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Issue Home February 10, 2004 Site Home

County Library Has Long Strange Trip
Commissioners Support Wear Red Day
Wedding Announced Iannone – Comer
Blue Ridge Senior Center Update
Community Bank Adds Directors
Financial Exploitation Of Older Citizens
Commissioners To Discuss Housing
PACT Meeting
PENNDOT Offering Motorcycle Courses

County Library Has Long Strange Trip

At the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association's annual meeting, held on January 24 at the St. Paul's Episcopal Church Hall in Montrose, a packed house listened to annual reports, elected the Board of Directors for 2004, and laughed at the Pennsylvania road stories of Mike Stevens.

Mrs. Eleanor McKeage, President of the Board of Directors, welcomed everyone to the annual meeting. Treasurer Chris Caterson introduced his report on the Association's financial situation of the Association with a quote from the Grateful Dead: "What a long, strange trip it's been." Since cuts in state aid to public libraries were announced in March, he explained, the Board and staff did their best to cut back in anticipation of a difficult 2004. Mr. Caterson reported that the Association was able to carry over about $60,000 into 2004 to help make up the $110,000 budget shortfall resulting from the last-minute 37% cut passed by the state. As a result, 2004 will be difficult, but the Board has reached their goal of not having to lay off any staff. He warned that if the cuts are not restored in the next state budget, 2005 will be a different and much worse story.

Mrs. McKeage then gave the President's report, highlighting special events and accomplishments like Hobby Day/Auction Night and Summer Reading. Mrs. McKeage is leaving the Board due to the term limits in the new bylaws, and she said it had been an enjoyable and educational experience. The Historical Committee report, presented by Mrs. Elizabeth Janoski, highlighted the size of the Garford Williams collection that has been added to the Society's genealogical resources, and some of the other accomplishments of the year. Mrs. Elaine Henninger, Chair of the Library Friends, described another productive year for the Friends, including the second-best Blueberry Festival revenue in its 24 year history.

Mrs. Susan Stone, Administrator/Librarian, introduced her talk with a "once upon a time" story about the days when libraries begged like paupers for minimal funding. Alas, we are back to those "bad old days" with the 37% cut ! Mrs. Stone thanked the community for its outpouring of support in writing, emailing, faxing, and calling Harrisburg to protest the cuts. She emphasized that we need to continue communicating the importance of public libraries. Postcards to send to Governor Rendell were passed out (also available at each library). Mrs. Stone expressed a special thanks to four long-time board members stepping down in 2003 because of the new term limits. Eleanor McKeage, June Wootton, Joseph Sheptak, and Carol Carpenter received a round of applause for their faithful service.

Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association Board of Directors, 2004 (l-r) are: standing – Edward Stark, Ron Smith, Jeff Loomis, Chris Caterson, Ellen O'Malley, Kim Harwood, MaryAnn Warren, Andrew Snitzer, Sue Stone; sitting – Priscilla Andre (Historical Society president), Cornelia Page, Gladys Bennett, Fran Smyder, Cathy Chiarella. Not pictured are: Mary Jo Bayer, Denise Redkar-Brown, Jed Garm.

Photo by Joseph Faccinelli.

After the reports, the 2004 Board of Directors was elected unanimously: Cornelia Page, President; Cathy Chiarella, First Vice-President; Chris Caterson, Treasurer; Ellen O'Malley, Recording Secretary; Mary Jo Bayer, Corresponding Secretary; Kim Harwood, Edward Stark, and Ron Smith, Finance Committee Members; Gladys Bennett, Library Friends Vice-Chair; Denise Redkar-Brown, Historical Committee Representative; Jed Garm, Forest City Representative; Andrew Snitzer, Hallstead-Great Bend Representative; Fran Smyder, Susquehanna Representative; Jeff Loomis and MaryAnn Warren, County Commissioners.

Following the business portion of the meeting, the audience of over 100 enjoyed delicious refreshments and then sat back for an enjoyable presentation by Mike Stevens of WNEP-TV's "On the Pennsylvania Road." Mike kept the audience in stitches with his stories of meeting eccentric people, looking for fresh donuts and pies, and more. He then answered many questions about his writing, working style, and ability to appreciate the "little things" in life.

For more information about the Association or any of its programs and services, please visit or call 278-1881.

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Commissioners Support Wear Red Day

Susquehanna County Commissioners Roberta Kelly, Jeff Loomis and MaryAnn Warren joined in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 6, which was part of the Heart Truth Campaign, a national effort to spread awareness that heart disease is a women’s issue. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. One in every three American women dies of heart disease.

County employees wear red to promote awareness of women’s heart disease. Pictured (l-r) are: first row – Jan Krupinski, Bev Welch, Marlene Estelle, Mary Jo Carlton; second row – Commissioner Roberta Kelly, Commissioner MaryAnn Warren; third row – Elizabeth Janoski, Commissioner Jeff Loomis.

"Go Red for Women" is a wonderful campaign sponsored by the American Heart Association and the National Institute of Health to capture our attention about the risks of heart disease for women," says Commissioner-Chairperson Roberta Kelly. Commissioner Loomis and Commissioner Warren added their support for the effort, inviting county employees to also join in wearing red on Friday, February 6.

Information on heart disease can be obtained from county health care providers. These include Barnes-Kasson Hospital, Endless Mountains Health Systems.

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Wedding Announced Iannone – Comer

Lisa Iannone of Horseheads, NY and David Comer of Hallstead, PA were married November 22, 2003 at First Presbyterian Church, Horseheads, NY.

The bride is the daughter of Carol and Richard Johnson and Thomas Iannone. She received her Masters in Elementary Education from the University of New Hampshire and is employed in the Horseheads Central School District.

The groom is the son of Don and Donna Comer, Hallstead, PA. He received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from RIT and is employed at Verizon, Elmira, NY.

The reception was held at the Hilton Garden Inn. The couple now reside in Corning, NY.

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Blue Ridge Senior Center Update

January is a slow month; I suppose it is the let down from all the family gatherings, parties and celebrating we do in the previous two months. It has been slow here at the Center also.

We had such cold weather and it resulted in some broken pipes and leaks here at the Center and one day we had to use the kitchen at the United Methodist Community Church; to prepare our meals on wheels deliveries. Many thanks for this kindness.

Our first Brown Bag Day was a soup and sandwich affair. We always get a good crowd out, we have a variety of sandwiches and many extras to go along with them. Our second Brown Bag Day was held at the VFW building in Great Bend. It was an Appreciation Lunch for all the volunteers at the Blue Ridge Center, there were over 50 in attendance. This special day was planned by our manager Betty Kelgeman, and we certainly all enjoyed it. There was a delicious meal of tossed salad, rolls, roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and then a wonderful birthday cake and ice cream. Since it was birthday cake we sang the "Birthday Song". Quite a few birthdays in January, Sarah Flynn (who was a New Year's Day baby), Vivian Hall, Mary White, Ruth Kowalewski, Ruth Clift, Robert Bailey, Neil Wescott, and Gene Paumgarden. Happy Birthday to all. After this delicious meal prepared by two of the Ladies of the Auxiliary, namely Irene Morkumas and Joan Tompkins, we had a 50/50 drawing and the lucky winners were, Alice Hall, Gene Paumgarden and Doris Florance. I must give a great big "thank you" to all who in any way made this day possible.

We continue with our regular activities, blood pressure screening, cards, dominoes and something new. Tiffany Butler came and gave massages. No, we didn't have to undress or lay on a table, but Tiffany brought a special chair and she worked on necks, shoulders and the upper spine. Several enjoyed this treatment. Alice Gilleran took over for a week and we always enjoy having her here.

Lastly, remember spring is just around the corner, so take care when shoveling that snow, and stay warm. Be with you next month.

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Community Bank Adds Directors

Syracuse, NY – Sally A. Steele and Brian R. Ace have joined the Board of Directors of Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE: CBU). The appointment, which was confirmed during the company’s January Board meeting following the completion of the acquisition of Grange National Banc Corp. in late 2003, brings the total number of company directors to 14. Ms. Steele and Mr. Ace previously served on the Board of Directors of Grange National Banc Corp.

Ms. Steele, who will serve on the Board’s Trust, Operations and Technology committees, operates her own law practice in Tunkhannock, PA.

Mr. Ace is the owner of Laceyville Hardware in Laceyville, PA, a member of the Laceyville Business Association, and Chairman of the Laceyville Revitalization Project. He will serve as a member of the Board’s Loan and Compensation committees.

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Financial Exploitation Of Older Citizens

Financial exploitation is a significant problem affecting the elderly and it is a crime which is not new to our society. In recent years, more than 20% of all alleged elder abuse reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging was found to be in the form of financial exploitation.

Statistics do not tell the whole story. In fact, the reporting rates for the crime of fraud, a form of financial exploitation, are estimated to be between 3% and 8% - the lowest of any major crime. Often, victims are unable to ask for help, think nothing can be done to recover their money, are unaware they are being victimized, or are dependent on the very people who commit the fraud or financial exploitation for care or help.

Many times, the financial exploitation is unreported because it has been committed by someone the victim knows and/or fears. Victims tend to be above average in age and income, but by virtue of their age, may be more trusting and feel embarrassment or shame.

The dollar amount of the exploitation is not always large. Even small amounts of money exploited from an older individual with limited resources may mean that the elder is unable to pay for food, housing, or medicine.

Financial exploitation can take many forms. The following are some of the more common types of fraud committed by family members, caregivers, neighbors or acquaintances.

Mismanagement of income or assets – occurs when an older individual’s money is misused without their knowledge. For example, a mother may allow her daughter to become a co-signer on an account to help the mother with her financial transactions. The mismanagement occurs when the daughter uses the money for her own expenses without the mother’s consent.

Signing checks or documents without the elder’s consent – occurs when checks and withdrawal slips are altered or forged without the elder’s consent or knowledge.

Charging excessive fees for rent or services – occurs when an elder is charged excessive fees for caregiver services by relatives, friends, or neighbors, or when an elder is charged excessive fees for rent, transportation, meals, care, or other services.

Theft of money or property – occurs when money or property is taken without the elder’s knowledge or consent.

Obtaining money or property by undue influence or misrepresentation – occurs when the elder gives money to a perpetrator who may be a family member, caregiver, or acquaintance, out of fear or deception. The perpetrator may coerce the elder by withholding food, medication, isolating the elder, confining the elder, or through physical violence.

If you know of someone age 60 or older who may be the victim of financial exploitation, contact the Area Agency on Aging Protective Services Unit at 1-800-982-4346. You do not have to give your name if you would prefer not to.

To report other forms of elder abuse which include physical or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment call the Area Agency on Aging Protective Services Unit at 1-800-982-4346.

Note: The Area Agency on Aging for the counties of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Tioga recently received a grant of $15,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging for an Elder Abuse Awareness Project which focuses on the problem of financial exploitation of the elderly. This is the first in a series of articles under this project which will address this form of elder abuse.

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Commissioners To Discuss Housing

At their February 11 meeting, the Susquehanna County Commissioners will discuss the potential for increasing funding to the county’s Housing Rehabilitation program by over $70,000 per year. There are currently over 300 low- to moderate-income residents on the Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s waiting list for housing rehabilitation. The program’s 2004 funding level is $92,000, which will be distributed among approximately four home projects.

Commissioner Jeff Loomis has researched PA Act 137 Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act (1992), which authorizes counties to raise additional revenues to be used for affordable housing needs by increasing fees for recording mortgages and deeds up to 100% above the previous level.

"Susquehanna County’s recording fees for real estate transactions are currently set at $28.50, with only $1.00 of that fee going toward housing rehabilitation. By raising the fee to $40.50, an additional $12.00 per transaction can be added to the coffers for housing rehabilitation," Commissioner Loomis explains. "Last year nearly 6000 deeds were registered in the county. If deed transactions stay at current levels, the increase in fees would provide $72,800 in additional funds each year for the housing rehab program." Loomis added that these funds raised within the county could also be leveraged to provide even more funds for the program.

Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren support the move to raise deed recording fees. "Supporting the housing rehab program means that each year more low- to moderate-income home-owners will receive assistance in making much needed repairs to their homes," commented Commissioner Warren.

Commissioner Chair Roberta Kelly added that 70% of the county’s Community Development Block Grants must be used for benefiting low- and moderate-income persons. "Having additional monies raised within the county means we can attract additional state and federal dollars as well," she commented.

The move also has the support of Karen Allen, Executive Director of the Susquehanna County Housing & Redevelopment Authority. "We currently have a four-year wait for those in need of home repairs," Allen said. "Providing additional funds for this program means helping to revitalize Susquehanna County and its housing stock." Dennis Phelps, Executive Director of TREHAB also supports the measure.

The Susquehanna County Commissioners meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month in the downstairs conference room of the County Office Building, 31 Public Avenue, Montrose, PA. The meetings begin at 10 a.m.

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PACT Meeting

The New Milford Family Community Center held a PACT on January 21. The theme was "Make a Memory". All the families had an enjoyable time looking through pictures to create school days memories. It was a lot of fun seeing how everyone changes from year to year and how adorable they were as babies (right, William and Robert?). I hope everyone has had a chance to put their puzzles together and will meet in February to talk about family trees. Anyone who needs information or paperwork for February’s "Movie" PACT, please call the New Milford or South Montrose Office.

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PENNDOT Offering Motorcycle Courses

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) is pleased to announce that the Experienced Rider Course (ERC) for licensed motorcyclists will start to conduct rider courses at the Montrose Junior-Senior High School, 50 High School Road, Montrose, PA starting in June.

The course is free to all Pennsylvania licensed motorcyclists who own their own street legal motorcycles. The course lasts five hours, which includes nine riding exercises and pertinent group discussions. Successful course completion cards may entitle riders to possible insurance discounts from their insurance carriers.

For further information and registration call 1-800-845-9533.

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