. The owner could have contacted us (but didn’t); because that was the scope of service, we don’t have to hook in. You can if you want to, at your own expense, but the scope of service does not cover the whole boro. That’s what the feasibility study was for."

Mr. Yoskowitz replied that there was a misunderstanding; the former owner had said that the boro was told that the station’s sewage was emptying into the Starrucca Creek. "Anybody dumping into the stream has to be hooked in," he said.

Mr. Price responded that any properties that were discharging into the stream were to be considered malfunctioning, but this property had never been addressed due to the fact that the (prior) owner had never brought it to council’s attention. The plan had been changed to include several properties not included in the original plan, when council had been approached by property owners. "It was advertised for public input," he said. "If you’re not in the scope of service, you’re not in the plan." Mr. Gardner added that council had gone door-to-door to obtain information before the plan was finalized, and that the plan had been finalized based on information received from property owners. The initial survey, he said, had been conducted ten years ago; at that time, the property owner had not been interested in being included in the plan. "To the best of our ability, we surveyed who had an on-lot system, who was discharging into the stream, and who had a ‘defective’ system. Our information was that (this property) was not ‘malfunctioning’; we had no way to know (otherwise)."

Mr. Price added that council could only conduct a survey (to obtain information). "We depended on property owners’ honesty. Unless we see or have knowledge... how are we going to know?" The opportunity had been provided for property owners to contact council if there was a problem. "He chose not to," he said. If DEP were to be made aware that there was a problem, they would mandate that the property be included in the plan, but the boro would not be required to extend the line. "We can’t deny that," he said, but costs to include a property not in the original plan could not be added later. "We’re not going to revise the plans; we fought for a long time to get to this point. We’re not going to revise it for one person."

Mr. Yoskowitz replied, "You’ll have to run the line. The question of who pays for it is another story."

In reaction to incidents at last month’s meeting, a motion carried to adopt a code of conduct for council meetings. Mr. Gardner commented that at one time, council had made it a practice to read a statement of rules at the beginning of meetings, but in recent years had fallen out of using it. A new code had been drafted, which states that public comments must be held until the public comment period; a time limit would be given to those requesting comment; personal attacks against council members (or other boro officials) would not be tolerated. Violators would be asked to leave the meeting if they persisted. If they refused to leave, Mr. Rivenburg would be asked to escort them from the meeting. "Hopefully," Mr. Price said, "these rules will never have to be used. We’re here to conduct boro business, not to be screamed at. Let’s hope people know we’re not here to be abused. We’re here to conduct boro business." A motion carried to adopt the rules of conduct, which will be read aloud at the beginning of each meeting.

During his monthly report, Mr. Rivenburg reported that he had responded to eleven calls within the boro; two domestic disputes; two traffic violations; two 911 hang-up calls (each of which must be investigated); two miscellaneous and one terroristic threat.

The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing the proposed budget for the year 2003.

The next meeting will be on Monday, December 2, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall.

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Great Bend Supers Set Record

The November 4 meeting of the Great Bend Township came to order with Supervisor Haskins, Vice-Chairman Banko, and Secretary/ Treasurer Sheldon in attendance.

The agenda for the meeting was approved as printed, with no one requesting a time slot.

A motion was made that the approval of the minutes from the October 21 meeting be delayed until later, due to the lack of the secretary at this time.

Chairman Squier, the roadmaster, was absent from the meeting, but a list was read concerning the different jobs that the township employees completed. Some of this work included working on Parks’ Road, fixing a broken drain, working in the garage, and preparing the township equipment for winter snow removal.

There was a discussion concerning the lack of signatures from Hallstead Borough and Great Bend Borough for the Bridging Communities project. There is hope that the signatures will be received at the next meeting of the Bridging Communities on November 12.

There was no new information received relating to the permit issue with Donna Fekette. Leon Button received a permit for constructing a garage on his premises.

No new information became known regarding the Joan Long sewer issues. Pauline Chauncey’s sewage facilities planning module is a closed issue, with both parties refusing to meet certain issues. Kenneth Tingley’s sewage problem, along with that of Harmony Village is still ongoing. A letter was sent to the supervisors informing them that Robert Haley is approved to install a sewage facility.

The plan for Denton Crick Sportsmen to purchase additional acreage from the Parks Family Limited Partnership was not approved by the Susquehanna County Planning Commission due to the lack of 50 ft. of right of way.

A motion was made to approve the idea of Harold Justesen and Karen Sinnett creating a minor subdivision plan, which calls for two property owners to purchase and divide the lot that lies between their separate properties.

A note informing the supervisors that Bradford/ Susquehanna Ambulance service is discontinuing all services but basic life support was read to the public.

The Hallstead/ Great Bend Ambulance service will be holding a meeting to determine the fate of the service that this voluntary organization offers.

Under unfinished business, the Hallstead/Great Bend Township boundary line dispute is slowly working itself out. The code violations continue against Robert Hornish, Armetta Slocum, and William Dixon. There was no new information received on Interstate Burlap and Bag. The new backhoe has not arrived yet at the dealership, but it should be there sometime in the next couple of weeks. A call was received concerning the end of insect infestation at Tingley Trailer Park. With this call coming from the person that made the original complaint, the supervisors consider it a closed issue.

Under new business, information was disclosed on the request of grants for working on Graham Hollow. The idea of taking money from the emergency fund to fix this area and then receiving this grant was brought up.

The meeting closed in record time with public comments, which covered everything from thank-you for all the road repairs to request for more repairs.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

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Pooper Scoopers & Skateboarders

With Council president Craig Reimel unable to attend the regular November meeting of the Montrose Borough Council, Council member and vice president Todd Chamberlain conducted the proceedings. Council member Randy Schuster was also unable to attend.

Having concluded a special hearing that granted CASS a conditional use request for its property at 75 Church Street [see related article], the Council got down to other business.

It paid bills, adopted the last meeting’s minutes, and made some decisions about who would supply the borough with its oil and gas needs. To that end, Council decided to purchase its 89 octane gas and diesel from the Pump and Pantry and its fuel oil from Hinds, based on the most competitive bids Council received. A motion was also passed to put up a streetlight to shine down onto the lower portion of the nearby park and hopefully discourage rowdiness and vandalism.

Borough Secretary Annette Rogers also informed Council that, according to a conversation she had with the Police Commission in Harrisburg, the Borough is required to pay John Walker, coming on board soon as part of the Police Department, for training he recently received in Hazleton. Previously, Council voted to reimburse Walker for his mileage expenses to the class. During the meeting, it agreed to reimburse him at minimum wage for the 40 hours he was in that classroom.

Rogers also put together a packet of information on the 2003 Community Development Block Grant being developed and applied for on behalf of the County by the Housing/Redevelopment Authority and which benefits low-income people. A letter asked the Borough to submit any requests to the Authority by December 31. Yaeger suggested that the Borough submit a request for sidewalks that would run past the low-income high rises in town, benefiting those less fortunate and the elderly, and Rogers will follow up.

Council also heard resident Eric Powers who brought before Council the irresponsibility of some dog owners who allow their pets to defecate and urinate on other people’s properties, at the entrances of businesses on Public Avenue, in Borough parks and along other streets, and in the grassy areas along the Public Avenue sidewalks where trees are trying to survive. "Most people are responsible," Powers said, "but you get some people who just don’t care. And I don’t want to dodge dog piles. There are people," he added, "who don’t want their dogs doing it in their yards, so they’ll walk them to Public Avenue where the small trees are being liquidated upon."

Powers also wished he had a nickel for every dog who tinkled against the porch at Montrose Music. He reported that one business owner chased an offending owner down the sidewalk, to no avail, since the owner continues to use the streets as the pet’s bathroom and the business owner has to do the clean up. "If a dog is a stray, that’s one thing," he said, "but if people intentionally let their dogs poop and don’t scoop, that’s a different thing."

Not only that, Powers also reported there’s a school bus stop in front of one business favored by some non-scooping dog owners, and he’s seen kids get off the bus, and throw their book bags into dog doo-doo. Powers said he’s spoken with the police and was told there was nothing they could do since there’s nothing on the books about requiring poop to be scooped.

Council member Bernie Zalewski thought the Borough should consider a pooper-scooper law. Others suggested making it part of either a littering or nuisance ordinance. Borough Secretary Annette Rogers asked if Council wanted her to contact PASB to find out what kind of pooper-scooper laws have been passed by like-boroughs in the state. Council thought that a good idea. At Yaeger’s suggestion, she’ll also get in touch with the Humane Society about it. Said Rogers, "We have a barking dog ordinance. We can have a pooper-scooper ordinance." (The barking dog ordinance comes into play when two citizens not of the same family/household complain about the same dog.)

Skateboarders and the danger they pose not just to themselves but also motorists and pedestrians as they skate (sometime lying on the board) across Lake Avenue and down Public Square got a lot of discussion as well. Again, police are unable to do much about the skateboarders in the absence of any law or other regulation. More than one Council member related seeing close calls between the skateboarders and motorists. They also agreed with member Elmer Taylor when he observed that most of the Borough’s youngsters were good kids, and that the parents of the reckless skateboarders seemed unable to control them.

Rogers passed around a packet of information that included ordinances used by other municipalities to address the skateboarder problem. The Ordinance Committee will review this information and present its findings at a later meeting.

The question of liability in providing a skateboarding facility/area also arose. Rogers reported that she has already started looking into what other municipalities are doing to compensate for the increased liability. "I’d like to come up with something that’s not going to cost the Borough a lot of money," she said. "Perhaps a grant." Another suggestion involved converting the seldom-used tennis courts to a skateboarding area. Still, any decision will await the findings of Rogers and the Ordinance Committee.

Vice chairman Todd Chamberlain half-jokingly proffered a way to solve two problems, which was to have skateboarders who were in violation of any future skateboarding ordinance, do community service and clean up the dog poop.

A Griffis Street resident requested that Council lower the speed on the 25 mph speed limit signs recently posted there. "That street needs a slower speed limit," she said, and also requested that the "Children at Play" sign be moved to a part of the street where children live. She also thought that both the speed-limit and children-at-play signs were on her property, and she asked Council to remove them, please.

With Codes Enforcement Officer Joel Maxey unable to attend (and whose resignation was to be effective a few days after the meeting), Rogers reported to Council what Maxey reported to her. And that was that permits were issued for the demolition of a garage next to the apartments on Church Street, for a kitchen addition to a home, for a homeowner on Drinker Street, and for a home occupancy on Lincoln Avenue. Rogers also reported that the property owner got a permit to demolish the building behind the Rafferty building.

The Borough Council scheduled a work session for 7 p.m. at the Borough Building on November 21. Its next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for December 2 at 7 p.m.

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Court House Report


Craig Stout, 41, Unadilla, NY, and Tammy Jo Cooley, 28, Bridgewater Township.

Jerrett W. Coleman, 26, Lenoxville, and Dawn Marie Conklin, 37, Lenox Township.

William Paul Solonewitz, Jr. 23, New Milford Township, and Dawn Dolores Travix, 20, Franklin Township.

Steven Lewis Elmore, 19, Windsor, NY. and Dana Lynn Moeller, 16, Willet, NY.

Raymond R. Haynes, 58, Great Bend Township, and Kathleen Hope Casey, 50, Great Bend Township.

Christopher Scott Ashley, 30, New Milford Township, and Amy L. Cramer, 23, New Milford Township.

Edward R. Graves, Jr., 40, Susquehanna Borough, and Deborah A. Watson, 33, Susquehanna Borough.

Erick David Skinner, 20, Montrose Borough, and Memory Jean Strohl, 18, Montrose Borough.

Vincent R. Branning, Jr., 31, Susquehanna Borough, and Cynthia M. Tewes, 38, Susquehanna Borough.


Theresa Teel and Dolores Obert to Nicholas B. Demaree in Silver Lake Township for $117,000.

Mary Lou McCusker to Mary Lou Eimers in Clifford Township for $1.

John J. English and Rose I. English to William T. McNeice in Liberty Township for bluestone mining operation.

Stephen W. Kielceski, Executor of the Helen Zlotucha Estate to Thomas E. Clark and Julie A. Clark in Montrose Borough for $80,000.

Keith A. Harris and Regina C. Harris to Keith A. Harris and Regina C. Harris and Gregory S. Harris in Apolacon Township for $1.00 ogvc.

Lisa Lynne Majeski to Julie Rockwell and Shawn R. Burns in Oakland Township $70,600.

Mary Reed Sisler to Mary Reed Sisler and Christine Foote in Oakland Borough for $1.

Beulah G. Decker to John Decker, Elaine Reinert and Donna Bleck in Jackson Township for $1.

Andrew P. Murcko to Karen Kane Mark Murcko in Silver Lake Township for $1.

Joseph S. Manzek, Jr. and Susan Fearnley Manzek to Joseph S. Manzek in Rush Township for $1.

Patricia A. Barks to James H. Merwin and Lucia Merwin in Susquehanna Borough for $125,000.

Lawrence T. O'Reilly and Christine M. O'Reilly to James G. Day in Lenox Township for $79,000.

Rocco John Longo to Rocco John Longo in Auburn Township for surface mining activities.

Allan Hornbeck, Jr. and Marie Hornbeck to Edward R. Moriarity and Diane Hinds Moriarity in Clifford Township for $11,900.

Allan Hornbeck, Jr. and Marie Hornbeck to Edward R. Moriarity and Diane Hinds Moriarity in Clifford Township for $129,000.

Tax Claim Bureau to Mildred Graham in Auburn Township for $1027.52.

Tax Claim Bureau to Daniela Fox in Susquehanna Borough for $2637.00.

Archie J. Ellsworth and Connie Ellsworth to Richard r. Roberts and Sally P. Roberts in Bridgewater Township for $3,000.

James Kernan to Matt Van Demark in Auburn Township for bluestone mining operation.

Robert Hunt and Sheila Hunt to Caroline M. Lynch in Forest City Borough for $30,000.

Donald Morcom and Judy K. Morcom to James Morcom in Lathrop Township for $1.

Karen L. Terpstra to Charles Towner and Helen Towner in Susquehanna Borough for $70,000.

Majorie Myers to Niki Mack in Dimock Township for $1.

Rallg Associates, WNG Co, Margaret V. Rockey, John J. Lavelle, Sr., John J. Lavelle, Jr. and Susan Lavelle to Keith Skinner and Christie V. Skinner in Herrick Township for $14,500.

Mildred Tiffany aka Mildred J. Hathaway to Agatha Swetter in Clifford Township by court order.

Scott Fiske and Nicoletta A. Fiske to Robert C. Wert and Grace E. Wert in Hallstead Borough for $30,000.

Lee Huntsberger and Elaine Huntsberger to Douglas G. Lotten and Sarah R. Lotten in Bridgewater Township for $125,500.

Darwin Curtis & Aretta Curtis to Marc Yoskiwitz & Stacy Nier-Yoskowitz in Thompson Borough for $75,000.

Carl Golomboski and Peggy J. Golomboski aka Peggy J. Smith to Michael Kwaitkowski and Jackie Frantz in Lathrop Township for $8,000.

Mark L. Sartell and Judith A. Sartell to Mary L. Sartell in Ararat Township for $1.

Michael E. Pickersgill to Thomas M. Lyckowski in Ararat Township for $84,750.

Claude Bennett and Clara Bennett to Jennifer A. Frick and Patricia K. Strickland in Jessup Township for $62,500.

Edward J. Donahue to James W. Donahue in Oakland Borough for $1.

Russell P. Swetter and Cheryl L. Swetter to Robert Wedin and Dorothy Wedin in Clifford Township for $140,000.

Ronald A. Clark and Gerlyn A. Clark, Lynn M. Clark nbm Lynn M. Siegel to Charles Krieg and Roberta Krieg in Harmony Township for $37,000.

Margaret E. Jones to Daniel J. Jones and Alfred Jones in Middletown Township for $1.

Robert J. Wallace, II & Michelle Wallace, Robert J. Wallace, Sr., and Lila Wallace to Robert J. Wallace, II & Michelle Wallace in Lenox Township for $1.

Vernon C. Whitbeck and Lois J. Whitbeck to Vernon C. Whitbeck and Lois J. Whitbeck in Lenox Township for $1 ogvc.

Robert Crifasi and Laura J. Richards nbm Laura J. Crifasi to Robert Crifasi and Laura J. Crifasi in Lenox Township for $1.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff to Bank One in New Milford Borough for $2,418.53.

Theresa Cleary, John Doe and Jane Doe to Bernard J. Zalewski and Mary M. Zalewski in Silver Lake Township by court order.

Jeffrey Haberle tdba Neway Homes to Douglas L. Haberle in Liberty Township for $1.

Rebecca A. Nolan to William B. Bucksbee, Sr. and Rebecca A. Bucksbee in New Milford and Franklin Townships for $1.

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Gibson Barracks Report


On November 2 at 4:53 p.m., Vicky Page, New Milford, was driving a Chevy Corsica north on Tingley Lake Rd., New Milford Township. For unknown reasons, the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree, continued north, crossing the opposing lane and came to final rest in a ditch. Page was not wearing a seat belt and sustained major injuries from striking the windshield.


Richard Cordes, 18, Montrose, was traveling south on State Route 167, Bridgewater Township, when he lost control of his 1995 Chevy S-10 pickup truck which left the roadway and struck an embankment with its right side. Cordes was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. The police report says that the roadway was icy that night, November 1, at 8:00 p.m.


Between October 31 and November 1 someone entered two practice fields at the Montrose Area High School, Bridgewater Township, and proceeded to drive in an erratic manner to such a degree that the property was severely damaged. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154.


John Krayeski, 45, Springville, was not injured when he lost control of his1989 Ford Ranger on State Route 29, Springville. It left the roadway and struck a utility pole with its front end. The incident occurred on November 1 at 6:30 p.m.


Lisa Kasperitis, 34, S. Montrose, sustained minor injury when she swerved her 1998 Dodge Caravan to avoid striking a deer and struck a tree. The incident occurred on October 31 at 12:30 p.m. on State Route 29, Springville Township.


Neither operator Edgar Ortiz, 29, Montrose, nor two passengers were injured when Ortiz's 1996 Saturn was traveling east on Salt Springs Rd., Franklin Township, and he lost control of the vehicle which crossed the roadway and went over an embankment. The incident occurred on November 1 at 6:00 a.m.


Evelyn Hermanns, 76, Laceyville, pulled her 1994 Dodge Caravan into the path of a 1999 GMC Sierra towing a 2001 Noma Trailer, driven by Paul Johnson, 35, Montrose. The two vehicles collided on State Route 706, Rush Township, and Hermanns' car then spun and struck the trailer being towed by Johnson's vehicle. Hermanns, not wearing a seat belt, received minor injuries and was taken to Tyler Memorial Hospital. No one else was injured. The incident occurred on October 28 at 8:55 a.m.


On October 29 at 7:21 p.m., John T. Arnold, 19, Montrose, lost control of a 1994 Honda as he was traveling south on State Route 29, Franklin Township. The Honda left the roadway and collided into a tree. Arnold received moderate injuries.


Unknown persons broke into unoccupied residences at Elk Meadows, State Route 374, Herrick Township, and stole various items including fishing gear, televisions, electronics, and a fire extinguisher, between September 20-21.

Anyone with information, please contact the PA Police Barracks at 570-465-3154 and refer to incident R5-482699.


On October 30 at about 3:30 a.m., Paul Corse, Jr., 33, Lanesboro, was pronounced dead at the scene by Susquehanna County Coroner Anthony Conarton. Corse had been traveling south on State Route 92, Jackson Township, when his vehicle left the road, crossed the roadway and struck a tree.


An investigation continues into a September 27 incident between 2:00 p.m. and midnight, when someone entered Lori Lasko's residence on State Route 171, Thompson Township, and removed items including jewelry.

No Students Injured In Bus Accident

A school bus, which had already dropped off all children at the Choconut School and was on its way back to Montrose, was involved in an accident on November 4 at about 8:30 a.m., on State Route 167.

According to school authorities, Lorraine Bennett, the bus driver for Montrose School District, received minor injuries and was taken to Endless Mountains Health System for treatment.

The driver (name unknown) of the other vehicle was lifeflighted with serious injuries. No additional information was available at press time.

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New Milford Cuts Real Estate Taxes

All members, as well as Mayor Joe Taylor, were present for the regular monthly meeting of the New Milford Borough Council, and the group saved the best news for close to the end of it. This was an overall discussion of the borough’s 2003 budget, which has $269,000 to work with and includes a 10 per cent reduction in borough real estate taxes – a very nice move indeed from trends in the opposite direction on the part of many municipalities. Council president Scott Smith credited stewardship of the previous Council and the current one as getting to "a nice town with nice town financials."

"New Milford is in nice shape and everyone has a lot to be proud of," echoed Council member Rick Ainey. He added that the budget calls for a new roof on the Borough Building, sets money aside for a good, new tractor for mowing, allocates $46,000 for paving streets and $20,000 for the bridge on Church Street, which is awaiting inclusion in the State bridge program, invests $100,000 in cd’s, and, of course, the 10 per cent real estate tax cut.

By law, the Borough will advertise its 2003 budget, a copy of which will also be available for public inspection in the Borough offices. Council expects to adopt it in December.

The meeting actually kicked off with junior council person Brad Warren being sworn in by Taylor, followed by Council’s Good Neighbor Recognition, which is a way for the borough to recognize those who make a positive difference on the community. Last month’s honoree was unable to attend that meeting, but he was at this one. Ainey described him as a take-charge person who gets things done. "He’s the type of person who, if you don’t want to help him with a project, then that’s fine by him. He’ll do it alone and he’ll get it done," said Ainey. The "he" being Mayor Joe Taylor, who said he didn’t want the recognition. "I’m not a good neighbor," he said, causing some laughs when he added, "I don’t even like my neighbors, and I’m not even too fond of you people." To those who know Taylor, his response comes as no surprise and is completely in keeping with his character.

Moving on, Council spoke of a couple recognized for their community service for a long time, and they are Don and Jan Glatzel. "Some members of our community would not be here if it were not for their effort and generosity," said Ainey. "We wouldn’t have an ambulance because of them, or even a Fire Department. They keep people healthy, they come up with solutions, and they’ve done these things when we as a borough could not afford it." The Glatzels have also donated benches in the park, and a computer for the Memorial Library, among their other community service. When Jan Glatzel noted that a lot of the things they started or were involved in were now being taken over by young people, Council members thanked them for starting them.

Building Codes Enforcement Officer Shane Lewis was on hand to fill Council in on his work on the borough’s behalf since Council last met. He revisited the Cosmello junkyard to inspect the fencing and reported that a wooden one runs down the north side of the property. Cosmello told Lewis that the land adjacent to the junkyard, which Cosmello’s is leasing from the New Milford Municipal Authority, would only be used as an access way for a crusher and not for junked cars, in which case a fence would not be required. Lewis also reported that the Municipal Authority "didn’t want any other fences put up on their property." Taylor asked Lewis if, then, things were right at the junkyard as far as Lewis was concerned. Lewis answered that, according to current code and some grandfathering of certain areas on the junkyard property, it was in compliance.

Lewis also followed up on a written complaint that kids were going in and out of an unoccupied trailer on the junkyard property, with a lot of unsightly trash (such as an old couch) lying around outside of it. He found that the trailer was secure, meaning it was locked. He noted that the borough’s property maintenance code states that a vacant structure be secured. He also asked the owners to clean up the area around the trailer and will follow up in 30 days. Lewis did not inspect the interior of the trailer, as it is unoccupied.

At this point, Ainey suggested that people who file complaints be provided with the enforcement officer’s written response to it, and this will be done.

Lewis next reported on his inspection of the building on Main Street housing the Youth Advocate Program and which received a variance from the borough. He reported that he told them that a handicap ramp/access would need to be provided, as well as an exit sign and a parking sign, and that he would need to see an occupancy permit from Labor and Industry. A spokesperson for the organization expressed great concerns about meeting the criteria, that it might be too costly, and that perhaps the group wouldn’t be able to stay in New Milford. Lewis said that if Labor and Industry didn’t want to deal with the organization, then the group would have to meet the borough’s code. "We don’t want to make their lives miserable," said Ainey, "but rules are rules. And if they serve handicapped people, they will need handicap access wherever they are. We’re talking about access and two signs."

After Lewis’ report, Council adopted a Codes Enforcement Policy that lays out how residents/taxpayers file a complaint (in general, in writing at the borough building, unless unable to get to the building, in which case a verbal report to COG offices or the borough can be called in), and how one would be followed.

In other business, Smith read a letter from the Municipal Authority recommending that Authority board member George Houghton, whose term is about to expire, be reappointed by Council. Taylor noted that Houghton, who resides at Page Lake, was appointed when Page Lake was talking about coming into the New Milford Water Authority. It decided not to, and Taylor thought that a New Milford resident might be a more appropriate appointment to the four-year term. Council members agreed, and Smith said it would discuss and debate the appointment at its next work session.

As part of his report, Taylor asked that one member of Council meet with a member of the Men’s Club as well as the Rotary to finalize the stone markers that would welcome people to New Milford Borough and New Milford Township. "We’d like to get one of the three markers up this winter, with the rest in the Spring," he said.

Taylor next talked about skateboard parks, and reported that he’s spoken with people in other towns which saw no increase in their liability insurance rates because of such parks. He asked about the borough’s insurance. Borough Secretary Amy Hine said that the borough’s current carrier indicated that rates would increase by $1,000 if coverage were extended to a skateboard park. Ainey reported that the borough regularly puts its insurance out to bid, but "we shouldn’t just say no." When Taylor mentioned Dickson City and Binghamton as among those who have seen no increase in rates, some discussion ensued about the size between those cities and New Milford.

Taylor then passed along a brochure describing a low-cost ice-skating rink that would use the tennis court as its base. Council member Mary Ann Warren will do more research on whether such a type of rink comes in a larger size, get costs, and get back to Council.

Council member Jim Carr reported on options to deal with the standing water at Veterans Drive/Summit Street, where he and a PENNDOT representative sized up the situation. An engineer will be brought in to see if their idea of running a ditch down to a catch basin, and running a pipe from the standing water to the new ditch is the best approach to the problem.

On economic development, Justin Taylor will be attending the Council Work Session on November 21, and Ainey reported that Cooperative Feeds will start doing some unloading at the New Milford siding within the next couple of months. He added that the Rail Authority will be meeting shortly with freight shippers to talk about the future use of rails in the county.

A report on the status of the siren grant was given by Hine, who noted that she got a price of $10,800 for the purchase and installation of a new siren. The figure was required for the grant, and she’ll now start applying for it. One-half of the cost would come from the grant, with the remainder split among the borough, New Milford Township, and the Fire Department.

Before adjourning, Carr wanted to address some information in the minutes of the Municipal Authority. He noted that the Authority paid around $13,000 for the land that it is now leasing to Cosmello’s junkyard for $1 a month. While the Authority is an independent authority of the borough, Carr noted that, in effect, the borough was "kind of in the junkyard business because we and taxpayers are owners of the land that is being leased for a dollar a month." He wanted to know if the Authority had to get borough approval in decisions such as the one on the leased land. It does not, because of its independence. Smith said that the Authority can sell land on its own, and buy it on its own. Ainey encouraged the public to attend meetings to let Council know its opinions on this and other matters.

Member of the public Gerald Bevan was at the borough meeting, and he reported that he went to the Municipal Authority and told them that he wanted to lease that land [adjacent to Cosmello’s junkyard]. "I told them I’ll pay double the price" they’re getting from Cosmello’s, which would be $2 a month. Bevan feels that "they are supporting the junkyard, and they don’t want to put the land out to bid. They have ethical guidelines they should be following."

With the junkyard still such a thorny issue, it was a very odd transition to the next topic, which was that Santa will be in the Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 30.

The next regular meeting of the New Milford Borough Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. on December 5 at the borough building on Main Street.

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Michael Fiske Is Found Not Guilty

A jury found Michael John Fiske, Sr., 43, of Hallstead not guilty of indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault at his trial in Susquehanna County Court last week. President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans presided.

On May 5, 2000, the arresting officer, Trooper William Gross of the Pennsylvania State Police cited Mr. Fiske on counts of rape and making terroristic threats. Trooper Gross alleged that the incidents occurred in Great Bend Township on Jan. 3, 2000 and involved a Broome County, NY woman.

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Hop Bottom Meets At Fire Hall

The Hop Bottom Borough Council met Tuesday, November 5, in the Hop Bottom fire hall as the borough building was being used for voting.

Janice Webster, Hop Bottom Borough President, reported the tree trimming job at the park is still not done, as council is awaiting another bid. It was decided that the mulching discussed at the last meeting will not be done until next spring.

Mayor Paul Henry reported that he attended the Monday evening meeting at Lenox Township. The supervisors will be contributing a one-time payment to the borough to satisfy an arrangement made covering their portion of the work done on the culvert.

As the requirements were satisfied for a watershed advisory committee, there will be meetings now to cover separate associations at Martin’s Creek, W. Branch of Tunkhannock Creek, Upper Tunkhannock Creek, 9 Partners tributary and the "unknown" (unidentified) tributary. A number of local people will be needed to man all of these new associations.

Some work was done on grates at selected sites on Forest Street. Catch basins and necessary piping will be installed on Adams and No. Center Street. The cost will be covered through an AGILITY agreement with PENNDOT, which can be extended for five years for repayment.

The garage door for the borough police car has been repaired. A fuel tank was replaced on that vehicle. Henry reported the following among items in the police activity report submitted by Chief Cosklo: 8 traffic citations, 2 non-traffic citations, 2 criminal mischief incidents and one report of alluding the police officer.

There was discussion regarding the borough Emergency Management Plan. An official announcement from the borough council notes that in the event of an emergency, the fire hall will be used as an emergency center. If that is not possible the alternative site is the municipal building in Brooklyn on Maple Street.

Among treasury information it was reported the borough received $7,049.57 in Liquid Fuel Money from the state.

The ongoing discussion about a borough hall site revealed that the borough attorney has been sent a letter. It is possible that the condemned building on the Stout property will be demolished in the near future, as rats are becoming a problem in that area.

An attractive selection of Christmas ornaments for lights on Main street in Hop Bottom have been purchased. Total cost will be $1,283.47.

It was announced that the annual Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on December 1 on the island on Route #11 at the blinker light at 7 p.m. Refreshments will follow the arrival of Santa Claus at the island. The annual distribution of hot beverages and cookies to celebrate this event will be served at the fire hall.

The Hop Bottom Borough Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the present borough building on Forest Street at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited.

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Great Bend Borough Briefs

The Great Bend Borough Council gathered on November 7 for one of its shortest regular monthly meetings on record. And all were present, too, including attorney Frank O'Connor. Council President Louise Lonzinski kept the meeting moving forward briskly, and budget deliberations have been moved to special sessions.

The Borough's maintenance employee, Alan Grannis, presented a proposal to complete the fencing around the Memorial Park area, including the Borough garage. He said he had collected donated fencing from Borough resident Tom Franks, and from the Little League Association, which will help keep the cost down. The purpose of the work, of course, is to try to keep cars and ATV's out of those areas, particularly after dark. Mr. Grannis told Council he thought he could do all the work himself, and they approved up to $1,100 for materials and equipment.

Borough Secretary Mary Jean Fleming reported that a contractor had been engaged to repair damage done to the Community Building by an errant automobile. Insurance will pick up the tab for just over $6,700. She also reported that two letters sent to a property owner on Main Street have apparently been ignored. She was directed to forward the signed postal-service return receipts and other documentation to the District Justice for further review.

On the recommendation of member Mike Wasko, Council decided to change its own salary arrangements slightly. About four years ago they approved a measure whereby Council members would be paid their $20 monthly salaries only if they attended the month's regularly scheduled meeting. Mr. Wasko recommended that Council members be paid regardless of attendance at regular monthly meetings, as was the practice in the past. He said that special meetings, and the other duties of some members in code enforcement and street maintenance, are enough to justify the meager salaries paid to Council, and the budget has always accounted for the full amount anyway. The measure passed with the enthusiastic support of the Mayor, whose salary is unaffected.

Great Bend Borough depends greatly on figures supplied by the County to develop its budget. And every year there is a struggle to get those numbers in time to publish a realistic budget. Council scheduled a meeting on October 24 to develop a budget, but was not able to finish at that time. So they will meet again on Thursday, November 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Building to try to nail it down.

Council meets regularly on the first Thursday of each month, in the Community Building at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets, at 7:00 p.m.

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Forest City Qualifies For Grant

The Borough of Forest City appears to have sufficient low-to-medium income residents to qualify for a grant that will help the borough with a badly needed sewer project.

Council President Mary Cicco said last week that the survey revealed that 68 percent of the residents interviewed fall into the income guidelines required for the borough to qualify for the competitive grant.

Council is planning on replacing sewer mains on Dundaff Street, a project that is expected to cost more than $400,000.

In a related matter, Council approved a resolution authorizing the Susquehanna County Redevelopment Authority to submit the grant application on behalf of the borough. If the grant is approved, the grant will be administered through the authority.

In other business, Councilperson Mary Twilley again put in a pitch for council to consider a joint planning commission with neighboring Vandling Borough. Mrs. Twilley first brought the subject to the council floor in October after she attended a meeting in Vandling where the idea was projected.

"I think it would be a worthwhile endeavor," Mrs. Twilley said. She drew support from Councilman Paul J. Amadio but the matter was tabled to give other council members more time to consider it.

Mrs. Twilley also reported that authorities believe damage at the Babe Ruth Playground may have been caused by troublesome teenagers from another community.

Mrs. Cicco said negotiations are about completed for a new three-year police contract. She said the full-time officers Paul Lukus and Joseph Nolan will get a 2.75 percent pay raise in 2003, and three percent in the following two years.

According to Mrs. Cicco Officers Lukus and Nolan will not have to contribute toward their health insurance in 2003 but the subject can be brought up again next year. The insurance plan includes a maximum of $300 to be applied toward dental or vision care.

Mrs. Cicco also reported that the borough's engineering firm recommended that the road leading into the industrial park not be accepted until a report on further improvements is submitted to the borough.

The borough hired another part-time police officer. He is Thomas Eibach of Scranton who begins a probationary period this week.

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Starrucca Borough Council Minutes

Starrucca Borough Council met on November 4 at the Starrucca Community Hall. The following members were present: Pete Downton, Andrew Bennett, Lou Gurske, Ruth Lunt and Mayor Wendell Swartz. Paul Downton, Paul Everett and Helen Haynes were absent. Pete Downton presided.

Motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting carried unanimously.

Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report and pay the bills carried unanimously.

Correspondence was read. A motion to donate $100.00 to the Northern Wayne Community Library carried unanimously. Council was asked to recommend persons to be considered to fill an opening on the Board of Directors of the NWCL. Secretary will follow up.

Building Permits – It was noted that a property owner on Starrucca Creek Rd. needs to make an adjustment in regard to his Building Permit application. Residents are reminded that all new building construction needs a building permit. If there is a question residents should contact Borough Council or the Borough Secretary before construction begins.

Subdivisions – Motion to accept the Williams’ Subdivision Plan carried unanimously.

Motion to accept the Wendell Swartz Subdivision Plan as recommended by the Wayne County Planning Department carried unanimously.

Old Business – The septic problem on Maple Grove Rd has been resolved.

The owner of the Penn Hill property was contacted about the driveway permit. He has agreed to obtain a permit and to reapply if he reopens the quarry site to heavy truck traffic. Solicitor will draw up an agreement confirming the property owner’s intent.

Comprehensive Plan – The Task Force is ready to send out survey forms as approved by Borough Council. Council recommends that the survey be sent to each landowner (one per household) and council encourages landowners to review the survey and to respond promptly so that the Task Force can complete its work on updating the Starrucca Comprehensive Plan.

Permit form reviews were tabled till the next Council meeting.

New Business – Motion to approve the Refuse Collection Contract with Freddy’s Refuse Collection carried unanimously. Refuse collection costs will remain the same.

Budget figures for 2003 were presented to council. They are available for review by residents until the next council meeting on December 2. Anyone interested in reviewing the 2003 Budget should contact the Borough Secretary. Tax mills remain the same. Council will vote on the Budget at the December meeting.

Council was reminded to consider projects to be submitted for the Wayne County Community Development Block Grant, which will be submitted before January 14th, 2003. Discussion was tabled till the December meeting.

Hall – The heater in the ladies room has not been repaired. Lou Gurske has agreed to follow up.

Ballfield – Pete Downton reports that the contracts have been sent and work should begin soon on the fence and ditches.

Roads – Wendell Swartz reports that county workers have cleaned the debris from the County Bridge. Some potholes have been filled and the sluice on Mach pond has been cleaned. Pete Downton will call the game commission again about the beaver problem. There is a tree that needs to be trimmed on the corner of Jacob’s Ladder Rd and Coxton Lake Rd. Jack Downton will follow up.

There being no further business meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

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CASS Property Gets Go-Ahead

Council president Craig Reimel and Council member Randy Schuster were unable to attend the regular November meeting of the Montrose Borough Council, which included a hearing on whether to grant the Center for Anti Slavery Studies (CASS) conditional use request for its property at 75 Church Street. Council member and vice president Todd Chamberlain conducted both the hearing and the meeting [see related article].

Members of Council and the public reviewed the proposed conditional use request which would allow CASS to conduct receptions, tours, and other educational functions and which included a few changes from the proposal discussed at Council’s special meeting late last month. These changes are: to require a written parking agreement between CASS and its neighbor, the First Presbyterian Church, and for the agreement to remain in force and in effect; to set the hours during which it may be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and to allow the premises to be used as a residence. This last replaced a paragraph in an earlier resolution that would allow the use of the premises for gatherings of an educational or cultural nature not already spelled out elsewhere in the request.

Council member Jack Yaeger made a motion to pass the resolution, which was seconded by member Elmer Taylor. Chamberlain then opened up the floor for comments from other members as well as the public. Resident Larry Kelley once again expressed his opposition, saying that the area is zoned residential and anything that’s done "will change the character of the neighborhood. This residence has been a residence for 200 years, and I hold that it should remain a residence." Another member of the public noted, after the meeting, that there was no zoning 200 years ago, and that the property has, in the past, been used as a bank.

The suggested changes to the request that Council agreed to make at the special meeting in October were, in fact, made by Kelly, as was another change which was thought by a woman in the audience as being confusing or contradictory. Under the initial proposed request, the conditions and/or restrictions of the conditional use could be modified, amended, changed or completely revoked upon good cause. As revised by Kelly, the following was added, "so long as the modification, amendment or change does not expand the uses herein permitted." In other words, changes, et al, would be allowed so long as they did not go beyond what was spelled out in the proposed resolution.

With a few other people puzzled about this, Chamberlain explained that, in effect, this part of the proposed request meant that changes would not be allowed to what the request contained. Rather, any changes had to come before Council in the form of a new conditional use agreement, a summary Kelly agreed with.

With Yaeger saying he felt it was better to act on the resolution now instead of "beating things to death," Chamberlain asked how many Council members present were in favor of the resolution. All but Fred Peckins were. Chamberlain reminded Sherman Wooden, CASS president, that Council needed a copy of the parking agreement and appropriate documentation that the premises do not have a mold problem before any activities could proceed. Sherman acknowledged these requests, and thanked Council on behalf of CASS.

Much of the audience left after the CASS motion was passed. Much of it was there on behalf of CASS, and a few were puzzled as to how the request could be drafted by someone in opposition to it. Nevertheless, they were pleased with Council’s action.

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