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At the October 26 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council, Secretary Judy Collins report included that the SCDA requested approval to make a presentation of the boros new website to local businesses on November 10; approval was given. Council approved a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3.
A letter was sent to the county commissioners, outlining concerns from boro residents regarding complaints about dogs running loose and, in some cases, attacking pedestrians. Mrs. Collins reported that the commissioners had forwarded the information to county treasurer Cathy Benedict, who had told Mrs. Collins that the commissioners do not have the authority to take action on issues concerning the dog warden, as this is a state position (covering three counties). Mrs. Benedict recommended that council contact the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which council president Ron Whitehead agreed to do. Mr. Whitehead will also forward documentation of several recent incidents to the commissioners in the hopes that they can aid in getting the problem addressed. In the meantime, council will contact representatives from Lanesboro and Oakland Boroughs, to discuss the possibility of sharing costs for a kennel, where problem animals can be kept if they are picked up; in the past, council had discussed the need for such a facility but there had been concern about the costs and liability involved. Police Chief Golka agreed to look into the costs that would involve his department, particularly for police training to handle such situations and what equipment would be necessary.
Mrs. Collins reported that the boro was reimbursed the $50 fee paid for a training course that she was to have attended, that had been canceled. Approval was given for reimbursement to Mrs. Collins for $169 for purchase of Quickbooks payroll software; a rebate of $100 will be forthcoming, as well as $50 in grant funding towards the purchase.
Fire protection costs to the boro for 2005 will be $18,477, payable in a minimum of two equal payments, which are separate from the contributions mandated for Workmens Compensation Insurance and from the PA Firemens Relief Fund.
And, Mrs. Collins attended a seminar on "Managing Your Municipal Budget," information from which was available for council members to review.
Mayor Hurley reported that about 65 students from the Susquehanna Elementary School came to the boro offices for a lesson in local government; she and the students had enacted a "mock" council meeting, after which the students were served snacks and continued on to the police station, where they were fingerprinted and given a tour. Ten preschool children from the library reading groups came to the boro offices trick-or-treating and were given Halloween bags with candy. The Garden Club thanked council for their approval to hold a Harvest Festival, at which they made out very well with fund-raisers. The club had purchased flower bulbs to use at the Drinker Creek park, but as they were unable to plant them (due to damage to the park from Hurricane Ivan) an individual had graciously come forward and offered to purchase the bulbs. The club is making plans for the spring to continue to spruce up Main St.
Continuing discussion regarding banning right-hand turns by trucks from Main St. onto Erie Ave., council member/CEO Shane Lewis reported that contact had been made with LTAP, concerning an engineering study that was thought to be necessary before the ban could be enacted. Information received from LTAP, he said, indicated that the study, which is quite costly, is not necessary; this information essentially put council back at "square one." Further research would be necessary before any action is taken.
A motion carried to vacate the portion of First Ave. between Washington and Main Streets, which a local business owner has expressed an interest in buying.
An update was given on damage caused by Hurricane Ivan; a DEP permit had been granted to dredge the north end of Drinker Creek, which had been completed as of the date of the meeting. Roy Williams reported that more than sixty truck loads of gravel, etc. had been removed. The boro will work with DEP to get the area above the Town Restaurant cleaned out. The Drinker Creek park itself will probably not be addressed until spring, when PENNDOT has a bridge replacement project planned. Council will try to coordinate their efforts with PENNDOT, which will, hopefully, keep the boros costs to a minimum.
Council member John Bronchella was pleased to note that Penelec had responded to requests to address a number of street lights that had not been working.
Council approved an amendment to the boros winter sidewalk maintenance ordinance pertaining to the business district. Items included prohibiting use of rock salt on the new sidewalks and fines involved for not keeping the walks clear of snow. At a later date, council will add provisions prohibiting use of heavy machinery, including snowmobiles and sledding.
Council approved payment to Zavada and Associates for an audit conducted recently, customary when a change of personnel is made to the treasurers position. As council had received a (verbal) price quote for the audit at about $1,000, it was agreed to pay this amount, and include a letter of explanation along with the payment, as the final bill was closer to $1,500.
Mr. Lewis explained that, in keeping with the states Uniform Construction Code, a fee of $2.00 will have to be paid, to the state, for every permit issued under projects covered by the UCC. The state requires that a quarterly report be submitted by municipalities along with the payment; proceeds of the fees received by the state will be used towards future UCC training. As the boroughs rate of issuing permits is about two or three per month, it was agreed not to increase the boros fees for the time being, and to take a better look at fee schedules again in the spring, when that number is traditionally higher than it is over the winter months.
A letter from the Broome Volunteers, requesting that they be designated as the boros primary responders to situations requiring Advanced Life Support services was reviewed. No action was taken, as this matter had been discussed at councils last meeting in response to a similar request from the Montrose Minutemen.
Permission was given for two members of the boro police department to attend a DUI conference, cost $540. Chief Golka relayed that this years conference will stress officers court testimony and presenting evidence to the court (the conference subject matter varies every year). As the police department budget allows for up to 56 hours per week and, at present when things are quieter, has been averaging about 40, funds are available in the police department budget to cover the cost of attending the conference.
Council member Roy Williams agreed to write up a description of proposed projects for a block grant, proceeds of which can be used to address storm damage.
Mr. Whitehead related that he had heard reports of a building in the business district being used as a dormitory for itinerant workers. As council had, in the past, discussed putting regulations into effect that the ground floors of commercial buildings (in the downtown area) could only be used for commercial purposes, perhaps this was something that council needs to look into further. Mr. Lewis stated that he had concerns as to the constitutionality of such regulations; and, if commercial buildings were to be converted to residential use, once the buildings use changed, an occupancy permit would be required. A council member noted that, if a buildings use were to be changed from commercial to residential, it could not be changed back to commercial use, "basically putting a noose on our (plans for) economic development." Mr. Lewis agreed to research the matter further.
And, the streets department has been preparing for the coming winter; anti-skid and salt have been ordered. Repairs to the street sweeper will be done over the winter. Scheduled paving work is underway, with drainage work on Laurel Street scheduled to be completed soon.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
When the New Milford Borough Council recessed its regular monthly meeting on October 7 to be picked up again on October 28, it set itself an agenda of important things to be accomplished in the meantime. And they were to solicit bids for repair and restoration of both the Blue Ridge Park and the creek that runs along side of it, as well as the creek along Maple Street, which was severely eroded by the Ivan flooding.
It would send letters to, among others, Conrail and inform it of councils concern about water flow under its bridge near Johnston Street. The letters, it turns out, did not have to be sent. Council member Chris Allen reported at the October 28 "adjourning" meeting that the railroad crew came quickly to dredge under the bridge. As Allen put it, "They got as deep as they could with the equipment they brought. They did a nice job." He said their efforts resulted in digging about 5 feet on one side of the bridge, and about three-and-a-half feet on the other.
Bids were opened for creek bed and land restoration, and council was pleased and surprised at the number of bids eight of them to restore the Blue Ridge Park. The bids ranged from a low of $50,440 to a high of $92,300. Bids were received from as near as Montrose and as far as Elysburg and Mountaintop. Council voted to accept the bids and send them for review to engineer Todd Schmidt. They did not vote to award the bid; this they will do after they receive Schmidts report, and its one they want soon.
Council solicited four phone bids for the Maple Street restoration project but received only one bid. (If a project is estimated to be less than $10,000, a bid can be solicited by phone.) Engineer Schmidt will also review this bid, for $8,660 and report back to Council. The restoration of the creek will be done with gabian baskets because there is not enough room to slope rip-rap there.
Borough secretary Amy Hine also reported some good news to Council members. At the October 7 meeting, it was thought that FEMA, if it approved the boroughs application for aid, would reimburse the borough 75 percent of the cost of restoration, with the municipality picking up the remaining 25 percent. Hine found out that the state and not the borough would pick up what FEMA does not. She also said that FEMA is expected to be coming into the county within the next two to three weeks to meet with municipal officials in areas flood-damaged, and that the borough would need to have all its paperwork ready.
In other flood-related discussion, Council member Teri Gulick reported that the Triplets received a bill for cinder blocks and concrete that were used to shore up the building at Blue Ridge Park which is used by the Triplets; it lost about a third of the land underneath due to the flooding creek. She also noted that the work to shore up the building, as well as other material, was all donated. Could this be considered part of the restoration? It could, the park is a town park, and Council will include the bill with the list it submits to FEMA. The bill is around $200.
Council next discussed a request for an ordinance by sewage system contractor Pete Carlucci. In 1998, when the project was under discussion, Council adopted an ordinance that included reference to the estimated cost of the project. At that time, the estimate was $3 million and change. The contractor, with the cost of most everything increasing over six years, notified Council (and the Municipal Authority) that it will need up to another $300,000. Council member Rick Ainey thought it prudent to have the request reviewed by borough solicitor Jason Legg before it adopts an ordinance for the amount over the estimate, and the rest of council agreed.
Council member Joe Carr asked about the status of a clarification with COG Codes about zoning permitting Codes has done in the past for the borough and which it no longer will do, and the billing of what has been done. Council member Jane Zick reported that Codes representatives would like to address the issue. Thus, the council expects to meet with Codes people on the evening of November 16.
Council president Scott Smith then adjourned the meeting, which had its beginning three weeks ago.
The next meting of the New Milford Borough Council is scheduled for November 4, 7 p.m. at the borough building on Main Street.
Someone pumped $9 of kerosene at the Pump and Pantry on Route 171 in Great Bend Township and drove off without paying for it on the morning of October 25.
Between the mornings of October 2 and 3, an unknown person(s) damaged a fence at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses on State Route 706 in Bridgewater Township.
A white male described as mid-40s, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds and wearing a wig robbed the Pump and Pantry on Route 171 in Great Bend Township late on the night of October 23. The robber said he had a 9mm Glock, but produced a knife. He took an unknown amount of cash and then fled toward Hallstead.*
Bakers Store on State Route 492 in New Milford Township was burglarized sometime between the night of October 25 and the following morning. Stolen were eight cartons of Marlboro cigarettes and about $125 in cash.*
Benjamin C. Reynolds, 22, Vestal, was driving his 1994 Hyundai Excel on State Route 171 in Great Bend Township when the car left the roadway, sideswiped the guard rail, traveled across the road when it again left it and became stuck in the mud. Reynolds was injured and transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital for treatment in this crash that occurred early on the morning of October 24.
Late on the night of September 13, Benjamin C. Reynolds, Vestal, driving a 1997 Ford, was traveling westbound on State Road 848 in New Milford Township when he went through a stop sign where it intersects with State Road 2063. The car traveled off the west berm of the road and stuck an embankment where it rolled over onto its roof. Reynolds was not wearing a seat belt and was not hurt in this accident, although the Ford was severely damaged. New Milford Fire and Ambulance Co. assisted at the scene.
Dale Ross, 39, Thompson, was parked partially in the roadway on State Route 171 near Arlos store in Ararat Township when a vehicle operated by Thomas Coffey, 75, Starrucca, failed to avoid Ross vehicle and crashed into the rear of it. Coffey was wearing a seat belt and not seriously injured. Both Coffey and Ross face vehicle code charges in this incident that occurred on the afternoon of October 7: Coffey for crashing into Ross vehicle; Ross for not parking all of the way off of the roadway.
This incident occurred when Thomas Mongno, Springville, appeared at the residence of Dorothy Ann Franko, also of Springville, on the evening of October 23. An argument occurred which escalated when Mongno struck Franko about the face and shoved her into a table. Mongno is charged with harassment, filed at the office of the district justice in Montrose.
George Richard Morrell, New Milford, attempted to leave the ABC Market in Bridgewater Township while hiding nine cans of Fancy Feast cat food on his person. This theft occurred on the afternoon of October 23.
Early in the morning of October 13, an unknown person(s)( damaged a vending machine at Aineys Market on Route 29 in Springville.*
Charles H. Haddick, Swoyersville, PA, was attempting to turn left in his 1997 Acura on State Route 706 in the Lake Montrose area of Bridgewater Township when his vehicle was struck from the rear by a 1991 Chevy Camaro driven by Patton Weidow, 19, Susquehanna. Both vehicles received moderate damage in this accident that took place on the evening of September 22.
On the afternoon of September 24, Karl Lovec, Brackney, lost control of his 2002 Dodge Ram while attempting to negotiate a curve on State Route 4007 in Forest Lake Township. The Ram left the road, overturned and was severely damaged.
DRUG POSSESSION-HINDERING APPREHENSION
Randall Paul Austin, Liberty Township, was wanted for probation violations and a bench warrant was issued for him because of it. Members of the county probation, sheriffs department, and State Police responded to his residence to serve the warrant. When they arrived, a bag containing a small amount of marijuana and rolling papers was located on a table. Pamela Michelle DeRose, who shares the residence with Austin, gave false information to the responding officers and attempted to hinder Austins apprehension by hiding the fact that he was at the residence. This took place on the morning of September 30.
DUI TRAFFIC COLLISION
A 1995 Plymouth mini-van, owned and driven by Kyle Charles Printz, 38, Montrose was attempting to turn left on State Route 706 in the Lake Montrose area of Bridgewater Township on the evening of September 22. His mini-van was struck from the rear by a 1993 Hyundai sedan driven by Ethan Dalton Scroggins, 18, New Milford. Scroggins, whose Hyundai was severely damaged, was charged with DUI. The mini-van was moderately damaged and Printz was charged for expired registration.
On the night of October 18, Susan Shay was traveling south on State Route 171 in Oakland Township when the 1993 Pontiac Sunbird she was driving traveled off the road and hit a drain culvert. She was not injured and her car received minor damage.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
David A. Eddy and Mary F. Eddy to Katherine M. DeRiancho and Steven M. DeRiancho, in Forest Lake Township for $90,000.
Stewart S. Bailer (aka) Steward S. Bialer to Stewart S. Bialer, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Carl Hensel to Martin L. Triebel and Donna M. Triebel, in Forest Lake Township for $200,000.
Daniel S. Boughton and Sandra L. Boughton to Kevin McQuillan,
in Lanesboro Borough for $30,000.
Richard Allen and June Allen to Massimilano Amato and Marisa Amato, in Bridgewater Township for $17,000.
Raymond E. Hackel and Esther M. Hackel to Norman Norton Jr., in Hallstead Borough for $75,000.
Raymond E. Hackel and Esthere M. Hackel to Norman Norton Jr., in Great Bend Township and Hallstead Borough for $4,000.
Joseph J. Adams and Judith L. Adams to Pippa A. Adams, in Silver Lake Township for $130,000.
Donna M. Fekette and Thomas J. Lopatofsky Jr. to Lori Spencer and Robert E. Giardini, in Lathrop Township for $36,000.
Gregory Durko and Cheri Durko to Gregory Durko and Cheri Durko, in Forest City for one dollar.
Anthony L. Smith to Marie E. Knight, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Robert E. Warneke and Barbara A. Warneke to Sharon A. Milewski, in Thompson Borough for $134,000.
Larry N. Reed and Ramona Reed to LRE Real Estate, in Forest City for $10. (Corrective Deed).
Shawn M. Jones and Donna M. Jones to Thomas Mele, in Middletown Township for $255,000.
Pauline Loiacono to Donald J. Kowalewski, in New Milford Township for $86,500.
Ronald L. Krager to Archibald F. Johnson and Ruth A. Cohen, in Apolacon Township for $74,000.
Albert H. Lawrence, William A. Lawrence, Albert C. Lawrence, Richard L. Lawrence, Mary Lawrence, John Buchakjian and Judy Buchakjian to Michael P. Ksenich and Kathryn A. Ksenich, in New Milford Township for $60,000.
George Floyd Chamberlin, Betty Jane Chamberlin, John S. Chamberlin to Scott Gaylord and Brandy Pitcher, in Great Bend Township for $68,000.
Joe Jongkwan Yi and Ja Young Yi to Sharon K. Kim, in Lanesboro Borough for $110,000.
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Dennis Konik and Lauren Konik, in New Milford Township for $61,268.
Foster Oakley and Helen Oakley to James W. Colwell, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Kenneth J. Pazanski to John L. Tompkins and Cheryl P. Tompkins, in Gibson Township for $27,000.
Gregory Durko and Cheri Durko to James J. Rowlands and Elaine Rowlands, in Forest City for $42,500.
David R. McCracken and Alice V. McCracken to Mark L. Francis and Diane D. Francis, in Liberty Township for $90,000.
Tonia L. Newhart (nbm) Tonia L. Oliver and John Oliver to John Oliver and Tonia L. Oliver, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
George F. Houghton and Beverly A. Houghton to Robert H. Burchell Jr. and Diane E. Burchell, in New Milford Township for $25,000.
James Krewson and Hilde L. Krewson to Mark C. Davis and Sharon C. Davis, in Silver Lake Township for $24,000.
Daniel C. Wolff and Maria Del Rocio Sanchex De Wolff to FFM Holding, in Montrose for $120,000.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation to Jeffrey Liddick and Cathy Liddick, in Bridgewater Township for $17,000.
Lawrence T. OReilly, Christine M. OReilly, Thomas J. OReilly to Henrh Pospieszalski and Iwona Pospieszalski, in Lenox Township for $50,000.
Thomas A. Conlon Sr. (by Power of Attorney) and Margaret Conlon (by Power of Attorney) to Ramesh G. Bhandari and Shukriva Bhandari, in Silver Lake Township for $335,000.
Joseph Kojtek (by agent), Eleanor Kojtek, Karen Kojtek, to James J. Castaldi and Maureen Castaldi, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Joseph Kojtek (by agent) and Eleanor Kojtek to James J. Castaldi and Maureen Castaldi, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Amy M. Smith (by sheriff) and Matthew J. Fitting (by sheriff) to Deutsche Bank Trust (fka) Bankers Trust Company, in Auburn Township for $2,279.
William S. Mead and Jodi L. Mead to Thomas Vlachos and Jackie Vlachos, in Dimock Township for $159,540.
Joseph Munley (by sheriff) and Cynthia Munley (by sheriff) to SLF Financial Corporation, in Clifford Township for $2,872.
Donald Y. Holibaugh, Dorothy L. Holibaugh, James S. Holibaugh (aka) James F. Holibaugh, Richard A. Holibaugh and Laurie Holibaugh to Robert W. Kochmer, in Clifford Township for $95,000.
Eileen Ball, Debra Ball aka Debra Whiting to Michael Gombita and Alan Rutledge, in Herrick Township for $9,500.
Ryan K. Stone and Stephanie D. Stone to David L. Brainard in Hallstead Borough for $42,000.
Blue Stone Lodge 338 Free and Accepted Masons (by Trustee) to Brian and Liz LLC, in New Milford Township for $72,500.
Miriam A. Terry, Kevin B. Terry, Laura A. Rosten and Alan J. Rosten to Philip J. Pass Jr. and Lauri A. Pass, in Herrick Township for $70,000.
Dorothy Corack, Michael Waldroop, Edward T. Corack and Olive Corack to Scott M. Davis and Carol A. Davis, in Gibson Township for $99,500.
Janice D. Bean to William C. Fischer and Deborah L. Fischer, in Silver Lake Township for $272,000.
Pennstar Realty Trust to Bronson Pinchot, in Harford Township for $60,000.
James J. Cleary and Mary Joan Cleary to Timothy Lucas, in Ararat Township and out of county municipality for $109,000.
Robert J. Maneely and Nealie V. Maneely to Daniel J. Kelly, in Herrick Township for $135,000.
Frank Cyzeski, Ann Cyzeski, Margaret Cyzeski (aka) Margaret A. Czyzeski, Frank Cyzeski Jr. (aka) Frank Cyzeski to Frank Cyzeski Jr. for one dollar.
Gordon C. Whitney, Montrose, vs. Deborah A. Whitney, Montrose.
Kristy Lee Haughn, Meshoppen, vs. Marcus Allen Roeder, Coffeyville.
A fair number of people attended the Blue Ridge School Board workshop on October 25. A long-time observer might be pardoned for thinking they had come to hear more about a proposed $6.5 million construction project. At least one did, a wrestling coach who asked the Board to consider a more permanent space for his teams. Many of the others were there for the Transportation Committee meeting that preceded the general session.
For some months Blue Ridge administrators and the Board have been quietly discussing a shift to a "single-tier" busing schedule. This time the Transportation Committee got down to some of the nuts and bolts, and encountered resistance from bus operators, drivers and some teachers.
Under the current system, many of the buses make at least two trips morning and afternoon. The proposed change would reduce that to one trip each way; all students would arrive at about the same time each day, and all would leave at about the same time. Such a move is estimated to cut more than 300 miles from total bus trips each day, saving perhaps $200,000 per year overall. According to Board member Joel Whitehead, the two-trip schedule was adopted some 10 years ago at a savings of approximately $325,000 per year.
One teacher who attended the committee session remembered the earlier switch, and that she and her colleagues opposed that. She said that once the school became accustomed to the two-tier schedule they found that it was better overall. Her opposition to the proposal to revert to a single-trip schedule, she said reflected her experience with the impact on the children.
The major source of opposition to a move to single-tier busing is that students from all three schools would be mixed on the same buses, which some believe would be at least uncomfortable for the younger, Elementary School pupils. In addition, because of the different class schedules at the different levels, some students might be forced to wait for as long as an hour in the afternoon for the others on their bus to finish school for the day.
Bus operators and drivers also thought that discipline problems could result from such a change. But their more fundamental problem with the plan has to do with finances. The schools are now served by 21 buses each day. One estimate would require at least six more buses for the single- tier schedule. Some of the operators say the reduced miles - and therefore reduced income - would not support investing in new buses. One man who operates two buses said that he knows of no bus operators who can make ends meet now without a second job. He estimated that he must make at least 75 miles a day to break even at current rates. He said that single-tier busing would "put some of them [bus operators] right out of business." In addition, there is the question of where all those buses would park while loading and unloading (all at the same time).
The Transportation Committee wasn't going to decide that one all by itself. The Board President said recently that single-tier "is going to happen" next year. How some of the issues are to be resolved will be a matter of debate over the coming months.
But the general workshop this time didn't broach any major issues. In fact, the session lasted barely more than a half hour. All three of the school principals were absent. But the Board did hear from Alicia VanCott, a senior who accompanied Board members to a recent convention of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in Hershey. Among other things, the convention brought together students representing schools all over the state for structured discussions on topics of interest. Ms. VanCott described one session focused on bullying. She said that she told her counterparts that bullying at Blue Ridge didn't generally take on a physical or violent aspect. One school she heard from was forced into "lock-down" for four months as a result of gang fights that may have stemmed from disputes over drugs. For her participation, and her articulate and colorful report, the Board awarded her a Hershey sweatshirt and a warm round of applause.
The Board also heard from a collection of tax collectors. The six tax collectors serving the Blue Ridge School District will be up for re-election in November of 2005. They regularly approach the school boards and municipalities with a request to increase the rate at which they are paid. Blue Ridge must decide on the rates by February of next year. Tax collectors are paid by the number of tax bills they handle, at so much per bill. They are asking for increases to $2.75 for an occupation tax bill in 2005, to $4.00 for a property tax bill in 2009. A tax collector's term of office is four years.
Board President Alan Hall pronounced the recent family media night a success even with the small turnout. The next one is scheduled for November 19 at 7:00 p.m.; the movie is expected to be Shrek 2. He also reported progress in the development of an after-school dance program for the Elementary School, which would be run at no cost to the district.
District Superintendent Robert McNamara reported that last year's eleventh-grade writing test results were in and showed that 85% of this year's seniors were performing at or above the state proficiency standard.
The next public gathering of the Blue Ridge School Board will be a business meeting on November 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
In our issue of October 27, we inadvertently announced that Jim Kerry was running for President on the Democratic ticket. The advertisement should have read that John Kerry was running for President. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused the Susquehanna County Democratic Party.
The Elk Lake School board meeting Monday, October 25, was called to order at 7:09 p.m. and began with letters of correspondence and thank you notes. One letter was from Carol Churchill asking the school board to approve her retirement from the cafeteria after 29 years of service. The school board regretfully so approved her retirement.
The principal reports were then read. High School principal Dr. Cuomo passed around a picture that was drawn and signed by the entire class of 1959. A member of that class donated the picture to the school. Dr. Cuomo also announced that the high school will be presenting the musical "Flapper" on November 6 and 7 and will be hosting a spaghetti dinner and he invited all to attend. Also noted was that PSSA scores were on the increase from past years and stated the students and teachers should be commended for their efforts.
Mr. Mallery, Jr. High Principal informed the board that the school will be offering free computer classes to parents and grandparents of Elk Lake students. Intro to basic computers on November 9 from 3:30-6:30, November 10 from 6:00-9:00, and November 13 from 9:00-2:00. Intro to the internet on November 17 3:30-6:30 and November 20 9:00-12:00. Mr. Mallery also noted that there will be emergency forms for all students playing sports with their emergency information kept in the first aid kit on the field; included in the first aid kit are cards with how to treat info for sports related injuries for coaches to use for reference. Mr. Mallery discussed a program called the homework club that will be on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, with students able to ride the late bus home. Funds for the program are through federal grants at no charge to taxpayers in the school district.
Mr. Pirone, Elementary Principal went over a brochure sent home to parents with children in younger grades on how they should be taught and are learning how to structure their letters and write them. Mr. Pirone will have a mock election for elementary students and will announce the results at the next school board meeting.
Dr. William Bush, Elk Lake Superintendent discussed having telephone drops installed on the sports fields for personal conversation that could not be discussed on the walkie talkie's they already use. He noted the possibility that 4-5 drops may be needed at the cost of $1200.00 per each drop. It was not voted on until Dr. Bush could get more information about the drops and an accurate count of how many would be needed. Dr. Bush also discussed having student charge accounts revised. When a student has a zero balance in their account they are permitted to charge up to 5 dollars for their meals. He stated that this would be for meals only and not to include any extras; for example ice cream, etc.
The board also discussed that there have been many bus drivers having to take detours due to flood damaged roadways along their routes caused by hurricane Ivan. Some of these bus drivers want to be reimbursed for the extra mileage. Auburn Township board member Mr. Place did not agree that mileage should be adjusted. Mr. Tewksbury, Meshoppen township board member stated that buses had to make necessary changes to be able to pick up at all stops. Mr. Place stated that mileage should stay the same from the start point and keep to the regular, contracted bus routes. Dr. Cuomo stated that contracts are based on full capacity of the bus, from the first stop on the run all the way through going to the school and then home, with mileage multiplied by two. There were also mileage issues on the late bus runs.
Dr. Bush noted that the School's insurance company, Utica Mutual recommended that the school update the technology of their security system. Dr. Bush stated that the new system, complete with wiring would cost $28,600.00. Mr. Tewksbury asked Dr. Bush to provide more info about the alarm, stating, "Were already spending sixty thousand on buses. We need to know more information on an alarm system costing nearly thirty thousand".
There were about 20 visitors in attendance. Two of the visitors graduated Elk Lake a few years ago and were there on a class project from Penn State. They could not believe that there was an alarm detection system at the entrance/exit doors of the library.
The big topic of discussion by visitors at the meeting was school and bus safety. Asked by one visitor was why, when they discussed bus contracts did they not state the amount of the contract. Dr. Cuomo said he did not know and that they normally do. Mr. Emmerich stated that they normally do as well but neither party directly answered the question. I was able to find the amount of pay is based on a daily rate for each individual bus driver in the minutes of the last months school board meeting. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Litman addressed the board with some safety concerns. Their fifth grade son was in the computer lab with two other boys and they were able to access a video game website containing a sniper game, nude volleyball and a build a babe game. The student told his parents, who accessed the website, printed the graphic photos from the website and brought them along to the meeting. The board did not have much to comment about this situation except Mr. Mallery stating that the school tries to intercept these sorts of websites everyday, but sometimes cannot do so until an incident of this nature is reported. Then they can block these sites one by one. Mr. Litman asked where the adult supervision is and again no comment from the board. School bus safety is the other topic that Mark Litman addressed the board with. His ten-year old son was picked up late one morning from his stop in Friendsville and then that afternoon dropped off very late, which made him frantic. The children in this area don't usually arrive home until between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. and when he tried to call the school to address the situation he got a recording stating the Elk Lake School is closed. Asked if they can do something about this for the future, Mr. Tewksbury stated that something should be done and that the school should have someone to man the phones. Janet Saravitz suggested the board consider having an outside company such as an answering service take the calls and forward them to the appropriate personnel. The board will look into this and discuss it at a future meeting. Another visitor asked about having GPS locators installed on the busses. The board stated that the contracted bus drivers would not have to be required to do anything that was not in their contract.
An interesting topic of conversation came from a lady and her mother. Their concern and question being why does the school not consider hiring personnel from within the school or even the area for the Secondary Math teaching position. The woman was furious and Dr. Bush stated he would not discuss personnel matters with the public and press. The womans mother said you can lie if you want but she wanted to know why her daughter was not hired. The board decided that they were going to have an executive session and not discuss it in front of the 20 or so visitors.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:17 p.m.
By the time you get to read this, whatever happened at the Harford Township Supervisors' meeting on October 26 will have lost most of its significance. Most of the discussion was about future events, which will have become history.
Naturally enough, on a three-item agenda, the old business of the Odd Fellows Hall got most of the attention. On Election Day next Tuesday (okay, last Tuesday) Harford residents will have (had) an opportunity to vote their opinion on at least part of the future of the old town hall property. Since the County Election Board didn't see fit to put such a question on the official ballot, a separate poll will have been taken in the township garage.
The "referendum" is posed as a question. It lists the five covenants added to the deed for the Odd Fellows property when it was transferred to the township, and asks the voter whether or not those covenants should be removed from the deed.
Because the poll is not official, it is also not binding. Supervisor Rick Pisasik is hoping that an affirmative response will help to convince a judge to remove the restrictions from the deed. But because the county did not permit an official ballot as called for in the deed, the township could probably call upon the court to remove the restrictive language anyway.
One observer objected to the question since a positive response is a vote to give the township Supervisors sole control and discretion over the property, which may be contrary to the wishes of those who put the restrictions in the deed in the first place. Mr. Pisasik responded that the Supervisors already have sole responsibility for all other properties owned by the township.
Another observer asked what plans there were for the property once the deed is cleaned up. Mr. Pisasik has never been willing to speculate on that, nor did he this time, preferring instead a deliberate approach taking into consideration the views of all the residents of Harford.
But then, everything in Harford takes time. The bridge over Nine Partners Creek at the Interstate, for example. PENNDOT was planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, October 29. We hope you were able to attend.
The Act 537 Official Sewage Facilities Plan Update (now known as the Three Lakes Project) has surfaced again and those involved are in the process of applying for an Environmental Protection Act (EPA) grant. The plan was before the Susquehanna County Planning Commission when they met for their regular meeting on October 26, and positive comment was given for the application of a grant through Congressman Shermans office.
The grant was originally requested for the project of extending a public waterline to South Montrose. For a variety of reasons, mainly lack of additional funding, the water line project was abandoned for the time being. But, because the grant addresses water quality issues and will still be used in Bridgewater Township, it has been determined that the original grant can still apply. However it has been lowered to $433,700 from the original $500,000.
Known as the Three Lakes Project because it would encompass Lake Raylean, Heart Lake and Lake Chrisann, the Act 537 Official Sewage Facilities Plan Update for Bridgewater and New Milford Townships will provide sewage collection and conveyance from eastern Bridgewater Township and western New Milford Township, along State Route 706 and Post Pond Road to the Montrose Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant. The project is expected to cost just under $4 million.
The area along SR706 from Montrose Borough to the eastern part of Bridgewater Township is designated growth area, which could include commercial, industrial and institutional use. So the sewage project is consistent with the Countys future plans.
Secretary/Planner Amy Payne unearthed some interesting facts from agricultural research she has been doing. There are 1115 farms in Susquehanna County, according to the Agricultural Census 2002. She says, "This could be due to the definition of a farm which, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, is any establishment from which $1000 or more of an agricultural product is sold." Using that criteria, the number of farms has steadily increased over the last 13 years, while the amount of land in farms and the actual size of farms has decreased. Even though the number of large dairy farms has decreased, the number of small specialty farms have increased over the last decade.
Better wireless coverage can be expected in the county as Verizon Wireless adds an antennae and an equipment shed to an existing tower on Maloney Road in Lenox Township. A spokesperson for Verizon says, "When going into a new area, we always look for existing towers, making sure they are high enough for our purposes." They dont put up new towers unnecessarily.
The Planning Commission concurred with staff recommendations on several other land use plans.
Templeton, reporting on a Zoning 101 workshop, said a small group had a rousing discussion. One person wanted to see the county stay the same, but presenter, Attorney Zaleski, pointed out that by law people cannot be prevented from moving to Susquehanna County. He also asserted that he thinks the Countys 2-acre minimum lot size is 1-1/2 acres too much. He favors no minimum as long as the lot meets other county specifications.
The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on November 30, 7:30 p.m. in the County Office Building.
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