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Water, specifically flooding caused by Hurricane Ivan in the later part of September, was the main topic of the October 21 meeting of the Hallstead Boro Council. Several guests were present, all who had been (and still are) affected by the storms ravages. One reported that he had been in the process of removing downed trees from the nearby creek, trying to do what he could to get the water flowing in its proper channel, when he was visited by representatives from the Fish and Game Commission. They were investigating a report that the individual had cut down the trees and dumped them into the creek, and were prepared to arrest him or levy any number of fines. But, when they realized what the situation actually was, they did not take any further action.
Another visitor reported that he still has water damage inside his house but, in the meantime, recent rains have made the water rise again, and with even more rain on the way he feared the inevitable outcome if the creek rose even higher, as it most certainly would if blockages caused by the storm were not taken care of.
Council had met for a special meeting on September 30, specifically to discuss flooding at the Route 11 park and the adjacent creek. At this meeting, council approved submitting an application for a permit to undo the damage done to the creek bank. The permit was approved, but with some limitations; it only covers the boros side of the creek, a span of about 450 feet.
Information obtained through various agencies indicated that debris could be removed without a permit, but out of concern for his safety, council was reluctant to allow maintenance supervisor John Gordon to venture into the affected area to begin cleanup, especially alone.
Several of those present reported being told that there were funds available to help out people whose properties had been damaged, but just how much is in question. Reportedly, one residents foundation had been severely damaged, and he received a total of $600; it was said that the maximum amount available per household is only $5,100.
After a lengthy discussion, the visitors were encouraged to contact their township supervisors, as their properties all lie within the townships boundaries. Council agreed to help in any way they could, even if it was just putting some pressure on any agencies involved, to help get the problem taken care of.
Mr. Gordon was authorized to begin removing what debris he could from the park, and to ask nearby municipalities for any help they could offer; at least one had already made an offer to help hauling and cutting up downed trees. He had received an offer from an individual who was willing to dispose of the trees and branches, as it is all "dead" wood and not suitable for any purpose, not even for firewood. And, he will do what he can to reduce the water running onto the park property, by cutting off inlets that formed after the storm. Basically, he said, he would just be replacing what had been washed out.
Council discussed what to do about an estimate that had been received for excavation work at the creek. There were some questions; would this qualify as an emergency situation, or would it be necessary to follow bidding guidelines? At least two other excavators were interested in giving a price for the work, but as of the date of the meeting they had not been received. After discussion, it was agreed to ensure that the proper guidelines are followed, and to get prices from the other two concerns. A final decision will be made at a special meeting, to be held on November 4, at which time council will also work on the budget for 2005.
In other business, council requested that Mr. Gordon contact the PA American Water Company to find out when paving will be done on Fourth Ave.; council member Joe Franks had made several attempts to speak with the appropriate person at PAWC for an update, but had been unable to contact him.
Complaints are still being made about the lack of sight distance at the intersection of Main Street and Susquehanna Street; PENNDOT had conducted a study and had approved placing no parking signs near the intersection. But, none had been put up; would this be councils responsibility or PENNDOTs? After discussion, a motion carried to purchase two signs and put them up.
Council president Michele Giangrieco reported on the latest information regarding the bridge beautification project. Grant funding for the project has been approved, but the original plan has changed somewhat; the middle section of the proposed sidewalk replacement, along the shopping plaza on Route 11 had been taken out of the plan. PENNDOT will be completing this portion, which has changed the scope of the project, allowing the plans to include items/areas that had not originally been included. The plans for Hallstead will include new walks on one side of Main Street, closer to the road, and new curbing, and will also include driveway entrances. And, it will not be necessary for all affected property owners to comply with the project if they do not wish to. The only stipulation will be that, if they choose not to participate, there must be no drainage from those properties running onto the road.
After a lengthy discussion on whether to pass a resolution to designate the Montrose Minutemen as primary responders for Advanced Life Support services, no action was taken. Although the resolution could be worded to be in effect for a specific period of time, perhaps six months, there were concerns that the resolution could result in the nearest responder not being called, particularly at night when the Minutemens station at Harmony Village is not manned. No one seemed to know the present status of the Hallstead-Great Bend ambulance company, or what changes would be made in the near future. As councils consensus was that both entities interested in being the boros primary responder, the Minutemen and the Broome Volunteers are "top notch operations," it was agreed to leave things as they are for the time being, where the closest unit is called.
In response to a request from COG, a motion carried to retain the same fee schedule for building permits the boro has used, and to authorize COGs CEO to enforce the boros nuisance ordinance.
The next regular meeting will be on Thursday, November 18, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Dr. Stephen B. Scher, who is serving a life sentence for the 1976 fatal shooting of Montrose attorney Martin Dillon, appears to be heading for a second trial. A spokesman in the office of state Attorney General Gerald Pappert said the AG will assign one of his deputy lawyers to prosecute the case as was done in the first trial.
In a one sentence release, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Middle District) simply stated that "on this 19th day of October 2004, petition for allowance of appeal is denied." The petition was filed by the Attorney Generals office with the hope that the Supreme Court would allow the AG to argue against a second trial.
While the trial has been ordered to take place in Susquehanna County within the next 120 days, Dr. Schers attorney, John P. Moses, would still prefer a change of venue. Mr. Moses has contended all along that it is impossible to assemble an unbiased jury in Susquehanna County because of the publicity generated by the incident.
From the opening moments of the first trial through the closing statements, the prosecution had contended that Dr. Scher was having an affair with Mr. Dillons wife whom he married two years after Martin Dillons death. The prosecution further alleged that the affair had become the topic of conversations in the Montrose area. However, Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans denied Mr. Moses motion for a change of venue and a second motion to import jurors from another county to hear the case.
In related developments, Mr. Moses said he will meet with the Scher family to discuss the possibility of applying for bail, and that he also intends to talk to Attorney General Pappert about the bail issue. Dr. Scher had been serving his life sentence in a State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh and last week he was moved to another state institution in Fayette County because of the impending closing of the Pittsburgh facility.
"There are several pretrial issues that must also be addressed before we start talking about a trial," Mr. Moses said. Among them he again mentioned the change of venue, his charge of prosecutorial misconduct at the first trial, and changes in circumstances concerning witnesses and circumstances. Many witnesses who gave sworn statements to authorities at the time of the investigation into Mr. Dillons death have since died leaving the defense attorney with no method of cross examination.
Dr. Scher, now 64, changed his story a number of times during his first trial. Initially he said that he and Mr. Dillon were skeet shooting at the Dillon family retreat, a wooded area in Silver Lake Township known as Gunsmoke, and Mr. Dillon fell while running with a loaded gun that discharged and killed him.
Dr. Scher subsequently offered different versions of what happened on the day of the shooting. He finally stated that the two men argued when Mr. Dillon confronted Dr. Scher about the alleged affair he was having with Mr. Dillons wife. He said a struggle ensued for the gun Mr. Dillon was holding and the weapon went off and struck Mr. Dillon.
On October 22, 1997, Dr. Scher was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1976 fatal shooting of Martin Dillon, a Montrose attorney.
Betsey May Mock, Little Meadows, crashed the 1994 Ford Explorer she was driving along State Road 4014 in Jackson Township after the engine began to race. She lost control of the vehicle, which crashed into an embankment and then flipped over. She was assisted at the scene by the Apolocan Ambulance and the Friendsville Fire Department in this accident that happened shortly after noon on October 8.
This accident occurred when a golf cart operated by James Awlaber, 70, Montrose turned from the north berm of State Route 706 in Bridgewater Township into the travel lane of a 1992 Ford driven by Dorothy Wayman, Hallstead. The Ford collided into the drivers side of the golf cart and continued a bit before coming to rest on the south berm of the road. This accident occurred on the morning of October 13. Wayman was not injured and Awlaber received moderate injuries.
On the night of October 18, Susan Shay, Starrucca, was traveling south in a 2003 Pontiac Sunbird on State Route 171 in Oakland Township. The car traveled off the roadway and hit a drainage culvert. Shay was not injured.
An unknown person(s) spray-painted graffiti on buildings which house Liberty Carpet and H&R Block on Main Street in Hallstead. This vandalism took place sometime between the evening of October 9 and noon the following day.
On the late afternoon of October 1, Christina Kerr, 19, Hop Bottom, lost control of her pick-up while negotiating a curve on State Road 3023 in Lathrop Township. The pick-up crashed through a barbed-wire fence, rolled over and came to rest on the drivers side and in a pasture. Kerr was wearing a seat belt and was not seriously injured.
On October 4, Robert Shive, Pittston, reported the theft of orange plastic fencing from his weekend property in Acre Lake, Lenox Township. *
On October 1, Joan Long, Great Bend Township, reported the alleged theft of money from her vehicle while it was on State Road 1033 in Hallstead. *
Britain Garda, 31, Gibson Township, reported to police on September 29 that he had a credit card, bank checks and money taken from his residence.
Jose Rodriguez, 33, New Milford, is accused of punching Stanley Wojtkowski, 20, New Milford, in the face during a basketball game at the New Milford Sports Park early on the evening of September 29. Due to the extent of Wojtkowskis injuries, Rodriguez was charged with simple assault.
Sometime between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on October 15, an unknown person(s) took a Remington model 870 12-gauge shotgun, a Hoyt Rebel compound bow and a Bear compound bow from the residence of Steven Fabrizi and Seth Cook, Jackson Township. *
Between the evening of October 15 and the following morning, unknown person(s) damaged the rear window of Dennis Waynes 1999 Volkswagen Jetta by throwing a spark plug through it while it was parked in front of his residence in Lenox Township. *
Unknown person(s) took a yellow and black Galaxy go-cart with an 8hp Briggs and Stratton motor from the residence of Anna Marie Sheridan in Gibson Township sometime between October 13-16. *
At 1 p.m. on October 14, Susquehanna County Probation Officer, James Gulbin, went to the residence or Ronald Lee DeGraw at the Montrose Terrace Trailer Park in Bridgewater Township to check on a female client who also lives there. DeGraw answered the door and Gulbin immediately recognized him as having an active bench warrant out on him. During the course of placing DeGraw into custody, Gulbin discovered marijuana and two pipes on DeGraws couch. The State Police were contacted, conducted an investigation and charged DeGraw with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both unclassified misdemeanors. Charges were filed with a district court justice.
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
A bit before noon on October 14, Sherman Dean Porter, Liberty Township, was found with drug paraphernalia while Susquehanna County Sheriff Department deputy Donald Bennett was serving a bench warrant on him. County Probation officers Smith and Doscelnak were also on the scene because Porter was on probation and as a result of the bench warrant, he was in violation of same. While taking Porter into custody, Smith noticed a homemade pipe used for inhaling marijuana on the front console of Porters vehicle. A search of the rest of the vehicle revealed several more items of drug paraphernalia. Porter was transported and incarcerated at the county correctional facility as a result of the bench warrant. Charges pertaining to the drug paraphernalia are forthcoming from the state police.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
George H. McNeal and Norma McNeal to Charles T. Blaisure and Sandra Blaisure, in Rush Township for $25,000.
Lottie B. Orloski (aka) Lottie B., Orlosky to Edward Bocan and Paul Bocan, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Lorraine Green to Barbara Parry and Al Gennarelli, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Donald L. Purtell, Norene Purtell, Robert J. Purtell and Ethel Purtell to William Martin and Mary Lou Martin, in Apolacon Township for $26,317.
Donald L Purtell, Norene Purtell, Robert J. Purtell, Ethel Purtell to Gerald Purtell and Karen Purtell, in Apolacon Township for $24,151.
Edward Yachymiak Jr. to Robert A. Malinchak and Caroline B. Malinchak, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Caroline Noble (nbm) Carolilne B. Malinchak, and Robert A. Malinchak to Robert A. Malinchak and Caroline B. Malinchak, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Barbara A. Swingle to Hendy D. Valone Sr. and Mary Valone, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
William L. Lawrence to James J. Williams and Nancy R. Williams, in Ararat and Thompson townships for $17,000.
Harry A. Jerauld to Linda M. Matthews, Kenneth Matthews, Alan W. Jerauld, Peggy A. Jerauld, Gary A. Jerauld, Nancy Jerauld, David O. Myers, and Diane Myers, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Harry A. Jerauld to Linda M. Goff, Alan W. Jerauld, Gary R. Jerauld, and Linda Myers, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Dennis W. Hayes and Pamela J. Hayes to Donald Paul Zaleski, in Choconut Township for $16,000.
Albert H. Cleveland to Charles T. Cleveland, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Malcolm Lynn Truesdell and Arlene B. Truesdell to Debra A. Kelly, in Harmony Township for $205,000.
William J. Corrigan and Helen A. Corrigan to Joseph A. Dick Jr. and Sheila M. Dick, in Clifford Township for $50,000.
Kathleen A. K. Smith to Mark Kijesky, Andrew Kijesky, and Michael Kijesky, in Harmony Township for $12,000.
Oeter Szawaluk and Florence A. Szawaluk to Darwin R. Greene and Paula J. Greene in Harmony Township for $45,000.
Donald L. Purtell, Norene Purtell, Robert J. Purtell and Ethel Purtell to Craig S. Hewes and Christine A. Hewes, in Apolacon Township for $11,852.
Jane A. Switzer to Victoria L. Switzer, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Linda Parlanti to Linda J. Parlanti, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Community Bank & Trust Co. to Zhong Jiang, in Forest City for $69,900.
Kurt Schultz and Sandy Hum-Schultz aka Sandra Hum-Schultz to Gordon Speights Young and Maryann Spellman Young, in Herrick Township for $42,900.
Regina McMahon (by sheriff) to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., in Susquehanna for $1,170.
Amy S. Jones and John W. Jones to Thomas J. Davis and Gail E. Davis, in Montrose for $105,000.
Ralph W. Aspling, Carol L. Aspling, Albert Stickney, and Doris Stickney to Albert Stickney and Doris Stickney, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Joseph Davis and Debra J. Davis to Francis Supancik and Elizabeth Supancik, in Gibson Township for $30,000.
Donald A. Webster (by sheriff) to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. and Household Finance Corporation, in Harford Township for $3,984,
Elva Prince (by attorney) to Sarah J. Burke, in Forest City for $55,000.
Bruce Ross (by attorney), Nancy Ross, Raymond Swingle (by attorney), Lulu Swingle (by attorney), Jerilee Turner (by attorney), James T. OBrien (by attorney), Kathleen D. OBrien (by attorney), Barbara Campbell (by attorney), Clarence Fleming (by attorney), Anne B. Fleming (by attorney), Judd Roberts (by attorney), and Marilyn Roberts (by attorney), to Erdmann Property Management, in Herrick Township for $37,500.
David T. Baker Jr. and Wendy D. Baker to Vincent Roccanova and Linda Roccanova, in Susquehanna for $155,000.
Charles H. Snyder to Scott R. Shelp and Amy E. Shelp, in Susquehanna for $55,000.
Ignazio Cavallaro and Maria A. Cavallaro to Paul Reposa and Kathryn Reposa, in Springville Township for $45,000.
EMC Mortgage Corporation to Investors One Corp., in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Investors One Corp. to WGI Archer, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Helen E. Green (living trust by trustee) to Ernest L. Green and Emma E. Green, in Harford Township for $38,000.
Lawrence T. OReilly, Christine M. OReilly, and Thomas J. OReilly to Thomas J. Davis and Gail E. Davis, in Dimock Township for $49,500.
Ruth A. Carey (estate), Robert Carey and Rosemary Carey to James Barnes, in Montrose for $52,000.
David A. Hinkley and Carrie L.Hinkley to Guy A. Erceg II and Courtney A. Erceg, in Hallstead Borough for $137,500.
Helen J. Chudzinski (aka) Helen Chudzinski to Robert Chudzinski (trust by trustee) and Helen J. Chudzinski, in Forest City for one dollar.
Julia M. Tracy to Francis J. Pinkowski, in Bridgewater Township for $67,500.
Donald L. Purtell, Norene Purtell, Robert J. Purtell, Ethel Purtell to James Homan and Marlene Homan in Apolacon Towship for $23,591.
Kevin Carrico and Annette Carrico to Dawn DeRosa and James McCaffery, in New Milford Township for $60,000.
Gail M. Mroz (nbm) Gail M. Adams, Frank A. Adams to Gail M. Adams, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Gail M. Adams to Gail M. Adams and Gary D. Allen, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Brent Brookstein and M. Linda Brookstein to Robert C. Levin (trust), in Herrick Township for $281,000. 46
Conrad J. Gemmer to Mitchel Weiss and Lilian Rosenstreich, in Gibson Township for $263,500.
Kevin Jay Haynes, Thompson and Jeri Lyn Folleta, Thompson.
Christopher John Hovins, Ontario and Autumn Hope Libal, Little Meadows.
Jon J. Dietz, Montrose and Chonalee A. Curtis, Montrose.
Jeremiah Levi Fearnley, Montrose and Nicole Suzanne Over, Horseheads,NY.
Aaron Scott Ransom, Nicholson and Jesika-Lyn Williams, Kingsley.
Jonathan Michael Moore, Carbondale and Becky L. Spedding, Carbondale.
Joseph Michael Nabywaniec, Vestal, NY and Katie Lynn Aton, Vestal, NY.
Brian Griffis, Hallstead and Jennifer J. Slater, Hallstead.
Jerrod S. Doucette, Freeville, NY and Suzanne C. Bont, Freeville, NY.
Barnard Gail Kolenda, Thompson and Karie E. Dominick, Thompson.
Jason Thomas Yasnovitch, Nicholson and Amie J. Button, Kingsley.
Kelvin Leslie Pratt, Montrose and Susan M. Barefoot, Montrose.
Joseph P. Conboy, Montrose and Carolyn Sharlene Wilbur, Montrose.
Richard Kenneth Tiffany, Thompson and Brenda Jeryl Potter, Susquehanna.
Maybe it was because some in the audience were itching to get home and catch the Yankees-Red Sox game, or maybe it was because things are running smoothly at COG. Whatever the reason, the group went through its three meetings on October 19 with an efficiency it probably hasnt seen in years.
Vice president Rudy Mattes ran the Sewage Committee meeting because president Rick Pisasik was unable to attend. After asking for and getting three volunteers for an appeals hearing requested by a Liberty Township resident, he turned to secretary Karen Trynoski to explain a proposed change in the fee schedule for Sewage.
The proposed change is to include a 2 percent administrative fee for applicable engineering/consulting fees charged to COG which, in turn, is charged by COG to the entity needing the engineering study. The reason for the proposal is a development of a size that COG SEOs are unable to accommodate. The development is at Dunn Lake in Ararat Township where, Trynoski explained, a developer plans to divide into 35 parcels, including a hotel/resort and a sewage treatment plan that would service it. Dunn Lake is undeveloped and in a high-quality water area and any sewage processed through a treatment plant would discharge into the area. Hence, an engineering study is required.
Trynoski did some initial contacting of engineering firms and reported it was difficult finding one in the area that the developer hasnt already worked with. But she did, and she explained the services of McFarland Johnson, as explained to her by McFarland representative and Gibson resident Bob Lambert. Lambert. The study would, of course, detail the type of anticipated system, its cost, a maintenance program for it, long-term plans, discharge lines and plenty of other information. As SEO Duane Wood explained, "We [COG] have no experience with how much components cost or their life expectancy and other details that need to be included in the study. This is what the engineers would do."
"DEP wont come in," said Trynoski, "until we send the engineering plan to them. This has to include an agreement with the developers, the maintenance program, and other information which we have okayed." DEP will take it from there. Member Mike Greene noted that the Ararat project is the first of several lake development projects expected in member municipalities, with another in Liberty Township anticipated soon. He thought getting good experience with McFarland Johnson would serve COG and its municipal members well.
The group approved both the hiring of the engineering firm, and the change in its fee schedule and this meeting was adjourned.
COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
The COG meeting was about sharing information with members. President Elliot Ross updated them on his street/road signs work, and there was a nice, neat pile of signs stacked against the wall of the meeting room, ready for their taking by Bridgewater, Rush and Middletown townships. As always, he requested that any municipalities that needed signs get in touch with him.
Secretary Cheryl Wellman informed the group of a letter COG received from PSAT that outlines grants that could be applied for from a state conservation-use program by political subdivisions and nonprofit groups. She will contact PSAT for more information and an application packet to share with members.
Members agreed to insure its officer positions through Travelers, which provided the lowest rates. They okayed the use of their meeting room by New Milford Borough on November 2. Member Bill Bayne reported that "Senator Madigan promised that he would get Sandy Majors bill amending Clean and Green out of committee and he did." Bayne urged members to contact representatives, urging a vote on the Majors bill which, if passed, would provide a good measure of relief for municipalities whose tax revenues were hit hard by the current law.
CODES ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE
Response has been slim, reported secretary Karen Trynoski at a meeting presided over by Ted Plevinsky, to the recreational cabin affidavit sent to members for their adoption if they so chose. Recreational cabins do not come under the jurisdiction of the UCC. Still, noted Trynoski, by not adopting the cabin affidavit, municipalities "unfortunately will not be able to collect a permit fee," and she said she knows of two such cabins that have gone in already in member municipalities.
She asked members if they received a letter from DCED on a UCC fee that they were supposed to collect. They did. She told the group that COG has already collected these state fees and she would figure out a way to get them to the state without her, or the municipality, filling out an individual form for it. This was one thing that municipal secretaries did not need to address because Trynoski would.
After Plevinsky noted that members of Codes executive committee were working with New Milford on a meeting date to address the boroughs concerns and questions on zoning permitting done there in the past, the meeting was adjourned.
The next regular meeting of the Council of Governments is scheduled for November 16, 7 p.m. in COG offices in the New Milford Borough Building on Main Street.
Before it started addressing items on its agenda, the supervisors of Great Bend Township asked, as it always does, if there were any members of the public who wanted time on the agenda. At this meeting, held on October 18, there were a couple. A Mr. Lee, who owns the property to the middle of Salt Lick Creek where it overran into the Route 11 park and picnic pavilion just outside of Hallstead, wanted to inform the board of information he has gathered in efforts to see what can be done to prevent the creek from repeating its recent performance.
Earlier in the day, he was at the site, along with supervisor chair Bob Squier and Jim Garner of county soil conservation. Garner, reported Lee, has been trying to obtain a certain kind of permit for this property from the DEP. (It was reported at the meeting that DEP has granted a three-year permit for this property for any anticipated work on it.) FEMA referred him to the Small Business Association and other voluminous property-owner forms should Lee want to apply for a loan.
He also spoke with commissioner Mary Ann Warren several times, and while she also acknowledged that a property-owner is generally responsible for obtaining a permit from DEP to put back his/her property at the property-owners expense, she also passed along information about what some other municipalities are doing. And that is to send into FEMA a request for water/creek cleanup for streams that go through their municipalities. Warren, said Lee, told him that the township would need to send in an estimate of what it would cost to clear up the waterways in the township. New Milford, Lee learned from Warren, has put in such estimates for water/creek cleanup and control for Salt Lick and Moss Creeks. (Yet to be heard from are Hallstead, Great Bend Borough and Great Bend Township.) The paperwork, Lee said, would be sent to Mark Woods, who would send it along to PEMA who would send it along to FEMA.
Lee thought it worthwhile to get these estimates and see what happens. "Why not take a shot?" he asked. "We can at least know that we tried, and we have something on record."
Discussion followed about municipalities getting approval to clean up and maintain waterways under bridges, or to repair damage on property owned by the municipality. FEMA, if it approves a municipalitys request for funds, would reimburse the municipality 75 percent of the cost of restoration or repair. Squier clarified that, of the remaining 25 percent, state funds would pick up 23 percent, with the municipality on the hook for 2 percent.
As for an estimate of municipalitys estimate on water/creek cleanup, Supervisor Walt Galloway noted that while the township could get an estimate in, people had to understand that the township cannot go on private property, and the township cannot do the work. But it will actually township secretary Sheila Guinan will gather the estimates needed to apply for clean up and removal of debris caused by the storm and for water control for all creeks in the township.
The second person who requested to speak was a resident who has a major clean up going on and needs help. She spoke with a FEMA person on her property before the meeting and he suggested she attend the meeting. Galloway noted again that if the debris and erosion is on private property, the township cannot do anything. She went on to say that the bridge over Salt Lick Creek and her property is clogged with erosion around it, "and the sewer authority uses that bridge."
Squier noted he brought this up with county commissioner Jeff Loomis at the recent township supervisors convention. He asked Loomis about county efforts to help and Loomis "kind of blew it off. He didnt want to hear about it."
Agenda items followed these discussions and first up was supervisor and roadmaster George Haskins roadmaster report. Over the past couple of weeks, he said work on Emerson Road and Baptist Hill Road has been completed, as were repairs on Airport Road. He will look into a big, clogged drain on another road and see about the unclogging. Work has started on Parks Road where a problem was started by a beaver. This industrious natural engineer is pretty well damming up a culvert pipe, almost immediately after it has been cleared out by the road crew. Haskins reported that the township has gotten permission from the Game Commission to take care of the beaver, but a property owner would prefer that it not be taken care of permanently. For the townships part, Haskins said he "cant go up there seven days a week to unplug the culvert pipe." As of the meeting date, it was a standoff.
Haskins will also oversee work starting soon on Old Route 11; on grading, shaping and putting down calcium on Parks Road, followed by Graham Hollow Road and fixing up some potholes on Sienko Road.
Haskins noted that work a lot of it his was started on the pole barn in the week before this meeting, and would continue. He also reported that the supervisors would be calling an executive session over the next few weeks to interview for an on-call driver to plow snow this winter.
Squier reported that an executive session was held between municipal officials from Hallstead, and Great Bend Borough and Great Bend Township and Debbie Dissinger about the Bridging Communities project. It seems that it has stalled for awhile, because the municipalities cannot do anything until PENNDOT completes its traffic study of the area. Squier also reported that Dissinger informed this group that unless a municipality has curbing and sidewalking together, then PENNDOT wont do the curbing. This kind of leaves Great Bend Borough out in the cold. It was expecting such, and like the Township and Hallstead, contributed $5,000 to obtain some benefits from the beautification of bridging communities. Squier did not know how things would settle out.
The trio of municipalities is still waiting for Todd Schmidt, KBA Engineering, for designs and plans for the bridging project, but has yet to see them. There was some concern that the project would lose a grant because of a lack of plans.
Before adjourning, the board noted that it would be applying for a 2005 grant for monies for the township building. Haskins noted that it would be for handicapped access, and Galloway wanted it to include an extension to the building as well. A design would need to accompany an application for funding for an extension. The deadline for filing is the end of the year, and the board will probably discuss further what it wants to consider in the grant.
Before adhe board announced that Dixie Russell has accepted the position as emergency coordinator for the township.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for November 1, in the township building.
The spirit of hope and remembrance was not dampened by the cold rain on Saturday, October 16th during the dedication ceremony at Mt. View High School. A new concession building and scoreboard were dedicated in memory of Connor Scott, a student who died on the soccer field on June 26, 2000 from an undetected heart condition.
Mr. Pat Heaton, Mt. View athletic director opened the ceremony and introduced Alex Scott, Sr. (grandfather of Connor) who gave an uplifting invocation. This was followed by an address from Arthur Chambers, school superintendent. The crowd of family members, friends, and school mates joined the speakers in remembering Connor as a selfless, warm, and giving child.
Representing the Connor Scott Memorial Foundation, Nelson Jesse thanked all those who provided the support that enabled the provision of over $10,000 in scholarships over the past 4 years. He said it was a fitting tribute to Connor.
Music was provided by guitarist John Maden, who played and sang a song entitled "With Hope". The National Anthem was sung by soloist Whitney Williams. Danielle and Alex Scott, Jr. (Connor's parents) presented the keys to the new building to John Beeman, school board president, who thanked the family, friends, and volunteers who made the new building and scoreboard possible through the donation of materials, time, work, and money.
Also fittingly present at the ceremony were members of the Mt. View Jr. High Soccer team (the team that would have been Connor's) who were successful in winning the soccer game that preceded the ceremony.
With all members present, the Susquehanna Community School Board met on October 20. In short order, approval was given for the minutes of the September 15 meeting, filing of the treasurers report, the general fund bills, the food service report, and filing of the activity fund and athletic fund reports.
One item of correspondence was read; Freddys Refuse will be donating use of a ten-yard roll-off at the concession stand at the athletic field.
Programs implemented through a Title IID grant have been progressing nicely, Superintendent Stone said. Two in-services have been held for faculty to familiarize them with technology obtained through the grant, and parents academies are being offered by the district, although Mr. Stone reported a "dismal" parental turnout so far. Academies scheduled for November and December will cover such topics as homework and organizational skills management, and childhood obesity. He strongly encourages parents to attend.
Board member James Bucci was recognized for his 24 years of service on the board; his name will be added to a Pennsylvania School Board Association "honor roll," along with others from throughout the state who have served their communities for long periods of time. Mr. Bucci commented that it has been a challenging and very interesting experience.
Mr. Stone reported that, in keeping with Act 72, applications for property tax relief have been mailed to district residents; these applications must be filled out and returned to the county Assessors Office (not the school district) in order for property owners to qualify for the tax relief that the legislation was implemented to address. Once the applications are received by the assessors office, a determination will be made as to whether the property will qualify. In cases where a property owner has not returned an application, it will be the districts responsibility to send out a second mailing. As the first mailing had cost approximately $2,600, an unbudgeted expense, Mr. Stone urged residents to fill out their applications and see that they are sent to the assessors office. Additional applications will be available at the district office as well as on the state Department of Education website, which also includes the answers to a number of frequently asked questions.
There have been some misconceptions about Act 72, he said. The tax relief expected by the legislation will not be immediate, it may take several years before property owners see any reduction. First, the state must reach a certain fiscal threshold, after which money will be turned over to school districts. Reductions to individual properties will be based on their assessed valuation; people will not, as some seem to think, receive refund checks. There is no guarantee of the amount of money that will be available to reduce taxes; the amounts will be based on revenues received from gambling, and those amounts will vary from year to year. And, as part of the legislation, only those districts who levy an earned income tax will be eligible to receive the funding; although the district has taken steps to implement the tax, it will not be levied until such time when gambling revenues are made available by the state. The district, Mr. Stone said, will be keeping residents informed of information as it becomes available, and is planning on scheduling a public meeting after the first of the year to explain the process and answer any questions that property owners may have.
Elementary students have been participating in "Red Ribbon" activities, the focus of which is to send a "dont use drugs" message. Principal Bob Keyes reported that a number of students have been participating through different activities, culminating the week of October 25. He also reported that a second meeting has been held by the Pre-K advisory committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff and parents. All comments, he said, have been very positive.
High School Principal Mike Lisowski gave a rundown on meetings he and his faculty had held over the previous week that covered such topics as the support team, child study, maintenance and security, technology, alternative education, and remediation. And, he treated the board members to a visual display of digital photos he had taken during Homecoming activities.
Special Ed. Coordinator Joni Miller reported that her department faculty has been closely monitoring students placed in local businesses through the community-based vocational training program. And, every five years the state monitors districts special ed programs; the district is scheduled for its review next month.
The districts Education Association representative Kathleen Hinkley reported that the associations annual golf tournament was rained out, and has been rescheduled for May 21; proceeds from this fund-raiser go towards scholarships. The association sponsored prizes for winners of the Pumpkin Fest held the weekend of October 9; many of the districts classes had participated. And, the association will be holding fundraising activities, such as paying "fees" to wear jeans on in-service days, proceeds of which will be used to purchase necessities (hats and gloves) for children in need.
Secretary Evelyn Cottrell read a brief synopsis of the Student Councils minutes of their last meeting. Homecoming was reported to have gone well, with the council receiving many good reports. The council will be sponsoring a Feed-A-Friend collection of canned goods and a dance, proceeds to be donated to the Feed-A-Friend program.
During public comment, the board was addressed by assistant football coach Dave Conroy. Mr. Conroy gave an impassioned plea for the board to reconsider action that he expected to be taken at this evenings meeting. He did not go into details about an incident in which he had been involved, which apparently led to the action that was to be taken by the board, but, he said, he had been involved in the football program for a number of years, and was respected by the students he worked with. "I dont think one kid doing something wrong should cost me what I love to do," he said. "I love football, I love the kids, Id do anything to help the kids. The kids know Im there for them. I dont think its fair to lose something I love because of one mistake." He questioned whether it was fair that he should be held accountable for the incident, while the student involved was not. Board president Carpenter halted Mr. Conroys remarks, and explained that this discussion should be confined to an executive session as it involved personnel and/or students.
Item 16 on the agenda was to consider termination of coaching services of David Conroy, assistant football coach, effective immediately. Board member Mary Wescott abstained from voting, saying that she wished that a less severe solution could have been reached. The vote was otherwise unanimous to terminate Mr. Conroys services.
The board will begin what Mr. Stone described as a "long, arduous task" to find a replacement for Business Manager Ray Testa, whose intent to retire effective September 1, 2005, was approved.
A request for a sabbatical leave for teacher Sherry Tortual was approved, effective October 11 through January 21. Also approved were three bus contract changes; homebound instruction for a twelfth-grade student; resignations from Joe Zabielski, head football coach and Bill Burge, assistant junior high girls basketball coach; hiring of Dick Bagnall as head football coach (2004-05 season only), Joe Zabielski, assistant football coach, Jamie Smith, assistant football coach, Brian Burman, full-time maintenance, Thomas Adornato, boys volleyball game manager, Bill Burge, girls junior high basketball coach; volunteer positions, Robert Wolfe, Jr., football assistant and Brian Bianchi, cross country assistant; additions to the substitute list, Nancy Williams, non-instructional and Kristen Culnane, certified teacher; a list of activities, field trips and seminars; and a list of fundraising requests.
The next meeting will be Wednesday, December 1, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices, at which time the board will hold its annual reorganization.
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