Please visit our kind sponsors
Hallstead Boro Council took care of business in short order at their July 15 meeting; the mayor and some council members planned to attend a meeting being held at the same time in Great Bend Boro to discuss developments with the Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance. As of the date of the meeting, the ambulance company had been denied renewal of their license to operate; a new application would need to be made.
Two building permits were approved for additions at the Fitzgerald and Mazzarella properties, provided they were in compliance with the states new Uniform Construction Code regulations, and that the proper permits had been applied for through COG, which has been designated as the boros administrator for building permits and inspections.
Council received notification that a DCNR grant application for the Riverbank Park had been denied; the beautification committee plans on submitting another application for the next round of grant funding.
A motion carried to adopt a resolution to join COG.
Council president Michelle Giangrieco reported that the Susquehanna Ambulance Company has notified the boro that as of August 3, they will no longer service the Hallstead-Great Bend area, as they are facing the same personnel constrictions as other local companies, and does not have a billing agreement in place to cover calls to the Hallstead area.
Council agreed to check prices with area suppliers for heating fuel for the boro building for the coming year.
Council discussed a request from a resident, to post a board for notices of council meetings and other events within the boro at the boro building property. Several options were discussed; the matter was tabled until it could be looked into further.
Correspondence reviewed included a letter from the Broome Volunteer Emergency Squad, which stated that they have been licensed to operate within the state of Pennsylvania, an action taken due to the need for such services in Susquehanna County; there had been numerous times when the squad had responded to calls in the area to assist local agencies. The squad currently operates four stations, one of which is in Kirkwood, NY. The letter stated that that PAs regional EMS council requires that the Broome squad be named as the ALS or BLS provider of choice for the area before they can serve the community. No action was taken, pending the outcome of the meeting being held in Great Bend Boro.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 19, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
"We will be back." With those defiant words, John Brant closed a meeting devoted to discussion of the precarious position of Great Bend-Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance Service (GBHVAS), of which he is president. Everyone who heard him was hoping he was right. But some still had serious doubts about the ability of the dwindling volunteer corps to right itself after recently losing its license. Whatever else happens, however, the residents of the communities served by the local team for over 50 years will not be without an ambulance to call on when needed.
The meeting on July 15 was called by the Great Bend Borough Council. The borough is home to the ambulance corps; their two vehicles are housed in the borough; and the borough is responsible for the workmens' compensation insurance that covers the volunteers when they're on the job. Council understood, however, that their neighboring communities also have a stake in the service, and invited representatives of surrounding boroughs and townships, as well as nearby emergency medical organizations to discuss the situation before any decisions were made. The specific decision that faced the Council was to name a "primary" ambulance provider for the borough at least until the local service can get back on its feet.
Many interested municipalities and organizations were represented among the 30-some people who attended, including the New Milford, Susquehanna and Montrose ambulance squads, Hallstead Borough, the Broome Volunteer Emergency Squad, and the Great Bend Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Council chair Ray Holtzman made sure that all had a say in trying to explain the situation and their position on it. He called first on R. Brent Meadows, Executive Director of the Bradford-Susquehanna Emergency Medical Service (BSEMS), which oversees local ambulance services for the state of Pennsylvania. It was Mr. Meadows who denied the application of the GBHVAS for renewal of its license.
Mr. Meadows listed some nine shortcomings that led to the decision not to re-license the service in Great Bend, from expired vehicle inspections on the two ambulances, to outdated and deficient documentation. He attributed most of the problems to lack of personnel. "They are having manpower issues," he said; "A handful of people have tried to keep the ambulance afloat, and they haven't been able to do it." He said that "licensure is not a guarantee of coverage," and that the state has no interest in leaving anyone without coverage. However, the dispatchers who receive emergency assistance calls must have a certifiably competent ambulance service to call out on an emergency.
Council member Jerry MacConnell recalled a meeting in Montrose in late February called by the BSEMS to discuss the emerging situation. He asked what progress he had noted since that time. Mr. Meadows said that there had been no visible progress toward re-licensing, and hence the recent rejection of the license application.
Council member Mike Wasko asked when the local service could "realistically" expect to be able to meet the requirements for re-licensing. Mr. Meadows said that the service could reapply for a license at any time. He noted that several people are even now undergoing training as emergency medical technicians (EMT). But he said a realistic time frame might stretch out to the first of next year, in January 2005.
Several related issues came out during the extended discussion. Some interested parties expressed frustration that they had been snubbed or ignored by the GBHVAS recently. Eddie Arnold, Commander of the Great Bend VFW told the meeting that his post established the squad originally, has purchased at least four of the group's ambulances over the years, and most recently offered to form a board of directors to help the service improve its organization. He said that service members have not treated the VFW with consideration for their historical role and their willingness to contribute. "We were shunned," said Mr. Arnold. "We can't support the organization if we're not in the loop." Mr. Brant would not discuss this issue, calling it "privileged information."
The Susquehanna ambulance squad is one of those covering the area while Great Bend tries to resolve its problems. A representative of the Susquehanna service announced a letter that had been sent to interested municipalities that, as of August 5, 2004, Susquehanna will withdraw its assistance, at least until a more formal agreement is made requesting the help. He said that, although local mutual aid arrangements go back many years, and his volunteers would like to continue the tradition, they would like to see it put in writing, at least in part to satisfy their own insurance company. He, too, was frustrated that the Great Bend service had not visited Susquehanna or discussed the problems directly with Susquehanna volunteers. "Nobody talks to us," he said. "There's a little bit of resentment." Moreover, the Susquehanna and New Milford squads are both feeling additional stress from covering for Great Bend.
Mr. Wasko asked representatives of the other covering squads how they would treat memberships in the Great Bend service. Local residents are solicited annually for a $25 contribution, which has entitled them to "membership" in the ambulance service. Under that program, if a member is transported in a cooperating ambulance, and the patient- member's insurer does not cover the entire bill, the service does not try to collect the remainder from the member. This arrangement is traditional and apparently informal. Some of the neighboring squads have said that, now that Great Bend is out of service, the membership arrangement is no longer valid. However, under pressure from Council, all the attending representatives (including Broome, which does not have a similar membership program) said that their organizations would continue to honor Great Bend memberships, at least until a final resolution is found.
Ambulance service is available at two levels. Basic Life Support (BLS) is manned by EMT's. Advanced Life Support (ALS) is staffed with paramedics. BLS ambulances can operate on a defined schedule. ALS service must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Susquehanna and New Milford are BLS services. The Montrose Minutemen, which maintain an ambulance on U.S. Route 11 in the Hallstead area, is an ALS service, as are the Broome Volunteers. All of the services depend on billings (primarily to insurance providers) for financing, and it can be quite lucrative. The Great Bend squad has talked about a merger with the Broome organization for some time, and a pair of uniformed Broome team members attended the meeting to offer their services once again. According to Mr. Meadows, the Broome Volunteers were recently fully licensed in Pennsylvania as an ALS service.
The Broome squad would prefer to keep their equipment at their own location in Kirkwood. However, they have offered to house a squad in Great Bend, should the community choose them as a primary provider. There was some concern about such an arrangement, however, from two directions. Some pointed out that if Montrose loses business in the area to the Broome group, they might be tempted to pull their ambulance out altogether. And Representatives of Hallstead Borough said their council would prefer to "keep it local," meaning, if Great Bend is out of service, use the Montrose ambulance. There has always been an undercurrent of sentiment in favor of local (that is, Susquehanna County) organizations over outsiders, particularly from out of state (that is, New York).
As it turned out, a member of the Broome group came up with a suggestion that broke the logjam. The core question of the evening was how to name a primary service provider, and which one (of those available) to select. Some suggested splitting coverage hours, or days, or weeks. Mr. Meadows noted that it is important to make it as simple as possible for the 911 communications center, to avoid confusion and ensure timely response. The proposal that was finally adopted by the Great Bend Council was to designate, for ALS service, the "closest available" between Montrose and Broome; and the same for BLS among Susquehanna and New Milford. Council will have to formalize the arrangement with the named services, then notify BSEMS so it can be set up at the communications center. It was also suggested that all of the affected municipalities develop a common agreement, but that notion was swiftly rejected.
When everyone had had a say, Mr. Holtzman bid good evening to the remaining citizenry. Council took a break - behind the closed door of the Borough office - and then resumed a formal meeting to make their decision, which adopted the "closest available" approach.
Mr. Holtzman then raised the question of workmens' compensation. Since the GBHVAS is now out of service, should the borough cancel their coverage - at least until they can start back up again - to save a little money? (The policy costs the borough some $3,000 per year.) No one seemed to know how that would work, and some were reluctant to give an impression of little confidence in the future of the ambulance service. So that question was tabled for a later meeting.
Everyone hopes that the Great Bend-Hallstead Ambulance Service can be revived. According to some, it was once the "premiere service" in the county, and an example to others that came later. It has fallen on hard times. "We need people!" was the plea of president Brant, who refused to consider even the possibility that the service would not be re-licensed. He vowed to submit a new application within 2 weeks, and to resume service (at least overnight, to begin with) soon thereafter. Support for the organization as it exists now may seem equivocal, but residents want their own ambulance back. Will they support it with their own time and effort?
Boro Considers Vote
The first item of discussion at the July 13 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council was whether or not a vote needed to be re-taken from their June 23 meeting, when only four council members were present. Shane Lewis had abstained from voting to enact ordinance no. 434 (UCC). Because only three votes could be counted, less than a total quorum of four, the matter had been tabled for further action. Information obtained since that meeting was that, even though less than four votes were taken, the vote was legal because more than half of those present had voted.
Secretary Judy Collins reported that the Susquehanna Community Development Association has received a new shipment of stones for the Main St. Project; those wishing to purchase memorial stones should contact the SCDA.
Mayor Hurley reported that she and Lt. Record had attended a Crisis Response Plan Committee meeting on July 7 at the Susquehanna Community School to discuss procedures in case of emergency. Potential situations had been discussed, as well as solutions to those situations.
The boros auditors have suggested that, due to the change in personnel in the secretary/treasurers position, a full audit would not be necessary as the boros records were in excellent condition. Instead of a full audit, a motion carried to approve a procedures agreement, which will cost one-fourth of what a full audit would cost.
Boro officials are invited to attend a Freedom Salute ceremony at the National Guard facility in New Milford on July 31, to honor area soldiers who were deployed to Bosnia.
Lt. Record reported that the Vascar has been certified, as well as the departments stopwatches. After road paving work is completed on Main St., speed lines will be set up. And, the department has contributed a patch, to be included in a World Trade Center memorial organized by the Dover Twp. Police, to be posted with patches from other police departments from around the country.
Council reviewed a schedule of committee meetings to be held throughout the month, with one addition, a committee to oversee the renovation and utilization of three donated railroad cars. The cars were donated by the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad, two box cars and a passenger car. The committee will meet on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the boro building. Volunteers will be needed in many areas; anyone interested is urged to attend a committee meeting.
A motion carried to deny a request for a tax exoneration, as the applicants income is over the specified limit.
Mrs. Biegert was present to discuss the River Bounty land project; plans had been drawn up to divide the river-front parcel acquired through River Bounty among the boro, the fire department, and the Tri-Boro Sewer Authority. After review of the plans, a motion carried to approve the plans and to send a letter to the county Planning Commission stating that the boro had approved them. Once Planning Commission approval is determined, hopefully at their next meeting, the boro can begin work on turning its portion into a park.
Council will be hosting a fishing derby during the Hometown Days celebration on July 24. Sign-up sheets have been posted throughout town, and the police department will have an officer on duty on the bridge during the derby.
Council is still in the process of gathering information about the possibility of vacating the lower portion of First Ave.
Requesting time on the agenda was Lori Martin, of Martin Works, which has contracted with the SCDA through the Main St. Project to develop a website for the boro. Mrs. Martin is compiling information to be used for a directory of area businesses and organizations. Mrs. Martin discussed a list of considerations for the websites content; items included a history of the area, current council members and how to contact them, members of the boros other departments (police and streets). She is soliciting opinions from council and from the SCDA as to what the website should contain, how it should appear, including forums for posting of particular topics, an events calendar, links to other area websites and local attractions. Forums could be set up for individual areas, such as local businesses, government and organizations. A moderator would be needed to periodically check each of these for inquiries and to delete older information. Mrs. Martin would welcome additional committee members to work on the project with her; the site is expected to take six to eight months to complete. Once it is complete she will continue to administer it at no cost to the Main St. Project. Martin Works is planning to host two receptions, one for local businesses and one for local organizations, to give a presentation showing what is available on the site once it is set up. A motion carried to approve payment to Martin Works for the website development, half now and half at completion. The funds will come from the Main St. Project.
The last item discussed was councils entry in the parade held on July 10, celebrating Barnes-Kasson Hospitals 100th anniversary. Council members and the mayor worked on the float, using a theme suggested by Mrs. Biegert. Mr. Whitehead proudly displayed a trophy awarded for councils float, which won in a category for "Most Original Health Care."
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
At around 9 in the evening of July 9, someone stopped at a mailbox belonging to a 31-year-old woman and which sits at the intersection of State Route 492 and Stump Pond Road in New Milford Township. The unknown person placed a Polaroid photo of an obscene nature into the mailbox, and then drove off in the direction of SR 492. Anyone with information is asked to please call the State Police at 465-3154.
HIT AND RUN
A vehicle, make and driver unknown, was traveling north on State Route 29 in Springville Township and struck a wheelbarrow containing watermelons that was in front of Aineys market. The vehicle, and its operator, fled the scene of this incident that happened mid-morning on July 13.
A mailbox along State Route 3029 in Forest Lake Township and belonging to Shirley Diane Tator was smashed by an unknown person(s) sometime between the evening of July 12 and the following morning.
LOST AND FOUND
A red Huffy 10-speed bicycle was found along State Route 547 about one-quarter mile from Creek Road on July 11. Anyone claiming it may call 570-945-4051.
On the morning of June 21, Donna Darrow, Dimock Township, was assaulted at her residence by Stefan Schlachter, who has the same address as Darrow. Charges are pending an investigation.
A representative of the Ho-Mart on State Route 492 in New Milford Township reported that a green Jeep Cherokee with unknown Massachusetts plates pumped gas without paying during the afternoon of July 9. The Jeep was last seen traveling north of Interstate 81.
Donald Lee Grovel, 35, New Milford, was arrested for attempting to pull Lisa Ann Visabati, 31, Montrose, out of a parked vehicle by her head and hair. The incident took place on the evening of July 10 in the parking lot of the Parkview Bar in New Milford. Charges of harassment have been filed against Grovel.
Between July 8 and 9, an unknown person(s) rode ATVs through two sections of fence along property belonging to Jennifer Steele, 35, Franklin Township. As a result, Steeles horses got loose.
State Route 706 in Bridgewater Township was the scene of a three-vehicle crash in the late afternoon of July 8. A vehicle owned by Michael Reddick, 67, Kingsley, traveled into the path of one driven by Robert Lewis, 73, New Milford, causing Lewis vehicle to impact with a vehicle driven by Lillian Ainey, 79, Montrose. All three drivers were wearing seat belts and were not injured. Lewis and Aineys vehicles were towed from the scene.
HIT AND RUN
While Harry Torney, Montrose, with passenger Mary Torney, was driving his 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup along State Route 3001 in Bridgewater Township on the evening of July 2, it was approached from the rear by a 1992 Ford F-350, driven by Merwin Dunbar, 34, Skippack, at a high rate of speed. The front of Dunbars truck struck the rear of Torneys Tacoma pickup, and Dunbar fled the scene. He was located several hours later and charged with hit and run, and driving a vehicle at an unsafe speed. No one was injured in this accident, although Dunbars Ford pickup received minor damage.
Stanley Poulos, Daniel Poulos, Mary Ann Poulos to Miroslaw and Jadwioa Skibniewski, in Harmony Township for $54,000.
Rebecca A. Sorber and Noel W. Sorber to Rebecca A. Sorber and NowelW. Sorber, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Charlie R. Tyler to Scott R.Tyler and Stacy L. Tyler, in Auburn Township, for $50,000.
John V. Bunnell to Delaware Quarries Inc., in Dimock Township for $12,000.
Bronwin Corbett to Valeda Chaszar, Bonnie Carey and Denise Corbett, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Christine Reid to Sherman F. Wooden, in Montrose, for $13,000.
Jeffrey I James and Holly S. James to Ralph Muscarelle and Carole Muscarelle, in Herrick Township for $169,900.
Catherine Burke and John R. Burke to Theresa Waldeck, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Esther Baden (estate) to Jack Gresham, in Great Bend Township, for $66,900.
Derek B. Packer and Lori A. Packer to John D. Gregory and Jennifer L. Gregory, in Silver Lake Township for $28,999.
James A. Warner and Irene L. Warner to John J. Bernat and Christine Bernat, in Lathrop Township, for $83,000.
Robin Cushner, Robert A. Henry, Violet E. Henry to Elizabeth Schmidt, in New Milford Township for $58,000.
Ivan Payne Jr. and Tammy J. Payne to Barwick Poelstra, in Silver lake Township $115,000.
June C. Kinney to Douglas R. Morton, in Franklin Township, for $7,000.
Lena J. Dixon (by sheriff) and William J. Dixon Jr. (by Sherriff) to Bank One (fka) First National Bank of Chicago, for $7,089.
James A. Warner and Irene L. Warner to John J. Bernat and Christine Bernat, in Lathrop Township for $83,000.
Robin Cushner, Robert A. Henry and Violet E. Henry to Elizabeth H. Schmidt, in New Milford Township for $58,000.
Ivan Payne Jr. and Tammy J. Payne to Poelstra Barwick, in Silver Lake Township for $115,000.
June C. Kinney to Douglas R. Morton, in Franklin Township for $7,000.
Lena J. Dixon and William J. Dixon Jr. (by sheriff) to Bank One (fka) First National Bank of Chicago, in Great Bend Township for $7,089.
George F. Houghton Jr. (aka) George F. Houghton and Beverly Houghton to George F. Houghton, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Edward J. Kelley Jr. and Sandra L. Kelley to Edward L. Kelley Jr., in Rush Township for $100.
Edward L. Kelley and Sandra L.Kelley to Edward Kelley, in Rush Township for $100.
Edward L. Kelley and Sandra L. Kelley to Edward Kelley, in Middletown Township for $100.
Edward L. Kelley Jr. and Sandra L. Kelley to Edward L. Kelley Jr., in Rush Township for $100.
Scott Johnson and Mary Beth Johnson to Raymond R. Benjamin and Beverly J. Benjamin, in Choconut Township for $69,000.
Roger E. Stewart and Erin K. Stewart to Michael W. Russell and Debra a. Russell, in Forest Lake Township for $117,500.
Joseph Galgano and Joan Galgano to Patrick Carricato and Rosalie Carricato, in Bridgewater Township for $17,500.
Charles H. Snyder, Michelle L. Fox-Snyder, Ann Marie Snyder Walker and Robert J. Walker to Karel Motl in Ararat Township fort $33,000.
Kenneth S. Fishel and Anne Earle to Gary L. Reedy and Judy C. Reedy, in Clifford Township for $159,900.
Edward L. Rose Conservancy Inc. to Edward L. Rose Conservancy Inc., in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Edward L. Rose Conservancy Inc. to Edward L. Rose Conservancy Inc., in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Mary E. Thurston to Shawn Moody and Michelle Moody, in Hallstead Borough for $69,000.
Stephen Durko Jr. and Joanne Durko to Chad E. Remaly and Sabrina L. Remaly, in Forest City for $88,000.
Charles P. Kraemer, Kathrine L. Kraemer (by guardian), Caroline K.Selesky and Charles G. Kraemer to Fiddle Lake Properties, in Ararat Township for $2,500.
Mario Carulli and Joyce Carulli to Steven Letting and Helen Letting, in Rush Township, for $42,000.
Susan E. Dean to Ralph Comfort and Jacalyn Comfort, in Bridgewater Township for $92,500.
Victor Bador and Aileen Bador to Kenneth P. Ely and Deborah L. Roblyer, in Dimock Township for $22,000.
J. Renwick Kerr III and Sarah Kerr to Sharyn L. Negus, in Herrick Township for $99,500.
Elva Prince (by atty) to Sarah J. Burke, in Forest City for $55,000.
Dorothy a. Holmes (estate) and Dawn Truskolaski to Floyd a. Mead, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Sharon Leigh Middleton (nbm) Sharon Norville and Thomas Norville to Brian C. Lathrop and Susan Lathrop, in Bridgewater Township for $215,000.
Michelle A. Shaw (nbm) Michelle A. Carman and Thomas Carman to Edward Kelley and James Adriance, in Friendsville Borough for $12,000.
Kimberly Ann Crawford to Dorothy Farr, in Clifford Township, for $424,000.
William James Humber to William James Humber, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
John L. Bronson and Gertrude a. Bronson to Robert C. Wert and Grace E. Wert, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Eric Christian Flesher, Throop, and Sylvania Eugenia Smith, Simpson.
Mark Tewes, Great Bend, and Donna Diane Kortner, Hallstead.
Arthur Francis Strohl Jr., Susquehanna, and Deborah Sue Preston, Dunes, CA.
Chadwick William Bell, Springville, and Jacquelyne Annita Morrell, New Milford.
Matthew Warren, Leraysville and Michelle D. Fenton, Leraysville.
Lee Slucum II, Susquehanna, and Julie Ann Decker, Susquehanna.
Craig Jeffrey Glen Benson, Thompson, and Carol A. Zensel, Syracuse, NY.
Charles William Mateer, Hop Bottom, and Marlene Ann Ryan, Hop Bottom.
Joseph A. Ledonne III, Hallstead, and Elisa Ann Rychlewski, Hallstead.
Pasquale R. Gerito, Montrose, and Patricia D. McAfee, Montrose.
James W. Cole, Vestal, NY, and Julie Ann Hayes, Montrose.
Daniel Allen Montalbano, Montose, and Nichole L. Trzeciak, Montrose.
Christine M. Anderson, Susquehanna, vs. Duane J. Anderson, Susquehanna.
About 30 Forest City residents who attended a public hearing on a re-addressing program proposed by the Susquehanna County 911 Communications System said thanks but no thanks to the plan.
The meeting was held as a barometer for the Borough Council to get a pulse on the feelings in the community prior to acting on an ordinance required to participate in the program. When a show of hands of those against the plan was called, all but two individuals raised their hands. Only council members Paul J. Amadio and Ruth Fitzsimmons raised hands in support of the proposal.
Moreover, at the end of the meeting, Mr. Amadio, who chaired the meeting, had no trouble getting three volunteers to prepare and place petitions in public facilities so other borough residents can indicate their support or opposition to the plan.
The plan would result in a change of house numbers throughout the borough and that was enough to bring out one of the largest crowds to attend a council meeting in years.
A majority of the residents who spoke out against the plan indicated their opposition was because of the amount of paper work that would need to be done to change their home addresses. Some also expressed concern for senior citizens and stated it would be a hardship for them to change addresses after having the same address for years.
Susquehanna County was well represented at the meeting. County Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren attended as did Dawn Watson, who heads up the countys 911 Communications Center, and Kevin Pietriyk, also of the 911 Comm. Center, who ran into an audience that was vocal and somewhat hostile at times. All four are in support of the program.
Mr. Pietriyk said the program is designed so that all police, fire and rescue units are "on the same page" and will know exactly where they are going during an emergency. Residents countered by stating that the borough is small and that volunteers in fire and rescue never have had a problem finding the scene of a fire or any other emergency.
Gus DeMark of Delaware Street said he was a policeman in town for 12 years and was also active in the fire department and the ambulance squad and never had a problem finding a residence in the borough. Mr. DeMark said the important thing for people to remember is to put a porch light on when they summon emergency people.
Mr. Pietriyk said in the event of a sizable disaster, emergency units called in from other towns may not know the community at well as the local units.
"With this system," he said, "they will know exactly where to go because they will understand how the readdressing system will work. If once in 20 years it helps to save someones life, it will be worth it."
The opposition was led by Mayor Frank Brager, Councilwoman Mary Twilley, and Ruth Jones, recently elected borough assessor. The mayor said he had numerous calls opposing the plan. He said the borough is small and that rescue units know the streets and the blocks.
Mrs. Twilley said most people she talked with are against the plan. She said she does not know of a single fatality in the borough resulting from rescue or fire units arriving at scenes too late. And Mrs. Jones read off a list of changes that must be completed if house numbers are changed including changing the addresses of all students in the school system.
Mr. Amadio said the change may not appear to be that necessary in Forest City but he said it is all part of a statewide project. Residents shrugged off his suggestion that the borough participate to keep the chain going and said it might be a help for neighboring communities.
Mr. Pietryik said the county is required to have 95 percent accuracy when it dispatches emergency equipment to any incident requiring ambulance and/or fire fighting equipment. He said state and federal funds could be compromised if the county does not improve its present accuracy rating of 65 percent.
There was one trump card favoring the borough. If the council does not adopt a required ordinance, re-addressing program will still be done and the borough could ask for it to be initiated in the future.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Amadio appointed Pam Green to chair a volunteer committee that will circulate petitions that residents will be asked to sign and to check off whether they are in support of the project or against it.
The Clifford Township Board of Supervisors awarded a $99,000 contract to Kaczor Construction of Lake Ariel to install a new hip roof atop the township building. The roof will replace the present flat roof that has been collecting rain water that finally began leaking into the former elementary school.
Ironically, the bid was not the lowest one received. However, it was described as the lowest responsible bid. A bid of $83,000 submitted by OKeefe Service Co. of Dunmore failed to comply with the bidding requirements.
"It did not meet the criteria," John Regan, chair of the board, said. "There was no performance bond and no references so we had no recourse except to take the next responsible bid."
Mr. Regan said the township is confident that much of the cost will be secured through a grant. He said State Rep. Sandra Major indicated that the grant was coming.
No completion date has been set for the project.
In another matter, Police Chief Tom Munley, who recently returned to work after a three year hiatus because of a leg injury, is out of work again with an injury. Township officials said Chief Munley was responding to a late night burglary call when he stepped into a hole and injured his other leg.
The supervisors hired Don Carroll of Carbondale Township to fill the part time position until Chief Munleys return.
The townships Alliance Committee, a volunteer group that is already responsible for a number of improvements in the township, reported that it expects approval of its grant application for playground money. A committee member told the supervisors that the grant would amount to $40,000 and that the committee had already secured the $20,000 matching funds that it will need.
The Clifford Twp. Fire Department is seeking volunteer help for its annual picnic scheduled for July 28-31 at the fire grounds on Route 106. Interested persons are urged to contact any member of the fire department.
The township received $69,124 in liquid fuel funds from the Commonwealth.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners adopted an emergency plan last week that is designed to provide a safe environment for visitors and employees in the county courthouse. In addition, a key objective of the plan is to provide for the "prompt, orderly, and controlled removal of people from the courthouse and all county buildings during emergencies."
The plan will be posted in conspicuous places in each office. The commissioners have also suggested that each employee familiarize themselves with the procedures including reporting fires or bomb threats to minimize response time from various emergency services.
In the event of an emergency, employees and visitors will be herded to the commons or green and wait for further instructions. Department heads and supervisors will have the responsibility of making an accurate account of their employees and visitors in their respective offices during an emergency. Employees in the office building on Public Avenue will report to the lower green and wait there for further instructions.
Department heads will also be responsible for making certain that all employees are familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and their use. They must also know the location of fire alarm boxes and how to use them. "The more important thing the employees must remember," said Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, "is to be calm. Fear and panic can do as much harm as the emergency itself."
A bomb threat checklist included in the plan asks employees to pay attention to any background noises that might help to identify where the call originated. The person answering such a call is also urged to ask the caller where the bomb is and when it will go off. And, lastly, to try and get the name and phone number of the caller.
In another matter, the commissioners amended the countys personnel and policy manual that will allow employees to donate vacation time to a fellow worker that might be off because of a serious injury or illness. Vacation time can be pooled or donated to another employee who does not have enough benefit time accumulated to cover the length of absence from the job.
The commissioners agreed to hold a silent auction on July 31 to dispose of county property that is no longer needed. The list includes desks, typewriter stands, salt spreaders, typewriters, and assorted office equipment.
Also on the list is a 1995 Plymouth Neon, a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria and a 1986 Ford pickup truck. And, there is a garden tractor with accessories, a half dozen digital cameras, a seven foot Western snowplow and a John Deer grooming mower.
The commissioners reappointed the following members to the Susquehanna County Tourism Committee: Michele Suchnik, Kim Ross, Lee Brown, Elizabeth Janoski, Sue Fitch, and Al Aronowitz. Two additions appointed to the committee are Sandy Conklin and Eleanor Lempke.
The commissioners approved a resolution endorsing an agreement between Barnes Kasson Hospital and the Commonwealth for the Shared Ride Program for older adults. The hospital has been operating the countys transportation program for a number of years and will receive a grant in the amount of $145,638 to continue the program.
Bids opened for review were received for refuse dumpsters at various county facilities and carpeting in the Warner Building. Ironically, the county did not receive a single bid for replacing the roof on the county office building.
"We've received all the input that we're going to receive." So said Rick Pisasik, chair of the Harford Township Board of Supervisors at their Saturday morning meeting on July 10, referring to public attitudes about the Odd Fellows Hall in Harford Village. Several months ago the Supervisors solicited citizen input about what the building might be used for should it be renovated and put back in service. Very few responded, most of those preferring to demolish the old building, sometimes known as the Town Hall. The Supervisors had set themselves a July target for deciding on the next step. Now it is July and it seems they are nearing a decision to put the issue to a ballot at the November election.
Mr. Pisasik said that he would not support a referendum question to simply demolish the building. Instead, he favors a vote that would remove restrictive clauses from the deed, thereby giving the Supervisors clear authority to decide on the structure's fate. He said that even following a positive vote on such a question the Township would likely have to go to court to have the covenants formally removed from the deed. Should all of that come to pass, the Supervisors would then embark on a process to determine the final disposition of the building. Mr. Pisasik asked that a decision on the referendum question be put on the Board's agenda for its next meeting, on July 27.
With a resolution for a fee schedule on the table, Mr. Pisasik reported that legislation pending in Harrisburg might change the administration of the Uniform Construction Codes (UCC) now being implemented statewide. Under the bill, which has passed both houses, alterations and repairs to existing structures would not fall under UCC regulation unless a local municipality decided to implement it that way. Mr. Pisasik said that he thought the change would lift a significant burden from homeowners looking to make minor changes and improvements.
The resolution on the table, however, applied only to structures that would not be covered under the UCC, such as barns, sheds, historical properties; and mobile or modular homes (which are inspected at the factory). Fee schedules suggested by the county Council of Governments (COG), which oversees building permits for the Township, might have been based on cost of construction, type of building, or other criteria, but would still involve minimum hourly fees for out-of-office field work by COG inspectors. Since so-called "non-UCC" structures wouldn't ordinarily require inspection, the Supervisors accepted Mr. Pisasik's motion to impose a flat fee of $36.50 in such cases.
The Township recently contracted to replace its 4-year- old backhoe with a new model. Now it has to find a way to pay for it. The difference between the trade-in and the cost of the new machine will be just under $40,000. The Supervisors voted to pay for the equipment from the state account, since the backhoe is used almost exclusively for work on the Township's roads.
A taxpayer and sewer subscriber in Harford Township, this reporter suggested that the Sewer Authority, or its representative, communicate with owners whenever a property is visited to inspect or to work on a sewer installation. In a couple of recent cases, work on sewer pumps was apparently not reported to the owners of the affected properties in a timely manner. Without assigning blame or fault of any kind, it was hoped that the Sewer Authority would continue to maintain communications with its subscribers. It was also suggested that current policies and recommendations - particularly with regard to flushing the basins before closing up summer properties - might be included with sewer bills once every year or two.
The Supervisors adjourned the public meeting to reassemble for an executive session. Mr. Pisasik said the closed session would cover two legal matters. Last month the Supervisors decided to order Lou's Repair Service to discontinue working on the electrical systems at the Township building; the work so far was found to be unsatisfactory. According to Mr. Pisasik, one of the legal issues involved this termination decision. He refused to provide any information at all about the nature of the second issue that would be covered in the executive session.
The Harford Township Supervisors meeting on the second Saturday of the month, beginning at 10:00 a.m.; and on the fourth Tuesday of the month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are held at the Township building on Route 547.
With three council members and secretary Amy Hine present, discussion was brief at the monthly New Milford Borough work session held last Thursday evening. Principally, it centered on the sidewalking and curbing of Main Street, one side of Church Street and parts of the other side of Church Street the first phase of what Council hopes is a broader sidewalking/curbing project.
Hine is working on a grant application under the Hometown Streets program for the project. A representative of the Housing Redevelopment Authority told Hine that the borough would have a stronger grant application if it matched any grant it might receive by 20 percent, which it agreed to do at its regular meeting earlier in the month. Also at its regular meeting, council approved spending up to $500 for Todd Schmidt of KBA Engineering to perform the initial design and cost estimates for the sidewalk grant.
Hine met with the Housing representative earlier last week, who provided a rough estimate of the cost of Main/Church Streets. At an average cost of $110 a linear foot, the project would come to more than a million dollars. Hine went back to the estimate council received earlier from Jim Eldridge for sidewalking and curbing the front of Midtown Park, and plugged in the per-foot figures for the Park into the anticipated Main/Church Streets project. She came up with a very rough figure of somewhere close to $250,000. Of course, these are estimates; the project has not been bid and the grant has yet to be written. Nevertheless, if, at the end of the day, something close to the Eldridge estimates held for the larger project, the boroughs cost would be around $48,000 its 20 percent match if a grant is awarded.
The small group also heard a preliminary report by Sandra Kazinetz, who volunteered to research the status of any excess assets in the police pension plan, after satisfying any plan requirements to fully fund benefits of plan beneficiaries. In addition to the state, several municipalities contributed into the pension plan, some longer than others, some more than others. She reported that she is working to obtain a copy of the (legal) plan document which she thought would give guidance as to whether excess assets, after satisfying plan obligations, remained an asset of the state.
There was talk of the sewer project, which seems to be going very smoothly. The contractors are working efficiently, and there is little waiting for motorists while heavy equipment moves across and at the side of roads.
The small group adjourned. The Transcript was unable to attend the councils regular meeting held on July 1, but a report from the minutes of that meeting follows.
Codes enforcement officer Jim Sellitto reported on the ongoing efforts to take care of a number of problems on Peck Hill. Sellitto reported that Jim Garner of Soil Conservation met with Mr. Ebhardt, a property owner on the hill, about the work Ebhardt did to alleviate the runoff on the road. Garner said that while it appears conditions have improved by about 80 per cent, he would be sending another letter to Ebhardt outlining additional improvements that need to be made. Sellitto noted that the deadline for compliance with this letter would be the end of this month.
Council member Chris Phillips reported that he received calls from residents about drainage problems on Peck Hill. Phillips said the pipes on the upper part of the road have been removed, and pipes under driveways along Peck Hill are plugged as a result. Phillips thought that Ebhardt should be required to put in new drainpipes. He also wants to meet with Ron Kowalewski about the drainage on the road.
Council agreed to let Ebhardt take care of his problem which should be done by councils regular meeting in August. Phillips suggested if Ebhardt is not done by the end of July, that Sellitto notify the Zoning Hearing Board. Wrapping up his Peck Hill report, Sellitto reported that the complaint about junk cars there has been taken care of.
Council also received a letter from Skip Tracy dated June 30, 2004. In it, he stated that as of the date of his letter, the borough did not require a permit for a roof replacement or siding replacement. He wrote that he intends to put a new roof and siding on the office building/apartment building on Main Street as well as on an apartment building on Harford Road within a year. While Sellitto said that it is true that the borough doesnt require permits prior to the new UCC code, Tracy must submit a copy of the signed contract, or must have started work prior to July 1. Hine will send Tracy a letter stating that Sellitto will be awaiting a copy of his signed contract dated prior to July 1, 2004.
Council member Teri Gulick addressed the issue of the bill for the electrical work done for the new flagpole in the park. Gulick reported that she spoke with Roger Whitaker of the Rotary Club, which was donating the new pole and work surrounding it, and he told her that the Club is short on cash. Thus, a motion was made and carried to pay the $340 electric bill by the borough.
In her planning commission committee report, Gulick reported on her conversations with borough counsel Jason Legg about parking problems that were discussed at councils June meeting. Gulick said that Jason thought it would be a bad idea to have large fines for violators, suggesting instead that council draft an ordinance stating that violators cars will be towed at the owners expense. The planning commission will work on an ordinance, and Gulick will ask Legg about wording for it.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe