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Hallstead Boro Council met on December 16 with president Michelle Giangrieco presiding; also present were council members Mary Rudock, David Callender, James Gillespie, John Giangrieco and Joseph Franks, and secretary Cindy Gillespie.
Two complaints from residents were discussed; Ms. Giangrieco will contact the owner of a business on Route 11 regarding a sign that blocks drivers’ sight distance, and maintenance supervisor John Gordon will be asked to fill in an area at the side of Route 11 that washed out during flooding earlier this year, causing a considerable drop-off.
Council reviewed photos of the creek that runs through the boro and through Great Bend Township. A property owner has contracted at his own expense to have debris removed from the creek, as it is still causing water problems even though Hurricane Ivan and the damage it caused are a (somewhat) distant memory. As the blockage in question also poses a threat to the Route 11 park and there has been (more) recent flooding to the area, council agreed that Mr. Gordon should lend a hand in the cleanup, which is expected to take only one day’s work. As the problem is actually in Great Bend Township, a motion carried to contact the township to ask if they could also lend manpower and/or equipment.
No action was taken on a request from the Susquehanna County Library for a donation, as the boro already contributes to the local branch by supplying heat, water and maintenance to that facility.
No action was taken on a motion made at a prior meeting, regarding council members’ pay; the motion was to pay council members for meetings they do not attend if their absence is caused by work commitments. After discussion, it was agreed that there could be hard feelings if one member were to be paid and another was not, under similar circumstances. As the pay involved is a nominal fee, council members do spend a lot of their free time attending to boro business, and all agreed that it is difficult enough to find residents willing to serve on council, the matter was dropped.
The budget for 2005 was approved, with no increase in taxes.
Correspondence reviewed included minutes of the November 1 meeting of the Hallstead-Great Bend Sewer Authority, information on waste oil collections by the Susquehanna County Recycling, and a request from the county Emergency Management for an update of the boro’s Emergency Management plan.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, January 20, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Susquehanna Boro Council met on December 14 with vice president Mike Matis presiding in the absence of president Ron Whitehead. Council members John Bronchella, Pat Frederick, Shane Lewis, Bill Kuiper and Roy Williams were present, as were secretary Judy Collins, mayor Nancy Hurley and a number of guests. Mr. Matis began the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of resident Ken Fisher, who had recently passed away. Mr. Fisher held a number of important posts in the boro over a number of years, including council member and police officer.
Mrs. Collins’ report covered a number of topics. November and December minutes of the Economic Development Board were made available, including the information that TREHAB is interested in the Keelen building, and there has been some interest in the Troup building. A representative from the Downtown Center was scheduled to visit the boro on December 14, and all boro committees were notified; the date was subsequently changed to some time in January. Information was sent to the Downtown Center to comply with a quarterly assessment for the Main Street project, with other information still being gathered. A letter of appreciation was sent to Brian Rhodes on behalf of the boro, thanking him for his services as a police officer. Flowers were sent to Mr. Fisher’s funeral, and a Proclamation was submitted to the County Transcript in his memory. A letter of support was sent to TREHAB for the Perrine building to be utilized for commercial and senior housing. Clay Martin would like to set up a meeting to show council members how to access individual sections of the website. The proposed budget for 2005 has been advertised. A price quote was obtained to increase volunteer insurance through the boro’s policy; any claims would first be handled through the individual’s coverage, with the boro’s being secondary. Information was also obtained regarding coverage of a proposed dog kennel.
Mayor Hurley reported that she had met with a representative of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region to discuss grant applications and priority areas for 2005, when the next grant round will take place; she outlined the procedure that would need to be followed to apply for funding. And, she and Mr. Lewis visited a new business that recently opened in the boro, Susquehanna Mercantile.
At council’s request, two representatives from Adams Cable were present to discuss a recent raise in Adams’ monthly rates to customers, general manager Wendy Hartman and marketing director Paul Cwalina. Mrs. Hartman explained that letters had been sent to all municipalities in Adams’ area of service to explain why the increase was necessary, and she noted that this was the first increase in almost two years. Adams has tried to hold rates down, she said. Some yearly increases in operations costs have been “absorbed” by Adams, but recent increases in costs for health insurance, workmen’s compensation and fuel prices have necessitated the increase. Mr. Williams asked if residents were surveyed to find out what types of programming they’d like to see offered. He stated that he, personally, was appalled by what programs are available during the day when children are watching. Mrs. Hartman explained that Adams could not control programming content, and they do not have the right to edit it. And, she said that Adams has surveyed customers as recently as last year and has tried to add what its customers want. “We will never make everyone happy all of the time,” she said; what one customer wants will make another unhappy with what is offered. Adams does offer two packages and premium channels. And, some of the choices available require a five- or ten-year contract and stipulate not only what is offered, but sometimes how.
An audience member expressed dissatisfaction with the programming available, and for having to pay for Adams employees’ health insurance. This, Mrs. Hartman reiterated, was the cost involved with doing business. The resident questioned whether rates could be increased without first getting approval from council. Mrs. Frederick said that she had read the agreement with Adams, and that it stipulates that increases could not be implemented without first notifying council, not that council would need to approve. Mr. Williams agreed, and added that the contract does not give council the right to regulate rates charged. Another resident asked if it would not be feasible for other cable companies to serve the area, to get some competition going and to keep rates down. Mrs. Hartman explained that while Adams’ agreement with the boro was not exclusive, the costs for another company to service the area would be prohibitive and thereby not feasible. In answer to a question from Mr. Kuiper, Mrs. Hartman said that programming choices are made using input from customers. And, in response to a question from another resident Mrs. Hartman said that there would be considerable expense involved in offering yet another package choice to customers; it could not be made available to just one area, it would need to be made available to all Adams customers, which covers six counties in two states. And, at the suggestion of a resident, Mrs. Hartman said that she would explore the possibility of offering a senior citizens’ discount. Adams does offer a discount, she said for those customers who choose to pay yearly; for a year paid in advance, customers do receive one month’s service free. And, the increase in question is $1.99, which increases taxes paid by customers and the boro’s franchise fees, to a total of about $2.50.
During public comment, a resident asked about reports that the boro police department has been discussing shared services with Great Bend Boro. Mr. Bronchella emphatically stated that this idea “did not go through council.” Mr. Matis explained that the Great Bend Boro Council approached Susquehanna and the idea is still in the discussion phase, and would still need to be discussed further with Susquehanna’s full council. Many areas, such as contacts and funding “still needs to be discussed,” he said and would not be until after the first of next year. The resident pointed out that other local attempts at combined forces had not worked out and expressed concern that it would expose the boro police (and the boro) to a greater risk of liability. And, the resident noted that there have been rumors about lawsuits facing the boro police. Mayor Hurley said that this would not be a “regional” police force, but would be a contracting of services. She is unaware of any lawsuits against the boro now, she said. “We want to look at what is best. We will be talking to other police departments who have done it, and find out what the pros and cons are. The state is encouraging this kind of thing,” she said, and added that the State Police are starting to charge municipalities for services in an effort to encourage municipal police departments. The resident expressed concern about the resulting costs to the boro, and added that information gathered from surveys recently distributed indicated that more residents would like to see the streets department as a priority, rather than police services. Mr. Matis said that next year’s budget will include additional summer help for the streets department, and Mrs. Hurley said that the hourly rate charged to Great Bend should cover any expenses involved.
Other business covered by council included:
Increasing the volunteer insurance coverage, at a cost of $150.
Allowing the owner of the property at 518 Grand Street until June to complete necessary repairs. The property had been condemned, and some items of concern have already been addressed. Mr. Lewis urged granting the leeway, as he feels that the (new) owner is sincere about rehabilitating the property, and has paid the legal fees involved, and its rehabilitation would put the property back on the tax rolls.
Yet more paperwork needs to be filled out and submitted to FEMA regarding damage caused in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. Mr. Williams said that a caseworker from FEMA will not, as had been expected, be helping with filing of the paperwork involved... stay tuned for further developments.
Council approved Zavada and Associates to conduct the yearend audit of the boro. Council is shopping around for another auditor for future needs.
In the wake of notification that PENNDOT will no longer be responsible for maintenance and/or repairs to storm drains on state roads other than top grates, Mr. Williams reported that there are a total of 49 drains affected. Of these, 34 are in good shape but 15 are in need of repair; cost estimated to be about $13,000. And, in situations where repairs involve going under a state road, the boro will need to get permission from PENNDOT before any repairs can be done. He noted that the boro’s only notification of these changes was a letter, and that other boros have also received similar notification of the change in policy. Council has contacted several state representatives to protest this policy but with no results as of the date of the meeting. And, Mr. Williams said that he has reason to believe that municipalities could expect to be given responsibility for stop signs on state roads after the first of the year.
Council will approve new procedures to be followed whenever construction work involves storm lines, before a permit will be issued.
Council approved contracting work to the boro building, including placement of an outdoor display case that has been donated, and repairs to the boro building’s front door and flashing, and problems with the floor tile. A resident commented that these problems were caused by the wrong adhesive used for the type of flooring the building has. As none of these repair items are under warranty any longer, it will be the boro’s responsibility to address them.
In discussion regarding recent state legislation enacted to allow municipalities to levy an emergency and municipal services tax, no action was taken as it was council’s consensus that this tax would discourage residents from seeking employment within the boro.
Approval was given for the Parks and Rec. Committee to purchase a bucket, which will be used for the front end loader to help with grading the ballfields and parking lots; the committee does have funds available in their budget to cover its cost.
A representative from the Susquehanna Community Development Association asked for council’s approval to put in a skating rink next to the boro building, under the bridge. The property owner has given permission; donations have been pledged by the Canawacta Rod and Gun Club to cover the cost of a liner, and the Parks and Rec. Committee and the SCDA have pledged to cover the cost of railroad ties needed to outline the dimensions of the rink. Mrs. Frederick offered ties that are in one of the railroad cars recently donated to the boro, which will decrease the number that will need to be purchased. Council members agreed that the rink is a worthwhile venture that will benefit the boro’s youth, and approved the streets department grading the area. The fire department has volunteered to see that the rink is filled with water, and the possibility is open for local volunteer organizations to sell refreshments as fund-raisers once the rink is in operation.
Council approved removal of a tree that fell into Drinker Creek in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan; Mr. Lewis explained that, basically, the boro would be responsible for its removal.
Mrs. Collins will check interest rates regarding a Certificate of Deposit that was due to mature on December 19; these funds had been designated to go towards purchase of a new police car, with revenues from fines and forfeitures to be added to eliminate the need to take out a loan to finance a new car. After discussion, it was agreed to leave the funds in a CD to reduce the possibility of the money being used elsewhere.
Some of the boro’s older ordinances are missing. In compiling a data base of all of the boro’s ordinances, it had been found that some were not in the boro’s files. Mr. Bronchella noted that, in years past, there had been instances where the original ordinances had been “borrowed” by individuals who had promised to return them, and had not. As the boro’s present solicitor has only been serving in that capacity for about eleven years, there is some uncertainty as to where copies of older ordinances can be found.
The streets department’s list of projects to be addressed over the coming winter was discussed. And, it was noted that the boro’s street sweeper has had some major problems, with repairs expected to cost in the neighborhood of $20,000. Mr. Lewis asked council to consider purchasing a newer one that is available, for about $23,000. The old one, he said, could be kept for parts. Funds for the newer one could be taken out of Liquid Fuels funds, about $5,000 per year, to finance its purchase. It was agreed that several council members should take a look at the one that is for sale, and discuss the matter further with council.
Mr. Lewis updated council on a meeting he had with a representative of LTAP, regarding banning right-hand turns by trucks from Main St. onto Erie Ave. A full report should be submitted to council later in the week, but, he said preliminary findings indicated that this would be the most feasible avenue to address ongoing problems with damage by trucks. If council agrees to proceed, affected businesses would need to be notified about alternate routes, and two parking spaces on Main St. would need to be eliminated, one in front of the Methodist Church, and another on the corner of Erie and Main. This would hurt handicap accessibility, he said, but it is something that needs to be done.
Council approved a resolution approving the River Bounty property acquisition, and adoption of the 2005 budget which does not reflect an increase in taxes.
Council approved mulching of the trees on Main St. for the winter, cost of materials about $100; labor will be provided by community service workers.
Council approved retaining Myron DeWitt as the boro’s solicitor, at an increase of $5.00 per hour over 2004’s rate.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session, to discuss the police pension.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 11, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Trial Date Set For Dr. Scher
Jury selection for the second trial of Dr. Stephen B. Scher is scheduled to begin in Susquehanna County Court on February 7, 2005, but that could be delayed by yet another rather shocking development in this already bizarre murder case.
Papers filed in the county courthouse last week revealed that John P. Moses, the defense attorney responsible for getting Dr. Scher a new trial, is retiring from the practice of law. Mr. Moses has accepted a position as chief executive officer of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I am presently spending one-half of my time on matters relating to the hospital,” Mr. Moses said. “By March, I will be devoting 100 percent of my time to hospital matters.”
Mr. Moses said no formal motion to withdraw is required. He said he has advised Dr. Scher and the Office of Attorney General in Harrisburg that he will not be able to continue with the case. The state AG’s office is expected to prosecute the case at the second trial as it did the first one.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans said he has not heard from Dr. Scher or any new counsel that he might have employed. He said Dr. Scher must obtain new private counsel or petition the court to appoint an attorney to represent him.
In 1996, 20 years after the shooting death of Montrose attorney Martin Dillon, Dr. Scher was charged with that fatal shooting. A year later a jury found him guilty of the shooting and he is now serving a life sentence in state prison in Fayette, PA.
In a one sentence press release in October, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Middle District) said it had denied the state’s attempt to argue against a court decision granting Dr. Scher a new trial.
Shortly after the Supreme Court decision, Mr. Moses said he would still prefer a change of venue and that if he remained Dr. Scher’s attorney he would pursue that goal. No words yet on Mr. Moses’ replacement or whether whomever it is will also seek the change.
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. Dillon’s wife whom he married two years after Martin Dillon’s 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.
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, and Mr. Dillon fell while running with a loaded gun that discharged and killed him. 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. Dillon’s wife. He said a struggle ensued for the gun Mr. Dillon was holding and the weapon went off and Mr. Dillon was shot dead.
Between 6 and 10:15 p.m. on the evening of December 14, an unknown person(s) entered the home of Christina Lopez, Springville Township, through an unlocked window, taking a safety deposit box with cash inside, a DVD player and an aluminum poker case with chips.*
Lee Bonner of Hallstead was backing his 2002 Peterbilt Tractor down Bennett Street when he struck a 1990 Nissan 300ZX that was parked there on the afternoon of December 11. Bonner then pulled away without leaving the required information. Charges were filed in district court.
Someone smashed the front passenger window of a vehicle belonging to Corrine Igoe of New Milford Township, sometime around 1 a.m. on the morning of December 2.
BURGLARY, THEFT, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF
Sometime between November 30 and December 7, an unknown person(s) broke into a garage on Lathrop Street in Montrose and removed a car exhaust system, car side mirrors and a pneumatic paint-spray gun. The person(s) also broke into a car in the driveway in front of the garage and stole the following items from inside it: a Play Station 2, car stereo, amplifier, two woofer speakers, capacitor, shifter knob and a 7-inch television monitor.*
Someone pumped $24 of gas into a light-colored Buick with either Connecticut or Delaware plates at the Exxon Station in New Milford Township on the afternoon or December 7 and then left without paying for it. The car was last seen traveling south on Interstate 81.
This time, someone pumped $31.26 of gas at the HO-Mart in Montrose early in the evening of December 13 and left without paying for it. The vehicle was not identified.
A mailbox belonging to John Parks, Fairdale, Forest Lake Township, was smashed by unknown person(s) sometime between 1 and 7 p.m. on December 13.
Reginald Harkness, 77, no address given, was towing a camper that was attached to the 1996 Chrysler he was driving in the right-hand lane of Interstate 81 South. He lost control of the camper, which then began to fishtail. Harkness swerved onto the right berm and then across both lanes of travel, entering the median where the camper jack-knifed. As the Chrysler traveled along the embankment, the camper then broke loose. The car came to rest in the median, facing west. The camper, after breaking loose, traveled up the embankment and rolled, destroying it; what was left came to rest on the rear of the car. Neither Harkness nor his passenger, who were both wearing seat belts, were injured. Moderate damage was done to the Chrysler, which was towed from the scene by Harford Garage in this crash that occurred a 1 p.m. on November 27.
Donald Johnson, 39, New Milford, was driving a 1989 Mercury Sable south on Route 11 in New Milford Township around 9:30 on the evening of December 9. The car went off the road and along its berm where it struck a road sign. It continued along the shoulder where it struck a telephone pole and flipped onto its roof, trapping Johnson, who was not wearing a seat belt and was seriously injured. Johnson displayed signs of intoxication and was arrested for DUI. Charges are pending, following receipt of lab results.
A green Ford Explorer with a vanity plate that says “Eagles #1 Fan” drove off from the Flying J in New Milford Township without paying for an undisclosed amount of fuel on the morning of December 9.*
Eric Ashley, Montrose, lost control of his 1993 Plymouth Acclaim at the intersection of Ainey Road and State Route 706 in Jessup Township in the early hours of December 8. He struck a fence constructed out of utility poles, and went on to strike three traffic signs before coming to an uncontrolled stop. Ashley fled the scene and failed to notify the police. Several traffic citations were filed in district court.
While Danielle Brant, 22, was at the Nicholson Pump & Pantry early in the morning of December 10, David Brant, 25, Hallstead, went to see her and became involved in argumentative behavior towards her. She had recently obtained a protection from abuse (PFA) order against him. David Brant was placed under arrest and later placed in the Wyoming County Correctional facility.
A Juvenile from Forest City was driving a 2004 Jaguar sedan on State Route 106 in Lenox Township when he crossed over the double yellow lines and struck the front of a 1998 Ford sedan driven by a 23-year-old unidentified woman from Union Dale who had two passengers. The Jaguar came to rest in the middle of the road, facing northwest; the Ford, facing northeast on the south berm of the road and partially on top of the guardrail. All occupants of both vehicles were transported to CMC in Scranton and this crash, which occurred at about 11:30 a.m. on December 12, is being further investigated. Clifford, Hallstead, Harford and Greenfield fire departments assisted at the scene, and Kozlowski’s Towing of Clifford towed the cars.
This collision occurred just after noon on December 10 when a vehicle driven by Mary Beth MacMillan, Apalachin, NY, pulled out of a private driveway on State Road 4013 in Apolacan Township. A vehicle driven by Bradley Ellsworth, Forest City, was traveling south on the road when Macmillan’s vehicle collided with it. Both drivers were wearing seat belts and were uninjured.
Shortly after 11 on the morning of November 20, Tina Anderson, Great Bend, reported a burglary from her home that may have occurred on or around November 6. She returned home to find her door ajar. Nothing was noticed missing until a later date when she discovered numerous jewelry items missing from her jewelry cabinet.*
A 1999 Mercedes Benz SUV and a Ford 150 were involved in a head-on collision early in the evening of December 9 on State Route 167 in Bridgewater Township. The report did not identify the drivers of the vehicles, and noted that moderate injuries were incurred.
Steven Rosenblum, 46, Friendsville, received moderate injuries when he lost control of the 1999 Toyota Tacoma he was driving on a snow-covered State Route 267 in Choconut Township on the morning of December 3. The Tacoma left the roadway and hit a tree.
This collision occurred early in the morning of December 3 when Jennifer Thatcher, New Milford, driving a 2004 Chevy Tracker west on State Route 706 in Bridgewater Township, lost control of the vehicle on the snow-covered road and hit a tree.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Kenneth D. Gelatt and Tammy L. Gelatt to Kenneth D. Gelatt, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Sinon Timothy Gulley and Sheila Gulley to Holly L. Kubus, in Oakland Borough for $54,700.
Donald J. Sechrist and Donna M. Sechrist to Richard B. Green, in Forest Lake Township for $35,000.
Anthony Berrone to Philip Wetzel, in Montrose for $11,000.
Robert G. Hotchkiss and Mary G. Hotchkiss to Gergory A. Ciraula and Mary L. Ciraula, in Dimock Township for $232,500.
Mary Pat Freitag and Peter Freitag to Christopher F. Devries Sr. and Rosalind F. Devries, in Oakland Borough for $62,400.
Kirk Grisel to Gary W. Reugner and Anna L. Reugner, in Liberty Township for $8,000.
John M. Parys to Joseph Weidow and Sharon Weidow, in Lenox Township for $38,000.
George J. Lowery Jr., Kathleen A. Lowery (nbm) Kathleen A. Watters, and Charles Watters to Berne C. Adams IV and Mae E. Karschner, in Auburn Township for $134,900.
Mary M. Petersen (nbm ) Mary M. Malone (by attorney) to Jon N. Master and Jenna James Master, in Lathrop Township for $80,000.
Frank R. Kroner and Kashmira Kroner to Frank Vassallo and Jane Vassallo, in Lenox township for $220,000.
John C. Montgomery, Regina M. Annunziata, and Donna L. Montgomery to John Proch and Kimberly Proch, in Lenox Township for $10,000.
Mark E. George, Joyce G. George and Thomas Huf to Mark E. George and Joyce G. George, in Harford Township for $1,000.
Rena E. Graham to Kenneth C. Trowbridge and Susan Wright, in Rush Township for $55,000.
Michael Garden and Rachel Odoroff to Dennis J. Houck Jr., in Lenox Township for $111,000.
Bradley W. Blachek (estate) to Lisa Yachymiak, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Daria Miano, Walter J. Aikens (estate), Joey Aikens, and Sonia Aikens to Sonia Aikens, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Howard C. Price and Delores Price to Robert A. Gremmel (living trust), in Jackson Township for $112,500.
WG Archer to WG Archer Reo Corp., in Great Bend Borough for $10.
WG Archer Reo Corp to Kristen Wood and Tracy Spellman, in Great Bend Borough for $40,000.
Dale N. Reynolds, Gayle E. Reynolds (by attorney), Robert R. Reynolds and Barbara Reynolds to Raymond Pepitone and Angela Pepitone, in Oakland Township for $40,000.
Thomas J. Chamberlain and Christine Chamberlain to Thomas J. Chamberlain and Christine Chamberlain, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Peter Mushala Jr. and Amy L. Mushala to Warren G. Yeisley and Helen R. Yeisley, in Ararat Township for $40,500.
Raymond W. Brinckman, Sally A. Brinckman, Robert F. Cross and Wendya. Cross to Mark P. Beach and Julie A. Beach, in Lenox Township for $12,690.
Chad E. Crawford to Chad E. Crawford and Shannon M. Crawford, in Oakland Borough for no dollars.
Irene L. MacDonald and Morgan MacDonald to Kevin H. MacDonald, in Dimock Township for $130,000.
Kim Marie Mellor (aka) Kim Marie Fria to Kim Marie Friar, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Daniel J. Sweeney and Fianna Smyth-Sweeney to Daniel J. Sweeney and Dianna Smyth-Sweeney, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Edward Manherz to Frank Edward Plonski and Josephine Plonski, in Brooklyn Township for $100.
Theodore H. Jones and Josephine F. Jones to Robert G. Baldwin and Marcia M. Baldwin, in Apolacon Township for $27,000.
Jerry G. Forsyth (estate) to Ellen E. Forsyth, in Great Bend Township, for one dollar.
Joseph J. Stone and Debra A. Stone to Christopher Chervanka and Dori Chervanka, in Thompson Township for $85,000.
Anna Dzurko (estate) and William Dzurko to Scott R. Simmons, in Lenox Township for $8,000.
Kristy L. Bliss to Donald C. Bliss, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
William J. Charcalla and Christine Charcalla to William J. Charcalla, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Francis E. Butts to Kelly Marie Brown, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Carol Masters, Richard Masters, and Eloise W. Masters to Richard Masters, Eloise W. Masters and Carol Masters, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Donald H. Clapper and Ruth E. Clapper to Donald H. Clapper (trust) and Ruth E. Clapper (trust), in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Marvin Kallish, James T. McHale, Martin Phillips, Samuel N. Robinowitz, Donald Resnick, Anthony A. Lawrence (estate), Harold Aranow, and Alvin Clemens to Arthur J. Kania, in Herrick Township for $50,000.
Harry L. Decker and Nancy Decker to Bronson Stone and Tammy E. Stone, in Harford Township for $48,300.
Bank One (fka) First National Bank of Chicago to Joseph Frye and Jayne Frye, in Great Bend Township for $10,000.
Brian D. Bianchi and Nicole Elizabeth Henderson, both of Hallstead.
David Munroe Grover and Sylvia L. Diamond, both of Montrose.
Leroy C. Cottrell Jr. and Marsha Ann Smith, both of Jackson.
Brian Thomas Delaney and Christine M. Anderson, both of Susquehanna.
W. Mark Lewis of New Milford vs. Terri Lynn Lewis of New Milford.
Kenneth D. Gelatt of Jackson vs. Tammy L. Gelatt of Deland, FL.
Christopher R. Getter of Susquehanna vs. Annette D. Getter of Susquehanna.
Kenneth J. Wolanin of Friendsville vs. Leanora Wolanin of Friendsville.
Michael P. Noctor vs. Rebecca S. Goldstein of Amherst, MA.
Bruce E. Nelligan Sr. of Montrose vs. Debra M. Nelligan of Tamaqua.
Renee M. Hausser of New Milford vs. Keith F. Hausser of New Milford.
Two Harford Township Supervisors met on December 11, and for the first time in many months, the Odd Fellows Hall wasn't foremost on the agenda. It was first, however.
Terry Van Gorden presided in the absence of Rick Pisasik, and started off by reading a brief letter from the Fire Company (of which Mr. Gorden is also a member). At the suggestion of their solicitor, the Supervisors had asked the Fire Company to join their petition to the court to remove restrictive covenants from the deed for the old Township Hall property in the village. The Fire Company's letter, resulting from a meeting of the volunteers' Board of Directors on November 28, agreed to the idea. Joining the court petition would not necessarily be required, but, in the attorney's opinion, would make for a stronger argument, along with the vote of township residents last month. The restrictions were added to the deed when the property was transferred to the township by the Fire Company in July, 1969.
Mr. VanGorden called the measure "step 1" in the next phase of a long and deliberate process to determine the future of the old building. He said that the Fire Company's letter would be sent along to the lawyers, expecting that the petition could be scheduled on the court docket for resolution next year.
The Supervisors focused most of their attention at the meeting on a proposal by Township mechanic and Assistant Roadmaster George Sansky to purchase a replacement for the township's dump truck. The 1980-vintage Ford L8000 truck has been used for plowing, spreading cinders and calcium, and other miscellaneous duties, but recently broke down. It died "a rather gruesome death," said Mr. Sansky, which he said would cost nearly $8,000 to repair.
Instead, he spent considerable time researching a replacement, and proposed the purchase of a 1995 Mack chassis for $9,500 from Triple Cities Mack, in Dunmore. With about 600,000 miles, the Mack still has substantial life left, said Mr. Sansky, who called it a "really nice truck." He proposed buying the chassis separately from a dump box, which would cost about $5,000, new. Hydraulics on the old truck will be moved to the new one. The township will also purchase a posi-traction differential, for about $2,500. By the time it gets on the road, the new truck will cost the township about $18,000, but, according to Mr. Sansky, should be worth $20,000 - $24,000.
The two Supervisors voted to spend the $9,500 for the truck; the dump box will be considered later, when the lowest price for the right box is found. Mr. VanGorden said that PENNDOT regulations allowed the purchase based on telephone bids.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will take place on Tuesday, December 28, 2004, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the Township office.
Great Bend-Hallstead Ambulance members gathered at the ambulance garage on December 16 to decide what to do next. President John Brant started off by calling for a vote on the two options presented at the community meeting the week before. The first option would extend what they're doing now, by proceeding toward a merger with the Broome Volunteer Ambulance service (after a 120-day trial period). Option two is an attempt to resurrect the existing ambulance service under new bylaws and a new board of directors.
Polling each member around the table yielded a vote of five for option one, and eight for option two. The vote was not without difficulty, not to say outright hostility. Mr. Brant himself abstained from the vote and announced that this was his last meeting. "We tried. We did our best," he said, but "We got crucified." He said that he would help out however possible in the future, and did not explicitly rule out remaining a member of the organization he has served for so long. "I'm always going to be here.. I'm a certified EMT." But he was clearly angry at several of his colleagues around the table, frequently lashing out at individuals for having hidden, "personal agendas." One of his colleagues made an emotional appeal based on the effort and commitment Mr. Brant has shown to the community in his service with the ambulance. Despite the rancor and hard feelings, Mr. Brant directed this meeting to a successful conclusion.
Steve Wirth, of the law firm that has been advising the ambulance service as it tries to find its way, had delivered a draft set of bylaws for the membership to review and decide on. The new bylaws are an extensive revision of the service's existing bylaws, modified specifically to add a board of directors, and to define its functions.
Fifteen pages long, the document had not been available in time for most of the members to examine closely. Some, including Mr. Brant, suggested postponing further discussion until everyone had a chance to study the new bylaws. Another meeting had already been scheduled for Monday, December 20 to elect a board of directors; some thought that was too soon.
Others, however, were eager to move the process along quickly. An argument was offered that bylaws can be easily changed, so why not accept these as is, and then change them later, if necessary. Most seemed to agree with this approach, and the assembled members so voted. Since some would not be able to attend a Monday meeting, the next meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, December 21.
By that time, enough candidates for the board of directors are expected to submit "letters of commitment" to the membership announcing their availability. Two observers were among the candidates, and at least two will probably come from among the active membership. Tony Conarton had a list of four others. The draft bylaws require a seven-member board.
It appeared as if the more vocal members were afraid that if the process was allowed to go on too long that the ambulance service would simply dissipate for lack of activity and interest. In fact, among the five members who voted to go with the option to merge with the Broome service were some who seemed to feel that Great Bend-Hallstead was no longer viable on its own.
And that may yet be the case, unless the community comes up with enough committed volunteers to restore the once-proud ambulance corps to its former importance. Stay tuned.
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