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Issue Home March 23, 2004 Site Home

Hallstead Discusses KOZ
SCSD Gets Good Report Card
Judge Seamans Hands Down Sentences
Pleas For EMT Support In Great Bend Twp.
Harford Odd Fellows Dominate
Gibson Barracks Report

Hallstead Discusses KOZ

Hallstead Boro council was addressed by Elizabeth Janoski, director of the county Department of Economic Development at their March 18 meeting. Mrs. Janoski wished to discuss the foundry property; more specifically, would council approve entering the property into the KOZ program? Since the foundry closed, it has become an eyesore. The KOZ program has opened again, allowing more properties to be admitted; but, there is a short window of opportunity. Approving the property’s designation into the KOZ program could prove to be an incentive to attract new business to the area. KOZ would entitle the property to be eligible for many tax breaks, not just real estate tax, as long as the owner is actively cleaning up and improving the property. The state will make an annual evaluation of the property, and determine if it is eligible for tax breaks for each year of the program’s duration, which for KOZ is until the end of 2010. The property could be attractive to business as it is in a commercial zone, and has existing infrastructure.

It was Mrs. Janoski’s understanding that her predecessor had approached the Blue Ridge School District board of directors about two properties, the foundry and the Northern Tier Plastics building in New Milford, and had obtained the board’s approval for both. Since then, the New Milford property had been entered into KOZ. If council were to approve, a resolution must be passed by the boro, which would then be taken to the county commissioners for their approval; it was her feeling that the commissioners would follow council’s lead and approve the designation.

But, since the property lies within the boro and Great Bend Township, the township supervisors would also need to approve. This brought up a question; the boro has always collected taxes for the land, and the boro has been instrumental in getting the property cleaned up to the extent that it has. Would the township’s approval be necessary if it has never received tax revenue for the property? After some discussion, Mrs. Janoski agreed to contact the county solicitor to determine the boro’s legal status in regard to this question. Regardless of the answer, it appeared that council would not be in favor of granting KOZ status to the property, although Mrs. Janoski reported that the property owner has expressed interest in pursuing a KOZ designation. And, boro secretary Cindy Gillespie, who is a member of the Blue Ridge School Board, was not sure that the foundry property had been approved by them for the KOZ program; she agreed to research what action the board had taken in regard to the foundry. And, it was noted that Great Bend Township did not approve the KOZ designation for the foundry property when the supervisors were approached by the prior director of the Dept. of Economic Development.

Mrs. Janoski concluded by saying that a KOZ designation would be an economic development tool; the program has worked in other areas. It would make the property attractive to businesses, whether new or existing. If an existing business were to relocate to the property, there would be requirements to be met for it to retain its KOZ designation. A percentage of new jobs would need to be created. And, the property itself would be enrolled in the KOZ program, regardless of how many times it changed hands for the duration of the program.

No decision was made, pending information from the county solicitor regarding the question of the township’s involvement, but it appeared that council would not be in favor of the KOZ designation.

In the meantime, council has notified the property owner, through their solicitor, that the property is in violation of the boro’s nuisance ordinance because the buildings have not been demolished, as they were to have been three years ago. A letter was sent to the owner, on March 12, giving 30 days to demolish the buildings. If no progress has been made at that time, the boro will pursue legal action.

Next to address council were two representatives of the Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance service, in response to letters that were sent (individually) to members of council by the Bradford Susquehanna EMS Council, which oversees ambulance services. The letter stated that the EMS council has been trying to work with the (local) service on issues that have resulted in the (local) service’s not being able to respond to calls in a timely manner, and not being compliant in documentation requirements. The letter went on to say that the (local) service has submitted a corrective action plan to the EMS council, which was subsequently rejected. Randy Ball, vice president of the ambulance service said that the ambulance company has been doing whatever possible with only two EMT’s; state regulations determine what personnel must be available on an ambulance before a call is responded to. As the company only has two EMT’s, a plan to assign calls to other ambulance services during certain hours had been submitted and subsequently rejected.

The company, he said, has complied with regulations regarding paperwork, well ahead of deadlines. In one instance, it was realized that reports that were faxed in to the EMS council were incomplete, most likely by a fax failure. As soon as the omission was realized, the missing pages were sent. Mr. Ball pointed out that volunteer ambulance companies all over are scrambling to comply with crewing regulations, and having to deal with a lack of qualified personnel. The ambulance company has been actively trying to recruit more EMT’s, and has been actively working with other entities to set up an EMT training course, which entails 120 hours of training. He noted that the ambulance company had received an offer last year, from a private concern, to use the company’s facilities and equipment for a nominal fee of $1.00.

If the EMS council should decide not to approve the (local) company’s plan to address the lack of qualified personnel during specific times (such as when volunteers are at work during the day), the company would be required to turn over their building, any equipment they have, and any funds in their accounts. The EMS Council could assign another entity to take over, not necessarily a volunteer service, and all of the (local) company’s assets would revert to the new company.

In other business, council will look into a resident’s request to post clearance signs at the railroad viaduct; there has been concern that truckers, unsure of the clearance, have been using alternate routes through residential areas.

Continuing discussion from last month’s meeting, regarding who is responsible for seeing that fire hydrants are kept clear of snow, councilman James Gillespie had contacted the PA American Water Co. for more information. PAWC would not commit to seeing that the hydrants are kept clear, as crews would need to be kept available for other work. But, civic groups and/or homeowners could agree to take on the responsibility; PAWC would be willing to work with groups or individuals who are interested in seeing that the hydrants are kept clear on a regular basis.

Discussion continued from last month’s meeting, about the state’s Uniform Construction Code. Council will need to opt into enforcing the code, or opt out, in which case construction inspections would be conducted by the Department of Labor and Industry. Mr. Gillespie has done extensive research to see what options are available to the boro. A list of certified inspectors he obtained indicated that none are in close proximity to the boro, and the list itself needed to be updated. And, which inspectors would be willing to conduct inspections on an as-needed basis. He suggested that council should look into services offered by COG, and strongly recommended that council members attend a meeting to be held on March 29 in Montrose, to discuss these issues. Council members Ted Loomis and Michele Giangrieco agreed to attend the meeting. The matter was tabled for further information.

The final business discussed was a program, through the county District Attorney’s office, where inmates from the county jail would collect litter from boro streets. Council will compile a list of those areas needing cleanup.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 15, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.

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SCSD Gets Good Report Card

The Susquehanna Community School Board met on March 17; members Mike Kosko and Pat Stewart were not present.

The board approved the minutes of the February 18 meeting, the treasurer’s report, the general fund bills, the food service report, filing of the activity fund and athletic fund reports. Board president Terry Carpenter noted that the district has received $71,817.99, proceeds from refinancing of a bond issue and $31,799.40 for equipment replacement, through a Title VI small schools grant, which was used to purchase a portable computer cart. And, he noted that the board had received a response letter from the Oakland Township Board of Supervisors regarding road conditions on routes used by district school buses.

Superintendent Bronson Stone reported that, next year the state’s Title I funds will be reduced by three percent, which in turn will result in a reduction of funds received by school districts. This, he said, will create an "interesting scenario" in districts’ efforts to comply with the No Child Left Behind legislation.

During report of district personnel, Mr. Stone reported that the University of Scranton is continuing its curriculum evaluation of the district; results should be known by the end of the month. A public meeting held for parents by the district to discuss the No Child Left Behind program and PSSA assessments had been very well attended. Mr. Stone expressed the hope that parents continue to stay involved in their children’s education. And, he commented that a proposed referendum, to place school budgets on ballots for voters to decide, seems pending; word from Harrisburg seems to indicate that the referendum will pass. Business manager Ray Testa added that it does not seem fair, that an individual who does not pay taxes would have the opportunity to vote on how tax money should be spent. Board member Jim Bucci suggested that this would be a good question for local legislators to take to Harrisburg.

Elementary principal Bob Keyes’ report included the information that PSSA assessment tests were scheduled for the week of March 23, for reading and math. The sixth grade’s writing tests showed that 53% of students scored at proficient or advanced proficiency, with only five students in the below basic range. Overall, the students showed improvement in their writing scores. "It’s an indication that we’re making progress," he said. Support groups are forming in the elementary, with 39 students involved, and 36 are enrolled in a mentor program. These, he said, are a lot of good services for students.

Dean of Students Mark Gerchman reported impressive scores in ninth grade students’ writing tests; 75% qualified as advanced, with only nine below basic level.

As part of his continuing "live presentations," high school principal Mike Lisowski turned the floor over to teacher Carmen Maby, who spoke on the district’s involvement in SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). In March, students took part in a program designed to stop aggressive driving. SADD has been working with the Binghamton chapter of MADD to improve the program, in an effort to get the community more involved. Ten students attended a "Busted" conference, a focus on discouraging use of tobacco. And, SADD is exploring a new idea, a "Grim Reaper" day to coincide with prom week, when statistically there have been unusually high death rates among prom goers. Students (who choose to participate) will be chosen at random to represent victims throughout the day. At the end of the day, an assembly would be held, with a speaker’s presentation on drinking and driving. Students chosen as victims would appear in front of the assembly, to provide a realistic image of just how random these deaths can be. The board requested a written proposal from SADD, to be considered for approval at the next meeting.

Teacher Joni Miller reported that the faculty is in the process of evaluating several software programs for use in the district, is working on evaluating a curriculum for a pre-kindergarten program, and final preparations for PSSA testing.

Under new business, the board approved the exoneration of the district tax collectors from the collection of unpaid school taxes for the year 2003.

One item was amended, approving the 2004-05 contracts for special education services with NEIU #19, cost estimate of $261,058.75. Since the district has contracted with Barnes-Kasson Hospital for some of the services included in this estimate, the amount was reduced to $219,678.55.

The board approved the 2004-05 proposed NEIU #19 budget of $2,752,360 with a district contribution of $7,730.65, a projected increase of $368.13. Mr. Stone noted that this is a minimal increase, in light of the many services the district receives through NEIU.

The board approved two policies, the first concerning parental notification, access, review and consent policy and the second, a blood-borne pathogen exposure control plan. In explaining the first policy, Mr. Stone said that there are a number of areas where parental consent is needed, or where there are right to privacy issues. The second policy outlines procedures to be taken when there is a situation where others could be exposed to bodily fluids through injury, illness, or incontinence; which staff members would be responsible for appropriate implementation of the plan; and correct disposal of any sharp items involved in an injury. The policy also covers situations where a staff member could require vaccinations as a result of contact with certain illnesses. Both policies will be posted on the district’s website and will be included in next year’s student handbook.

The next item led to some discussion, specifications for photography services, to be put out to bid. It was agreed to approve the policy as written, with one amendment, concerning the percentage of the proceeds that would be returned to the district.

Additions to the substitute list were approved; Laren Curtis, non-instructional and maintenance, and bus drivers Andrea Matta and Bobbi Jo Norris.

Two volunteer track positions were approved, for Robert Gaffey and Dawn Gaffey.

The resignation of bus contractor Darwin Green was approved, effective at the end of the current school year. Also approved was a list of bus changes and/or additions, and a list of requests including workshops, conferences, fund-raisers and student activities.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices.

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Judge Seamans Hands Down Sentences

Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth Seamans sentenced eight persons last week for an assortment of offenses including one man who deliberately backed into his in-laws car.

Roderick Reed Williams of Montrose will spend two months to 15 months in the Susquehanna County Jail for criminal mischief in Choconut Township. He must also make restitution in the amount of $1,398, and pay a $250 fine plus cost of prosecution.

Authorities said Mr. And Mrs. Williams were exchanging custody of their son when an argument erupted. Mrs. Williams and her son proceeded to her parents’ vehicle. Mr. Williams put his car in reverse and rammed his in-laws car while they were in it and Mrs. Williams and her son were about to enter it.

Craig Anderson of Hallstead was given a suspended jail term of three months to 12 months in the county jail and was placed on probation for one year for possession of drug paraphernalia. He was fined $200 and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol evaluation and counseling if needed.

Terry Michael Stone Jr. of Brackney was sentenced to a suspended term of 9 months to 24 months in a state correctional facility and placed on probation for 36 months for criminal solicitation/manufacture of a controlled substance. Mr. Stone was growing marijuana plants in Silver Lake Township.

Jerome Slick of Forest City was sentenced to 48 hours to 12 months in the county jail for driving under the influence. He was also fined $300, must attend safe driving school, and pay the cost of prosecution. Mr. Slick was arrested in Great Bend Township after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

John Martin Murphy of Union Dale was remanded to the county jail for a period of 48 hours to 15 months for driving under the influence. He was sentenced to an additional 30 days to 15 months on a second driving under the influence charge and fined a total of $720 plus court costs. Authorities said Mr. Murphy was arrested for the second drunk driving charge while he was out on bail on the first one.

David M. Dunlop of Conklin, NY, was sentenced to 48 hours to 12 months in the county jail and fined $300 plus cost of prosecution for drunk driving. He was also sentenced to serve 15 days to 12 months to run concurrent with the first sentence, on a disorderly conduct charge. Dunlop was arrested after he crashed into the back of a Pennsylvania Game Commission vehicle on Route 11 in Hallstead.

Donald James Carroll of Susquehanna was placed on probation for two years and fined $200 for theft by deception. Mr. Carroll cashed $1,800 in checks knowing there were insufficient funds in his checking account. When the bank notified him that there were no funds to cover the checks, he said the checks had been stolen.

Daniel Lee Bucchel of Factoryville was sentenced to serve one to 12 months in the county jail for theft by unlawful taking. He was also fined $300 and court costs. Mr. Bucchel was arrested for taking mail from mailboxes in Dimock and Springville Townships.

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Pleas For EMT Support In Great Bend Twp.

There was a full house at the beginning of the regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors meeting on the Ides of March. All supervisors were there, and they are Bob Squier, chair, George Haskins (who’s also the township’s roadmaster), and Walt Galloway (appointed to fill the seat left vacant by Gary Sienko who chose to run and then chose not to serve).

About half of the people in attendance were contractors, awaiting the opening of bids and the awarding of contracts for materials. Bids were received from about eight different suppliers for different materials (fuel, various types of sand and gravel, calcium, etc.) and the opening and reading of them took quite a while. So long for so many bids, in fact, that the board – in the interests of time – voted to award contracts to the lowest bidder for each material.

After this decision, the contractors had no reason to stay. The people who did heard some disturbing news about a service critical to the community, and about progress on what many think is an eyesore.

John Brant, president of the Great Bend-Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance Company, was on hand, along with Randy Ball and Mike Dorunda, vice president and training coordinator, respectively, of the organization. Brant was there to enlist the support of the community in what he believes is an attempt to de-certify the only EMS for basic services in the immediate area.

Brant’s appeal was preceded by board chair Bob Squier’s reading a letter he received from Brent Meadows, who is the salaried head of the Bradford/Susquehanna County EMS Council that’s headquartered at Guthrie in Sayre, and is the umbrella organization for emergency services in the northern tier. The letter was critical of the local service – whose licensing Meadows recently changed to a provisional one – and of John Brant in particular. Squier, for his part, answered the letter in very strong language that was strongly supportive of both Brant – who has delivered emergency care for some 20 years – and a service that has proved time and time again how valuable it is to those who live in its service area of Hallstead, Great Bend (both township and borough) and Liberty Township.

Brant recapped for the board the series of events leading up to the letter and the service’s "provisional" designation. But first some background information: the local service provides basic life support services. When advanced life support services are required, Montrose’s Minutemen (owned by the Greater Valley Ambulance Service) are called in – they are the only choice (other than a Broome County service) since Barnes Kasson did away with its advanced unit about a year ago. The local group is the only one in the area, with the exception of Montrose, that is not affiliated with a fire company. The local service has about 24 members, with a core group of ten. Members have, in the past, paid for things like a $2500 reporting software, out of their own pockets. They also respond and pitch in with basic services when needed in dire situations out of its immediate area – such as bad Interstate accidents in the county.

According to Brant, Meadows reminded him that the state requires of all emergency crews that, in order to transport a patient from the accident or injury scene to a hospital, the crew at the scene must have at least one certified emergency medical technical and one certified first-responder who’s evac-certified to drive the vehicle. Brant says that the service – an all-volunteer group – can come up with a qualified driver, but that’s it’s hard to come up with both the EMT and first-responder. "There’s just not enough volunteers to go around," he said. Without such a crew, the service cannot transport a patient to a hospital.

It seems Meadows pressed Brant on this point and demanded an action plan to bring the service into state compliance. As sometimes happens when people try hard and care, Brant reminded Meadows that perhaps there might be a conflict of interest on the part of the bi-county EMS council, since one of its staff members was affiliated with the Greater Valley Ambulance Service, which owns the Minutemen.

Hence, the letter that Squier read at the meeting and responded to, and the notification that the local service was notified by Meadows that it now has a provisional license, also citing some failures to follow procedures. References in the letter of notification were, said Brant, erroneous.

Brant said that there have been no written complaints made against the service about procedures, and that the organization’s plan is indeed "to put three new EMTs on, and keep on doing what we’re doing. He [Meadows] said we need to improve, and we are trying to do that." He reported that, in fact, there are some Broome County people who are helping the service and trying to get certified in Pennsylvania. Ball added that it takes 120 hours of training to become an EMT, and the organization is trying to recruit volunteers.

And while Brant acknowledged that some emergency services have operated for years with a provisional license, he’s concerned that the next step the bi-county group could take would be to decertify the volunteer group. "If our license is pulled," he said, "others could come in." These are often paid services, like the Minutemen.

"We do have a good organization; we’re a very financially stable organization," he said. "Everyone is in need of helping everyone else, and we have an excellent working relationship with Susquehanna, New Milford, Thompson, Harford, and a good relationship with the Minutemen," he stated, adding, "You have to look at the outcome [of our services]." The letter Squier read was also sent to the other municipalities that comprise the group’s service areas, and Brant and members of his crew are meeting with them as well.

And while Brant will continue, of course, to work with Meadows and the bi-county council on straightening out the paperwork and trying to come up with a plan that would continue the precious services the local group offers, he asked for community support – including the support of state and federal representatives as well as residents of the service area – on this one. Supervisor George Haskins probably expressed the sentiment of the community when he told Brant and his crew, "You have provided good service to our community since forever."

In addition to spending a good deal of time addressing excellent service, the board also dedicated a chunk of time to talking about what many think a community dis-service, and this is the Joan Long trailer park-cum-trailer lot that appears to be growing yet larger and uglier along New York Avenue.

The board has been looking into it, and called upon the County Planning Commission to help as well. In fact, it sent a letter to Ms. Long informing her that she’s in violation of Ordinances 3 and 30 and the garbage on her property needs to be cleaned up by April 1 or the township will take her to the District Justice. It seems that Long has been there in the past, with successful results on her part. The board is determined to not let that happen again, and Squier has been busy meeting with appropriate people on the avenues available to the township to enable it to successfully make Long accountable for the mushrooming mess.

Squier read a letter sent by the Hallstead-Great Bend Civic Club about the less-than-flattering first impression that travelers get of the township when they enter it, suggesting that perhaps there are health, safety and environmental issues (the last from the potential sewage discharge or leakage), and in which appropriate regulatory groups could become involved. Squier didn’t quibble with the Club’s assessment of a situation that just appears to be getting worse. In fact, he has documented the tires and other big trash that litter the Long property, and has sent a letter to the Canadian Pacific Railroad because "the junk could be interfering with the tracks" which closely abuts the property. In fact, he recently had a junkyard permit sent to Long.

"I will never let up on that woman," he said, and urged members of the community who feel the same way to do the same – to write the Planning Commission or their local representatives and agencies, enlisting their help and in doing something to restore the site to something approaching respect for community and neighbors.

In other business, supervisors addressed a bunch of permit requests on the part of both homeowners and businesses – for porches, decks, self-storage buildings and a subdivision (the last two pending approval by the Planning Commission). With the new state uniform construction codes taking effect soon, it’s expected that the number of permits the board reviews at its next meeting will swell. The township is also looking into a property (close to Long’s, as a matter of fact) where the owners moved a trailer onto the property while they were building a house. This is probably two-three years ago. A permit for the trailer was never obtained – although one for a garage was, which seems to have at least partially gone up instead of a house, and the sewage permit situation is unclear. Some follow-up will be done on this, as well as on a complaint by a resident of a neighbor burning household garbage.

In the meantime, Walt Galloway – who is big on due diligence and preciseness, a good thing in a supervisor – will review the various (some of them old) township ordinances (especially about junk and garbage) and organize them into a quick reference for quicker action, as situations like the ones discussed at this meeting arise.

Of course, no Great Bend Township meeting would be complete without discussion about the roads, and this one was no exception. In fact, a special public meeting has been called specifically to discuss the township’s road projects, to be held on March 22 in the township building.

Resident Gary Sienko asked if there was going to be another tax increase this summer to pay for the implementation of a plan to take care of the roads when the weather warms up. The supervisors answered no to his question. Pointing out that the township financials, as reported at the meeting, were in sorry shape, he asked where the money was going to come from.

The board agreed that the finances right now didn’t look good. When Sienko pointed out that the township had $300,000 and now it seems as though it didn’t have anything, Squier responded that some roads needed the working three times last year, with new emergency spots developing with regularity. Some money, which had to be used in an emergency situation that developed over the winter on Graham Hollow Road, would be reimbursed and those funds hadn’t yet been received but would be. Haskins noted those funds should put the balance sheet back in the black. In addition, monies received from dirt and gravel grants will be going into the general fund as well.

As to paying for future repairs, he said that they will be looking into the PENNDOT Agility Program, and that an additional $31,000 in increased tax revenues would help as well to fund the projects.

The projects they are talking about, and which were to be discussed March 22, are expected to run over the course of 6-8 years, and will, of course, depend on the feedback the board gets and the funds that become available.

Haskins, who takes the township roads very seriously, noted that Sienko was right in thinking that the board is taking an aggressive posture in trying to bring the roads back. "It’s our goal to bring Old Route 11 back to a reasonable condition."

The March 22 meeting was expected to be more of a forum. Brian Hinkley was to present various road-repair scenarios that he’s worked on with Haskins’ input. The board noted that any decision on how to proceed and with what kind of materials would, of course, be put out to bid, and that some figures for repair could be unknown because, as Squier said, "You can’t bid on what you can’t see" – meaning that sometimes, what looks to be a relatively easy problem to solve could turn into a less-than-easy one to fix, if a messy situation under a road bed or in a culvert and so forth is uncovered.

In the meantime, Haskins says that the board is continuing to research grants and other funds available. He and Galloway met with a representative from The Northern Tier Coalition who basically said that while loans are available, other money pretty much isn’t, although he did steer them to places to go for grants and the best way to approach those who make them available.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for April 5, 7 p.m. in the township building.

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Harford Odd Fellows Dominate

An innovative Saturday morning meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors brought about to accommodate Terry VanGorden's work schedule attracted a crowd of 11 to the little office on March 13. Several seemed to be there to hear the latest about the Odd Fellows Hall in the village, otherwise known as the Town Hall. The building has been closed to public use for nearly a year due to concerns expressed by the Township's insurers.

A fair number of people in Harford have expressed a wish to demolish the old building, which Supervisor Rick Pisasik admitted is not a "historic" structure. Others - longtime local residents who attended school there, who met there with the Grange, the Fire Company or the Boy Scouts, or who voted there - consider it historic in their lives, and hope to renovate the building to make it useful once again. Under the terms of the deed conveyed to the Township when the Fire Company turned it over in about 1970, demolition would require a decision of local voters at a general election. Some are now saying that there are enough venues in Harford for organizations to meet, including the common room at the Harford Village Apartments and the church lecture hall; renovating the old town hall might divert revenue from rental of the new fire hall.

Mr. Pisasik, who in the past has expressed his opinion that the hall is viable as a community center, has been soliciting suggestions from residents. A notice sent out with recent tax bills also requested input. At the meeting, Mr. Pisasik reported receiving so far only three responses, of which two recommended demolition. "The amount of responses that we've gotten is really poor," said he. "I couldn't say there is a viable use" for the building based on the response received so far.

Several people have cited a public meeting about a year ago, called by the Supervisors to discuss just this issue. Most who were present at that time report a consensus to remove the building. Mr. Pisasik said that, while sentiment among those - most of them village residents -- who attended that meeting seemed to support that direction, he was not sure that Harford Township residents outside of the village were in accord. He said he feared "fractionalizing" the community by taking a direction without consensus. He said the worst result would be rejection of a referendum question by the voters, leaving the situation exactly as it is right now.

Since the trend seems to be moving toward referendum in November, Mr. Pisasik said that he is unclear how a ballot question might be worded. He is inclined to ask the voters to approve removing the restrictive covenant from the deed, which would give the Township Supervisors control over the property, as they have over other properties under their jurisdiction. Of five provisions in that covenant, the one at issue reads, "The TOWN HALL will not be disposed of, except by a vote of the ELECTORATE of the HARFORD TOWNSHIP and at a regular election."

At the meeting it was suggested that the voters be presented with estimated costs for the various options: the cost to renovate; the cost to tear down; the cost to replace it, with what?; expenses to maintain and operate it after renovation; fees that might be charged for organizations to use it; the cost to keep it as it is. Mr. Pisasik has said that a local contractor was asked for some estimates. But he indicated his reluctance for now to pursue any option other than referendum (and, presumably, subsequent demolition) without stronger evidence of community support. "This is the opportunity for those who want to retain that building and fix it up, to come forward," he said.

There was other business before the Supervisors at the Saturday gathering. They accepted a low bid from New Milford Sand and Gravel for two types of stone. The Supervisors last month put off awarding the contract when they received a proposal from one of the other bidders to use the state "piggyback" program, perhaps in conjunction with a "general services" contract. Having considered that idea, Mr. VanGorden said that Roadmaster Bob Simon asked that the Supervisors go with the New Milford bid instead.

The Fire Company asked the Supervisors to pass a resolution covering some of their activities that would put "in writing what has always been understood," as Sue Furney put it. The resolution gives the Fire Company a stronger foundation for their fund-raising activities, and it provides support for a "mutual aid contract" between Harford and neighboring Fire Companies, particularly with respect to workmens' compensation. According to Mr. VanGorden, the measure makes fire companies "responsible for your own" when on mutual-aid calls.

The county Council of Governments is asking participating municipalities for resolutions in support of its effort to gear up for statewide standard building code inspection services. Mr. Pisasik asked that the Supervisors take time to study the resolution, and the proposal was tabled for the time being.

Mr. VanGorden asked his colleagues to consider purchasing and installing a flag pole complete with U. S. and state flags, to enhance the appearance of the township property on Route 547. The suggestion was tabled for further study. One observer said that a 30-foot pole and flags for the New Milford town green was expected to cost as much as $1,500 completely installed and lighted.

A resident has requested that speed limit signs be posted on Grinnell Road. The Supervisors have recently been in a mood to post such signs on township roads. Mr. Pisasik suggested that 35 mph would be "suitable for most dirt roads in the township." Tingley Lake Road in Harford village is posted by the state at 25 mph. Mr. Pisasik proposed posting School Street the same way.

One Saturday meeting a month will be the rule in Harford for the foreseeable future, on the second Saturday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. A second meeting is held on the fourth Tuesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are held at the township building on Route 547 - the one without the flag pole (at least until a decision is made about the town hall).

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Gibson Barracks Report


Erton Rudder, 14, Hallstead, was pronounced dead at the scene of a two-car accident which occurred at 5:20 a.m. on March 14 on Interstate Route 81, Harford Township. Belinda Rudder, 42, Hallstead, had been driving a 1990 Chevy car with Erton and Ebony Rudder, 18, also of Hallstead, as passengers. Driving in the right lane on the northbound side on the interstate they were rear-ended by a 1998 Ford Van driven by Carl Williams, 64, Auburn, NY. Both vehicles then traveled through the median, with Rudder's car coming to rest facing south on the left lane of the road.

Williams' van then traveled up an embankment striking some small trees. All passengers, including 6 in the van, and drivers were transported to area hospitals for injuries.


Between Feb. 15 and Mar. 12, someone took items from Mark Steinhoff (58, Route 706, New Milford Township)'s porch including a Honda EN 2500 generator, a Snap-on Fast 420 Battery charger, and a Husqvarna weed trimmer. Call 570-465-3154 with any information.


Diana Osborne, State Route 706, New Milford Township, reported that someone struck her vehicle with a paintball on March 12.


Patricia Stone, Montrose, slid off of State Route 3001, Auburn Township, on Mar. 10 at 8:00 a.m. and struck a barn. No injuries were noted.


Jason Penny, 19, Susquehanna, lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a curve on State Route 1012, East Lake Rd., New Milford Township, on Mar. 11 at 4:30 p.m. According to the police report he was traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle went over an embankment and struck a utility pole cable. Penny faces vehicle code charges.


David J. Petrozello, 46, Johnson City, NY, driving a 1991 Dodge Ram Charger, slowed his vehicle down while traveling south on State Route 267, Choconut Township, on Mar. 12 at 11:20 a.m., intending to turn left to cross the road into the Smokin' Joe's parking lot. However, he did this without yielding to the northbound 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport driven by Gaye E. Sautro, 44, Endicott, NY. Sautro applied her brakes but failed to avoid the collision and her right front struck Petrozello's vehicle. No injuries occurred.


A press release of Mar. 12 states: Pennsylvania State Police at Gibson announces the arrest of Alfred Jerome Koziel, 44 yrs. old of Montrose, Susquehanna County. Koziel is charged with Criminal Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Arson, Simple Assault and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. The charges are for the shooting death of Alexander Koshinsky, age 44, who was found in his Buckley Road (Franklin Township) home on 01/05/04. Koziel was staying with Koshinsky at the time . The charges are also for the 01/03/04 standoff that Koziel had with police, in which he shot at a Montrose Borough Police Officer. After the exchange of gunfire Koziel broke into his estranged wife's residence where he assaulted one of his sons and one of his wife's relatives. He then set the house on fire and remained inside until he emerged from the rubble a few hours later and was placed under arrest. Koziel is currently lodged in the Susquehanna County Prison awaiting trial for rape charges.


Jason E. Crandall, Binghamton, NY, crashed into a utility pole after failing to keep his vehicle within the lane of travel on State Route 4001, Brackney, on Mar. 7 at 2:34 p.m. Crandall related that he was not injured.


Between Mar. 5-8, someone damaged a mailbox belonging to James Phillip Teetsel, Auburn Township. Call 570-465-3154 with any information.


Patrick M. McLaughlin, 32, Forest City, became involved in a physical altercation with Nicholas Bonczkiewicz, Jermyn, after he cut in front of Bonczkiewicz while both were driving on State Route 247, Clifford Township on Mar. 4 at 2:30 a.m. McLaughlin was charged with assault–harassment, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and various traffic offenses.


John Christopher Creps, 20, of South Gibson but currently in Jail, was arrested for rape (of a fellow inmate at the Susquehanna County Jail), involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, harassment and indecent assault. Creps was arraigned before District Justice Watson Dayton and committed to the Susquehanna County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.


On Mar. 7, someone removed several items from the residence of Joseph Iannelli, Jackson Valley Rd., Township Route 627, Middletown Township. Contact the PA State Police Barracks at 570-465-3154 with any information.


Michael McCourt, Meshoppen, reported that his mailbox had been smashed on Mar. 7. Call the barracks with any information, at 570-465-3154.


On Mar. 6 at about 9:15 p.m., someone hit a dodge pick up belong to James Compton, State Route 2067, Clifford Township, with green paintballs. Call 570-465-3154 with information.


Michael J. Kachala, Ithaca, NY, struck a deer on Interstate 81, Great Bend Township, on Feb. 27 at 6:40 p.m.


Betty Curley, Binghamton, NY, and Harriet Crooks, Plaro, TX, both own cottages on Forest Lake. Between Feb. 11-15, both were broken into, and household items stolen, valued at $330, with doors damaged during the break-in valued at $200.

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