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A good chunk of the New Milford Borough Council meeting held last Thursday evening centered around what sounds like a difficult situation getting only worse, at least as described by two residents, Bob and Lois Baker, who brought it to councils attention.
This couple live across the street from New Milfords Pump and Pantry. They were at the council meeting with a petition signed by residents who live within a block and a half of the convenience store. The petition requests the assistance of the management of the business in helping to eliminate the problems associated with activities both criminal and nuisance witnessed on a regular basis by residents who live close by to it.
Recently, residents asked the business management if something could be done about the new lights installed at the facility. According to Mrs. Baker, they are significantly brighter than the ones they replaced, "to the point where you can sit in your house with your lights off and read the newspaper by the Pump and Pantry lights.
But it seems thats not the only quality-of-life issue that people who live nearby the business are dealing with. "A lot of us have a hard time even living in the neighborhood," said Mrs. Baker. "Until 2 and 3 in the morning particularly on Thursday through Sunday nights there is a lot of loud noise from cars revving, from loud talk, and from arguments and fights. You sit on the porch at night, and all you hear is [unprintable] this and [unprintable] that. Cars drive through front yards, leaving tire marks.
"You cant sleep with your windows open, and some people who have lived in their homes for 40 years have been forced to move their bedrooms to the back of the house as a way to at least minimize the noise," she added.
Mr. Baker described skateboarders banking off the planters at 2 in the morning and posing a hazard to themselves and others, skid marks leading out of nearly every area of the parking lot testifying to gunning engines, patrons ignoring the stop sign at the Montrose Street exit and more. "Out back, youve got 16-to-21-year olds sitting there with drugs and booze. Its gotten to a point where youre afraid to cross the street because of either the people hanging out, or the cars carelessly speeding through. Weve seen patrons pull to try to pump gas, and then pull away because it was difficult to even get to the pump or seemed unsafe to make ones way into the store."
Mrs. Baker describes a 30-pack of beer being bought inside, placed on the hood of a truck, consumed by a few guys who scatter the cans and then rev out of the place. She can describe several vehicles that regularly hang around and roar out of the parking lot, as well as a beating given to a woman who was shoved into a vehicle that drove off.
They have documented the calls they have made to the State Police, who either arrive well after an incident such as the beating or a fight has occurred and the participants are long gone, or who say that about some of the complaints there is nothing they can do since they occur on private property. In fact, Mrs. Baker reported, the State Police were seen at the store the morning of the meeting.
She has already contacted Mr. Anderson at Pump and Pantrys Montrose center, and said that the business seems to be blaming "kids." Mrs. Baker said she understood that there is not a lot for kids to do in the community. However, she noted that those who are hanging around at 2 a.m. "are awfully big kids."
According to Baker, Mr. Anderson pointed out that the business does a lot for the community making donations to the pool and Little League and is serving it by staying open 24 hours. She said she asked him if it were possible to have a security person work there a few nights a week. (She also noted that young women who work there at night are advised not to leave the building during their shifts.) Andersons response, said Baker, was that a security person would cost $15 an hour, which would mean a cutback in the donations the business makes to community organizations.
Mayor Joe Taylor asked the couple what it wanted council to do, with both the petition and about the situation.
They wanted councils help in getting started in the direction of getting something done to alleviate the situation. They asked if the borough had a noise ordinance. It doesnt. But Taylor pointed them to a nuisance ordinance that pertains to, but is not limited to, any junk, garbage, cars, and so forth. Taylor said the key phrase in this ordinance was "not limited to" which could be interpreted to also cover noise. Council member Rick Ainey wondered if a situation like this would be something that the borough magistrate should look at.
Mr. Baker said that the petitioners group just wanted Pump and Pantry to take some control over the situation. Perhaps take down some license plate numbers and discourage loitering of the type that takes place to the detriment of the community.
He pointed out that the business has barred from its property a man who was walking around with a rottweiler dog, so for some situations, they have taken action. He next asked, "What happens if a kid comes by on a bike or a pedestrian is out walking, and someone tears out of the back and something bad happens? Theres one guy who deliberately winds it up every chance he gets. Why doesnt Pump and Pantry tell him to stay away?"
Taylor, Council members, and the Bakers agreed that Pump and Pantry has a right to make a living. Taylor noted that perhaps the residents who live nearby are not paying as much taxes as the business, but they also have a right to live there, too. "There has to be a happy medium between the needs of a business and the needs of the community around it," he said. "People have to live here, too, and a business has to be responsible as well."
In looking at what it could do to help alleviate the situation, council member Rick Ainey thought council had a responsibility to advise the State Police that illegal activities like underage drinking, drug use, and altercations appear to be regularly taking place behind the Pump and Pantry, from 10 in the evening until dawn. He suggested that a letter be drafted from the council to the State Police stating such, with a copy sent to Pump and Pantry management.
The Bakers were also advised to take their petitions to Montrose, with as many neighbors who could come along, to personally deliver them to Pump and Pantry management.
And thats what will be done, at least for now.
Taylors report consisted of several very nice things that some people have volunteered to do for the community. The Rotary Club asked the mayor if they could install a new, weather-resistant flagpole in the park as a community project. They could. Taylor asked borough for permission to disconnect the electricity around the flagpole site and to remove the old flagpole to help prepare the site for the Rotary Club project, and he got it.
Taylor also was stopped by Cooper Van Cott of Van Cotts Nursery, who noted that the bushes and shrubs around the park monument looked distressed. Van Cott said he would like to take the old ones out and replace them with fresh shrubbery, donating his time, labor and bushes to the effort for the borough. Council was pleased with the generosity of both the Rotary Club and Van Cott.
And in other good community news, Taylor reported that Kevin Kruger of New Milford is in the military and serving in Baghdad. He wants to send to New Milford an American flag that has flown there. Borough president Scott Smith expressed Councils appreciation, and thought it would be nice for Krugers flag to be the first to fly on the Rotary Club-donated flagpole, and thats whats expected to be done.
In COG news, COG representative Rick Ainey reported that the organization has signed a five-year lease with the borough, and expected to hire another CEO last Friday, making for two building inspection officers and one Codes officer. Ainey will also request sewage enforcement officer Duane Woods presence at the boroughs next meeting to address a continuing situation on Montrose Street regarding sewage problems.
In other items affecting the borough infrastructure, the Streets Committee will look into the feasibility of putting in a catch basin on Cobb Street, which regularly floods just about any time it rains a bit. Council member Terri Gulick was also appointed a member of the boroughs Planning Commission, for a five-year term.
Ainey, reporting on economic development matters, noted that the County voted to start working on developing a Rail Authority, and that the Southern Tier Plastics site is still among those being mentioned as a business incubator site in the County.
Throughout various parts of the meeting, Ainey also brought up some questions to which he thought the borough needs an answer. The first was to find out from Penelec what procedures should be followed when power to any part of the borough is out for more than a few hours. This was prompted by some areas of the town being without power for two days after a recent storm.
Ainey reported that borough secretary Amy Hine had a real problem getting in touch with Penelec representatives for some guidance as to what to do. "What are our options, short of having the mayor declare an emergency? What do we do when people dont have heat in the winter because the lines are down for a considerable time?" he asked. Hine will contact Penelec and request that a representative address council at a work session about what procedures should be followed.
In Codes matters, Ainey also wanted to get clarification on when a permit was required for a business. It appears that some business-owners are pointing out that they were required to implement some changes to their structures that were not required by other business owners. Ainey thinks there needs to be consistency in the application of rules. "I dont care what the rules are," he said, "but they should be the same for everybody." Council will address this question with the COG enforcement officer who works on behalf of the borough.
The third question Ainey posed concerned the boroughs budget. "What happens when we go over budget for a particular item?" he asked. "Do we transfer it from a budgeted item that has a surplus?" Ainey noted that, for some items, the borough was already over or near-over budget, such as payroll for the employees, and items related to, the time, effort, equipment and supplies needed to handle this past winters very large snowfalls.
Ainey noted that he didnt expect council to answer the question that evening, but wanted to highlight it, adding that the boroughs bottom-line was in line with the total amount budgeted for the year.
It was decided that the Finance Committee would discuss how to keep an eye on the checks and balances, and make sure that the borough is not overextending itself in one place or another.
His last question concerned the new sewage system, and Ainey asked if the borough had an agreement with Hallstead saying that when New Milford is ready to pump sewage, Hallstead will accept it? Apparently, this isnt addressed in the agreement. Hine has contacted Sam Lewis at the Sewer Authority to find out more on Aineys questions.
Council took two votes during its meeting. The first was to approve a two-lot subdivision requested by Ainey (who abstained from the vote) and which had already received all other required approvals. The second was to send a letter to a part-time employee informing him that the Borough no longer needed his services due to lack of work.
And in a borough that prides itself on giving people a pat on the back for doing things that enhance the community, Ainey suggested that a letter be sent to property owners whose improvements to their home and property enhance not just what they own, but the community in general. "We should get in the habit of letting people know that we appreciate their efforts and thank them for it," said Ainey.
The next regular meeting of the New Milford Borough Council is scheduled for September 4, 7 p.m. at the Borough Building on Main Street.
A petition to abandon some 300 feet of Delaware Street at the site of the Forest City Nursing Home may be the subject of a public hearing by the Borough Council.
The petition was submitted by Mark Sackadorf who would like to build a new home on a land-locked parcel of land on the north side of the nursing home.
"The Nursing Center is willing to provide me with an easement over their property to my own (property) so I can build a new home," Sackadorf said in a letter to the governing body. "This would be a better solution to all involved than for me to request that the Borough Council extend Delaware Street."
Some council members expressed concern that the idea of abandoning a portion of Delaware Street may stop any future development beyond the nursing home. According to law, if the portion of a road is abandoned, property owners on both sides of it would be awarded one half of the roadway. In this case, both sides are owned by the nursing home.
"We are joining with Mr. Sackadorf in a request to abandon Delaware Street or at least 300 feet of that street," Gerald B. Franceski, managing partner of the nursing home, said in a letter to the Borough Council. "The only properties affected by this would be Mr. Sackadorfs and the Forest City Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers."
"We will accept the letters as a petition to abandon the 300 feet of Delaware Street," Borough Solicitor Robert Fields said. "Council will now go forward and hold a public meeting then grant or deny petition. If it is denied, the petitioners have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.
"Just thinking out loud, if we abandon 300 feet we might as well just abandon it all. If we abandon 300 feet it leaves a gap and no effective way to access the rest of the road."
Fields said the street may be owned by someone other than the borough. He cited a law that states if a street is not developed in 10 years or more after it is laid out, the owner or owners of adjoining property may petition council to remove such street.
"Nursing home is the only ones that want the road abandoned," Phil Hodges told the council. "If you deny this, Gerry (Franceski) will not give the builder the easement." Hodges has been contracted by Mr. Sackadorf to build the new home.
"I do not understand the advantage of abandoning it," Mayor Frank Brager said. "What is the advantage?" The mayor said he was a member of the Zoning Board when a variance was granted allowing the nursing home to build right to Delaware Street. He said the board was assured that Delaware Street could be extended in the future.
"And now it seems to be we are getting a story," the mayor said.
"It is the nursing home that wants that road closed, not me," Hodges said.
"We may never be in financial position to open that street," Fields said.
Councilman Paul Amadio suggested that anyone with land adjoining the section of Delaware Street in question be notified of any public hearing and be invited to attend.
"We may not have any plans right now," Amadio said, "but what about in the future?" He also noted that some cemetery lands in the borough front on the undeveloped portion of Delaware Street and that could lead to future development of the street.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sukenick of Delaware Street again asked council to take action on a dilapidated home across the street from them owned by Robert Selinskly. Sukenick asked council to give Selinsky a final date to have the building razed or remodeled or issue him a citation.
Fields said Selinsky has signed a consent agreement indicating that he will have substantial improvements made to the structure by September 15. Terms of the consent agreement, according to Fields, indicate that Selinsky must take corrective action to bring the building into compliance with the ordinance, and in return the borough will not prosecute him in that time.
"Does this mean," Amadio asked, "that if he has not made any substantial improvements he can be cited on Sept. 16?"
"Thats right," Fields responded. He said if Selinsky is cited, he will appear before Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans in the Court of Common Pleas.
"He is defiant of every law in town," Councilman Nick Cost said, "and we let him get away with it." Cost emphasized that the borough laws should apply to every property owner and should be enforced.
Council rescinded a July motion to enforce meter parking on Saturdays. The move came after Ed Urbas of Delaware Street submitted a petition with 35 signatures opposing Saturday meter parking. Urbas said that on several occasions he observed the 400 block of Main Street where Paul Ferraro, who asked council for the Saturday meter parking, has a barber shop, and did not see any lack of parking spaces.
"I could get 500 signatures," Urbas told the council.
Council did agree to enforce the two-hour parking limit on Main Street.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
A juvenile suspect, known to victim Christine Theresa Kelley, 42, Hallstead, stole $170 from her wallet on August 1 between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Someone entered the residence of Delores Brown, Hallstead, at the Mt. Side Trailer Park, Great Bend Township, between 4:30 p.m. on August 2 and 9:00 a.m. the next morning. The suspect entered through the living room window and removed a safe containing several thousands of dollars, diamond rings, personal papers, and a jewelry box containing several pieces of jewelry.
Diane Rafferty, Franklin Hill Rd., Liberty Township, struck husband Shaun Rafferty, Franklin Hill Rd., on July 19 at 3:00 a.m., according to the police report. She was arrested and charged with simple assault and harassment, arraigned in front of District Justice Janicelli and placed in the Susquehanna County Jail in lieu of $5000 bail.
TWO VEHICLE CRASH
On August 4 at 4:00 p.m., Beth Ann Croasdale, 37, Hallstead, attempted to make a left turn into the Oakland Trailer Park, State Route 171, Oakland Township, and in the process traveled into the path of Natalie Mayle, 24, Thompson. Mayle was unable to stop in time and struck Croasdale's vehicle in the right front quarter. Croasdale was life-flighted to CMC Hospital, Scranton, and Mayle was life-flighted to Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre.
A vehicle driven by and belonging to Nicholas Namiak, Greenfield Township, was observed parked within the eastbound travel lane on State Route 106, 2/10 mile east of State Route 374, Clifford Township. He and his passenger Dawn McAllister, Greenfield Township, were observed changing seats. Passenger insisted that she was the driver and they were both arrested for DUI. According to the report charges will be filed in District Court. The incident occurred on Aug. 1 at 10:15 p.m.
DUI TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
Tammy Lynn Rodney, 27, So. Montrose, was traveling south on State Route 267, Rush Township, when she lost control of her 1997 Pontiac Firebird. The vehicle traveled off the roadway and then struck a utility pole at the intersection of 267 with Township Route 331. Rodney exhibited signs of intoxication, according to the police report, and was arrested at the scene for DUI. She was charged with DUI and several other traffic offenses at the office of District Justice Watson Dayton. The incident occurred on July 14 at 8:25 p.m. Rodney was not injured.
Wayne Franklin, 46, Kingsley, failed to yield when pulling onto State Route 2024 from a farm driveway and a crash occurred with Monica Miller, 38, Kingsley. No serious injury was reported in this July 15 incident.
Someone stole a blue, 1969 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle from a barn on the property of David Biesecker, 61, State Route 848, Gibson Township, at an undetermined date. Anyone with information is asked to call the PA State Police at Gibson at 570-465-3154 and refer to incident # R5-507568.
On July 28, a 1990 Toyota 4-Runner belonging to Gregg B. Deehan, 52, Little Falls, MI, caught fire while traveling on Interstate Route 81, Lenox Township. Deehan was not injured.
Michael Thomas, Clifford, was traveling above the posted speed limit on State Route 2014, 2/10 mile north of State Route 247, Clifford Township, and struck a 2001 Ford F250 pick up driven by Allan Kazmierski, Forest City, as it was turning into Porter Dr. There was no mention of injury in the report.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Meghan Evans, Hop Bottom, failed to negotiate a curve on State Route 92, Lenox Township, striking a utility pole and then crashing through several fences before coming to a stop on August 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Someone broke into the Rainbow Inn, State Route 858, Middletown Township, and stole various bottles of alcohol, beer, cigarettes and bar snacks, on July 10 at about 11:30 p.m. Anyone with information please contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154 and refer to R5-507182.
Fred Milos, in a 1984 Autocar truck, got a flat tire on July 3 at 11:25 p.m. on State Route 171, Clifford Township, and hit guide rails. TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
Eugenie Kane, Montrose, suffered minor injuries as she lost control of her vehicle while traveling north on State Route 167, Bridgewater Township, when her 1984 Oldsmobile Delta traveled off the road and struck a tree on July 28 at 12:28 p.m.
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Kristi Miller, Wyalusing, drifted across the center line while rounding a sharp curve on State Route 3004, Auburn Township, on July 25 at 1:06 pm, and collided with Cindy Moore, Tunkhannock. There were no injuries.
Someone damaged a vehicle with a tire iron or similar object on July 13 at about 2:30 on Main St., Hallstead, The vehicle belonged to William Arthur, 25, Hallstead. Anyone with information, please contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154 and refer to R5-507372.
Someone shot the windshield of a vehicle belonging to Steve Cross, 43, Friendsville, with a pellet gun or similar device while the vehicle was parked at Cross's residence on July 11.
Someone removed an air conditioner from a front window belonging to Clarence L. Brink, Township Route 822 (Lover's Lane), Great Bend Township, between 7:15 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on July 8. Anyone with information please contact the police at 570-465-3154.
A traffic stop was conducted on July 29 for display of registration. Romacus Pharoah Ramacus, 28, Fulton, NY, was issued a written warning. The driver gave consent to search the vehicle. Ramacus was found to be in possession of approximately 37.75 grams of marijuana, approximately 34 small white (I.D. pending) pills and drug paraphernalia. He was arraigned and bail was set for $25,000, which was not posted, so he was committed to the Susquehanna County Jail. The incident occurred at 6:35 p.m.
On July 29 between 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., someone entered the property of Richard Goff, Township Route 554, New Milford Township, and removed $160 in twenty dollar bills from a parked vehicle in the driveway. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154.
Charles Rohan Sr. reported that someone broke into his residence on State Route 267, Rush Township, during the night of July 24 and threatened his family. An investigation is continuing.
THEFT OF DIRT BIKE
John A. Parker, Tingley Lake Rd., Harford, reported that someone stole his blue/white Yamaha RT 100 Motorcycle during the night of July 22-23. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154.
Someone broke into Michael Evans' garage in Middletown Township, and stole a Red 1997 Honda TRX 300 4 X 4 ATV. An investigation is continuing into this incident which occurred between July 11-18.
Joseph Arthur Decker, 65, Gibson Township, and Nancy Elizabeth Kelly, 61, Gibson Township.
Maxim Rodyushkin, 30, Herrick Township, and Nadezhda L. Filippova, 25, Herrick Township.
David G. Charsky, 26, Brighton, MA, and Cecily S. Quackenbush, 27, Brighton, MA.
Ernest H. Smith, Jr., 26, Bridgewater Township, and Angel Marie Sterling, 30, Bridgewater Township.
Andrew Thomas Kelly, 24, Great Bend Township, and Jolene M. Kuhn, 24, Great Bend Township.
Joseph James Cooke, 48, Olyphant, and Lynda D. Kline, 44, Olyphant.
James C. Lucas to Weaver Logging in Jessup Township for bluestone mining operation.
Dennis R. Fiori and Carol Miller and Carol Fiori to Lawrence L. Sivers in Forest Lake and Silver Lake Townships for $1.
Charles H. Dando, III and Camille I. Dando to Jeffery B. Tyler and Jeane M. Tyler in Silver Lake Township for $153,000.
Lois Grow to Richard R. Jerauld and Joanne Jerauld in Auburn Township for $28,000.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to River Bounty, Inc. in Susquehanna Borough for $4,590.55 (transfer tax paid on $15,000).
Mark L. Celebuski to Mark A. Gutshall and Kelly A. Gutshall in Herrick Township for $119,000.
PENNDOT to Dean & Valerie Johnson in Oakland for highway occupancy permit (two permits).
Elaine F. Blye, Elaine B. Corey and William S. Corey to Elaine B. Corey, Robert W. Blye, Jr., Lynne Blye Graham, Karen Blye Wolfson, Rodger F. Blye, Barbara Blye Wilson and David R. Blye, Trustees of the Blye Family Trust in Middletown Township for $1.
Lorenzo J. DeLarco and Fern DeLarco to Kevin P. Lumley and Laurie Lumley in Harmony Township for $47,000.
The Caroline G. Labosky Revocable Trust, Caroline G. Labosky, Trustee and Paul Labosky and Caroline G. Labosky to Joseph Geronimo and Rosemarie Geronimo in Liberty Township for $164,000.
Sebastian Speranza and Monica E. M. Speranza to Jeffrey Bartlett and Tracy Bartlett in Gibson Township for $94,400.
Cecelia A. Walsh, by Marilyn Walsh Sloan, her attorney-in-fact, to L & F Realty Co., Inc. in Forest City Borough for $47,000.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company in Friendsville Borough for $2,341.33.
Lynne J. Sena, nbm, Lynne J. Monsey and Mark J. Monsey to Lynne J. Monsey in Montrose Borough for one dollar and love and affection.
Virginia I. Hauser to John Hauser in Montrose Borough for $1.
John Demmer and Helen Demmer to Dorothy Demmer in Brooklyn Township for $1.
Ted Kazmierczak to Patricia L. Ward in Great Bend Township for $55,000.
Ruth S. Brown to Terrance R. Mroz and Julia A. Mroz in Great Bend Township for $146,000.
Eleanor Elizabeth Seamans Lawrence Family Limited Partnership to John T. Post and Gail M. Post in New Milford Borough for $65,000.
Dorothy M. Veelenturf to Francis R. Bolles and Mary Jane Bolles in Liberty Township for $1.
Henry C. Veelenturf and Dorothy M. Veelenturf toWalter J. Winters and Jean E. Winters in Liberty Township for $65,000.
Bernadette M. Robinson to Lisa M. Connaughton in Forest Lake Township for $93,150.
Robert Smith and Debra Smith to Jason J. Gregerson and Nicole M. Gregerson in Jessup Township for $86,000.
Charles M. Davis and Claudia Davis to Donald George in Forest City Borough for $49,000.
Roberta Y. Canini to Paul William Downton and Karen Ann Downton in Harmony Township for $64,000.
Harold F. Hendrickson and Carol Hendrickson to Kenneth J. Hughes and Lori L. Hughes in Liberty Township for $21,500.
Lawrence T. O'Reilly and Christine M. O'Reilly to John M. Huck and Anne M. Huck in Oakland Township for $60,000.
Charles R. Hayes to Ann H. Widen and C. Richard Hayes in Herrick Township for $1.
Joseph Kowalsky and Katherine Kowalsky to Timothy Kowalsky in Clifford Township for $25,000.
Michael J. Walline, Administrator of the Estate of Eileen Walline to Matthew John Fitting in Auburn Township for $11,329.25.
Heart Lake Association, Inc. to Heart Lake Association, Inc. in New Milford and Bridgewater Townships for $1.
Norman O. Hillis & Mavis J. Hillis to Keefe Nelson in Apolacon Township for $1.
R & D Builders, Inc. to Tri County Realty Agency, Inc. in Clifford Township for $19,500.
Vernon McCormick to Richard McCormick & Cheryl McCormick in Oakland Township for $1.
Edna K. Bauer to Edna K. Bauer and Roger E. Bauer in Harmony Township for $1.
Harvey Hollister and Allene Hollister to Douglas L. Sivers and Joanne W. Sivers in Liberty Township for $118,000.
Clarence L. Brink to Janice Woolbaugh in Great Bend Township for $1 ogvc.
Patricia C. Robinson and William Robinson to Alan Gillick in Clifford Township for $5,000.
Land Holding, Inc. to Mark Wilmot and Sandra Wilmot in Forest City Borough for $29,000.
Allen Treichler and Diane Treichler to James K. Monitzer, Sr. and Janet L. Monitzer in Auburn Township for $40,000.
Rita M. Demaria and Richard Demaria to Daniel J. Sweeney and Dianna Smyth-Sweeney in Herrick Township for $169,999.
PENNDOT to Edward C. Montross in Silver Lake Township for highway occupancy permit.
Carol Ann (Smith) Fedora, Sandra Jean (Smith) Hills and Nancy Louise (Smith) Bates to Eric P. Hamby and Cynthia M. Hamby in Montrose Borough for $65,000.
Ellen Treacy to Donald Richards in Ararat Township for $47,000.
Edward C. Montross, III to Richard D.Tripp and Virginia B. Tripp in Silver Lake Township for $53,200.
Robert Alexander & Joyce Alexander to Susan Ann Sager & James A. Sager, David H. Alexander, Robert F. Alexander, Sr. & Cheryl L. Alexander in New Milford Township for $1.
Robert Alexander & Joyce Alexander to Susan Ann Sager & James A. Sager in New Milford Township for $1.
Russell C. Cottrell, Jr. and Alice Marie Cottrell to Tonya Claytor and Charles Jonathan Cottrell in New Milford Township for $1.
Richard B. Smith and V. Carol Smith and Marion B. Smith by Richard B. Smith, attorney-in-fact and James L. Karg and Suzanne S. Karg to James L. Karg and Suzanne S. Karg in Springville Township for $1.
William E. Jenkins, Sr. & Joan Ann Jenkin to James L. Voelker & Kathleen Zeek in Bridgewater Township for $30,000.
August Zgavec and Susan Zgavec to Anthony R. Maloney and Maureen Maloney in Herrick Township for $39,500.
Elizabeth R. O'Malley, individually, and Elizabeth R. O'Malley as General Partner of The O'Malley Family Limited Partnership to James J. Losier in Montrose Borough for $89,000.
Bend Lookin' Good
The August meeting of the Great Bend Borough Council on the 7th was relatively brief and uneventful, but Councilman Joe Collins and Borough Mayor Jim Riecke took the opportunity to remark on successful summer events, and the way the town looks, especially the parks. Mayor Riecke called the "night-out" program and "sidewalk-sale days" "beautiful," and complimented organizers of the Tim Fancher race for a "great job." Borough employee Alan Grannis and volunteers made a special effort to paint and otherwise spruce up the facilities in Greenwood Park for the annual memorial event.
Mr. Collins, responding to a question from a colleague, told Council that the $140 cost to replace the locks on the toilet facilities in Recreation Park may have avoided additional expense from further vandalism. The original damage was discovered on a Sunday when parts would have been otherwise hard to obtain. The new locks should last for many years, said Mr. Collins.
Councilman Ray Holtzman asked Council to halt all further spending for the year. "We have a [cinder] spreader that's broke," said he, and "we have a snowplow that's broke." With winter weather barely 5 months away, Council formed a committee to study the issue, including options for replacing the Borough's aging truck, a 1996 model with over 89,600 miles.
Borough Secretary Mary Jean Fleming reported that the "beautification" project along the U.S. 11 corridor is still alive; organizers expect to arrange another meeting in early October. Ms. Fleming said she was told that funds are available to continue the project.
Mr. Collins appealed to all citizens to help locate a few missing American flags that blew away from their Main Street standards during recent storms.
And Council is again hearing complaints of hot-rodding on Spring Street. According to Mike Wasko, the Borough cannot obstruct traffic with speed bumps, and letting the roads fall into undrivable ruin is not a popular option. The Borough Council has been struggling with this dangerous nuisance for many years.
Streets elsewhere in the town are showing the wear of a severe winter and shortage of maintenance. A few years ago Council tried to put paving on a schedule so that one or two streets would get serious attention each year. Mayor Riecke suggested the Borough take up that idea again, or else major paving expenses would come due eventually anyway.
The Great Bend Borough Council meets in public session on the first Thursday of each month at the Borough Building beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Twp. Discusses BOCA
Jim Taylor and Don Zablotsky were present at the August 4 monthly Lenox Township Supervisors meeting. Fred Benson was unable to attend. Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Depew reported the following in her report: $20.08 in general checkbook and $85.17 in state checkbook, Money Market 1 holds $8,354.39 and Money Market 2 has $4,944.24, Certificates hold $18,621.42 and $115.731,23 respectively. In the equipment fund Depew reported $20,535.52, she noted there is in Turnback 1 checkbook $12,501.18 with a CD reported at $200,000. Turnback checkbook 2 has $94,120.62 ready and turnback checkbook 3 includes $27,518.56 with a CD of $100,000. She reported money received into the township from Price's Sawmill totaled $69.15 and money from Central Tax was received in excess of $8,000.
Correspondence included a letter from Code Inspections, Inc. which included a request to meet with the supervisors. EMA acknowledged receipt of recommendation of Don Zablotsky as Coordinator for the township. Further, there will be a Susquehanna County EMA training session on September 9 for coordinators. There will be a meeting on Clean and Green on August 14 for which the township input was requested. A letter of Notice of Permit correction from DEP on Garrett Hannigan was reviewed by the supervisors.
The supervisors received approval information from the Planning Commission on the Biggs subdivision. The township was advised from the Department of Transportation that it does not quality for any reimbursement for Winter 2002/2003. Since the cinder bid received no response from contractors, the township is re-advertising for them.
Of particular interest was a letter received from Bill Zick, Coordinator of Susquehanna County Recycling in response to inquiries from Lenox Township officials regarding burning trash after the last community pick-up. Zick noted that a contractor from another township burned trash and was receiving a notice of violation for that act. All of the township refuse for that collection went to the proper location.
The SEO report from Tom Buttons covered planning modules for Snyder/Kelly and Ken Smith subdivisions. A report was given on responses from the Clifford Fire Department in the last month from a member of that company.
There was a great deal of discussion which was eventually deferred to Eric Teichman, who is currently undergoing training to work as an inspector for COG. Townships have been hashing over the new BOCA laws that are in effect regarding building laws and permits in all the United States except for three, which includes Pennsylvania. Teichman will be working with new residential construction and other related projects after he is certified. There will be only two certified people to provide permits under the BOCA Laws that are slated to begin next year. There are plans for another person to come on board. The cost of permits for new construction will start around $700.00. This brought a lot of consternation from the people in attendance.
However, it is well known that these laws have been under consideration for almost four years to bring Pennsylvania into line with other state laws regarding construction, and the discussion that night was just a repeat of what has been heard all over the County in the last few years. When the laws come, however, this will have to be factored into the cost of construction. In addition, each municipality whether they opt in with COG or not will be required to have a $1,000,000 bond floated for liability purposes.
The Lenox Township Supervisors meet on the first Monday of each month at the municipal building on Route #92 in Lenox and it is open to the public.
High Grants Changes
The Susquehanna Community School board met on August 6; members Mike Kosko and Patricia Stewart were absent. Also present were superintendent Bill Stracka, incoming superintendent Bronson Stone, elementary principal Bob Keyes, high school principal Mike Lisowski, maintenance supervisor Donnie Norris and a number of guests.
The board approved the minutes of the June 18 and July 16 meetings; filing of the treasurers report; the general fund bills; the food service report, and filing of the activity fund and athletic fund reports. Under the treasurers report item on the agenda, board member Jack Downtown asked about the food service report; he noted that the report in question includes the period through the end of June, and asked why it was now being presented. Mr. Stracka responded that the reports are always one to two months behind; it usually takes a month or two for the district to receive subsidy funds. Mr. Downton asked if this item is budgeted to include the time period between school years. Mr. Stracka said that it is; he added that the accounts are regularly audited and revenues received, such as the subsidy, are reflected in this budget item.
Under item number eight on the agenda, report of district personnel, Mr. Stracka commended the staff for their preparations for the new school year, only three weeks away. Mr. Keyes reported that summer work has been progressing with no major problems foreseen. The Math committee met for two days to work on the K-12 curriculum, which has been revised to realign with state standards. And, Donnie Norris reported that a new scoreboard will be installed in the elementary gym before the start of the school year.
During public comment, a district resident asked why a student had been given a diploma, yet could not read or write. The student, she said, did not have the skills to fill out a job application. This particular student had attended classes in another district, but had received a diploma from the Susquehanna Community School District. Board president Bucci pointed out that a discussion about a particular individual could not take place at a public meeting, but would need to be conducted behind closed doors. Mr. Stone agreed, but said that he could try to answer the question in a general way. He said that certain students require an IEP (Individualized Education Program), which is tailored to meet the individual students needs according to his/her abilities, which are taken into consideration; the IEP is drafted by the faculty, with input from the parent to help the student meet their own potential. Mr. Stracka explained that there are instances where a student has an IQ of 65-75, and sometimes even lower. The law requires an IEP, and when the student meets the requirements set for him/her, the district is required to award a diploma. He added that 27% of the districts students are in the special education program; some of those students are sent to other districts if those districts programs better suit the individual students needs. A diploma cannot be denied, he said; if the student meets the IEPs goals, the law dictates that that student must be given a diploma; the district does not have a provision to award different types of diplomas.
The board approved elementary and high school professional staff transfers for the 2003-04 school year: Mark Gerchman from high school math to high school dean of students (one year only); Tammy Stone, from high school social studies to elementary guidance (one year only); Bob Goodrich, from high school alternative education to high school social studies (one year only); Karen Jansen, from high school alternative education aide to high school special education aide (one year only). One position, high school math teacher, had not yet been filled. Mr. Stone reported that he has interviewed two candidates, and had four more interviews scheduled. When a candidate has been determined, the position will be filled, pending approval by the board.
Extended school year contracts for four bus routes were approved; Mr. Stracka explained that these were 20-day programs for special education students.
A homebound instruction request for one student for the school year was approved.
The board approved resignations from Diana Evans Slick, elementary guidance counselor; James White, security officer; Philip Baldwin, boys varsity volleyball coach; Jeff Baldwin, boys assistant volleyball coach; Carol McNamara, SADD co-advisor.
The board granted permission to the superintendent to tentatively hire (pending board approval) any vacancies that may occur between August 7 and the beginning of the school year.
The board granted permission for the business office to pay bills during the month of August.
Hiring of the following was approved: Jeffrey Baldwin, boys volleyball coach; Mark McHale, drama advisor, spring production; Phil MacDonald, security officer; Vince Rock, high school English/Spanish teacher mentor; Brenda Reddon, elementary grade one aide. Also approved was the addition of Teresa Pickering to the maintenance substitute list.
Changes to the school calendar for parent-teacher conferences were approved; November 6, full day; November 7, early dismissal; April 1, full day; April 2, early dismissal. Mr. Stracka said that these changes will allow an expansion of conference time to 8:30 on Thursday evenings so that parents who work out of town will have the opportunity to meet with teachers.
The board approved Strategic Plan and Mid-Point Review Documents, a requirement of the Strategic Plan process. The revisions will be available for review for 30 days in the administration office during normal school hours, after which they will be submitted to the state Department of Education.
A list of (school) Per Capita Tax Exonerations was approved, as was a list of fundraising requests.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
Reduces Sewage Costs
All council members were present at the August 4 meeting of the Thompson Boro Council, with the exception of Andy Gardner. Also present were mayor Jim Delaney, police chief Tom Rivenburgh, secretary Diane Sheldon, treasurer Marge Whitney, and a number of guests.
Two building permits were approved, an addition to the Carmody property and a shed to the ODell property.
Continuing discussion of Act 537 (the sewer project), president Dennis Price reported that council had received a copy of the right of way for the DiGennaro property; an approved change in the plan resulted, in this case, in a decrease of almost $8,000 to the project cost.
The project engineers will see to a communication received from PENNDOT, indicating additional details required to be added to the project plan.
Mr. Price reported that during the course of the previous month, he had signed several change orders, all of which will reflect a decrease in the projects cost. One proposed change would have been to use a portable generator at the pump site; although it would have resulted in a $5,000 decrease in cost, Mr. Price vetoed this suggestion as a portable generator would have to be stored elsewhere and brought to the pump site in case of a power failure. It would also require that someone be available 24/7 to get the generator, transport it, and start it if the situation arose where it was needed. A permanent generator will automatically go on line in case of a power failure. It was agreed not to change the plan from a permanent generator to a portable one.
The paperwork necessary for the construction loan has been signed and submitted; the funds are expected to be received at the end of the month. The projects contractor has submitted a bill for the next installment, covering June 21 through July 18, in the amount of $120,108. The previous installment has not yet been paid; both will be paid once loan funds are received. The project engineers have approved all of the construction bills.
Mr. Price read a notice that the owner of Curtis Sunoco Station is appealing DEPs decision to deny revision to the plan to allow the propertys inclusion. A hearing board will decide whether or not to overturn DEPs decision. It was noted that it will cost the boro $90 per hour for legal representation at the hearing.
Several council members have started handing out stakes to homeowners, to mark where their hookups should be situated.
Mr. Price noted that once the construction bid had been awarded, sidewalks (stones) became the property of the construction company. If a homeowner wanted to keep some of it, it should be removed before construction begins, and only if it has not been marked by the contractor (for line placement). If the owner removes the stone, they are responsible for putting it back in or replacing it. Homeowners should contact Tim or Doug, liaisons for the construction company before any stone is removed, Mr. Price said, although it would be better not to remove them. Council is looking into DCED grant funding for replacement of the walks.
Continuing discussion about whether to participate in a regional planning committee being formed to implement a comprehensive plan, there was some concern as to the boros cost. Mr. Price said that the cost will be determined by a ratio, according to each municipalitys size. If the boro does opt in, it can withdraw at any time. And, Mr. Price said, any decision made has to be unanimous; a larger municipality cannot dictate to smaller one(s). A decision is needed soon, so that a grant application can be submitted for the plan costs. It was agreed to hold a special meeting, so that council member Andy Gardner could share information, on Sunday, August 17, 7:30 p.m. at the fire hall.
A motion carried to advertise for snow plowing bids, with the same requirements as previous years. This year, however, it was agreed that the contractor may be paid monthly rather than in one payment at the end of the season.
Continuing discussion about a problem that had arisen regarding a building permit, council reluctantly agreed not to take any further action due to the legal costs involved. Mr. Price noted that the states new building codes, once they are enacted, will be more stringent. In the meantime, he suggested that council look into revising their existing ordinances, particularly those dealing with setbacks.
The boros yearly cost for liability insurance will be increasing by approximately $1,000.
Permission was given for the Methodist Church to use the boros picnic tables for their annual bazaar. There was some discussion as to whether council needed to approve fire police participation in the event; it was determined that workmens comp regulations require that council must approve participation in fundraising activities. Approval was given, pending approval by the fire company.
The streets committee will look into two complaints, one regarding overhanging tree branches on Willow St. and one about overgrown weeds on Erie Ave.
Police chief Rivenburgh reported that his calls for the month included six in Thompson, eight in Ararat.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 2, as the first Monday of the month is a holiday, 7:30 p.m. at the fire hall.
Sherwood Feted Locally
Ivan and Elaine Burman hosted their annual fund-raiser for Congressman Don Sherwood at their home in Ararat, a "century farm," where the Burman family has lived since 1867, on the evening of August 7. The theme for this years gathering was "Get Lost in the 50s and 60s." There were a number of poodle skirts and DAs in evidence, as well as "hippie" attire and more than a few guests arrived in classic and vintage cars. Music was provided by "The Poets."
After Mr. Burman welcomed all in attendance, Congressman Sherwood began his address by wishing the Burman family patriarch, Reed Burman, a happy 87th birthday. Reed Burmans story, he said, is what we in Northeastern Pennsylvania are all about; he has lived as many generations did before us, pursuing the American dream. And, he had the freedom to pursue that dream, a concept that people in Iraq are now finding out what its all about. "Stay the course," he urged, "have the guts to do the right thing... we like it here in rural America. President Bush understands what it is like, what rural America is all about. It takes a lot of work to get that done internationally... as long as we stay the course, the world is going to be a better place."
Congressman Don Sherwood was the guest of honor at Ivan and Elaine Burmans annual fund-raiser.It was, Mr. Sherwood said, his privilege to introduce the next speaker, Arlen Specter, a 24-year member of the Senate, and a man with "staying power... he knows how to get things done. As often as not hell come through with what we need in rural Northeast PA."
Mr. Specter was greeted with a standing ovation. "Its wonderful to be here in this beautiful setting," he said. He reminded that there is "an important series of elections coming up in the fall of 2003. We all have a heavy responsibility to reelect President Bush; it is what we need to do for our party, our country, the whole world. And we need to retain Congressman Sherwood." He extended greetings from Senator Rick Santorum, who was unable to attend. And, he said, PA has never had a chairman of the appropriations committee, and "Its about time we did." He reported that President Bush is in good spirits. The two had met in Scranton a few months ago, along with Mr. Sherwood and Mr. Santorum. "With President Bushs leadership, we will get the job done," he said.
With the floor returned to Mr. Sherwood, he urged that it is very important to get Mr. Specter reelected. "We cannot miss having this seniority in PA... he is a valuable ally." Mr. Sherwood introduced the next speaker, senior congressman from Ohio and chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, John Boehner, who has been traveling around the country.
Mr. Boehner noted that Mr. Sherwood is "one of the most rock-solid human beings to serve in congress." Out of a total of 435 who serve in Congress, he said, there are "some really good, and some others." Taking into account members of congress from both sides of the aisle, he described Mr. Sherwood as being from the "real world," a person who brings a wealth of information, background and knowledge to Washington. "Hes doing a great job on your behalf," he said, and thanked everyone for supporting Mr. Sherwood in particularly, and Republicans, nationally and locally. "Were committed to making a difference in America," he said. He spoke of how President Bush has talked about the need to improve our public schools. Some 70% of students in poor areas cant read at basic level, with their chances at better than 50/50 at dropping out. The president has introduced legislation to improve education so that "no child is left behind," and to transform the federal role in education. "We owe each child in America the opportunity to get an education. Without it, you have no chance at the American dream."
Mr. Boehner relayed that he had become involved in politics through joining a neighborhood homeowners association. "This (being a member of congress) can happen to you," he joked. "But no issue has put an "X "on my soul more than trying to reach out and see that every child gets an education, that all kids get equal shot at education and a fair shot at reaching the American dream."
Mr. Sherwood commented that the president is "as serious about making sure education works as a heart attack." He thanked the host committee for wonderful party, as well as his staff for their organization. "Im always overwhelmed by the support I have received, from this district and elsewhere... that support enables us to do what needs to be done."
Ivan Burman noted that it is amazing to see so many come out and support Mr. Sherwood, and what an amazing person he is. He then asked family members to escort Reed Burman to cut the first piece of his birthday cake.
Elaine Burman, speaking on behalf of the county Republican Women, requested that attendees contribute to a project that had been started to benefit county children who had, for various reasons, been taken from their homes. Each child in this situation is given a teddy bear with a tee shirt that says, "Stuffed With Hugs."
In closing, Mr. Burman introduced a number of notables in attendance, including Senator Charles Lemmond; Senator Roger Madigan; State Representatives Sandra Major, and Tina Pickett; Republican State Committee Chairman Alan Novak; Superior Court candidates Palmer Dolbin and Grainger Bowman; Prothonotary and Clerk of Court Sue Eddleston; Commissioner Lee Smith; District Attorney Charles Aliano; two commissioner candidates, Roberta Kelly and Jeff Loomis; Register and Recorder of Deeds, Mary Evans; Treasurer Cathy Benedict; Auditors George Starzec and Holly Tyler; the next county District Attorney, Jason Legg; "our one county elected official that you never want to deal with on a professional basis," Coroner Tony Conarton; three candidates for state Attorney General, Joe Peters, Bruce Castor, Tom Corbett; Auditor General candidate Jeff Wyler; Candidate for State Treasurer, Craig Pepper.
"Now, he said, "lets have some fun. The rest is up to you... Thank you for your support."
Before the entertainment was turned back to The Poets, the group was treated to a song by Dr. Bhupendra Patel, a physician at Barnes-Kasson Hospital in Susquehanna. Dr. Patel spoke of how he has lived in this country for 25 years, and had been welcomed with open arms. No other country has the opportunities available here, he said.
Reporters note: Dr. Patel is well known in the area not only as a doctor, but as a performer of karaoke, mimicry, dance, garba (Indian music), and as an emcee. Any fees he receives are gladly donated to fund education for those who cannot afford it.
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