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The cold war between members of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners carried into the boards public meeting last week and while cool heads prevailed the tension in the room could be cut with a knife.
Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Jeff Loomis are about as far apart as they can get and for the first time in the minds of many there are two Republican commissioners but there is no such thing at the moment as a Republican majority. In fact, Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren helped to close the gap when she seconded a Jeff Loomis motion to hold a public forum to explain the countys role in Gov. Ed Rendells Home Town Streets & Safe Routes to School Program. As of press time, no date had been set for that meeting.
Anxious to take advantage of the program, Mr. Loomis may have jumped the gun when he sent an e-mail to a number of business and professional people seeking their help in convincing Mrs. Kelly that the program is a worthwhile project and asking her to support it.
In the e-mail, Mr. Loomis wrote, "I believe Mary Ann is on the fence about whether to support applying for the grant. Roberta seems to be dead set against it but has not given me a good reason why."
At a meeting on June 16, the three commissioners finally got together to discuss the project. For the most part, the "majority" commissioners exchanged barbs while seeking information from Karen Allen, director of the countys Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Mrs. Allen noted that the application as a participant in the program would have to be in the design stage by August 1, a deadline, she added, that would be impossible to meet. She pointed out however, that grant applications could be filed ever six months.
Also at the meeting, Mrs. Kelly refuted Mr. Loomis allegations and said she would never oppose any project that would provide money for improvements to the county or any municipalities in the county.
Mr. Loomis apparently began laying the foundation for participating in the program earlier this month but did not discuss the subject with his colleagues on the Board of Commissioners. Instead, he sent e-mails to them and a number of business and professional people in the Montrose area, inviting them to attend a June 8 meeting that he had set up with Bill Collins, a landscape architect and a member of the firm of Simone, Jaffe and Collins Landscape Architecture Inc. of Berwyn, PA. The firm completed the Montrose Area Greenbelt Study for the Edward L. Rose Conservancy last year.
Mr. Loomis said Mr. Collins advised him that "by using the Greenbelt Study as a basis, he could apply for a 100 percent paid grant of $1 million" by the August 1 deadline. The project would include $500,000 for improvements around the county courthouse complex; and, $250,000 each to improve street lighting, sidewalks and parks for New Milford and Montrose Boroughs. Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Warren did not attend the meeting.
At last weeks meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Mrs. Kelly said she and Mrs. Warren were unaware of the intent of the June 8 meeting but "we were willing to listen."
"We were surprised ," Mrs. Kelly continued, "and had no prior knowledge of what the meeting was about and we were even more surprised to find out that there were people there that had more information than we did as commissioners."
Mrs. Kelly said contradictory e-mails and public meetings were slanted to put pressure on her to make a hasty decision. She said she felt obligated to investigate the proposal rather than "shoot from the hip."
"The truth of the matter should be very clear," she said. "We are not against a county improvement project. But Mary Ann and I would be remiss not to have questions when considering such an important project."
Mrs. Kelly said she does not know, if the 20 percent project match could not be secured who would be responsible for the funds. She also questioned the hiring of an out of county firm for the project and said the Housing and Redevelopment Authority could be used as the local lead agency at no additional cost.
"We are not opposed to this project," Mrs. Kelly concluded. "We are opposed to the means at which this has transpired. Our goal will be to do this in the most cost effective manner possible."
Meanwhile, a number of municipalities in the county expressed concern because they were not advised of the Home Town Streets & Safe Route to School Program until projects had already been planned for the county and the Boroughs of Montrose and New Milford.
Actually Home Town Streets & Safe Routes To School is a cost reimbursement program and not a grant program. The applicant may receive reimbursement for eligible costs as the work is completed. There is also a matching fund requirement associated with the program. The match is 20 percent of the total project cost and while there may be ways to secure the matching grant through state agencies, there is no guarantee.
In another matter at last weeks meeting, the commissioners received bids for installing an elevator in the county courthouse. They will be reviewed and a contract is expected to be awarded at the next meeting. The commissioners have appropriated $220,000 in the county budget to pay for the project. The low bid received was $229,000. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Susquehanna Borough Council met for their regular meeting on June 23 with vice president Mike Matis presiding. Also present were council members Ron Whitehead, Bill Kuiper, Shane Lewis, mayor Nancy Hurley, secretary/treasurer Margaret Biegert, incoming secretary/treasurer Judy Collins, and several of guests.
The first item addressed was a letter from council president Roy Williams, resigning his position on council due to work and health concerns. A motion carried to accept, "with regret."
The secretarys report included information that the owner of the property where the Dollar General store is located had been contacted in response to numerous complaints about potholes; the parking lot was slated to be repaved later the same week or the next.
With the resignation of Mr. Williams, a second person would need to be authorized to sign checks for the Main Street account; all checks must be signed by a representative of the Susquehanna Community Development Association, in this case Darleen Slocum, and by a representative of council. A motion carried to authorize the boro secretary as the second signatory. All expenditures are approved by council.
The Main Street committee has received grant funding in the amount of $5,000, $3,000 of which is earmarked for website development. The committee has been working on this project with Lori Martin, who is in the process of collecting information that will be used on the website. The committee has also received information and software that can be used to create a business directory. Mrs. Biegert is collecting prices and other information for the committee towards purchasing a computer and other related media for the committee; the resulting information will be discussed with council and the SCDA. And, the committee may be taking advantage of the opportunity to have an Experienced Worker help with the Main Street project.
Mrs. Biegert and Mrs. Collins will be attending a seminar in Montrose on June 30, on regional and local economic development; Mrs. Biegert will be attending on behalf of the county Planning Commission, of which she is a member.
A motion carried to approve placing of unappropriated funds into a CD, to be used later towards major projects or equipment purchases.
A motion carried to approve a resolution authorizing the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority to pursue grant funding to continue the downtown sidewalk replacement along West Main Street to Center Lane, and to possibly finance the purchase of one or two blighted properties within the boro.
Mayor Hurley reported that she, Chief of Police Tom Golka and Lieutenant Jon Record had attended an intensive informational session that covered such topics as the inner workings of a police department, interpersonal relationships, and the "chain of command." Lieutenant Record and Officer Summers were, as of the date of the meeting, attending a workshop on bike patrols (at their own expense). Mayor Hurley had attended the last Crimewatch meeting, and noted that membership has been increasing. Crimewatch will be participating in the Hometown Days celebration with a booth and games; proceeds will go towards signs.
A motion carried to approve Officer Records designation as a permanent, part-time employee as his probationary period has expired.
After discussion, it was agreed not to take any action on appointing a new council president until the next meeting.
Under old business, a motion carried to approve amendments to the boros curfew ordinance; it had been agreed that a uniform time would be more effectively enforced rather than staggered hours and ages (different hours for weekdays/weekends and different times for different ages). The curfew will now be 10 p.m., seven days a week for anyone under the age of 18.
With only four council members present, action on the Uniform Construction Code ordinance had to be tabled; Mr. Lewis abstained from the vote as he is also the boros codes enforcement officer.
During public comment, East Street resident Jerry Gow noted that he had approached council last July regarding water problems. Potholes had been fixed soon after that, but there is still a problem with a ditch that overflows and uneven road edges. Mr. Gow suggested that the road could be widened to two lanes; the East Street property owners would be agreeable if it were to help the problem. Mr. Matis responded that the streets committee has been working on a plan to address the situation, not just on East, but on all of the boros streets. Drainage, he said, was an overwhelming problem; the committee is working on a long-range plan to address it, but he could not give a definitive date when this particular problem would be taken care of. Mr. Whitehead noted that the streets departments work plan for the coming summer does include a catch basin for that area; perhaps streets commissioner Steve Glover could be asked to "bump up" this project to get to it sooner. He added that the obvious solution, to tear up the road and rebuild it, is an extensive (and expensive) project.
Council reviewed the streets departments report of work accomplished in the past month. It was noted that the street sweeper is in need of a hydraulic pump.
Mr. Lewis gave his report of the codes departments activities for the preceding month, and noted that the state legislature is in the process of discussing amendments to the UCC, particularly pertaining to single or double family structures, to allow less stringent inspection requirements for commonplace renovations.
Mr. Lewis commended resident Mason Evans, who had voluntarily mowed the lawn at a property at Fourth Ave. and West Main; the owner, who lives out of town, had been sent a violation but had not complied.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss a personnel issue.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 13, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Approves Police Agreement
The Forest City Police Department could start providing neighboring Vandling Borough with limited police coverage if an agreement approved by Forest City Council is passed by Vandlings governing body.
Forest City opted for a trial period of six months that is slated to begin on July 1. The agreement also has an added option that allows either community to break the agreement with 60-days notice. If both communities are satisfied with the trial period, the agreement will be renewed annually.
With two members, Alan Gordon and Bernie Scalzo, absent from last weeks special meeting, the Forest City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the trial period. Councilwoman Mary Twilley cast the dissenting vote. She expressed the opinion that the agreement will cost Forest City more than Vandling will be paying the borough.
Under terms in the agreement, Forest City will provide Vandling with three police patrols a day at a cost of $550 per month. Logically, the patrols would be morning, afternoon, and evening. However, if the officer on duty is delayed because he is working on an incident in Forest City, the patrol schedule will vary.
In addition, if a police officer responds to any type of call in Vandling, that borough will be billed $30 an hour for each officer assigned to the call. Forest City also agreed to provide VASCAR service to Vandling also at the rate of $30 an hour with a minimum of four hours service. The move conforms with an agreement that the minimum shift for a part-time officer in Forest City is four hours. Any portions of fines paid as a result of the VASCAR service would be retained by Vandling.
A special committee comprised of the council presidents of both boroughs and Police Chief Paul Lukus will be advised of the times of each patrol and the extra hours that will be charged for services over and above the routine patrols. The committee will also calculate the amount that Vandling will be billed each month.
In another matter, the council approved an ordinance accepting the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) that will be enforced statewide in the near future. Forest City elected to have the code enforced by locally qualified inspectors rather than have the state do the inspections. The inspection fees are the same whether the code is enforced locally or by the Commonwealth; however, callbacks could escalate the fees if the state was enforcing the code.
In a related matter, council hired Shane Lewis as the boroughs code enforcement officer and also as the UCC enforcement officer. Mr. Lewis will be paid $22 an hour and anticipated that, once backup enforcements are completed, the monthly hours for routine area inspections and permits should be 10-to-15 hours a month.
Council will sponsor a public forum on July 14 at the third floor of the municipal building to explain the proposed re-addressing system. Officials from the Susquehanna County 911 System will be on hand to answer any questions from the audience relevant to the program.
At the present time, many borough residents are opposed to the readdressing program including Mayor Frank Brager and Councilwoman Mary Twilley. Other council members agreed that more adequate and accurate information is needed to make a decision that is best for all borough residents.
Clarifications, roads, finances and recognitions all came together in various discussions at the meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors on the evening of June 21.
Among the many items addressed was a report of a recent executive session where supervisors met with the townships road employees. Supervisor Walt Galloway reported on the results of that meeting, which included clarifying compensation time. The employee policy manual will be written to state that employees will be entitled to receive compensation time for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. Time-and-a-half will be given (as time off) for each excess hour, and it must be taken within the calendar year in which the excess time was worked. Amended as well was vacation policy, with road employees receiving five days after a year of service, gradually increasing to ten days after six years of service, and topping out at a maximum of three weeks after ten years of service. No changes were made to any benefits policies, and the supervisors approved the changes to employee policy. Auditor Virginia Austin was at the meeting and her audit report was later accepted by the board. She suggested that, when these policy amendments are made to the employee manual and distributed to employees, employees sign a statement to be placed in their files, acknowledging that they received the information.
Sienko wanted to know what the road crew worked on during the prior week; he said he didnt see that they did much. While Squire offered to take out the crews time sheets, both he and supervisor and roadmaster George Haskins noted they hauled fill to various places, patched roads, and were called out to take care of debris and other messes caused by two recent storms which also took out electricity to many residents.
Haskins wanted a motion to advertise an ordinance that is needed to proceed with a line of credit from Pennstar bank, for the township to access for capital improvements as needed. But before the advertising, both Galloway and township secretary/treasurer Sheila Guinan noted that DCED paperwork requires that the department first needs to know the amount borrowed, at what interest rate, for what project(s), and how much the project will cost. The group will work together to provide this information. Galloway pointed out to the group that, with the townships grader and tractor needing repairs, it had big bills it would have to deal with soon, as it considered the line of credit.
About the grader. It had a leak that was fixed, and now it needs new hoses, which have been purchased and are ready to install. The tractor has some internal problems in the rear system and the brakes, Haskins explained, and needs to go to the shop to be repaired. The supervisors approved a motion to send the tractor to a repair place in Apalachin for an evaluation of service needed; Gary Sienko would do the hauling there and back. Sienko said it would cost about $300, which board chair Bob Squier thought reasonable.
Haskins also reported on a recent conversation with Debbie Dissinger, regarding the Bridge project. Dissinger, Haskins said, would be attending a meeting to look for the $13,000 in funds that were previously announced, about two years ago, as being available to beautify the riverbank and the memorial park that runs along it. Haskins will continue to stay apace of developments there.
A sign approved by the township and suggested and paid for by John Franks was in the township building for viewing. It says, "Welcome to Great Bend Township," and Haskins will ask PENNDOT to position the sign on the new bridge, facing the Hallstead side. On behalf of the township, its supervisors extended a warm thanks to Franks.
And on the suggestion made by an audience member, the board will recognize Hallstead resident Ken Yeisley, who is often seen riding his bicycle down area roads, stopping to clean up litter carelessly tossed by motorists. The New Milford Borough Council has already recognized Yeisley as a Good Neighbor. The township will do the same, in a formal presentation to Yeisley at an upcoming meeting.
In maters of township residences infrastructure, Galloway reported on the proceedings of the latest Council of Governments and its Codes Enforcement Committee meetings. With a July 1 UCC effective date for the township and other COG Codes members, the board received a lot of requests for permits that were handled at the meeting.
The township still continues to inspect and enforce its sewage ordinances, and at this meeting voted to appoint Ken Laurie, formerly of COG Sewage, as its primary sewage enforcement officer. It will also retain KBA Engineering as a primary SEO, and Haskins thought, by working together, they could clear up the backlog of sewage projects awaiting the inspecting. They also voted to set a fee of $250 for a perc test conducted by an SEO; Squier noted a fee for this test was not previously on the current list of services, which will remain as it.
The supervisors are also continuing to review sample ordinances. One addresses yard and garage sales, and the others trailers/mobile homes. The ordinances would lay out what residents can and cant do, and the trio of supervisors will work to propose and advertise these ordinances.
The township is also ready to go out to bid on a 26-foot by 64-foot salt storage building addition. It will include a bid for putting in a concrete floor on a bay dedicated to holding salt. The supervisors will hold off on flooring for the rest of the building.
Sienko wanted to know how the township expected to pay for the building, and if it would be coming from the talked-about line of credit. Galloway shared his concern and informed the audience that the township had no plans to access any line of credit until it was sure that it could pay the funds back. Squier noted that, to help pay for the building, the township would have to dip into the funds set aside for a new township building. Sienko didnt want to see it come from the recent tax increase, which he thought was dedicated to the roads.
Squier responded that the tax-increase funds would be used for the roads. Sienko countered that it was to be used for road improvements, and not "to maintain what we have." The township has spent considerable time and funds on Graham Hollow Road, first for emergency repairs last fall when two slides closed up all but one narrow lane on the road, and, since the warm weather began, on long-lasting repairs. Squier acknowledge that Graham Hollow has used up a lot of the tax-increase funds. "The slides occurred," he said. "It wasnt something the township created," adding that excessive rain (and gravity) were basically the undoing of the road.
Sienko begged to differ, and added that the tax-increase funds were to repave Old Route 11. "Partly for that," said Squier. "And now youre saying it [the money] is not there," Sienko responded. "Not unless we borrow it," said Squier, adding whether he [Sienko] wanted to tell the people on Graham Hollow that the township should repair its road. "They have a road," said Franks.
That was pretty much the end of this lively discussion, and the meeting adjourned.
Agnes W. Strubel to Frank Kwader and Elizabeth Kwader, in Gibson Township for $50,000.
Paul F. Molter to Howar A. Jarnagin, in Lenox Township for $113,500.
Keith F. Hausser, Renee M. Hausser, Renee M. Phillips (nbm) to Renee M. Hausser, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Kathleen J. Setzer to Martina M. Stringfellow, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Household Finance Consumer Disc. Co. to Dolores Sheare, in Forest City for $23,000.
James F. Homan, Marlene Homan, Joseph L. Homan, Mary Homan to Judy M. Homan, in Little Meadows Borough for $56,000.
Margaret J. Francis, Harold Gary Francis, Richard C. Thornton, Rosemary J. Thornton to James Max Henry, in Springville Township for $155,000.
Roger D. Bennett and Elizabeth S. Bennett to Peter J. Brandner and Nike L. Brandner, in Lenox Township for $121,000.
Joseph B. Klein to Miriam Bartlett, in Montrose for $130,000.
North American Power Company Inc. to Bernard J. LaJeunesse and Debra LaJeunesse, in Herrick Township for $235,000.
Raymond C. Ayres, Traci L. Ayres (nka) Traci L. Corse to Traci L. Corse, in Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.
Edward Honeychuck to Martin Honeychuck, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
David T. Baker and Wendy D. Baker to Robert A. Kulp and Dianne l. Kulp, in Thompson Borough for $15,000.
Keith F. Hausser and Renee M. Hausser to Keith F. Hausser and Renee M. Hausser, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Richard W. Ross to Patricia M. Doolittle, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Catherine Fitzpatrick to Susan Nadeau, in Silver Lake Township for $80,000.
Rebecca Peck Peterson to Harries Clichy Peterson Jr., Mark Hazard Peterson, and Rebecca Peterson Cox, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Robert H. Beesmer to John W. Winans and Deborah J. Winans, in Franklin Township for $38,500.
National City Home Loan Services Inc. (fka) Altegra Credit Company to Homecomings Financial Network Inc., in Little Meadows Borough and Apolacan Township for $10.
Homecoming Financial Network Inc. to Anthony J. Delia and Patricia L. Delia, in Little Meadows Borough and Apolacan Township for $18,500.
Anthony J. Delia and Patricia L. Delia to Anthony J. Delia and Patricia L. Delia, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
David J. Koch and Lynne G. Koch to David M. Seese and Debra M. Sesse, in Bridgewater Township for $200,000.
Bernard A. Graham and Glendora L. Graham to Graham Trust, in Forest Lake Township for zero dollars.
Bernard A. Graham and Glendora L. Graham to Graham Trust, in Forest Lake Township for zero dollars.
Bernard A. Graham and Glendora L. Graham to Graham Trust, in Forest Lake Township for zero dollars.
Bernard A. Graham and Glendora L. Graham to Graham Trust, in Little Meadows Borough for zero dollars.
Jewett F. Neiley Jr. and Jean t. Neiley to Roger T. Neiley, Christopher Neiley and Andrew Neiley, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Christopher J. Hurlbert (by sheriff) and Patricia Hurlbert (by sheriff) to Citibank, in Forest Lake Township for $1,080.
Millard C. Robbins and Barbara E. Robbins to Barbara L. Squier and Donald C. Robbins, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Gerald B. Sullivan and Jeanne M. Sullivan to Angelo F. Grassi and Paul J. Grassi, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Gerald B. Sullivan and Jeanne M. Sullvan to John Warner and Lisa Warner, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Brian R. Anderson to Amy L. Rentner, in New Milford Township for $78,000.
James J. Williams and Nancy R. Williams to Stuart D. Gorka and Crystal M.Gorka, in Susquehanna for $85,000.
Dennis J. Slocum to Dennis J. Slocum and Donna S. Slocum, in Hallstead Borough for $10.
Elizabeth M. Brunges and Eric C. Brunges to Elizabeth M. Arnold, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Jon R. Troupe and Jeanette L. Troupe to Patricia Troupe, in Liberty Township for $75,000.
Michael Demianovich and Irene Demianovich to Michael Demianovich, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Brian Lee Sudbrink and Monica Ruth Sudbrink to Richard R. Marker and Carol A. Marker, in Jackson Township for $122,500.
Trevor I. Pass to Philip Pass Sr. and Barbara Pass, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
James B. Farrell to James B. Farrell, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
James Sheridan, Catherine Sheridan, Christine Baker (aka) Catherine Christine Baker to James Sheridan and Catherine Sheridan in Union Dale Borough for one dollar.
Jerry Beamer and Sylvia Beamer to Andrew T. Kelly and Jolene M. Kelly, in Great Bend Township for $424.
Florence M. Hugaboom to Harvey Hugaboom, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Victor Rebernik and Elizabeth Rebernik to William M. Cole, in Clifford Township for $17,500.
Thomas E.R. Addis (by attorney), Leahann Baglino (nbm) Leahann Addis to William E. Zick and Brenda J. Zick, in Lenox Township for $75,000.
James Boyle and Ann Boyle to Joseph J. Dougherty, in Harmony Township for $72,000.
Ray Barnard and Marilyn S. Barnard to Mark Gnade and Stephanie D. Gnade, in Great Bend Township for $65,000.
Michael Joseph Yoder, RR 4, Montrose and Lynn M. Riniker, RR4, Montrose.
Jason Matthews, Syracuse, NY and Jennifer Lynn Shoaff, Syracuse, NY.
Stewart Sidney Bialer, RR 4, Montrose and Susan M. Begasse, RR4. Montrose.
John J. Slater Jr. , RR1, Hallstead and Debra Ann Foster RR1, Hallstead.
Keith W. Truitt, Olyphant and Amy Jean Lindsey, Hop Bottom.
Carl Berton Robbins Jr., Hallstead and Denise Marie Snyder, Hallstead.
Dustin James Walker, Harford and Katherine Dianne Traver, Hallstead.
Gary C. Gorton Sr., Harford vs. Florence Gorton, Jacksonville, Florida.
Linda J. Harvey, Kingsley vs. David E. Harvey, RR1, Montrose.
On the night of June 22, Gregory Bradley, 19, Hop Bottom, was not injured when he failed to negotiate a curve on Route 2067 in Clifford Township. Bradley lost control of the 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme he was driving. The car left the roadway and struck a utility pole. The car, owned by Jay Bradley, Hop Bottom, was towed from the scene, where members of the Clifford Fire Department also assisted.
The 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue belonging to Sara Hannah Conklin, Montrose was damaged sometime between the evening of June 19 and the following day, while it was parked behind an apartment building on Church Street in Montrose. The hood of the vehicle was scratched. Anyone with information is asked to please call the State Police at 465-3154.
Around 6 a.m. on June 20, someone pumped $25 of fuel into a white Chevy Suburban with a NY registration and drove off without paying. Anyone with information is asked to please call the State Police at 465-3154.
Driver Emily Gelatt, 18, Jackson, received a minor injury and her passenger, Samantha Bode, 18, Hop Bottom, was uninjured when the 1997 Pontiac Sunfire that Gelatt was driving struck a deer and then the guardrail on Interstate 81 north near the Lenox exit. Both women were wearing seat belts. The Pontiac was totaled. The accident took place in the early morning of June 18.
Wayne County - A Lake Ariel man entered a guilty plea to two charges of cruelty to animals before District Justice Carney, Hawley, PA. Kenneth Emerick was charged by Dessin Animal Shelter's Humane Officer Marlene Metzger, with failing to provide food, water and veterinary care for his two dogs. This neglect resulted in the death of both dogs. The dogs, a lab mix and a terrier mixed died during the winter months. "The owner just left them lying in their pen," Metzger said. Dessin received an anonymous tip which led to the investigation. Emerick was fined $500 plus court costs and ordered to serve four days in jail.
Offender Gets Probation, Fine
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans placed a 43 year-old Clifford Township woman, who failed to register with the Pennsylvania State Police as a sex offender, on probation for 18 months. Judge Seamans also fined Paula Ann Simmons $300 plus cost of prosecution.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Ms. Simmons was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in 1992 and is required to register with the State Police within 10 days when she changes her address. When authorities learned that Ms. Simmons had moved without filing a change of address, they notified her to visit the State Police in Gibson to fill out the required forms.
On Aug. 8, 2003, Trooper Ben Clark of the Criminal Investigation Unit at Gibson, signed a complaint against Ms. Simmons charging her with moving from Union Dale to Clifford Township and failing to notify State Police. Material obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police Megans Law Unit reveal that Ms. Simmons has notified State Police of four previous changes of address since 1996.
Judge Seamans also sentenced the following:
Cindy Leigh Ahlbrandt, 21, of Hallstead, six months probation and a $100 fine for theft by deception in Great Bend on Aug. 28, 2003. Miss Ahlbrandt cashed a check that belonged to another person.
Tammy Rodney, 28, of South Montrose, 48 hours to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Jail plus $300 fine for drunk driving in Rush Township on July 14, 2003.
Donald Kenneth Clark, 41, of South Montrose, 18 months to 36 months in a state correctional facility, $500 fine and 50 hours of community service for receiving stolen property in Forest City on Aug. 8, 2003. He was also placed on probation and fined an additional $100 for possession of a controlled substance in Forest City on July 19, 2003.
Jeffrey Lynn Braman, 35, of Conklin, NY, two months to 12 months in the county jail suspended, nine months probation, and a $250 fine for theft by deception in Harford Township on Aug. 30, 2003. Mr. Braman took a trailer from a private residence without permission and sold it.
Erick R. Smith, 23, of New Milford, was fined a total of $600 and placed on probation for various criminal charges including filing false reports to law enforcement authorities and three counts of theft by deception.
Daniel F. Bentz, 23, of Susquehanna, 30 days to one year in the county jail plus $300 fine for disorderly conduct on May 10, 2003 in New Milford. He also received a concurrent jail sentence of 48 hours to 15 months and an additional $300 fine for drunk driving in New Milford on May 10, 2003.
John Paul Napolitano, 51, of Susquehanna, 30 days to 12 months in the county jail, suspended, and $350 fine for receiving stolen property in Harmony Twp. on Sept. 5, 2003.
Dale Steven Calderone, 41, of Montrose, 2 1/2 years to five years in a state correctional facility and $1000 fine for aggravated indecent assault in Bridgewater Twp. on June 16, 2003. When he is released from prison, he will be on probation for five years.
Kyle Lee Williams, 17, of Susquehanna, 60 days to 18 months in the county jail, suspended, and $200 fine for receiving stolen property in Susquehanna Borough on May 18, 2003.
Steven S. Wintergrass, 39, of Meshoppen, one month to 12 months in the county jail, suspended, and $300 fine for criminal mischief in Auburn Township on Nov. 15, 2002.
Scott R. Wheeler, 19, of Susquehanna, 12 months probation and $200 fine for accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property in Susquehanna Borough on Nov. 28, 2003. He was also sentenced to serve 48 hours to 12 months in the county jail for drunk driving in Harmony Township on Aug. 13, 2002.
Borough Council Minutes
The Starrucca Borough Council conducted its May meeting at the Starrucca Community Hall on June 7, starting at 7:05 p.m. In the absence of president Pete Downton, vice-president Mary Ann DeBalko presided.
Council members present were Andy Bennett, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske and Robert Weldy; Helen Haynes was absent. Also present was Mayor Frank Mroczka.
Audience members included Joseph Bohannon, Jim Devoe, Darl Haynes, Gay Keyes, Art Kopp, Sister Therese McNamara, Kirk Rhone, Fred Rhone, Kent Swartz and Renee Warden.
Comments from Mayor
The meeting began with the following comments from the mayor: "I want to take a few minutes to give my review of some of the events that occurred in the borough over the past few months and to offer some of my insights and recommendations. In less than a year: - Four people held the position of Secretary/Treasurer, - Two council members resigned, - The mayor passed away, - The 2003 audit. Any one of these events could be considered a major event with disruptive effects on the continuity of borough business. With the many changes to the Secretary/Treasurer position, the borough was faced with many obstacles to overcome errors of omission, the lateness of bill payments, and records not being updated in a timely manner. The replacement of the resigned council members was not an easy transition and caused much discussion to be resolved. A new mayor was appointed and the 2003 Audit was completed. In January three former borough officials attended the council meeting offering their insights and recommendations and assistance with the borough roads. I applaud these gentlemen for their thoughtfulness and the giving of their time and effort. However I do question their method of presenting their recommendations. I encourage all citizens of the borough to come to the council with their insights and recommendations. I caution citizens with suggestions for council to refrain from taking matters into their own hands by directly contacting the various agencies or contractors. If such contact is deemed necessary, make it part of the recommendation and have council make the contact. Needless to say, the Starrucca Borough Council had its work cut out for them. Although I know the council is not without faults, I know they overcame a lot of adversity in facing the problems confronting them. I personally worked with some members of council and experienced the frustrations and anguish they faced in resolving the problems. I feel this council has grown tremendously by accepting the challenges and overcoming the obstacles they faced. I want to commend council on performing a good job through the rough times and I want to encourage all the citizens of the borough to support the borough council. How can you support the council? Attend the council meetings, encourage family members and friends to attend, observe your local government in action!"
Minutes and Treasurer's Report
The minutes for the May 3 meeting were approved unanimously. The secretary requested and got permission to strike out a remark in the April 5 minutes that he had mistakenly attributed to Darl Haynes.
The treasurer's report showed income in the preceding month of $9,543.26 and bills totaling $3,124.32. Bank balances as of May 31, included $6,502.93 in the General Fund, $14,832.48 in the Liquid Fuels checking account and $5,857.40 in the FEMA account.
The treasurers report was approved unanimously. Payment of the borough's bills, as submitted by the treasurer, was approved unanimously.
Mrs. DeBalko asked the treasurer to ask Ginger Golden, the Wayne County recorder of deeds, to reissue a check for $387.10, the borough's share of the tax on a real estate transfer last summer. The check evidently was mailed to the borough in August, 2003, but has never been cashed.
The vice-president also asked that a thank you note be sent to Loreda Everett for her help in removing construction debris from around the Community Hall after the recent installation of ramps and landings to make the building handicapped accessible.
Mrs. DeBalko then read a letter to the council from president Pete Downton in which he reminded council members of the need to adopt the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Ordinance in a timely way and commented briefly on the completed 2003 Audit, which was published in summary June 2 in The Susquehanna Transcript.
The council next considered and approved the following building permits: - To Joseph Bohannan for enlargement of his house, a project that will include raising the roof of one section of the house. - To Mary Ann and George DeBalko for repairs to the porches on their house. - To Lou Gurske to add a greenhouse, a new deck and a carport to his house. - To Darl Haynes to build a two-car garage. - To Renee Warden to reroof her house, to repair or replace two porches and to add a deck. - To the Oblates of Mary to rebuild the spring house on their property and to convert their barn into a retreat house.
The council approved driveway permits for Bob and Ruth Lunt and for Sunrise Custom Modulars/Robert Nikitopoulos. It also approved a fireworks permit for the Lunts for a display on their property July 3, contingent on there being no drought conditions present and on the Lunts' agreeing in writing to assume all liability for any personal or property damage those fireworks might cause and to release Starrucca Borough from any liability for the same.
Persons to Be Heard
Gay Keyes asked the council about a proposed subdivision of her property and was advised to contact the Wayne County Planning Commission.
Kent Swartz once again approached the council concerning the Swartz Family proposal to rename the recreation field in honor of his father, the late Mayor Wendell Swartz. Kent Swartz remarked that during the 1950s there was great enthusiasm for baseball in Starrucca and that his father had been a driving force behind that enthusiasm.
Art Kopp remarked that many of the borough's older families had been involved in building and using the field the Leets, the Sodens, the Bucks and so on and he cautioned the council to think carefully before naming the field for a single person.
Mr. Everett added that he had asked older residents of the borough about the field and its use and had been told that many people had been involved.
Jim Devoe, a onetime police officer in Clifford, spoke to the council about the possibility of having some sort of police patrol in the borough. He said he had met Mrs. DeBalko in a social setting and was coming to the council at her suggestion. He said there could be state grants to help support police patrols in Starrucca.
The mayor and council thanked Devoe for coming before the council, and Mr. Mroczka said he was planning to look into the matter of police patrols. Mr. Bennett suggested approaching the Northern Wayne Council of Governments, once the UCC is in place, about the possibility of sharing police expenses with one or more municipalities, assuming the Starrucca Council had decided that police patrols were needed.
The first item of "old business" was the 2003 Audit, which had already been filed with county and state authorities. Mrs. DeBalko read the recommendations the auditors had made to improve the financial operations of the borough. Most of the recommendations revolve around clearer and more detailed bookkeeping, including the use of a computer. The secretary-treasurer remarked that he had already put most of recommendations into effect.
The council also adopted by resolution the 2004 Comprehensive Plan, which was prepared by Carson Helfrich of Community Planning and Management, LLC. The borough and Mr. Helfrich had begun work on the plan more than four years earlier. The resolution, carried unanimously.
The council adopted an ordinance to conform to the requirements of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act for municipalities intending to administer and enforce the Uniform Construction Code. The council also scheduled a June 17 public hearing on the ordinance and authorized the secretary to advertise that meeting. The UCC ordinance will take effect in the borough July 6.
Mrs. DeBalko presented the borough two proposals for work on borough roads this summer, one from Como Construction of Lake Como, the other from Kohrs Excavating of Bethany. After a lengthy discussion, the council voted unanimously to give the job to Como Construction, which had offered to do the work for $3,800.00.
Mrs. DeBalko thanked the members of the Road Committee and also resident Darl Haynes for their advice and efforts. The vice-president also asked the secretary to write Tim Kohrs and excavator Carl Grimm, also of Bethany, thanking them for taking the time to come up to Starrucca and explaining to council members the road maintenance issues faced by the borough.
At this point, the council went into executive session, which continued from 9:50 to 11:10 p.m., to discuss a personnel matter.
Before adjourning, the council voted unanimously to accept the 2003 Audit, as submitted. The members also voted unanimously to allow the Civic Association to use the Community Hall of July 17.
There being no further business, the council adjourned at 11:30 p.m.
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