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All members were present at the September 28 meeting of the Susquehanna Borough Council, as well as secretary Judy Collins and streets commissioner Steve Glover. Mayor Hurley was absent.
Correspondence reviewed included a letter from Oakland Borough, asking for councils support and/or a donation pledge for a grant application for funding to improve that boros park. Council agreed to send a letter of support, as well as a pledge of man-hours by council members for work in the park.
Before moving on to other business, council president Ron Whitehead wished to make a statement; as a result of events over the weekend preceding the meeting scheduled for September 14 (which was subsequently postponed), he had decided to resign from council, and had informed other members of his intention. But, once word of his intentions got out, he had received overwhelming support from residents and other council members. As a result, he did not follow through on his resignation, and would remain on council. This statement was met by applause from other council members and some of those in the audience.
The meeting then adjourned to an executive session, with former secretary/treasurer Margaret Biegert and Diana Dorman, who had been working with Mrs. Collins through Quickbooks training arranged through the NTRPDC.
After reconvening, Mr. Whitehead stated that, during her tenure, Mrs. Biegert had been in the process of updating an "antiquated" bookkeeping system. Ms. Dorman had brought recommendations to council for changes to the system. He stressed that "nothing is wrong, nothing is missing,"and that all of Mrs. Biegerts records had been approved by the boros auditors.
Mrs. Collins reported that a scheduled visit by the firm contracted to rid the boro building of its spiders had been postponed due to rainy weather; work was scheduled to be done the following day. River Bounty has been notified of the county Planning Commissions approval of a survey of the proposed subdivision of the riverfront property between the boro, the fire department and the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority. An Artists Open House will be held in the county October 9-11. FEMA has provided information for residents affected by recent flooding in the area; it is available at the secretarys office. And, after discussion it was agreed that Trick or Treat time in the boro will be on October 31, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Requesting time on the agenda was David Scales, Ambulance Captain of the Susquehanna Fire Department. Mr. Scales explained that a letter recently received by area municipalities from the Montrose Minutemen requesting that they be appointed as designated provider of Advanced Life Support services was the result of ongoing issues with the Hallstead-Great Bend ambulance. As the Susquehanna Fire Dept. is the boros contracted protection provider, any ALS services would be arranged by them on a case-by-case basis, regardless of which company the boro designated for those services. If council were to act on a resolution designating the Minutemen as primary ALS providers, technically that would preclude any other company from providing those services, including any other entity that might provide that service in the future. Regardless of a resolution, he said, the Susquehanna ambulance company would do what is best for the patient, whether it be immediate transport or calling for an ALS crew.
Mr. Kuiper had some questions about payment for services; it has been the Susquehanna departments practice that, if a resident was a fire department donor, the resident would not be pursued for any service charges beyond what their insurance paid. Mr. Scales explained that, at one time, the fire department had an "Ambulance Club," where donors would not be held responsible for any charges not covered by their insurance. But, clubs of that type have since been invalidated by law. Now, if a resident makes a donation to the fire company, it is treated in the same way; any charges beyond what is paid by insurance are not pursued. The Ambulance Club has, in effect, been replaced by an annual fund drive.
In closing, Mr. Scales noted that he has been following, with great interest, reports of "complexities" between council and the mayor. Based on his 22 years as a police officer, he would be willing to offer advice to address those issues. Council extended an invitation to remain after the meeting to discuss his recommendations.
Council had planned to hold a "Haunted House" at the site of the donated railroad cars during the Pumpkin Fest on October 9, but this had been determined not to be feasible. The cars need to be relocated, but first a utility pole needs to be moved; it seemed certain that the move would not be possible in time for the Pumpkin Fest. After discussion, it was agreed to hold the haunted house in the council meeting room. Council members planned to meet on October 4 to plan the event.
Mr. Lewis reported that, based on information from PENNDOT, it would be necessary to contract with an engineer to conduct a study before right-hand turns could be prohibited (by trucks) onto Erie Ave. from Main St. An engineer he had spoken with would be able to conduct the needed survey on November 1. But, even with council members compiling accident data and conducting a traffic count, cost would still be in the neighborhood of $4,000. After discussion, it was agreed that the cost was too prohibitive. Mr. Glover recommended that the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) be contacted to see if they would be able to assist in the study.
An appraisal has been completed of the property the boro owns on the lower portion of First Ave., with the value set at about $200. After discussion, a motion carried to offer the property to Mike Vaccaro, who owns a business adjacent to the area, at a cost of $200, plus the $100 appraisal cost and any closing costs involved. Mr. Vaccaro had expressed an interest in the lot to expand his business.
After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that council would hold a work session, following the October 4 meeting to finalize plans for the Pumpkin Fest, to continue discussion on updating the boros sidewalk ordinance. Some items of consideration were to make separate regulations for residential areas and for the downtown area where new sidewalks have been or are to be installed.
Mr. Whitehead reported that council had reviewed all of the surveys recently completed by residents and visitors to the boro; a consensus of information indicated that most who had responded would like to see a focus on streets improvements. He thanked the public for their input.
Mr. Glover reported that there had been considerable damage to the boro during recent storms, most particularly to the Drinker Creek area. He and Mr. Williams had made an extensive inspection; their recommendation was that the creek itself be dredged from Main St. to the Susquehanna River, and that debris from a collapsed wall be removed and the wall rebuilt. A permit would be required from DEP, which would be good only for 30 days. Both DEP and PEMA had also conducted inspections; DEP would only allow covering the area where the wall had collapsed if a concrete culvert were to be installed, with a cost of $80,000 to $100,000. It was agreed to contact the Parks and Rec. Committee for their input, and to proceed with obtaining the DEP permit. A motion carried to contract for the excavation, cost $8,200, which would not need to be bid out as this is an emergency situation. Because the county had been designated as a disaster area, some of this cost may be reimbursed by the state.
And, a contractor who had been retained by Lanesboro Borough to repave Convent Street had inadvertently also paved a portion of that street that is in Susquehanna Boro, apparently due to an error on the part of the contractors employees. The contractor requested that Susquehanna consider reimbursement for part of the cost of the repaving that was within the boro, total $675. As this cost was well within the rates for paving work recently bid out by the boro, a motion carried to approve.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
The Mountain View School District Board of Education public meeting of September 27 was called to order and roll call taken. Those present were Bryce Beeman, President, John Halupke, First Vice President, Kevin Griffiths, Second Vice President, John Beeman, Susan Christensen, Ronald Phillips, Sondra Stine, James Zick, and Carolyn Price, Secretary. Absent was Ordie Price, Treasurer. Also attending the meeting were Arther Chambers, Superintendent, Colin Furneaux, High School Principal, Eliza Vagni, High School Assistant Principal, Margaret Foster, Elementary School Principal, three members of the high school student leadership council, and several public members.
The minutes of the September 13 meeting were approved as corrected to include supplemental salaries and appointments made at that meeting. There being no comments at the first hearing of visitors, committee reports were given.
Regarding financial services, the board approved the following: a new car/van substitute driver, purchase of computer equipment in the amount of $8,060.00, purchase of one desk and 24 chairs for $1,536.60; and purchase of fuel heating oil for the 2004-2005 school year at $1.0815 per gallon for a 7,200 gallon tanker load. The purpose of the computer equipment and the furniture was questioned by a public member in attendance. Mr. Furneaux indicated that the computers were for two special education projects, needed for training and development and that the desk was for Mrs. Martin. He was unsure about the chairs and offered to inform those present at the next meeting.
Mr. Griffiths inquired about the amount of insurance savings from last year and this and it was reported that savings on insurance for the last school year were $8,037.09; savings this year were $1,743.31; for a total savings of $9,780.40.
There was no specific report from the human resources, policy and labor committee. Mr. Halupke stated that negotiations were ongoing with the support staff.
The board approved 13 individuals, pending receipt of all documentation, as additions to the substitute teacher lists. In addition, an instructional aide was appointed to replace an aide that resigned. Also, a custodian was appointed. Other supplemental salary positions were approved for elementary intramural basketball coaches. The resignation of a Title 1 teacher was accepted and advertising for a replacement approved. Other advertising was approved for two part-time food service workers. A girls soccer volunteer was also approved.
With regards to the education committee, numerous conferences for employees and teachers, and field trips for students and teachers were approved. It was noted that the mileage rate used to calculate mileage reimbursement connected to conference attendance is the IRS rate of 37.5 cents per mile. The board approved the 2004 slate of adult education classes.
Superintendent Chambers announced that the school board would be attending a conference on October 5, sponsored by the PA School Board Association on "Building Community Support." The conference is to focus on the development of partnerships between the school district and the community. Mr. Chambers cited the boards interest in forging such partnerships and as an example, introduced three Mt. View high school seniors/student leadership council (SLC) members: Lee Faramelli, Joe Johnson, and Matt Panasevich. It was noted that this school board is unique in inviting students to the school board meetings.
The students, in turn, provided the board with an overview of the purpose and goals of the SLC which include: acting as liaison between students and faculty, promoting a positive school culture, and carrying out various tasks such as participating in the alumni dinner and mentoring seventh and eighth graders. Information on upcoming Homecoming events scheduled for October 9th through 16th were then provided by the SLC members. These events include selection of a Homecoming court, a team day, a spirit sign day, Mt. View apparel day, and "orange and blue" day. Also, Representative Sandra Major would be visiting the high school, discussing government and leadership with the seniors, and registering those eligible to vote. The students were thanked for their interest and supported by the board in carrying out their goals.
Significant discussion ensued regarding building and facilities management initiated by Mr. Beeman who described the deplorable condition of the annex building and reiterated that previous recommendations were made to demolish it. The annex was noted to be in total disrepair with roof leaks, damaged windows and doors, and no heat. The problems cited include that it is used extensively by the athletics department for equipment storage. It was stated that in the past, thousands of dollars worth of athletic equipment had been lost due to improper storage and this situation should not be repeated. While several board members were in favor of getting rid of the annex building, others felt that more investigating into alternative uses, with repairs, was warranted. Mr. Chambers called for a more complete report on the building to include the costs of bringing the annex up to usable storage space verses the costs of demolition, and finding alternative storage space.
A request was made to have the field behind the elementary school mowed to reduced the high grass and ragweed and to have the dirt mounds behind the high school (left from the construction) removed.
New business/items of interest included kudos to the high school golf team. It was noted that three of their six starters qualified for districts. Those in attendance were reminded that the new concession stand and scoreboard for the soccer stadium were donated by the Connor Scott memorial fund. The ribbon cutting for the new stand and scoreboard would take place at the Homecoming event on October 15, at 1 p.m.
Two questions were posed at the second hearing of visitors. In response to the first question, it was made clear that the eight and ninth grade field trips had been canceled due to budget issues last year, and not in order to purchase personal digital assistants (PDAs), as was rumored. Secondly, the high cost of the senior trip to Orlando (approximately $900) was questioned, and the inability of some students to sell enough items to offset their own costs for the trip was argued. Mr. Furneaux addressed this by saying there had been a bidding process to get a travel agency with the best price and value for the trip, which was quite reasonable in his opinion for staying in Disneyworld. He added that a few seniors already had as much as $600 in their "banks" due to their fundraising activities. The point was made however, that the faculty and chaperones that go on the trip do not have to pay. This was acknowledged, and had always been the case.
The meeting was then adjourned.
On the evening of September 12, Bobbie Palmer, Gibson Township, was on an ATV and turning it around in her driveway when it struck a ditch. The ATV rolled over. She was treated and released from CMC in Scranton; the Harford Fire Company assisted at the scene.
Sometime between August 21 and September 13, an unknown person(s) shot out the windows of a PENNDOT 1995 Champion Grader with a BB or pellet gun while the grader was parked along State Road 2009 in Lathrop Township.*
STATUTORY SEXUAL ASSAULT
This incident happened between early afternoon and late night on September 4. Jason McCarey, 22, Montrose, and a 14-year-old juvenile female had some alcoholic drinks at a home in Montrose Borough and had sexual relations there. McCarey and the juvenile were joined by another 14-year-old girl and went to South Montrose where they met up with Michael Cavalone, 22, also of Montrose. All four continued to drink while driving around the county. They ended up at Salt Spring State Park in Franklin Township, and the men engaged in sexual relations with the juveniles. Both McCarey and Cavalone were charged with statutory sexual assault which is a felony, and corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors, which are misdemeanors. McCarey was brought before a district judge and released on his own recognizance. Cavalone was incarcerated in the county correctional facility on a state parole violation relative to this incident, and was brought before the district judge for preliminary arraignment. He was sent back to the correctional facility in lieu of bail.
Unknown person(s) forcibly entered the home belonging to Richard Roberts, Nicholson, while it was vacant and stole a Smith & Wesson 357 handgun; a Winchester model 70, 30-06 rifle; a Winchester Model 71, 348 caliber rifle; and a mens black jewelry box. An investigation is continuing into this burglary, which occurred sometime between September 19 and 22.
A car belonging to Cynthia Elders, Herrick Township, was parked in front of her home on September 12 when someone came along and smashed the car windows.*
This collision occurred on the morning of September 25 along State Road 2027 in Clifford Township when a vehicle driven by Mark Wilcox, 39, Forest City, crossed into the lane of travel of a vehicle driven by Wanda Jones, 81, Union Dale. Both Wilcox and Jones were wearing seat belts. Wilcox was not injured, and Jones received minor injuries. She was transported to Marian Community Hospital for treatment.
Preston Sprout, Montrose reported on September 7 that someone had vandalized his hunting trailer in Bridgewater Township by shooting out its windows.*
Eric Hilkert, 23, Susquehanna, claims that he was dropping off his child at his ex-girlfriends (and the childs mothers) house in Lanesboro when a verbal altercation took place between him and Charles Groover, 26, Susquehanna, who is the new boyfriend of the childs mother. Hilkert said that Groover approached him during the argument and punched him once in the face. Hilkert stated that he is not going to pursue prosecution in this September 11 incident.
Unknown person(s) damaged the window screen on the side window of Janes Hairshop in Oakland, owned by Elizabeth Mazikewich.*
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
The Blue Ridge School Board workshop on September 27 went through several phases, and the 25 or 30 people who came out to hear more about the proposed $6.5 million building project waited patiently for their turn. A couple of weeks ago, Board President Alan Hall gave a masterly, hour- long defense of a project that has yet to be decided upon. This time he listened politely to several who expressed concern over the impact such a project might have on property taxes, and fielded several questions from the floor.
The evening began with committee meetings. The Activities Committee, also chaired by Mr. Hall, reviewed a three- page, single-spaced list of "Schedule B" positions, such as coaches and faculty advisors, that will be brought up for approval at the next business meeting. Schedule B is an attachment to the teachers' contract that lists extracurricular positions for which faculty can apply. As an appendix to the contract, it accounts for well over $100,000 in additional salary for teachers who participate.
The Activities Committee is also responsible for reviewing fund-raising proposals from student and booster groups in the schools. They approved the Krispy Kreme donut sale sponsored by the Student Council. Three times a year the sugary delights go on sale for $6 a box, of which $3 will go to the Adopt-a-Family student program over the holidays. Elementary School Principal Robert Dietz suggested fund-raisers encourage people to donate even when they don't wish to purchase the products or services offered.
The committee also approved another "Media Night" for Elementary School students and their families. The popular event was first held last Spring, when the school played a recent movie and sold popcorn and juice at a nominal charge to encourage families to gather in the school. The next one will be on Friday, October 15 in the Elementary School gym. The movie has not yet been selected.
The committee also discussed progress in the development of a dance program for the Elementary School. The person in mind to lead the program - which will be held at the school but at no cost to the district - will need to show evidence of at least $1 million in liability insurance coverage. It was suggested that an established studio, which could be expected to already have such coverage, be contacted.
They also approved a Fall Festival of games and food to be sponsored by the Middle School to benefit the Ross Park Zoo. The Binghamton zoo is experiencing financial difficulties and has threatened to close. Four youngsters appeared before the Board with Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Wnorowski to plead for contributions to help save the zoo. Emily Guinan, Jillena Bennett, Scott Lobdell and Wes Guthrie narrated a presentation of photographs taken by students during a recent visit to the zoo. According to Mrs. Wnorowski, the school has already raised $600. She will be visiting the zoo on October 14 to see what else they might be able to do.
High School Principal Michael Thornton reported beginning interviews with students who might apply for the McKelvey scholarships. These generous stipends are made available by Andrew McKelvey, founder of Monster.com, and his wife to students in rural schools in Pennsylvania. So- called "Gold" scholarships provide a full four-year education at one of a group of private colleges in the state. To qualify, seniors must write essays, fill out applications, and meet with the donors to demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit.
Mr. Thornton also said that he is preparing materials in anticipation of offering an advanced placement course in biology next year.
Superintendent Robert McNamara reported that the schools were opened for use as an evacuation center during the recent local flooding caused by the storm called Ivan. He offered special thanks to school board members and administrators who worked at the school during that period, and mentioned the efforts of local churches that provided food for the evacuees. "People pitched in right away to help out," he said.
Mr. McNamara and Mr. Hall then gave an update on Act 72, the complicated legislation passed in Harrisburg this summer that hopes to give relief to property taxpayers by tying school revenues to other recent legislation broadening access to "gaming" (gambling) in Pennsylvania. Quoting someone at a recent conference, Mr. Hall said, "We really don't know what this means," since the new law is undergoing constant re-interpretation. According to Mr. Hall, the state expects to get as much as 34% of gaming revenue, compared to New Jersey and Nevada, which typically get about 6%. Moreover, the state expects some $5 billion in licensing fees, which it will divide primarily among the state's 2 largest cities. However, the state gaming commission still hasn't been fully established, so estimates are that schools can't expect to see much from the program until 2006 or 2007.
Mr. Hall asked district residents to watch for homestead/farmstead application forms from the state that should be arriving through the mail by mid-October. The forms will give property owners an opportunity to buy into the property tax relief expected from the legislation. He pointed out that approximately 20% of the district's property owners do not actually live here and will not benefit directly from the new program.
Citizens who attended the meeting wondered who could expect any tax relief, particularly if the proposed expansion plan is adopted. Buzz Gulick, New Milford Township Supervisor, said that "people are taxed to the hilt." He told board members that in his township, "if we don't have money, we don't spend it." He said that he supports those parts of the plan related to safety and security, but "a lot of this stuff is totally unnecessary," he said.
Mr. Hall responded by repeating the assurance that there has yet been no decision to borrow or spend any money on the project. He acknowledged that "taxes will go up. Everything goes up, unless more people move in to increase the tax base." He repeated once again that "there has been no action by this board to borrow $6 million."
He defended his Board's record over the past 4 years, describing the financial difficulties it has cleaned up, declaring the schools' technology "second to none," and reminding listeners that Blue Ridge is not listed with other nearby schools warned by the state for failing to perform to state standards.
Others pleaded for the Board to "make a good [decision]" on the project, reminding members, "we are watching what you're doing." One man characterized some of the items proposed would be nice to have, but that, for taxpayers, "it's not what we want, but what we can afford."
Another suggested an initiative suggested by Sam Rohrer, state representative from the 128th District in Berks County, which offers to completely replace property taxes by a smorgasbord of other revenue sources, largely from broader sales taxes. Mr. Hall said that Mr. Rohrer's proposal is supported by local Susquehanna County representative Tina Pickett, but has been called "cockeyed" by others.
When one man complained of the poor accommodations for wrestlers in a temporary building that has no water or bathrooms, Mr. Hall said simply, "We just don't have enough space." He noted that Elk Lake and Mountain View each have two competition gyms, and Montrose has four. Mr. Hall's proposed expansion would include a $1.8 million "Butler"-type structure configured as a second competition gym. Two teachers, who also coach athletics at Blue Ridge said that the February/March schedule is especially tight, with overlaps between Winter and Spring sports and typical late- winter outdoor weather preventing use of the athletic fields. Said one, "We're committed to making our athletes better people." His colleague pointed out that the teams are playing more games than ever, and that parents "want these programs."
Mr. Hall said that he expects the Board to make its decisions about the project before January. The first step would be to submit PlanCon A & B, studies that are sent to the state Department of Education for determination of the level of funding subsidy that might be expected. The original "feasibility study" that formed the basis of the project cost the district some $18,000. The PlanCon A & B submissions would cost another $20,000-$30,000, according to Mr. Hall. No final decision to go forward with any such plan could be made before next year, at the earliest.
Whatever the Blue Ridge School Board does, you can hear about it yourself at its twice-monthly public meetings. Because of the Columbus Day holiday, the next meeting is scheduled a week early, after you read this.
Harrisburg State and federal officials announce the opening of a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Susquehanna County to assist those who suffered losses and damages from Tropical Depressions Frances and Ivan. The DRC will be at the Susquehanna County Courthouse Annex, Commissioners Conference Room, 31 Public Avenue, Montrose. The center opened Monday, September 27 and will remain open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"Applying for assistance by registering with FEMA is a necessary step to gain access to disaster assistance programs," said David M. Sanko, state coordinating officer. "However, it is not mandatory for individuals to go to a recovery center."
Representatives will be at the recovery center to answer questions about flood and homeowners insurance, health and welfare assistance, well water testing, crisis counseling, and senior citizen services. Specialists from FEMA, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the US Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide information on disaster recovery programs.
"Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center provides an opportunity for disaster victims to meet face-to-face with representatives from state and federal agencies and gather information about other forms of assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies.
If you are insured, call your insurance company first then register with the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some items not covered by insurance may be covered by disaster assistance programs. To register with FEMA, call the toll-free number 1800621FEMA (3362). People with hearing or speech impairments may call (TTY) 18004627585.
Harrisburg Pennsylvania residents who have applied for disaster assistance can expect to have their homes inspected by the US Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) once they have applied for disaster assistance.
Nearly 97 FEMA inspectors are now in the field and continue to visit homes in affected counties. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) and insurance companies will also have inspectors in the field.
"Unfortunately, there are those who try to profit from disasters," said State Coordinating Officer David M. Sanko. "We want to make sure citizens of the Commonwealth verify the identities of inspectors and if the situation seems suspicious, please report it to police."
After applying for disaster assistance by calling the FEMA registration number 1800621 FEMA (3362) or 18004627585 for the speech or hearing impaired, a FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect your home. When the inspector calls, be sure to give clear, accurate directions to the damaged property, the street address and a current phone number where you can be reached. Post offices boxes do not show locations.
"We are working quickly to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies. "A visit by an inspector is one of the steps in the recovery process."
Here are some of the things homeowners should be aware of when a FEMA inspector arrives:
o Always insist they show an official ID. The face of the FEMA ID says "United States of America." Below is the persons photo and name. The FEMA seal and the IDs expiration date are at the bottom. On the reverse, a warning states that the ID is the property of the US Government; and, if found, should be dropped in any mailbox for return to FEMA. The FEMA address is given and a bar-code also appears.
o An official inspector will never ask for money.
o FEMA inspectors never use vehicles bearing a FEMA logo.
o Owners and renters must show proof of occupancy such as a valid drivers license, and they will also be asked to sign some forms. Owners must also show proof of ownership.
The inspection is free. It generally takes 30-40 minutes and consists of inspecting all areas of your home. The inspector enters information into a hand-held computer that sends the information to FEMA. This speeds up the assistance process. The inspector cannot determine whether an applicant is eligible for assistance.
Harrisburg Disaster recovery and health officials warn that victims of flooding after Tropical Depressions Frances and Ivan should clean flood-damaged homes thoroughly to avoid possible health problems from mold and mildew.
Mold growth is common in flood-damaged homes. It is important to clean and dry completely any areas that have gotten wet. Mold often appears in the form of discoloration, from white to orange, green, brown and black. Mold also gives off a musty or earthy smell.
"People are eager to get on with their lives after a flood, but if you had flood waters in your home we encourage you to take the time to clean thoroughly so problems dont arise later that affect your home or your health," Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies said. "Dont wait until an inspector comes to your home to clean. We would like folks to make their homes safe, sanitary and secure as soon as possible."
State Coordinating Officer David M. Sanko added, "It is important to quickly identify and correct any moisture sources before health problems develop. Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity and asthma), and the elderly may be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold."
Allergic reactions may be the most common health problem of mold exposure. Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include: respiratory problems such as wheezing and difficulty in breathing; nasal and sinus congestion and shortness of breath; eyes - burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity; dry, hacking cough and sore throat; skin irritation, aches and pains and possible fever; central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes).
For more information, residents should visit the State Department of Health website at www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/.
Renters, homeowners and business owners who suffered damage or uninsured losses as a result of flooding this month are encouraged to register for disaster assistance by calling the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1800621FEMA (3362). The TTY number for speech and hearing impaired applicants is 18004627585.
At the regular meeting of the Susquehanna County Planning Commission held in the County Office Building on September 28, members voted to write a letter of support for Oakland Borough in its quest for a Department of Community and Natural Resources (DCNR) grant and to support this with a donation of $200 if the grant application is successful. They also will send a letter of support to Salt Springs for a DCNR 50/50 match grant, which will be used to obtain an additional 137 acres for the park. The asking price of the property is $178,000.
In their ongoing project of reviewing the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, the Planning Commission will hold a workshop on October 6 at 5:30 P.M. They will be working on sections eight, nine, ten and eleven. Many changes have been proposed for the ordinance, so Planning Director Robert Templeton sees a need to meet with the County Commissioners to keep them "up to speed" on the changes. Hes hoping for a late October meeting.
The Commission voted to pay bills, which included the Epix Internet bill, fees for an upcoming seminar, and the Planning Commission members meal at the Montrose House.
Templeton reminded Commission members of the Zoning 101 seminar, which will be held on October 13 in the County Office Building conference room. There will be two sessions; at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Phil Robbins of the Governors Center for Local Government Services and Attorney Chuck Zaleski will be the presenters. The afternoon session will be geared toward public officials and the evening for the general public.
Templeton also reported that the Rail Authority announced at their September meeting that they will be receiving $15,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development for start up costs.
The next regular meeting of the County Planning Commission will be held on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the County Office Building. The public is encouraged to attend.
Hallstead Congressman Don Sherwood visited the new Hallstead facility of Snake Creek Lasers LLC Monday, September 27 and announced that the 2005 Defense Department budget contains $3 million for military research programs in which Snake Creek Lasers is a key partner.
"Snake Creek Lasers is a small business with large potential," said Congressman Sherwood. "For the military, lasers hold the promise of creating a new way to defeat enemy firepower and protect our troops. The challenge is to develop laser systems that are small enough to easily deploy on the battlefield, while having the necessary power to destroy enemy missiles, mines and other threats.
"Snake Creek Lasers and their partners are involved in efforts led by the Air Force and the Army that could enable us to field high power, solid-state laser (HPSSL) systems," said Sherwood. "Developing and proving this new technology would make our troops safer, and would lead to new jobs in Susquehanna County."
"We are very excited about bringing a new class of military laser technology to Susquehanna County which will lead to significant high-tech job creation. We appreciate Congressman Sherwoods support and commitment to a program which will bring vital high power solid state laser technology to the area," said Dr. David C. Brown, President of Snake Creek Lasers LLC.
"Snake Creek Lasers LLC, with their laser expertise and key technologies, is a crucial component of this program. We look forward to their participation," added Oliver Meissner, CEO of ONYX. ONYX will develop and provide key components required for HPSSL as part of this program.
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