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Issue Home March 2, 2004 Site Home

Blue Ridge Considers Future
Susky Applies For Program
Harford Opens Bids
County Instigates Wireless Survey
Court House Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Deed Transfers Are Lowest Since 1982
Commissioners Planning Improvements

Blue Ridge Considers Future

At a work session on February 23, each member of the Blue Ridge School Board received a copy of a "District-Wide Facility Study" that describes the current condition of the district campus and its prospects for the future. The document, which Board President Alan Hall referred to as a "feasibility study", was produced by Burkavage Design Associates of Clarks Summit at a cost of $18,000. Mr. Hall asked the Board to read the study in preparation for future discussion that might consider options outlined in the document for expansion of campus facilities. The document describes four possible approaches, ranging in estimated cost from zero – for a plan that maintains the status quo – up to over $11.5 million for a large new gym and expanded elementary school space, among other things. As Mr. Hall said, the study contains "anything and everything that the district doesn't have."

The last major renovation at Blue Ridge began in 1994 and cost nearly $20 million. The new study found that the facility since then has been maintained in good condition, but also discusses shortcomings and enhancements that the Board might consider. Curiously, the document includes some projections of future enrollments that show a downward trend. Yet the study recommends adding instructional space, particularly in the elementary school. District Superintendent Robert McNamara pointed out that the study noted the increase in special education requirements imposed by state and federal governments, and that full-year kindergarten and the possibility of a future pre-K program will put increasing pressure on available space.

New proposals aired at the session and in a gathering of the Activities Committee before the full session, would put additional demands on resources available at the schools. The coordinator of the gifted program at Blue Ridge, Suzanne Seamans, is developing plans for a math club for students in grades 4 and 5. The club would meet twice a month for an hour and 15 minutes and be assisted by a volunteer from the community. Elementary School Principal Robert Dietz has requested that a new Schedule B position be designated for club advisor. (Schedule B lists paid positions associated with athletics and other extracurricular activities and is part of the teacher contract.) He urged the committee to recommend the appointment of Ms. Seamans to the post. Mr. Hall, however, noting that Ms. Seamans is not certified, suggested that the position be posted to solicit other possible candidates.

The Activities Committee also heard from a parent who asked the Board to consider supporting a family-night program at the school that would also offer dance lessons. She said the program is being run now at the Lathrop School in Montrose, and that modest fees would be charged so that the district's contribution would be limited to use of the facility, in this case, the auditorium and perhaps a gym.

Mr. McNamara proposed a new part-time "career counselor" position for the High School to supplement the work of the guidance counselors, who now serve as many as 300-400 students each. This "career aide" would be on campus perhaps two days per week to help students in their consideration of career options following graduation. As a part-time, uncertified position, it would not have to be posted, and Mr. McNamara has a particular individual in mind who he said brought the idea to his attention and would be ideally suited to the job, described initially as an experiment.

The Board also discussed a situation involving a property in New Milford Township whose owners were awarded exemption from property taxes a couple of years ago under the Keystone Opportunity Zone initiative. Jim Miller of Miller Brothers Construction owned the property and anticipated building a plant for a company that was seeking to relocate from New Jersey. Pete Gulick, son of a New Milford Township Supervisor and a principal with the New Jersey company, supported the Miller Brothers petition. It seems that Mr. Gulick's company went out of business shortly after the petition was granted, and now word is received that Miller Brothers has sold the property. Under the agreement with Miller Brothers, the Blue Ridge School District, as well as the county and the township, were to be notified in advance of any sale of the property so that future development could be identified and possibly controlled. The Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development has sent a letter to Miller Brothers notifying the developers that the sale may leave them in "default" on the agreement and therefore potentially liable for payment of back taxes.

That property is close to the Gibson exit on Interstate 81, site of recent rapid development with the opening of the Flying J truck stop and a new McDonald's restaurant, not to mention the relocated State Police barracks just down the road. And, there is more to come.

At the same time that Miller Brothers was seeking tax exemption for their property, Joseph Monteforte asked the Blue Ridge Board for a more limited tax "abatement" (under a state law called the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act, or LERTA) for a development he was planning in the same area. The Board gave Mr. Monteforte the tax relief he sought, but instead of the hotel and retail complex he outlined at the time, the Montefortes built a fireworks retail outlet. Now the Montefortes have sold most of their remaining holdings in the area for a project that may yet yield a motel and shopping center. Details are sketchy, but the original Monteforte plan seems largely intact, just several years late in coming.

And finally, Board members were asked to contribute signatures to a pair of letters to be sent to State Representative Sandra Major and State Senator Charles Lemmond strongly opposing recent moves in the legislature to give local voters the right to approve school budgets by referendum. The original letter omitted the name of the Board's newest member and would have had to be redrafted to include Maureen Howell. Joel Whitehead, however, suggested that members sign individual letters, giving the mailing the larger force of numbers. It also, of course, gives members the flexibility to silently dissent from the letter, which urges legislators not to allow the referendum measure to pass in its current form.

The Blue Ridge School Board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, generally beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Susky Applies For Program

Susquehanna Boro will be proceeding with an application to be included in the state’s Main Street program. It was reported at the February 24 council meeting that the application was expected to be submitted by March 1, along with several letters of support from community members. If the boro is accepted into the program, subcommittees would need to be set up, for organization, finance, design and event planning, as well as for any other area that needs to be addressed. Any residents or business owners who may be interested would be welcome to participate. In conjunction with the Main Street program, discussion is underway to plan a Hometown Days celebration, perhaps two or three days long, to be held each year.

Council will request a (final) financial report from the Sesquicentennial committee; funds remaining from the boro celebration will be applied to Main Street event planning.

Demolition of the building at the intersection of Main St. and Franklin Ave. took longer than had been expected, as a good portion of the structure had to be taken down "brick by brick," which in turn has delayed other aspects of turning the lots into a park, such as surveying. Hopefully, the design phase of the project will be started by the end of the year.

There was further discussion about a cost of living raise to those receiving (police) pensions; research would seem to indicate that there are no requirements for the amount of such increases, or the frequency they are to be given. As there are some areas of the state requirements and/or contract obligations that are hard to define, council will discuss the matter further at the next meeting after more information is available.

A CDBG grant application is in progress for street improvements to Jackson Ave. The application has been approved by the county commissioners and has been submitted to Harrisburg; final outcome should be known some time in April.

The streets department will begin work on potholes now that the weather seems to be more cooperative.

It was reported that a landowner is interested in acquiring a parcel of boro land that includes the "long steps" between Willow and Erie Avenues. The interested party already owns property adjacent to the steps and is looking to add parking spaces and yard space, and intends to improve the steps themselves as well as the sidewalks in that area if the boro is agreeable. An invitation was extended for the individual to attend a meeting to discuss it further with council.

Permission was given for the streets department personnel to attend a road maintenance seminar, to be held in Montrose on March 17.

Several incidents involving snow removal were reported; one individual was seen snow blowing snow back into the street on two separate occasions, causing a hazard that, in turn, caused an accident. The police department was, as of the date of the meeting, trying to locate the responsible party to issue a fine. And, during plowing on Pine Street on a Sunday morning when there were no police officers on duty it was reported that plowing in one area was impeded by a parked car, which resulted in an accident. Residents who were contacted by council and asked to remove their cars were very cooperative.

Council discussed several options to remind residents again about the boro’s winter parking restrictions next fall, before the next winter season. There was a short discussion about municipal parking lots, which would solve some of the winter parking problems, but there were questions as to who would administer the permits, and who would patrol the lots to ensure that only vehicles with permits are parked there.

The monthly codes report was reviewed and included a discussion about "absentee" landlords who have not renewed their renters’ permits. Those not complying will be sent strong letters, outlining the steps that the boro could take if permit applications are not applied for.

And, at the request of the school district superintendent, several police personnel attended a meeting to discuss measures to combat drug use and underage drinking. One topic discussed was to form a program similar to DARE. The boro police will work with members of the police departments in neighboring municipalities to address the issue.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.

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Harford Opens Bids

Two of the Harford Township Supervisors met on February 24 to consider a brief agenda, most of which involved opening bids for road materials for 2004. Terry VanGorden was absent, his employment making evening meetings on weekdays inconvenient. Beginning in March, Harford Supervisors will move one of their twice-monthly meetings to Saturday morning to accommodate Mr. VanGorden's work schedule.

The session opened with a brief update on the Odd Fellows Hall in the village. Rick Pisasik said that he has received only one other inquiry on the subject so far. "At this point we don't have a lot of compelling interest," said he. He has asked a local contractor to examine the building and to prepare rough estimates of the cost to repair or renovate the structure, to make it useful again in the community. Mr. Pisasik said that he did expect such a project to be "fairly expensive."

Mr. Pisasik and Sue Furney proceeded to open bids for liquid calcium (for dust control) and awarded the contract to Vestal Asphalt for 50,000 gallons at $0.538 per gallon as the low bid. They accepted a low bid for anti-skid (used with cinders for traction on winter roads) from State Aggregates at $8.75 per ton delivered. And they accepted a low bid from Mirabito Fuel Group for 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel at a "firm price" of $1.0990 per gallon. Fuel bids are usually offered on a "fluctuating" basis, so that prices will rise and fall with the market. This bid was unusual in that sense, and was accepted under the assumption that fuel prices won't drop much over the coming year.

When it came to the stone bids, New Milford Sand and Gravel seemed to have the low offer. However, a representative of Montrose Materials (whose own bid was in the middle of the pack) then proposed a "general services" contract with the township under the state "piggyback" bidding process that might shave some off prices for the stone products the township uses on its roads. The Supervisors decided to put a decision "on hold" while they studied the general services contract offer. Under the "piggyback" program, vendors bid to the state, which then lists approved vendors that municipalities can contract with, without requiring additional bids.

There was only one bid on cinders, from Brown Farms. Cinders, for traction on winter roads, has become a issue across the state. Many vendors have had difficulty getting Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) approval of their products; materials not certified by PENNDOT cannot be purchased with state subsidy funds. A statement in the Brown Farms bid read, "cinders were not approved by the state last year, and we don't think they will be this year." The Supervisors rejected the bid because it didn't meet the specifications on this issue. Mr. Pisasik said that for the $4,000 to be spent on cinders could be purchased from township funds, if necessary.

The Harford Township Supervisors are scheduled to meet beginning at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month, and beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be on Saturday, March 13, beginning at 10:00 a.m., in the township building.

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County Instigates Wireless Survey

The Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development is participating with Lehigh University to complete a research project that will help the county plan and develop an information infrastructure, Elizabeth Janoski, director of the DED, reported to board members at the department’s February 26 meeting.

The research will help the county plan and develop their information infrastructure. Dr. Shalinee Kishore, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lehigh University is the principal investigator for the survey. The Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development will assist in collecting demographic data for the survey and provide a contact point for the project.

"This project will help to identify methods for helping to improve our county’s cell phone and broad band services, as well as offer solutions for improving communications for the county’s emergency response services and opportunities for distance learning initiatives. Improving our wireless communication infrastructure is key to the county's future economic development," Janoski said, adding, "This research project will also offer an opportunity for internships by high school students, teachers and others interested in field of wireless communications."

Information on the LUCID program is available on the Community Information Network. Click on the CIN logo at the county’s official website, Those interested in attending the next LUCID planning meeting to be held in March may contact the Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development at 278-4600, ext. 558, or by e-mail at

In other business, the board elected Jack Ord as chairman for 2004. Joe Andre will serve as vice-chair. The board voted to hold the department’s annual meeting on May 27. Economic Development Board meetings are held on the 4th Thursday of each month, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the downstairs conference room of the county office building.

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Court House Report


Chester T. Chelewski, Jr. 56, Oakland Township, and Cynthia Charlene Lee, 51, No municipality given.

Brian M. Reese, 27, New Milford Township, and Brooke Lesley Thurston, 23, New Milford Township.

Samuel Charles Little, 59, Franklin Township, and Lena M. Travis, 60, Franklin Township.

Steven William Rieman, 27, Susquehanna, and Sherry Beth Bills, 27, Susquehanna.


James B. Nicholas and Jeanne R. Nicholas to Montrose Restoration Committee, Inc. in Montrose Borough for $108,225 on Feb. 4.

Jason Flowers and Maureen Flowers to Mark Silfee and Jean M. Shinn in Herrick Township for $18,000 on Jan. 17.

Mark Silfee and Jean M. Shinn to Mark Silfee and Jean M. Shinn in Herrick Township for $1 on Feb. 13.

Paul J. Reap to Double G. Gun Club, LLC in New Milford Township for $14,900 on Feb. 9.

Raymond K. Swingle and Lulu Swingle and Patricia Ann White and Joan Marie Mahoney and Mark Mahoney to Gilbert R. Depew and Yvonne Depew in Herrick Township for $1,000 on Jan. 31.

James Denniston and Jacqueline Denniston to Judith Lynne Pehanick and Paul Pehanick in Gibson Township for $1 on Feb. 12.

Joseph J. Murphy and Donna H. Gulbin nbm Donna H. Murphy to Joseph J. Murphy and Donna H. Murphy in Ararat Township for $1 on Feb. 11.

Paul D. Corey and Jeanne Corey to Douglas Mudge and Charlotte Mudge in Clifford Township for $105,000 on Feb. 11.

William Dahm and Donna M. Dahm to William Dahm in Rush Township for $1 on Oct. 1, 2002.

Robert W. Gunning and Donna Gunning aka Donna Joy Gunning to Donna Joy Gunning in New Milford Township for $1 on Feb. 14.

Robert J. Keene and Sandra K. Keene to Robert J. Keene and Sandra K. Keene in Harford and New Milford Townships for $1 on Feb. 6.

Alice L. Simmons and Steve McGuire to George P. Shields, Jr. in New Milford Borough for $100,000 on Feb. 17.

William L. Snow to Patrick Snow in Rush Township for $1 on Feb. 18.

Michael Coppola, Jr. and Donna Coppola to Richard F. Squindo and Bernadette Squindo in Ararat Township for $8,000 on Jan. 28.

Carol Smith to Jeremy D. Harris in Great Bend Township for $25,000 on Feb. 16.

Philip C. Stein, Jr. and Karen Stein Davies, as Executors of the Estate of Lillian C. Stein to Philip C. Stein, Jr. and Karen Stein Davies in Harford Township for $1 on May 15, 2003.

Samuel J. Fike and Nancy J. Fike to David Light and Sandra Goetz in Choconut Township for $15,000 on Dec. 8, 2003.

Thelma J. May to The Trehab Center, Inc. in Oakland Borough for $32,000 on Feb. 19.

William H. Price and Karen Price to Peter Bryn & Arietta Bryn in New Milford Borough for $54,900 on Feb. 12.

John Lezinsky and James Lezinsky to James Lezinsky in Lenox Township for $1 on Mar. 14, 2003.

Genevieve Sparagna and Gary B. Chapman to Frank A. Newhart, Jr. in Middletown Township for $55,000 on Feb. 17.

Delores S. Penn and Nathan Penn to Wayne Hines and Martin Hines in Thompson Township for $1 on Feb. 18.

Wayne Hines and Judi E. Hines and Martin Hines and Victoria Hines to Delores S. Penn and Nathan Penn in Thompson Township for $1 on Feb. 18.

Albert P. Osterhout to Thomas T. Shanley and Sheri L. Shanley in Susquehanna Borough for $64,900 on Feb. 19.

Marshall Sibertson and Beverley Sibertson to Belinda Jean Rudder in Great Bend Township for $260,000 on Feb. 20.

Cynthia Osborne to Wendy M. Mock in Harmony Township for $1,750 on Feb. 18 (3 parcels).

Lawrence T. O'Reilly and Christine M. O'Reilly to Lincoln W. Ernst and Amy L. Ernst in Oakland Township for $62,900 on Feb. 20.

Donna Ciccarelli Bauer to Paul & Catherine Meyer in Herrick Township for $1 on Mar. 7, 2003.

Robert H. West and/or Alasya West to Robert H. and Alasya West Family Trust in Herrick Township for $100 on Dec. 4, 2003.

David Ardito and/or Lisa Ardito to William A. Brown in Herrick Township for $100 on Dec. 18, 2003.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Gregory Harris and/or Norma J. Harris in Herrick Township for $100 on Feb. 19.

Timothy Dugan and Nancy Dugan to Bremer Hof Owners Inc. in Herrick Township for $100 on Nov. 5, 2003.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc, to Robert Stuart Wendland and/or Hellen Wendland and/or Judith Anne Wendland and/or Dorothy Denise Camp in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to William M. Beavers and/or Alice C. Beavers in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Stacey Girven and/or Hillary Van De Mark in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Preston Gilliam and/or Gina Gilliam in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to George L. Williams and/or Joan E. Williams in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to John R. Spotts and/or Daniel W. Spotts in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Everett Brown and/or Leona Brown in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Gayne Y. Marriner and/or Beverly J. Marriner in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Francis Bello and/or Ann Bello in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Gret Balchikonis and/or Sandra Balchhikonis (sic) in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 31.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Stanley E. Elinsky and/or Susan E. Elinsky and/or Stanley K. Elinsky and/or Scott K. Elinsky and/or Stacey S. Duke in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 31 (2 parcels).

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Neil T. Coy Sr. and/or Beverly J. Coy in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 19.

Joseph Sicurella to Bremer Hof Owners Inc. in Herrick Township for $100 on Jan. 2.

James E. Plante to Gary T. Coyne in Herrick Township for $500 on Sept. 22, 2003.

Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Bonnie Layland in Herrick Township for $500 on Jan. 19.

Gladys Huggins to Charles Hurley and/or Jeff Virant in Herrick Township for $800 on Nov. 28, 2003.

Jean Skubic and Ludwig Skubic to Mary Ann Skubic Bean, Trustee of the Ludwig F. Skubic and Jean C. Skubic Trust in Clifford Township for $1 on Jan. 16.

Milfred F. Mann fka Mildred F. Hance to Mildred F. Mann in Montrose Borough for $1 on Jan. 22.

Associates, a division of Citifinancial to Michael J. Zahora and Katherine B. Zahora in Liberty Township for $645,400 on Feb. 11.

Amy Sue Wolf and Amy Sue W. Stankiewicz, by Sheriff, to Associate First Capital Corporation in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $6,069.83 on Feb. 23.

Alfred Joseph Knott to Alfred Joseph Knott in Lenox Townshp for $1 on Jan. 12.

Oride Price's Sawmill, Inc. to Ordie E. Price and Aline J. Price in Lenox Township for $1 ogvc. on Feb. 20.

Hazel McMahon to Sharon Convery and Stephen McMahon in Ararat Township for $16,022.50 on Feb. 9.

Ruth Smith Higgins to Elizabeth H. Bailey aka Elizabeth H. Hunsberger, Sarah E. Wilkins fka Sarah E. Ruch, Richard C. Higgins, Jr. and Robert W. Higgins in Harford Township for $1 on Jan. 16.

Terry Yushinsky to William Belack and Camille Belack in Lenox Township for $12,000 on Feb. 18.

Charles J. Aliano, Trustee for Donna Fekette to Donna Fekette in Great Bend Township for $1 on Feb. 24.

Manzek Land Company, Inc. to Matthew Horberger in Rush Township for $33,900 on Feb. 21.

Edward J. Hummer and Patricia L. Hummer to Agnes Skeba in Thompson Borough for $75,000 on Feb. 18.

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Gibson Barracks Report


Someone broke the rear window in a 1992 Dodge Spirit, on Washington St., Susquehanna Borough, between 8:00 p.m. on Feb. 22 and 6:50 a.m. the next day. The vehicle belonged to Joshua M. Cliff.


Chris Merritt, Susquehanna, reported that his 2003 Dodge Ram was sideswiped by a hit and run vehicle. Merritt's truck was parked on Main St., Hallstead on Feb. 21 at 2:30 a.m.


Gloria Penny, Hallstead, contacted the police and the telephone company on Feb. 20, after receiving a harassing phone call during the night. An investigation continues.


An unknown operator was traveling south on State Route 171, Village of Red Rock, Great Bend Township, on Feb. 22 at 12:01 a.m. and lost control of a 1994 Ford Tempo. The vehicle traveled about 100 feet on the shoulder before striking a utility pole. The vehicle was disabled and the operator fled the scene prior to the arrival of police. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to contact the PA State Police at 570-465-3154.


A person driving an early 90s full size pickup truck, blue and white in color with a toolbox in the bed and no tailgate, struck and damaged a mailbox and fled without stopping. The incident occurred on Feb. 21 at about 1:30 p.m. on Lackawanna Ave, Hallstead Borough. Call PA State Police with information.


An unknown vehicle with unknown operator struck a 1997 Ford Aspire belonging to Debra Alt, New Milford. The incident occurred between 8:00 a.m. on Feb. 19 and 6:30 p.m. the next day, in the Lenox Diner parking lot, Lenox Township. Contact 570-465-3154 with information.


On Feb. 21 a white female driver of a black Ford F 150 stole $39 in gas at the Great Bend Township Pump & Pantry.


On Feb. 21 at about 5:00 p.m., someone stole a mailbox on Harmony Rod, Great Bend Township.


Dawn Carey, State Route 3023, reported that on Feb. 12 someone smashed her mailbox.


On Feb. 20 at 9:00 p.m., Joe and Donna Potts, Hallstead, were riding a Polaris 500 Snowmobile on Township Route 770, Liberty Township, and it rolled onto its side. Moderate injuries occurred and they were taken to Wilson Hospital.


Sara Gosselin, 18, Meshoppen, was driving a 1990 Plymouth Acclaim and Charles Bunnell, 56, Meshoppen, was driving a Chevy Silverado pickup, both traveling north on State Route 267, Auburn Township, on Feb. 15 at 4:50 p.m. Bunnell slowed at the intersection with State Route 3007, with the intention of turning left. Gosselin crested a knoll prior to this intersection and failed to stop before striking Bunnell in the rear of a utility trailer. Both drivers received minor injuries. A two-year old in the Bunnell vehicle was not injured.


The Shell Gas Station at the intersection of State Routes 92 and 106, Lenox Township, reported that someone pumped $15.60 worth of gas without paying on Feb. 18 at 1:18 p.m.


The PA State Police investigated an apparent overdose of prescription medication by a 15-year old male. After treatment at Barnes-Kasson Hospital, Susquehanna Borough, the juvenile was released. The incident occurred on Feb. 10.


James Burchell, Jr., 22, Susquehanna, was traveling north on State Route 171, Great Bend Township, and attempted to pass Vincent R. Branning, 34, Susquehanna, who was making a left turn. Burchell then struck Branning and after impact Burchell went into Corse's parking lot, colliding with a third and then a fourth vehicle. No injuries resulted in this Feb. 18 incident.


Robert Warner, Hallstead, failed to safely back up after missing his turn onto State Route 509 from State Route 547, Gibson Township. He then struck a fence post in this Feb. 20 incident at 7:06 a.m.


Edward J. Hanko, 43, Mayfield, was traveling west in the right hand lane of State Route 374 between West Clifford and Lake Idlewild, Clifford Township. Hanko was traveling too fast for the road conditions and lost control, crossing over the eastbound lane, and left the roadway, hitting a utility pole. The pole broke off at the point of impact and fell across both lanes of State Route 374 which remained closed until the pole was replaced by NE PA Phone Company on Feb. 6.


Bill Rizzo, 55, Tobyhanna, was traveling north on Interstate 81 on Feb. 8 and lost control due to sudden unexpected ice covered roadway caused by blowing snow. The vehicle left the road then overturned coming to rest on its side. Minor injuries occurred.


Christopher D. Cole, 22, Dimock Township, was traveling south on State Route 29, Springville Township, on Feb. 20 and struck a deer. Cole was not injured.

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Deed Transfers Are Lowest Since 1982

The annual report of the Susquehanna County Planning Commission has been finished and is in the hands of the County Commissioners for review and comment. The report has been dedicated to Patricia Gardner and her father, Hubert Murphy. The formal presentation to the Commissioners is planned for March 10 at the beginning of the Commissioners‚ regular meeting.

Planning Director Robert Templeton reminded members that the next community forum will also be held on March 10 at 7:00 PM in the County Office Building Conference Room. This will be a continuation of a discussion on tourism and what it means to the economy and residents of the county. Amy Gruzesky of the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau will be there to answer questions regarding the contributions of that organization to county tourism.

Templeton further stated that since the first tourism forum, he has attended meetings with Montrose business people and the Montrose Restoration Committee to discuss specific activities to bring tourism to Montrose. The Restoration Committee has found a business consultant who will offer her services free of charge to assist in marketing the Borough.

Deputy Director Eleanor Kurosky shared the findings of the 2003 assessment. She listed 1672 deeds issued with a value of $53,558,528. That was 279 fewer deeds that the year 2002. In fact, 2003 saw the lowest transfer of property since 1982.

Kurosky also noted in the review and comment on Lenox Township’s Seven-Year Update of Agricultural Security Area, that properties participating have decreased from 65% to 50% in the last seven years. In review and comment on this Ag Security update, the Planning Commission commended the Lenox Township Supervisors and their committee, citing especially the volunteer work of Chairman Donna Williams and Secretary Dorothy McPherson.

In other business the Planning Commission recommended approval of the Act 537 plan issued by the Village of Four Seasons in Herrick Township to upgrade their sewage treatment facilities.

Several other subdivision and land development plans were accepted, along with the Act 170 review and comment on the Dunn Lake subdivision erosion and sedimentation plan.

It was noted that surveyor, John Butler, would be retiring on March 1. The Planning Commission voted to send a note of congratulations and convey their appreciation for his excellent work throughout the years.

The next regular meeting of the Susquehanna County Planning Commission will be held on March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the County Office Building. The public is encouraged to attend.

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Commissioners Planning Improvements

The Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners is putting a couple of projects on the drawing board that have been stagnant for a number of years. Moreover, board members believe there is a good chance they might get some grant money to help finance them.

The commissioners said they would like to improve the security system in the courthouse and extend the security to include the county office building on Public Avenue in Montrose. They are also thinking about installing an elevator in the courthouse to make life a little easier for handicapped individuals who need to visit the county courtrooms, both of which are on the second floor.

Don’t look for a bellhop in the immediate future. The wheels of fortune grind slowly when state and federal grant money is at stake. But the commissioners are hopeful they will be able to start work on the projects sometime in 2005.

The security plan would add more cameras and monitors at the main entrances and exits to both buildings. An additional precaution may require the use of swipe cards by employees who arrive at work early or leave after closing hours. New and safer doors may also replace the present crash-bar doors that do not always latch or lock when they close.

The county office building on Public Office houses the county’s 911 radio dispatching service and, while access doors to the 911 offices are locked, there is no security in the building.

The need for an elevator has been a county sore spot for years. During the Williams Administration in the early 1990’s, a chair lift was obtained. It was intended to be a temporary facility until the county could fund the installation of an elevator. However, until now there has been little or no talk about an elevator.

Commissioner Jeff Loomis said he has been doing some research into the possibility of obtaining grants for these projects. He said the Pennsylvania Homeland Security will have money to distribute to counties next year and he has been encouraged by the response the county is getting from state and federal representatives.

The commissioners approved the following resolutions:

2004-07- Applying for $10,000 grant for the Project Safe Neighborhood Firearm Grant through the district attorney’s office. The project objectives are to teach young children about gun violence prevention and give presentations in schools on ways to avoid becoming a victim. District Attorney Jason Legg and Sheriff Lance Benedict will make presentations in the schools.

2004-8- Approves the agreement between the Domestic Relations Department and its new solicitor, Jodi Cordner.

2004-9- Authorizes the Susquehanna County Redevelopment Authority to file a grant application in the amount of $326,000 for housing rehabilitation, clearance, storm sewer, street and road repairs, removal of architectural barriers and economic development activities. The application is filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

2004-10- Commits the county, within available resources, to assist all persons who feel they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability or families with children to seek equity under federal and state laws by filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2004-11- Continues the county’s policy of promoting opportunities for full participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons in all housing and community development programs receiving funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

In another matter, the commissioners passed an ordinance increasing the fees for recording deeds and mortgages from one dollar to $13.

The commissioners accepted with regret the resignation of Dan Kelly as payroll clerk.

New employees hired by the commissioners include Jeffrey Strohl as a full-time field appraiser in the assessment office and John Megivern as a full-time deputy sheriff. The Salary Board set their hourly rates at $10.05 for Strohl and $9.51 for Megivern. Both men will work 37.5 hours a week and will receive full benefits and be included in any increments approved by union contract.

The Salary Board eliminated a full-time secretarial position in the Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension Service office, and opted instead for a part time clerk typist who would work 20 hours a week and be paid $7.60 an hour with no benefits.

Joann Kowalski, Extension Service Director, expressed disappointment in the move. She said she had expected to be able to hire someone at 32 hours a week plus benefits. She said it may be difficult to get qualified applicants willing to work only 20 hours a week without benefits.

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