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Issue Home December 3, 2002 Site Home

Commissioners Scrap ID Badges
Susky Boro Council Works On Budget
County Plan Update Approaches Completion
Court House Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Brothers Charged With Mail Theft
Mt. View Gets A Gift

The rule requiring Susquehanna County employees to wear identification badges didn’t last long.

Passed on the first anniversary of the terrorists’ attacks in New York and Washington, the county commissioners rescinded the motion by a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Lee Smith cast the dissenting ballot.

"What do you do about departments that refuse to wear the badges?" Board Chair Gary Marcho asked. He said the commissioners could not insist that the badges be used because department heads are also elected and that makes their offices independent and exempt from rules enacted by the commissioners.

However, while Mr. Marcho and Commissioner Cal Dean supported the motion to rescind, Mr. Marcho did say the issue is open to further study. And he injected a new plan that could be more effective, though costly.

"I would like to see a card/key system considered," he said. "Everything would be computerized and we would have a record of every employee’s name and time of entry into any county building."

Mr. Smith suggested that the badges continue in use until another system could be put into place. He said the county’s Safety Committee recommended the badges and that eliminating them impairs the effectiveness of the security guards. The other commissioners did not pick up on his suggestion.

Some ambiguities in the bids caused the commissioners to table action on the purchase of a pickup truck for the Assessment Office. The commissioners indicated that questions concerning the warranties and the rebates need clarification as does the type of vehicle needed by the assessors.

In another matter, the commissioners rescinded a motion to hire Michelle Bonczkiewicz in the 911 Comm Center. Mr. Marcho said Ms. Bonczkiewicz changed her mind about accepting the position.

The commissioners adopted a 2003 holiday schedule that provides county employees with the usual 12 paid holidays next year. In addition, the employees get their birthdays off, three personal days, and vacations.

In a brief salary board matter, the position and rate of pay for Jeff Zerechak, was changed from drug and alcohol program to drug and alcohol program specialist and the annual salary was set at $35,835 from $34,456, retroactive to July 18. The board said the move was made in compliance with the State Civil Service Commission.

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Susky Boro Council Works On Budget

Mayor Kelly reported good news at the November 26 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council; the boro has qualified for additional grant funding for its sidewalk renovation project. The grant, in the amount of $169,000, would require matching funds from the boro at an 80/20 split; the would be responsible for $34,000. The total amount, she said, is very small compared to other grant funds the boro has received, but it would enable extending the sidewalk project to West Main St. "We’ll go as far as we can (with the project) over the next two years," she said. "I don’t think we’re going to see this kind of funding again, it’s becoming more difficult to get."

Secretary Margaret Biegert relayed information received from the Sesquicentennial committee, regarding ads in the memorabilia book they are putting together to celebrate the boro’s 150th anniversary. A motion carried to purchase a full page ad in the book.

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the 2003 budget; figures had to be revised based on information received since council’s special budget meeting on November 20, particularly the boro’s contribution to the sidewalk grant. The proposed budget includes an increase of one mill to accommodate across the board increases in such items as the boro’s contribution to the police pension fund, court costs (codes enforcement), expanding police coverage, and others.

Mrs. Biegert looked into streamlining the streets department’s budget, and consolidated areas where money is being spent; if these allocations were not reduced, it would require an additional tax increase of one mill.

A lengthy discussion ensued; streets commissioner Steve Glover outlined some projected projects for the coming year, including repaving Willow and Erie Aves. Mr. Glover has applied for grant funding to cover most of the costs but, he said, it is not guaranteed that the grant will be approved.

The streets department, Mrs. Biegert said, is the only one where enough money has accumulated to continue proposed projects, other departments are "pretty tight." And, the paving fund currently has a $20,000 surplus.

"We have to streamline," councilman tom Kelly said. "It’s got to come from somewhere. In what other part of the budget is there room to breathe? We’re trying to keep from raising taxes." Mr. Glover asked if one mill could not be kept for street improvements. Council president Ron Whitehead said, "Then we’d have to raise two mills."

"What you’re looking at is raising taxes," Mr. Kelly said. "If for one year we can get away without raising taxes (more), maybe next year things will settle down."

Mrs. Biegert noted that other municipalities in the county, both larger and smaller than Susquehanna, have twice the revenues that Susquehanna has.

Mr. Kelly added that hopefully, the economy will improve and the streets allocations could be increased the following year.

Mayor Kelly commended Mrs. Biegert for doing the best job possible on the budget under the circumstances. She added that other communities are facing the same financial problems as Susquehanna.

During discussion of public concerns, Mr. Kelly asked some questions regarding the timing on the traffic light at the intersection of Main and Exchange Streets; after discussing several options, it was agreed not to make any changes at the present time.

Mr. Glover questioned where Christmas trees will be located throughout the boro this year; instead of trees being placed at every business along Main St., only three larger trees will be placed in the boro.

Mayor Kelly asked Mr. Glover if council should "sit down" with the sewer authority to discuss issue of storm water drainage, or whether it has been straightened out; Mr. Glover said that the sewer authority will contact council.

Mr. Glover reported that the streets department has replaced a drain pipe at the intersection of Center Lane and W. Main St., and put in a new drainage pipe on Erie Ave., which should be replaced next year with larger diameter, sturdier pipe. He said that the department had picked up 12 truckloads of leaves in one day, the most he has ever seen. The 1993 truck the boro sold was picked up by its new owner, who seemed to be pretty happy with it. Due to a delay in the manufacture of engines, the boro’s new truck has a tentative delivery date (to Towanda) of December 9; the boro should take possession three or four weeks after that. In the meantime, the boro has been offered use of a truck by Barnes-Kasson Hospital, if it is needed for plowing before the new truck is available.

Codes Enforcement Officer Shane Lewis gave his monthly activity report. Several condemnations are taking more time than had been anticipated. He is processing three outstanding violations. And, he hopes to begin rental property inspections some time in January. Mrs. Biegert added that she and Mr. Lewis have been putting together a letter to be sent out to landlords, and compiling information as to which properties in the boro are rentals.

Mr. Whitehead asked if council could work on the proposed adult entertainment ordinance some time after the first of the year; Mr. Lewis responded that there are three issues included in the ordinance that that need to be addressed.

Mayor Kelly reported that there has been a problem with a rather large animal on Main St., but the police department is looking into it.

Audience member Helen Foster asked if anything is going to be done about the parking situation on W. Main St. It has been, she said, impossible to get through there at night because there are cars parked all over. "It seems to get worse," she said. Councilman Todd Glover, who was not at the meeting, is still working on finding a solution.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.

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County Plan Update Approaches Completion

When the Susquehanna County Planning Commission met on November 26, Planning Director Robert Templeton reported that work on the Comprehensive Plan update is moving along. He and Secretary/Planner Amy Payne have been working on the tourism section, while the economic development section has been turned over to Elizabeth Janoski of that office. Updating this plan has been a long process, and Templeton expects to get a draft out to the county for comment after the first of the year.

An interesting sidelight to the Comprehensive Plan issue was that this month, Bradford County submitted a copy of its proposed Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance to the Susquehanna County office for review. Templeton pointed out similarities and differences to our ordinance. In conclusion, the Susquehanna County office had written, "The proposed Bradford County Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance appears to be complete and well thought out. It addresses those items required by the Municipalities Planning code and appears to meet the stated goals of the plan. When the Susquehanna County Planning Commission prepares to amend its own ordinance the Bradford County ordinance should be considered as a source of possible items for inclusion."

In other business, the Planning Commission voted to support the Leadership 2020 program by sponsoring a participant at the full fee of $125. Secretary-Planner Amy Payne was offered the opportunity to represent the Planning Commission if she so desires. The program will start in January.

Templeton reported that the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau has received grant funds to develop a master plan for tourism in their service area. The Westylvanina Heritage Corporation of Holidaysburg was awarded the contract and held its first public input meeting on November 12 at the County Office Building. Templeton said that there was a good attendance with much enthusiasm and involvement in the discussion.

Several members of the Planning Commission had made time in their schedules to update their knowledge by attending the annual 3-day Pennsylvania Planning Conference at Penn State University. He thanked those who participated and the County Commissioners for granting office personnel the opportunity to attend. The members of the Planning Commission unanimously concurred with decisions made by the office staff on subdivision and land development reviews, review and comment on Acts 170 and 537, intergovernmental review, and subdivisions and land developments.

Due to holidays, the next County Planning Commission meeting will be held on December 17.

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Court House Report


Kenneth J. Masters, 31, Lathrop Township, and Joann M. Brown, 35, Lathrop Township.

Leon Luis Lane, 41, Great Bend Township, and Michelle A. Starkey, 45, Great Bend Township.

Philip Walter Brown, 31, Great Bend Township, and Lindsay Marie Lewis, 20, Great Bend Township.


Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Wachovia Bank, National Association fka First Union National Bank, in Forest City Borough for $1,641.27.

Melissa J. Ely nbm Meslissa (sic) J. Rogers and Robert L. Rogers to Melissa J. Rogers and Robert L. Rogers in Apolacon Township for $1.

Ronald B. Kiefer and Lou Ann Kiefer to David Robert Tiffany and Mary Lou Tiffany in Jessup Township for $36,100.

Department of Transportation to James Grisafi in Bridgewater Township for Highway Occupancy Permit.

Donald J. Belcher and Kelly J. Belcher to George M. Payne and Dawn R. Payne in Gibson and Clifford Townships for $1 ogvc.

Donald J. Belcher and Kelly J. Belcher to Donald J. Belcher and Kelly J. Belcher in Gibson and Clifford Townships for $1 ogvc.

Marjorie L. Tracy to Nicholaus A. Woronekin in Harford Township for $74,000.

Allen Snedeker and Ruth Snedeker to Judy A. Wambold in Silver Lake Township for $64,500.

Joan O'Dell nbm Joan Root and Roger C. Root to Joan Root and Roger C. Root in Harford Township for $1 ogvc.

George J. Orsino and Victoria M. Orsino to Revocable Living Trust of George J. Orsino and Victoria M. Orsino in Great Bend Township for $1.

Susan J. Hall to Robert G. Frink, Jr. in Uniondale Borough for $44,070.

Brian D. Dreher and Christine C. Urash to Brian D. Dreher in Franklin Township for $1.

Anastasia Donohue aka Anastasia Donahue by her Agent and Attorney in Fact Terrence Donohue aka Terence R. Donohue to Suzanne S. Cobb in Hallstead Borough for $70,000.

Edward A. Starzec, Sr., Catherine Starzec, Edward A. Starzec, Jr., George P. Starzec, and Joseph Starzec to Rodney Birchard DBA Northeast Stone Works in Bridgewater Township for quarry lease agreement.

Lawrence T. O'Reilly and Christine M. O'Reilly to Petrona D. LaVigne in Bridgewater Township for $169,900.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, N. A. in Dimock Township for $3,554.27.

Jerome J. Herbert and Mary Jane Herbert to Fox Enterpirses (sic), Inc. in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $18,000.

Mel, Martinez, The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to Lew Carlson in Clifford Township for $127,575.

Norman D. Jensen and Dorothy B. Jensen to Norman D. Jensen and Dorothy B. Jensen, as Trustees of the Norman D. Jensen Trust and Dorothy B. Jensen and Norman D. Jensen, as Trustees of the Dorothy B. Jensen Trust in Lenox Township for $1 ogvc.

Joseph Lucchesi and Patricia E. Lucchesi to Gerard T. Genco and Catherine A. Genco in Forest City Borough for $70,000.

Susan Brunner Lewis and John Rodger Lewis, individually and as Co-Trustees of the Susan Brunner Lewis Trust to Maurice Hartleyscott & Linda E. Hartleyscott in Choconut Township for $110,000.

Stanley Rockwell to Stanley H. Long, Jr. and Arlita H. Robinson in Harmony Township for $103,000.

Gamalator, Inc. aka Gamlators, Inc. to Gerald F. Morcom and Alberta A. Morcom in Gibson Township for $12,000.

Benjamin F. Bodel, by his attorney in fact Catherine S. Fitzgerald to Carol L. Young and Richard H. Storck in Silver Lake Township for $50,000.

Alphonse J. Van Nostrand and Christine C. Van Nostrand to Robert C. Wert and Grace E. Wert in Montrose Borough for $54,500.

Hugh Kays and Lea Ann Kays to Robert C. Wert and Grace E. Wert in Bridgewater Township for $75,000.

Evah L. Towner nka Evah L. Kapella, Judson Towner, individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Robert S. Towner and William R. Towner to Neil M. Hall and Robin C. Hall in Susquehanna Borough for $63,000.

Jane L. Grausgruber aka Jane Grausgruber to Martin I. Smith and Rachael Smith in Susquehanna Borough for $28,000.

Borough of Susquehanna Depot to Edward French and Phyllis French in Susquehanna Borough for $200.

Edmund M. Zach and Kathleen Zack to Edmund M. Zack and Kathleen Zack in Herrick Township for $1.

Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to The Bank of New York in Hop Bottom Borough for $2,828.24.

Alan D. Canfield and Lesa M. Canfield to Max Smith, Jr. and Phyllis M. Smith in Forest Lake Township for $68,900.

Edwin Hampton Shafer, II, and George Carlton Shafer, Jr., individually and as Co-Partners trading as Camp Susquehannock and Anne D. Shafer and Louise H. Shafer to Edwin Hampton Shaffer, II, and Anne D. Shafer in Liberty Township for $1 ogvc.

First Union National Bank of Delaware c/o Rosicki Rosicki and Associates to Keith D. Snyder and M. Kathryn Snyder in Silver Lake Township for $10,000.

Wayne R. Storr and Justine L. Storr to Meryl Jo Solar in New Milford Township for $95,000.

Hiroko Pickett to Dennis Larue and Victoria Larue in Rush Township for $40,000.

Edward Antoine and Brenda Antoine to Richard Stanley Ayers and Gwen Lynn Ayers in New Milford Township for $1,500.

Oil and gas leases given to Central Appalachian Petroleum by: Edward and Emily Tunilo in Bridgewater Township, Joseph Organski in Bridgewater Township; Walter W. and Brenda Frystak in Bridgewater Township; William J. and Evelyn C. Goff in Bridgewater Township; Edward A. Starzec Sr. and Catherine Starzec, Edward A. George P. & Joseph Starzec in Bridgewater Township; Chester H. and Janet Frystak in Bridgewater Township; Stephen R. Whitmore, Jr. in Silver Lake Township; Aleck and Mary Novack in Silver Lake Township; Louis and Nancy Lou Augustine in Silver Lake Township; Walter C. and Alyce M. Frystak in Bridgewater Township; Robert B. Bennett in New Milford Township; Larry L. and Dorothy F. Abbott, Michael L. and Stanley L. Abbott in Bridgewater Township; Glenn and Jeanette Smith in Bridgewater Township; Donald and Janice Obrien in Bridgewater Township; Byron L. and Barbara A. Charles and Lynda Charles in Forest Lake Township; Charles D. and Todd A. Illg in Choconut Township.

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Gibson Barracks Report


Joshua Hettinger, 21, Montrose, was traveling on State Route 3001 approximately one mile outside of South Montrose, when he collided with a deer on November 22 at 5:25 p.m. No injury occurred.


William Ivey, 19, Meshoppen, attempted to turn left into a driveway and turned into the path of another vehicle driven by Randy Brown, 44, Meshoppen, causing a crash. The incident occurred on State Route 3001 near Auburn 4-corners, Auburn Township. Both operators were wearing seat belts and no injuries were reported in this November 22 accident.


On November 23 at 7:45 a.m., a fire was discovered at Mecca Halal Meats, State Route 267, Forest Lake Township. The Forest Lake Vol. Fire Dept. responded and extinguished the fire. On November 24, a Pennsylvania State Police Deputy Fire Marshal determined the fire to be intentionally set. If anyone has any information concerning the fire, please call the Pennsylvania State Police at Gibson.


On November 12 at about 12:30 p.m. Kerry Vittorio, 27, and Jack Gumaer, 33, became involved in a domestic dispute and a warrant exists for Gumaer, according to the police report. Anyone with information on Gumaer's whereabouts is asked to call the PA State Police at 570-465-3154 and reference incident #R5-486648.


Diane Yaroslawski, 31, Great Bend, failed to yield while turning from Kilrow St. onto State Route 11 northbound, Great Bend, on November 3 at about 11:04 a.m. A collision occurred with Shauna Secord, 16, Great Bend. Both operators were wearing seat belts and no serious injuries were reported.


Louis Butts, 18, Susquehanna, was attempting to turn left on State Route 171 at State Route 11, Great Bend Township, and was struck by a Honda Coupe driven by Brian Chapel, 17, New Milford. No injuries were reported in this November 22 incident at 7:57 p.m.


Several persons living near State Route 3013, Lynn 4-corners, Springville Township, had their mailboxes damaged on October 31 in the early morning hours. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at Gibson, 570-465-3154.


A 2000 Saturn, driven by Alberto Cardenas, 27, Homedale, was traveling south on State Route 2051, Bridgewater Township, when several deer were in the roadway. Cardenas steered to the right to avoid the deer, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway, striking an embankment, then rolling on its roof. A seat belt was in use and no injury occurred in this November 21 incident.


A car driven by M. Rudolph, Montrose, struck a bus on November 4 at 8:20 a.m. on State Route 167, Bridgewater Township. The bus driver was L. Bennett, Montrose. Minor injury was noted, without identifying which operator was hurt. Two citations were issued, with no indication which party was cited in the police report.


Leda I. Knab, 43, Athens, struck an embankment with her Chevy Cavalier, then the vehicle rolled over. The incident was due to icy conditions, according the report of this November 20 incident. Injuries were listed as unknown.


Someone shot a paintball gun at the residence of Jean M. Shimer, New Milford, damaging the screen on the rear bedroom window. The incident occurred on November 18 between 8:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at 570-465-3154.


Someone used paintballs on two windows on the east side of the Kime Apts., Great Bend Borough. The incident occurred between 8:00 a.m. on November 15 and 4:00 p.m. on November 18. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at 570-465-3154 and reference incident # R05-0487073.


Someone pulled up to the gas pumps at the Great Bend Township Pump and Pantry, Route 171, and drove off without paying for $12.00 worth of gas. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154 about this November 19 incident which occurred at 8:15 p.m.


Between 4:15 p.m. on November 16 and 11:00 a.m. the next day, someone smashed windows out of a Chevy Silverado C20 and slashed the two front tires. The unregistered vehicle belongs to Bridgette Esposito, Hallstead. The incident occurred at River Lane at the Old Burlap Bag Company, Great Bend Township. Anyone with information should call the police at 570-465-3154.

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Brothers Charged With Mail Theft

Preliminary hearings for two brothers charged with pilfering roadside mailboxes have been set for December 5 before District Justice Watson Dayton in Montrose.

Investigations by Bruce Korty of the Montrose Police Department and Trooper Benjamin Clark of the State Police Criminal Investigation Unit at Gibson led to last week’s arrests of Robert James Cook, 40, of 32 Public Avenue, Montrose, and Brian Edward Cook, 37, of York. They were remanded to the Susquehanna County Jail after failing to post bail at their arraignments before District Justice Dayton.

Robert Cook has been charged with criminal conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, two counts of criminal conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy to commit forgery. Brian Cook is charged with receiving stolen property, forgery, and attempting to cash a stolen and forged check.

An affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Clark shows that on November 26, a Jessup Township woman placed two letters in her mailbox for the mailman to pick up. One contained a renewal of her driver’s license along with a check in the amount of $33 made payable to the State Department of Transportation. The second letter contained a $20 check made payable to an insurance company.

Later in the day, Officer Korty responded to a silent alarm at the Community Bank & Trust on Church Street in Montrose. When he arrived, a bank employee told Mr. Korty that a man, later identified as Brian Cook, sitting in the lobby was attempting to cash a stolen check. Mr. Korty checked with the State Police and learned that Brian Cook was wanted for questioning for the alleged thefts of other checks.

Confronted by authorities, Mr. Cook admitted stealing, forging and attempting to cash the check. He told authorities that he and his brother, Robert, were driving around and took the checks from the mailbox to Robert’s apartment where the PENNDOT check was forged.

A State Police team searched Robert Cook’s apartment and found both items of mail taken from the mailbox in Jessup Township. In his report, Trooper Clark said that, during an interview, Robert Cook admitted his part in the theft.

"This was not the first time they had done this," Trooper Clark said. "The defendants had full and complete knowledge that they intended to steal mail when they left Robert Cook’s apartment."

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Mt. View Gets A Gift

The Mountain View board meeting of November 25 had a full slate of officers in attendance, with the exception of John Halupke and Eliza Vagni, High School Assistant Principal from administration.

There were a number of second , third and fourth graders in attendance that evening with their parents. Usually a crowd like that means there is some sort of trouble. In this case the youngsters and a few teachers were present to receive dictionaries that are a part of a project sponsored through the New Milford Rotary Club. The youngsters in attendance represented the grades in which each student will receive their own dictionary. The New Milford organization based this donation in recognition of the work of a woman who is nicknamed the "Dictionary Lady," who is involved with similar activity in her area. The actual presentation to each of the children in the targeted grades will be done in the near future.

Kevin Griffith presented project costs for payment in the amounts of $175,394.65 and $45,112.16. Payment approval was granted.

Ronald Phillips gave the third reading of the "backpack" amendment which was given the Board's final approval. In the absence of Halupke, Jim Zick noted the non-instructional staff negotiations were ongoing.

There was much discussion about children on the shuttle bus going into the Lenox area and beyond by the board secretary, Carolyn Price. She rode the bus to check on an "overcrowding" complaint which turned out not to be an issue. In addition, she did note that the children are considered safe where they mounted and dismounted the bus, but further examination is called for in some areas. In other bus business, Donald Snedeker of Uniondale was granted a car/van contract.

Under Building and Site, Tom Salansky and the board agreed to push forward the grand opening celebration of the new high school work until April 13, because of minor delays and coming winter conditions that might preclude a large gathering.

Superintendent Arthur J. Chambers noted that goals for the elementary and high schools are high and deferred to an update from Principals Margaret Foster (Elementary) and Colin Furneaux (High School). Foster reported that there have been a number of meetings focusing on working towards the goals the district as set forth. Highlights of Furneaux's report indicated Goals in Math produced a Math Clinic, adjusted course offerings according to standards and assessment. His report also highlighted activities that have taken place in business administration courses, and further zeroed in on many activities under Technology Education, Social Studies, Family Life and Science. Particularly interesting under Science is the planning of a summer institute in that area.

Field trips were approved for Kelley Richmond and Donna Porter. Professional employee and tenure status were granted to Carole Heier-Rainey and Charles Wilson, Jr.

Resignation of Howard Gow as junior high wrestling coach was accepted. The position will now require a co-coaching effort that was approved by the board. Eileen Hartman of Harford was added to the secretarial and instructional aide substitute lists. Cynthia Beeman was approved as a long-term substitute.

The board reorganization meeting will take place as demanded by law on December 2, 2003. There have been a few minor adjustments in the regular board meetings to accommodate some payments of bills in the future. A new schedule will be published when it is received.

The next meeting on December 2 is for reorganization purposes only. The normal meeting dates of the board are on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 8 p.m. in the board room at the elementary school.

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