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Heat In G. B. Twp.
The biweekly meeting of the Great Bend Township came to order on March 3 at 7 p.m.
Chairman Robert Squier was on had to conduct the meeting, hand in his resignation as road master, and to receive the opinions that the public was willing to give so freely. Also present for the evening were Vice-Chairman Banko, Supervisor Haskins, and Secretary/ Treasurer Sheldon.
Approval of the agenda and minutes passed with some additions being made.
PENNDOT personnel discussed the amount of materials that they have had to use this year in order to keep the roadways safe to all motorists. Anti-skid has played an important part in their winter maintenance program; not only is the rock and salt mixture more environmentally friendly, but it offers additional traction that the salt (alone) cannot provide. The representatives also talked about the new programs of preventative road care that Penndot is using even when a storm is not predicted. One example of this program is the sodium chloride mixture that is sprayed on interstates to cut the amount of snow that is able to stick before crews can begin plowing them.
The next item on the agenda was the treasurers report, which began a long and heated discussion intermixed with people leaving the township building in rage, and coming to a cease fire with the adjournment of the meeting. The supervisors agreed to transfer $15,000 from the NOW Money Market Account to the NOW checking account to cover the additional expenses that the winter weather is creating in the township. During this report the name Nick Mase III was brought up for the first time this meeting. Even though it was the first time, his name would become the center of one of the most heated arguments that Great Bend Township has seen under the leadership of Chairman Squier.
Nick Mase III was a township employee, who due to some urgent family matters, had to leave the employment of Great Bend Township and move to New Jersey. Since this time, he has been able to work the situation out, move back in the area, and return to the township seeking his job. Due to his loyalty, skills, and work ethic, the Supervisors decided, during an executive meeting on February 10, that not only would they restore Mr. Mases job, but they would also give him a five dollar per hour raise, based on a salary, forty hour week. Many of the citizens in attendance were infuriated that the township would pay this large amount of money to one person, and a person that does not even live in the township. George Sienko asked, "Can the township afford this, (do you remember) this is our tax money, and you will need two people to work, what will you pay the other person?" The supervisors acknowledged that this is a large sum of money to pay one person, but Mr. Mase agreed to work at least fifty hours per week during the winter and to put in extra time to complete any unfinished projects during the rest of the year. They also went on to inform Mr. Sienko and the other concerned citizens that the township is capable of paying $16.50 per hour without raising taxes, and that there is more money set aside to hire on-call workers to fill in whenever Mr. Mase needs extra help. The citizens who still balked at this figure tried to call his hiring unlawful, stating that with the sunshine law all executive meetings have to be advertised in advance and the outcome of the meeting must be available to the public. Mr. Banko informed the crowd that this is a "formality, supervisors may hire and fire at will."
As irate citizens filed from the township building, the supervisors moved on to the unfinished section of the meeting. Every item that was listed on the agenda was ongoing.
Public comment for the evening still reflected the hostility that filled the air. One citizen said that they think the supervisors made a big mistake not advertising the position, and that personal issues played a key role in the rehiring of Mr. Nick Mase III.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.
Included in the packet of information that members of the Montrose Borough Council had waiting for them at their regular meeting on March 3 was some worrisome material, indeed. It was a report conducted by the state Department of the Auditor General, with a cover letter signed by Robert Casey and addressed to Borough Secretary Annette Rogers, about the departments recent audit of the Montrose Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association for the two years ending December 31, 2001.
Contained in the report were six findings, two of which, if not corrected, "may lead to a total withholding of state aid in the future." The letter goes on to say that "such action will not be considered if sufficient written documentation is provided within 60 days to verify compliance."
Its important to note that Council members (all of whom were present with the exception of Elmer Taylor and Bernie Zalewski) were concerned with the report, and they were concerned as well that the letter was addressed not to the Firefighters Relief Association, but to Rogers, who is not responsible for the Association. Council member Randy Schuster thought it wise to get Borough Solicitor Jason Legg to "get a letter off to the auditor general, and tell him that its not Annettes [Rogers] responsibility, that the Borough doesnt have access to the Associations records, and that the report needs to go to the president of the association." Members agreed, and thats what will be done.
The findings of the report that will be passed along to the Association are: failure to deposit state aid into the relief association account (it was deposited into a fire company account); undocumented expenditures (the report listed them individually); failure to maintain minutes of meetings; failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment inventory (the report noted that these last two were "noncompliance with prior audit recommendations"); unauthorized expenditures (the report listed this); and an inadequate financial record-keeping system.
Each of these findings was accompanied by criteria (generally, reference to law), cause, effect, and recommendations by the department. It also included "management response." For each finding, the report says that "relief association management agreed with the finding as presented at the audit exit conference and indicated they will take action to comply with the [department] recommendation."
As Council president Craig Reimel aptly put it, "Charlie, Mary, and Bob [of the Association] have a lot of work to do."
Council also turned its attention to hiring a building codes enforcement officer. The borough has been without one for some time, but not for much longer. It interviewed three people for the position, and voted to hire Shane Lewis at $13 an hour, plus mileage. Lewis is codes officer in Susquehanna, as well as for the Council of Governments Codes Enforcement Committee. Rogers said "he knows his Codes, and is doing a lot in Susquehanna to improve their places."
A member of the public wanted to know how many hours a week the codes enforcement officer would be expected to work, and if he would attend Montrose Planning Commission meetings, which she thought important. Reimel responded that theres not a lot of demand for a codes officer in the winter, and that some catch-up work needed to be taken care of. Beyond that, Reimel said he though that four to ten hours a week should do it, and closer to four would be enough, "although you never know whats going to happen."
Reimel also noted that Lewis would generally not be expected to attend Borough meetings, but would submit a written monthly report. He did think it was important, however, for Lewis to attend the Planning Commission meetings. Reimel also said that he will ask that the minutes of the Planning Commission meetings be sent to the Borough as part of its records.
In other business, Council agreed to purchase a new overhead door for the Borough garage from Overhead Door in Binghamton, which provided estimates for two different doors. Council voted to go with the least expensive one, a $3,987 thermal door that will do a lot to help with both heat loss and security. The estimate included a window in the door. Council, however, prefers not to have one, to discourage vandalism, and Rogers will find out if this is do-able.
And in a request probably being echoed in municipal meetings throughout the County, street foreman Ken DiPhillips requested more cinders. "Everyday weve been spreading something, and our supply is running low again." The Borough will buy another two truckloads (about 50 yards), with the hope that winter has delivered the last of its snow and that some of the to-be-purchased cinders will be left over for the next foul-weather season.
Insurance representative Anna Jenkins was also at the meeting to distribute the renewal report for various of the Boroughs insurance coverages underwritten by Employers Mutual Insurance Company. Jenkins indicated that workers compensation rates would be going up. After reviewing various equipment and persons listed as being insured under the contracts, Rogers indicated that the lists needed updating, and will have that information to Jenkins and Council will make a decision on how to proceed at its regular April meeting.
And in what is a sign of the times, Jenkins asked if Montrose police had received any training regarding terrorism. She noted that while the Boroughs current carrier is not formally asking about such training, other carriers are. Rogers replied that Borough police have attended seminars that focus on terrorism.
In its last business before continuing into an executive session, Council heard member Jack Yaeger make the case for having a junior council person join them. This would be a high school junior or senior who lives in Montrose and who would participate in Council discussions and dialogue, but not in votes or in executive sessions. Other members liked Yaegers idea, as did Mayor Tom LaMont, who said, "Id love to have some of the input Ive heard at high school basketball games brought up here at Council meetings."
Rogers will put together a letter listing the criteria of a junior council person, and LaMont will deliver it to the high school and speak with administrators there who may know of young people who would be interested.
The next regular meeting of the Montrose Borough Council is scheduled for April 7, 7 p.m. at the Borough Building.
All council members were present at the March 3 meeting of the Thompson boro council, with the exception of Andy Gardner. Also present were police chief Tom Rivenburg; mayor Jim Delaney; secretary Diane Sheldon; treasurer Marge Whitney and several residents.
First item of discussion was in regard to activity on the boros sewage project. Council president Dennis Price reported that the project engineer has been working on revising the plans for the building itself, trying to cut some of the costs involved. Preliminary indications are that the costs can be reduced by approximately $35,650 by changing the buildings power source from underground to overhead, and changing from a prefabricated building to a "stick built."
Applications for funding for the projects expected deficit have been completed and submitted to various agencies, including RUS.
Mr. Price reported on a recommendation received from the county Planning Commission, following their receipt of a request to include the Curtis Sunoco property and three others in the plan. Information submitted to the Planning Commission included a response written by the boros solicitor to the property owners; this response included, among other documentation, an estimate from Nassaux-Hemsley, the project engineers, as to the additional cost involved to expand the scope of service to include these properties.
According to Nassaux-Hemsley, it would cost approximately $95,000 to include these properties if a gravity system were to be used, and $75,600 for a low-pressure system. These costs reflect construction only, and could be significantly higher if unforeseen geographic conditions exist. Final figures indicate an increase to the construction costs for the entire project to be over $6,000 per EDU; these costs do not include engineering costs, administration or legal fees. The report concluded that, if these properties were to be added to the project, DEP would "probably" reimburse 50% of the costs.
Mr. Price said that, at this point, "We dont have any additional money" for the project. He has contacted Congressman Sherwoods office, Rep. Sandra Majors office, and will contact Senator Lemmonds office, in an attempt to procure funding for the projects shortfall, estimated to be in excess of $700,000.
In speaking with two local members of the Planning Commission, following their February 25 meeting, Mr. Price learned that the commission had studied the information made available to them, and had considered alternatives. The commissions recommendation to the boro was to consider adding these properties to the project. The commissions report stated that it would be remiss if it did not support addition of all properties within the boro to the system; its concern is with "at risk properties." Mr. Price said that the two commission members he had spoken with were unaware of all of the details; the only information they had received was the boros response to these specific property owners, along with a copy of their request for their properties to be included in the plan.
Council member Allen Lloyd noted that the Planning Commission had signed an approval of the finalized plan, as had DEP and Nassaux-Hemsley.
Mr. Price questioned why the boro had not been contacted before the February 25 recommendation had been made, for further information to find out why these particular properties were not included in the final plan. He noted that the commissions intent is that there not be any sewage problems, anywhere within the county.
The boros line of credit (loan) for the sewage project had been extended, and expires in April. Mr. Price has contacted the bank involved, to extend the loan for an additional six months or possibly a year, as it will be a good year and a half for the project to be completed.
In a related discussion, Mr. Price recommended having the boro solicitor and council members review the boros holding tank ordinance and recommend any changes. "We need an ordinance in place, to give someone a temporary option when a problem arises, until the new system is in place," he said.
In other business, in response to a complaint discussed at last months meeting regarding a possible sewage problem, the boros SEO had been contacted to check into complaints received. But, Mr. Price said, the SEO prefers to obtain permission from the property owner before an inspection is conducted. Information received from the propertys tenant indicated that there is a holding tank on the site; the resident had inquired about options if there is a malfunction. Mr. Price recommended that, if the SEO determines that there is a malfunction, council take the same action it had taken in other, similar situations; the tank could be pumped out (by the owner) and kept on a maintenance schedule until the new system is in place, perhaps every six months. If the owner provided council with documentation that it has been pumped out, no further action would be taken at this time.
Mr. Lloyd asked if the situation was actually councils responsibility?
Mr. Price responded that, when a complaint is made, it is councils responsibility to check it out; the boros SEO would not have to make subsequent inspections as long as the tank is being maintained, with proof of such being furnished to the boro.
A motion carried to enter a property maintenance agreement between the property owner and the boro; the agreement would be based on the SEOs determination as to the size of the tank, and how often it would need to be pumped out, if there is a problem. Mayor Delaney stated that the tenant had spoken with him, and had indicated that the "wet" area in question was the result of storm water being pumped out of the basement. Mr. Price responded that the SEO would determine if there is, in fact, a problem.
Later in the meeting, the property owner arrived, and after being apprised of councils decision, gave permission for the boros SEO to inspect the property.
Reporting on the boros Crimewatch program, Mr. Delaney noted that there had been one break-in (at D & S Flowers) and several paint-ball incidents, where signs and other structures had been the target.
Council has submitted an application to the county for DCED community revitalization funding for a police vehicle. Information received from the county stated that the application has been assigned an application number; and, due to the overwhelming response for funding for this fiscal year, the boros next notification will be whether the application has been approved or rejected, due to lack of funding.
Approval was given for secretary Sheldon to contact several qualified SEOs in the area, to discuss particulars to be added to the boros "roster."
Information received from the boros insurance carrier outlined the boros coverage for terrorist damage, as mandated by a federal act (2002). The report disclosed the portion of the boros premium available to cover any loss due to acts of terrorism, and contained information regarding federal funding that is available, if necessary in these situations.
Under new business, Mr. Price has been using his own personal supplies as well as a dedicated phone line at his home, to receive faxes for the boro. If the last month has been a good indication of what is to come, he reported that he has received 40 pages in the last month for the boro, relevant to the sewer project alone. He stated that he would be willing to continue to keep supplying paper and film for his fax machine, if the boro would be willing to reimburse the cost of the dedicated phone line. Otherwise, he said, he will be discontinuing the phone line, as there are other options available to residents of the boro, such as a communications package available through one of the cable companies that service the area. After some discussion, a motion carried to reimburse the cost of the dedicated phone line, at $20.50 per month.
The boro, along with other neighboring municipalities, has been invited to attend a meeting at the Thompson Township building to discuss "urban sprawling." The meeting will be held March 11, 7 p.m.
Mr. Price and Mr. Lloyd reported receiving complaints about speeding vehicles in the boro, at times when school buses are picking up and discharging students. Mr. Lloyd reported that he had witnessed an incident, when the bus lights were flashing, and a white SUV sped by. "Kids could have been hit." Mr. Price asked if Mr. Rivenburg and Mr. Delaney could investigate.
During public comment, Brian Wallace and Gary Swartz addressed council on behalf of the Thompson Hose Co. Mr. Wallace commented that, although this has been an "unusual" winter, snow removal is being done well when it is being removed; but, the company is concerned with the frequency of removal. He reported that there has been trouble getting the ambulance out. "Were asking for more frequency," he said, "especially during big storms... were usually called out for motor vehicle accidents or medical calls" during storms.
Mr. Price related that council has discussed this problem on previous occasions. "Its all about money," he said. "Its been pretty tough this year. Plowing costs have killed everyones budget this year, Were kind of strapped this year." Councils decision had been to leave it to Mr. Lloyds discretion, to determine when plowing and/or cindering should be done. "If theres a concern," Mr. Wallace asked, "who can we contact?" He added that the fire company would only call when (additional) plowing is needed. Mr. Lloyd replied that he should be called. "Weve been walking a knifes edge," he said. "We cant make everybody happy; either were not plowing enough, or its not being done good enough. What do you do with a foot of snow? Do we come out right away, or just do some roads each trip?"
Mr. Swartz expressed concern about a particular corner; could it be widened? "Wed never be able to get a tanker around that corner" because of accumulated snow.
Jack Downton, the boros plowing contractor, reported that a driveway in that area has been a problem. "When they plow the driveway it piles up and freezes. Its impossible to move." He did agree to try to widen the road. Mr. Price agreed to work with the property owners, and ask them to try to pile the snow where it will not block the intersection.
Mr. Delaney reported concern about an abandoned car, which is on water company property. The vehicle has been there for about three months, and is being stripped. Mr. Rivenburg had determined who the vehicles owner is, but, he said, he could not take action without permission from the water company. Council will send a letter to the water company, apprising them of the situation, and asking them to look into it.
Mr. Delaney has been gathering information to hold a "founders day" celebration in the boro, and will discuss it further with council when more information is available.
Mr. Price reported that he has received complaints from boro residents, regarding a significant increase in monthly service costs for Adams Cable, approximately $35 a month (an increase of about $14). A basic package is available for about $11.50, but includes only half of what had been previously offered. He contacted other municipalities, asking for support to see if there is a way to get the price down. Conversations he has had with representatives of Adams Cable indicated that they are streamlining their service, making it uniform so customers in all of their service areas get uniform service. "Theyre putting a lot of money into it," he said, "but fortunately we have an alternative choice (another cable company). There will probably be a lot of people switching over."
Secretary Sheldon reported that the county has requested figures regarding cleanup costs for the storm of February 17 and 18, which she compiled and sent in. "Hopefully," she said, "well get some money back," and noted that the costs for Decembers storms had been considerably higher.
Mr. Lloyd suggested that council compile information for street signs for the boro, to consider for a future project. His estimated cost is $500. He will compare prices from several suppliers.
Mr. Rivenburg reported that, for the month of February, he had responded to five calls in Ararat, and 11 in Thompson.
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 7, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall.
Tax Claim Bureau to Susquehanna County Land Sales, Inc. in Choconut Township for $5,100 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $116,070).
Tax Claim Bureau to Susan Cronk in Susquehanna Borough for $931.91 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $25,185).
Tax Claim Bureau to Frank Ziats in Montrose Borough for $1,725 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $5037).
Tax Claim Bureau to Susquehanna County Land Sales, Inc. in Susquehanna Borough for $2,300 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $25,185).
Tax Claim Bureau to Josephine A. Plonski in Brooklyn Township for $464.91 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $3,942).
Jon B. Costa and Mary M. Costa to Jason S. Aronowitz and Susie E. Aronowitz in New Milford Township for $17,000.
Connie M. Way, nbm Connie M. Willson and Keith L. Willson to Connie M. Willson and Keith L. Willson in Bridgewater Township for $1.
Skip Tracy to Marjorie Martinka, Administrator of the Ruth Martinka Estate, in Springville Township for $1.
Richard Vito to Angelo Scarfalloto and Jacqueline Scarfalloto in Forest City Borough for $1 ogvc.
Anne C. Roeder, Ronald W. Roeder and Zachary W. Roeder to Ronald W. Roeder, Sr. in Bridgewater Township for $1.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Associates Consumer Discount Company in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $2,486.22.
James W. Franklin, Executor of the Estate of Donald J. Franklin to Lucinda K. Franklin, Wayne B. Franklin, Dennis J. Franklin, Randy L. Franklin, and James W. Franklin in Brooklyn Township for $1.
Randy L. Franklin and Amy C. Franklin to Wayne B. Franklin, Dennis J. Franklin and James W. Franklin in Brooklyn Township for $25,000.
American Towners, Inc. to HP Generators, L. C. in Forest Lake Township for $10.
Jeffrey A. Page & Thomas A. Page dba Page Homestead Farm for agricultural preservation (sale of development rights) in Jackson Township for $132,678.
Catherine Caiati to George Dale Howell in Oakland Township for $1.
James W. Montonya & Vickie Lynn Montonya to James W. Montonya & Vickie Lynn Montonya in Forest Lake Township for $1.
Lucinda K. Franklin and William W. Burnham to Wayne B. Franklin, Dennis J. Franklin, and James W. Franklin in Brooklyn Township for $1.
Cheyenne Bluestone Inc. to Jon L. Clark in Jackson Township for deed in lieu of foreclosure for $1 (total consideration listed on realty transfer tax statement of value is $100,000).
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company in Ararat Township for $6,947.46.
Susan M. Barnes and Elizabeth Everitt as Co-Executors of the estate of Karl E. Spencer and Susan M. Barnes and Kurt Barnes to Elizabeth Everitt and Reuben Everitt in Silver Lake Township for $109,000.
Joshua Ridall and Elizabeth Ridall to Amy M. Smith and Matthew J. Fitting in Auburn Township for $23,164.
Peoples National Bank to Leslie Dan Turner in Jackson Township for $18,000.
Susan and David Eddleston to David Eddleston in Franklin Township for bluestone mining operation.
Charles E. Mills and Elizabeth G. Mills to Charles E. Mills and Elizabeth G. Mills in Dimock Township for $1 (two parcels).
Terrance Orazzi aka Terrence Orazzi and Tammy Orazzi to Michele Howe in Ararat Township for $138,000.
Clifford Warren to Thomas Conaty & Cynthia Conaty in Silver Lake Township for $10,000.
Kurt J. Brown and Patricia A. Brown to Jo Ann Driscole and Albert Nelson Driscole in Herrick Township for $550.
Theodore W. Batzel and Charlotte Batzel to Theodore W. Batzel, Jr. and Carly B. Batzel in Harford Township for $1.
State Police responded on March 1 to a car at the intersection of Miller and Stevens Rd., Harford. Greg McBride, Kingsley, was arrested for DUI and transported to the PA State Police in Gibson.
On March 4 at 6:50 p.m., someone pumped $12.10 worth of gas into a red Ford pickup truck and drove away without paying. The incident occurred at the Pump-n-Pantry, State Route 171, Great Bend Township.
UNLAWFUL USE OF COMPUTER
Zachary Andrew Davis, 31, Binghamton, was arrested for unlawful use of computer, theft by deception, and receiving stolen property at various times on September 12. He was arraigned before District Justice Peter Janicelli, and released on his own recognizance. The incident was reported to have occurred at P.O. Box 617, Great Bend.
Robert Norton, Hop Bottom, received minor injury when he lost control of his 2002 Hyundai on March 1 at 9:50 p.m. The vehicle left the roadway, struck an embankment, then rolled onto its roof. The incident occurred on State Route 92, Lenox Township.
On March 2 at 1:15 p.m., Karyn M. Frolish, 20, Saratoga Springs, NY, was traveling south on Interstate 81, New Milford Township, when her 1997 Honda Civic left the road, struck a dirt embankment and flipped onto its roof. She received minor injury.
POLICE CAR CRASH
On March 2 at about 11:30 p.m., a Pennsylvania State Police car was parked on the berm of Interstate 81, Harford Township, with its emergency lights on while investigating a crash that had occurred a few moments earlier. A truck-trailer combination was heading south and the operator lost control of the trailer which swung onto the berm striking the police car and driving it into the other vehicle which had been involved in the previous crash. The two troopers and two other people were injured and transported to two area hospitals. No names were available at the time.
The police barracks at Gibson is investigating a collision which occurred when Heidi Newberry, 18, Susquehanna, lost control of her 1992 Plymouth Sundance on March 2 at 10:30 a.m. The vehicle left the roadway and hit a snow covered berm. Newberry sustained a laceration to the head and was taken to Barnes-Kasson Hospital.
Between 10:00 p.m. on March 1 and 7:00 a.m. the next morning, someone removed a screen from one of the windows of the Hallstead/Great Bend Rod & Gun Club, Hallstead, then used a snow shovel to break the window. No one entered the building before fleeing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gibson station.
Between January 30 and March 1, someone kicked open the front door of a cabin belonging to Dennis David Donhauser, 50 Lafayette Hills. The cabin is located on Stone Crop Rd., Liberty Township. Taken were a small wooden table and a coffee pot. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gibson Station.
On February 28 between 6:00 and 6:25 p.m., someone stole Dynastar Max 9 skis, red in color, with Look XR8 bindings and Scott poles from Christopher Frei, 18, Tunkhannock, at the Elk Mountain Ski Resort, Herrick Township.
Charles Little, 17, RR3, Montrose, was traveling north on State Route 29, Liberty, when he swerved to miss a deer, and lost control of his vehicle which crossed into the southbound lane, and struck another vehicle almost head on. Edwin Ayers, 41, RR1, Montrose, driver of the second vehicle, was transported to Endless Mountain Health System and treated for injury, then released. Little and passenger Thomas Hewitt, 18, RR 3, Montrose, were seeking treatment on their own. According to the report Little will be cited for traffic violations in this February 28 incident.
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE
Someone took a 1995 Ford F-350, 4 X 4, white with red stripe, from State Route 29, General Central Stone, Dimock Township, on February 28 between 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. The vehicle, owned by Mark Decker, South Montrose, was recovered at 5:15 p.m. on March 1, at Maple St., Montrose Borough. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police, Gibson, at 570-465-3154.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Someone cut a pad lock at the Montrose Storage Mall, State Route 29, Bridgewater Township between January 1 and March 1, and removed several household items from a storage unit rented by Cheri L. Pollock, Kingsley. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police.
On February 27 at 9:00 p.m., a collision occurred at State Route 11 at Jackson Street, New Milford. Casey L. Goff, 16, New Milford, pulled out in front of Bruce J. Riley, 26, New Milford, at a four way intersection. Goff claims she did not see Riley because he did not have his headlights on. The collision remains under investigation. No injuries occurred.
Someone drove into the Gibson Exxon Station, New Milford Township, and pumped $18.56 worth of gas into his vehicle and then drove off without paying. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gibson station regarding this February 27 incident at 6:32 p.m.
Someone broke the window on the back door of the Tarry Ann and Paul Richard Judd residence, Lathrop Township, and removed two TVs and a play station. Anyone with information about this February 27 incident is asked to contact the PA Police at Gibson.
Someone stole a class ring, necklace and a pair of earrings from the girls locker room at the Blue Ridge School, New Milford Township, on February 24 between 2:50 and 5:00 p.m.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT--HIT & RUN
On February 23 at 5:00 p.m. Kevin Casselbury, no address given, backed his Ford truck into an unoccupied Ford car owned by Robert Hawley, no address given. Casselbury then left the scene at PJ's Bar, South Montrose.
CRASH HIT & RUN
On February 6 at 11:55 p.m., a driver and two passengers in a 1986 white Cadillac four door car veered off of State Route 11, Hallstead Borough, then struck a telephone pole. The driver and passengers fled on foot. Anyone with information, please contact the PA Police at 465-3154.
"There are a few people in this town that are harassed by the plow man. He is a real bully."
The words came from Catherine McKenna of 805 Susquehanna Street, Forest City, who told the Borough Council that Andrew Warholic, a street department employee, deliberately plowed three feet of snow into her driveway during the last heavy snowstorm.
"No one else on the street was touched," Mrs. McKenna said. "Now I want to know what is going on with this plowman and I want to know what is going to be done about it."
"This is a very difficult thing to address," Mary Cicco, council president, replied. Mrs. Cicco said she has received several complaints about Mr. Warholic and that she personally checked some of them and found no foundation for the complaints.
"This is not to say that I do not believe you," Mrs. Cicco told Mrs. McKenna. "Please accept our apology for what did happen and please call me if it happens again."
Councilman Paul J. Amadio said he checked out Mrs. McKennas complaint and it did appear as if she was the victim of some unfair treatment. However, other borough officials disagreed.
"I would bet my bottom dollar that you are not alone," Councilman Jim Lowry, chairman of the street committee, said.
Mrs. McKenna said she knows she was not the only person in the borough with a legitimate complaint. However, she said she was the only one on her block.
"It was done deliberately," Mrs. McKenna insisted. "It has been done to me over and over again."
"That I doubt very much," Mr. Lowry said. "You are never going to make me believe it was done deliberately."
"There is no reason why he would single you out," Borough Solicitor Robert Fields told Mrs. McKenna. "It doesnt make sense that the plowman would just plow in front of your house.
"We have zero tolerance and we all know that it is inappropriate and will not be tolerated by council."
In another matter, Council kept the lid on its proposed open container law for another month, pending a revision of the penalties for violators.
Council agreed to let the district magistrate set the fine up to a maximum of $500 depending upon the severity of the offense. The change wipes out a $50 fine for first offenders and came after Councilman Paul J. Amadio said a $50 would not cover the boroughs cost of prosecution.
"By the time we pay an officer to go to court and testify," Mr. Amadio said, "and pay another officer to replace him here in town while he is in court, we would be losing money. The law for littering is $300 and we are talking about $50 for walking around town drinking a can of beer."
In another matter, council approved a request from the Area Agency on Aging to make some improvements in the Forest City Senior Center. The Center is located on the first floor of the borough building.
According to Bill Farley, executive director of the agency, first priority will be replacing the kitchen cabinets and countertop. A second priority is new tile flooring in the dining area, kitchen, hallway and bathrooms.
The Great Bend Borough Council cleaned up some unfinished business on March 6. Since the February meeting was only recessed because of an unresolved matter discussed in an executive session, this month started with another executive session, followed immediately by the conclusion and adjournment of February's meeting. Whereupon the March meeting immediately began. By the time the real March meeting ended adjourned this time they had finally given formal approval to a budget for 2003. It seems that, because they had some difficulty agreeing with the County on their expected revenue figures back in December, they never actually got around to passing a budget. Toward the end of this meeting someone recalled that they hadn't done that yet, so, in the hustle of preparing to adjourn they took a quick vote, and the budget became law. 2003 budget expenditures differ not at from last year.
In between the end of February's meeting and the end of March's meeting, there was a lot of discussion about Orchard Road. Like several streets in Great Bend Borough, this was once a state road. When the state owned it, they installed a bridge with a guard rail on it. Now the owner of some land along Orchard Road wants to put in a driveway where the guard rail is. According to Councilman Mike Wasko, even though the Borough now owns the road, the state still owns the guard rail. So, if the owner wants access to his land and removes the guard rail to do so, he has to replace them when he's done. The landowner finds this a little worrisome since it makes his land effectively inaccessible. Why bother paying taxes on it if he can't get to it, he suggested.
The property owner asked who he would go to for a driveway permit, assuming he could get rid of the guard rail. Mr. Wasko told him that the state does not give Boroughs the authority to issue driveway permits. Said he, with some irony, "There are no driveways on Orchard Road." He and Councilman Rick Franks told him that he would likely get a "run-around" from the state Department of Transportation (DOT), but that DOT would have to be his next stop.
De-facto Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Lonzinski presented Council with several packets of information that he is currently working on. The County is pressing municipalities for new emergency preparedness plans, and has some grant money to distribute as an incentive for compliance. Mr. Lonzinski suggested that the Borough is vulnerable to problems from the Interstate, the railroad and the river, which bracket the town, and he warned that in the event of a severe emergency, the Borough would become responsible for managing it. Council will soon have to pass a resolution approving the plan in order to get the money.
Mr. Lonzinski then broached the subject of "re-addressing," a program also promoted by the county in support of the "enhanced 911" emergency management system. Under the county's plan, all roads will have to be consistently named, and all structures with phone service will get addresses on those roads. Mr. Lonzinski said that the Borough probably won't have much problem with street names. He said, however, that everyone in the Borough will probably get a new address.
It's a common problem in rural areas that emergency crews looking for a particular building sometimes have no more address information than, say, RR 1, Great Bend. Under the re-addressing scheme, every road and street will be divided into blocks of 5.28 feet (so that there will be 1,000 of them for each mile), and each of those blocks will be assigned an address. A structure will use one of the addresses along its stretch of 5.28-foot blocks. The addressing will give dispatchers a very clear idea how to direct a fire truck or ambulance in the event of an emergency. Mr. Lonzinski told Council that the County expects municipalities to deliver their own supporting plans by mid-summer. He estimated that it might take 2-3 years to actually implement the program.
A representative of the Great Bend Fire Company asked Council for help on John Street in the Borough. He said that parked cars along that narrow thoroughfare near the firehouse restrict access. According to Mr. Wasko, parking is already prohibited by ordinance on the south side of John Street. But since the Borough has no way to enforce parking regulations, there's not much more that the Borough can do. There was some interest in sending letters to property owners on the street asking for their cooperation.
As long as the fire company was represented at the meeting, Mr. Wasko took the opportunity to thank the firemen for the holiday decorations they installed and maintained in the Borough.
A representative of the local Crimewatch organization announced that National Night Out this year will be on August 8, the 20th anniversary of the national event. This will be the local organization's 2nd year of participation. Crimewatch would like to place a banner over a street in the Borough for the event, and was directed to DOT for approval.
Council member Bea Alesky, for several years director of the Borough's annual Fun Day family event, announced that the date this year will be May 31, the Saturday after the Memorial Day weekend.
The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building, Elizabeth and Franklin Streets.
All members of Hop Bottom Borough Council were present at their monthly meeting on March 4, with the exception of Joann Wisniewski. Members up for reelection were handing in paperwork and Gary Griffis, who has helped so much with work projects around the borough in the last few years, announced that he would not be seeking reelection. There was some speculation about who would go for his seat. Candidates had until March 11, 2003 to get their petitions in order.
Mayor Paul Henry reported the following among items from Police Chief Cosklo's monthly report: 11 traffic citations, 3 vehicles eluding police car, 1 court hearing and 5 assisting other agencies. The Chief noted that the police vehicle is fine. He attended two mandatory updates and will go to two workshops next week.
Don Widel gave a contact name at Canadian Pacific to Janice Webster, Borough President, regarding work that needs to be done by the railroad near a culvert.
Webster announced a Martens Creek Watershed meeting canceled for the 17th of February will take place at 7:00 in Grace Lutheran Church on Greenwood Street on Tuesday, March 18. Regarding the Stout property she also noted the borough solicitor would be contacted. The owners of that property have not responded to a number of calls recently.
No action can be taken on street repair necessary near Eric Lynn's property on Forest Street because of the snow accumulation. Mike Molenko is still having difficulty with lettering on the Borough's recently purchased trash cans. Regarding the trash cans, a bill received last month from Waste Management for trash pick-up proved to be accurate.
Eric Lynn spoke on behalf of the committee that was working on street numbering in the Borough because of EMA mandates. It will be interesting to see how the information will be shared with local residents. The next EMA meeting will take place on March 27, 7:00 p.m. at the Hop Bottom Hose Fire Hall.
Work to be done on the Borough Hall will go through many phases before any work will be done. It is evident that council is anxious to get this project underway. Webster downloaded some forms for this project and discussed them with council.
A business in town will have to undergo an Labor and Industry Inspection before it is sold. Eric Lynn will look into this matter. There was some confusion as to who was responsible at this time, as the business has been established for quite some time.
Bonnie Lippart waded through eight pages she was able to update for the new EMA Emergency Plan requirements. Council gave their approval to those eight pages and she noted that the remainder will be ready for filing soon. It was also announced that a meeting will have to take place with people who will be sharing responsibility during an emergency situation. Appropriate letters will be sent to the parties involved. The purchase of bullhorns has been delayed at the present time. Another centralized pick-up-point in the borough, in addition to the two churches in town, the Methodist on So. Prospect and Grace Lutheran on Greenwood Street, will be investigated as a possibility.
Dawn Watson, who is spearheading the Emergency Management Plans, will be invited to the next borough EMA meeting.
The bills received from Gary Sanauskas for snowplowing were paid.
The borough meets at the borough building on Forest Street on the first Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. The public is invited.
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