Please visit our kind sponsors
The first Borough Council meeting in Great Bend for 2005 covered a lot of ground, and after a lengthy discussion of accounts and funds that didn't seem to have a clear resolution, Council President Ray Holtzman shepherded his colleagues through the rest of the lengthy agenda in an orderly fashion that culminated in reports on police coverage, which has concerned Council since the local police force was disbanded several years ago.
The state police were not able to send a representative to the meeting, but Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan told Council that they had checked speeds on Main Street for one hour on one afternoon in November and found an average speed of 45 miles per hour, barely within the limit ordinarily allowed. A trooper may appear at Council's meeting in February to explain what they can do for the Borough.
In the absence of better coverage from the state police, the Borough has entered discussions with Susquehanna Borough with the possibility that Great Bend might "rent" some time from Susquehanna's police force. Last month the Chief of the Susquehanna police force attended to outline what might be possible, noting, however, that any decisions were up to the Susquehanna Borough Council.
Great Bend councilman Jerry MacConnell has since met with the Susquehanna Council and found it "receptive" to the idea. The state, in fact, is encouraging "regional" policing by making funds available for cooperative efforts like this. Mr. MacConnell reported that the cost to Great Bend would be about $35 per man-hour; at that level, no additional payment for workmen’s' compensation premiums would be assessed. He said that he was told to expect that as much as 50% of compensated time might be spent by officers in court. He told council that Susquehanna Borough wants to continue discussions among themselves before proceeding further with Great Bend. In any case, Mr. Holtzman reminded Council that there is no money in the budget for renting police coverage from Susquehanna, which might cost $10,000 or more per year, depending on how much coverage they ask for and can get.
In other matters, the Borough sent letters to the water company for help repairing roads over water lines, and to the electric company for help replacing a bulb on a tall pole in Greenwood Park as well as information about replacing borough street lights with brighter fixtures. Neither request so far has elicited a formal response, although the electric company has identified a person at their office in Towanda who is available to answer questions. Likewise, the local sewer authority was asked for help with road repairs over their lines; according to councilman Mike Wasko, the sewer authority denies that they have any lines that might be at fault.
Council authorized the purchase and installation of additional street signs of various kinds in an on-going program to upgrade traffic control and other signage in the borough. Borough employee Alan Grannis has been refurbishing and replacing signs all over the borough over the past several months. Mr. Grannis also received a modest raise in pay.
The Borough received a request from the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau for donations, which was summarily turned down.
A letter from County Commissioner Mary Ann Warren requesting and offering cooperation and good will for the new year was met with a suggestion "that they don't send any more stupid letters like that at our [taxpayers'] cost."
The Borough has been having some difficulty collecting on a home-improvement loan made several years ago to a resident under a state-funded program (which is now defunct). The resident has offered to make a minimum monthly payment. The Borough's solicitor requested an executive session to discuss the matter further.
And finally, Council decided to replace all the external locks at the Borough building in a move to get some control over who has access to the building.
There will be a change in the meeting time for February. Instead of the first Thursday of the month, the next Great Bend Borough Council meeting will be on Thursday, February 10th, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
This past Monday, the final inspection began for all sewer lines, manholes and other sewer infrastructure in New Milford. Secretary Amy Hine told the members of the New Milford borough council (absent member Chris Phillips) at its first meeting of the year that everyone involved in the projects – engineers, contractors, members of the municipal authority – would also be involved in the inspection, which is scheduled to be completed by January 29. Testing has been taking place, with water forced through it in pressures higher than it will bear once it is up and running.
Hine also reported that the sewer-construction contract will be extended into the spring when the lawns, streets and driveways that were dug up for the lines, many of which have yet to be put back to pre-construction condition, will be restored. The municipal authority, added Hine, has held back monies until the restoration is completed according to the terms of the contract. She also noted that authority representatives will make the contractor aware of the possibility of claims against it, should restoration fall short of conditions prior to construction.
Once the inspection is satisfactorily completed, said Hine, the system will be considered functional. Then, the municipal authority will determine the date by which residents need to hook up to the system, and notify them of it.
(Council will also seek the authority’s input on whether the borough garage is required to hook up to the sewer line. The garage does have water, and council member Rick Ainey stated it was his understanding that every place that has water must also have sewage.)
In other “restoration” projects, council member Chris Allen reported that he obtained a very rough estimate of the cost to pave all the borough’s streets. Assuming that every street were 16 feet wide (and all are not), the ballpark figure is $300,000. The borough currently has set $100,000 aside for paving, but council members wondered if – with the mortgage paid on the borough building – it made sense to think about a loan to pave all at once, instead of, say, over three years. Allen thought about that too, and is looking into what loan rates might apply if council decides to go this route. It expects to bid the project, or parts of it, in early spring.
In her planning commission report, council member Teri Gulick reported that the group has decided to consolidate five ordinances about street parking and signs into one ordinance. Hine provided Gulick with ordinances from other municipalities for the commission’s review, and it will report back to council with its recommendation.
Gulick also reported on the commission’s review of a request for a four-trailer subdivision. It recommended denying the request because plans submitted for it showed no clear indication of how sewage would be addressed for the site. Council accepted the commission’s recommendation and denied the request. Council member Rick Ainey remarked that the submitted plan for the subdivision would also require some kind of response from the municipal authority.
Members of the planning commission, Gulick reported, have also lately received reports that chickens are loose again. In addition, three Council members recently received complaints from at least three neighbors of the resident with the chickens. Member Jim Carr responded to a call he received, and has photos of the chickens across the road and on other peoples’ lawns.
A few months ago, Council acted in response to a similar complaint and notified the resident that the chickens violated a zoning ordinance; the resident responded that the chickens would be enclosed, pending construction of a fence that gave the chickens more room.
With the chickens once again pecking at will in spite of the earlier warning, Council authorized its codes officer to initiate proceedings for violating the ordinance, including recovery of costs the borough expended on the matter. The zoning officer will also follow up on complaints of a barking dog, including notifying the owner and checking with other agencies, such as the county dog officer and/or the county Humane Society.
A council member is filling the post of zoning officer until one can be hired. Council received four applications in response to an ad it ran for the position. Its personnel committee will review the applications and report back to council with its recommendation.
In flood and other emergency discussion, Hine reported that she has spoken with a state DEP representative as well as Jim Garner at the county level about meeting with council to share information about creek cleaning. The state rep. replied he would try to make it but in case he couldn’t, then Garner would attend. For his part, Garner said he would, provided the meeting was held during the day. With most council members at work during the day, Hine will push for a meeting with Garner that is more convenient for council members, and that would be in the evening.
Also, with updated emergency management plans due by April 5 from municipalities by the state, council is anxious to have its table-top discussion about emergency plan scenarios scheduled well before the due date. Hine will coordinate a meeting with county emergency manager Mark Wood, state police, the fire and ambulance volunteers, borough emergency manager Jim Carpenetti and council members, hopefully for council’s February 17 work session.
In other flood-related updates, Allen reported that all appropriate paperwork has been completed and submitted to FEMA/PEMA for reimbursement of expenses involved in restoring eroded creek banks. Hine noted that representatives of these two agencies told her that reimbursement would be forthcoming once a project coordinator was sent out to sign off on the work, and that this could take anywhere from a week to a couple of months. While it waits, council voted to draw down $40,647 on a line of credit it established for the clean up to pay contractors who have done the work.
Discussion of other borough business before the meeting wrapped up included the purchase, for up to $50, of a two-way radio for borough employee Bob Ehm to communicate with the borough office while he is out plowing or out on other borough work; apprising the latest member of the county railroad authority, who is from New Milford, of “goings on about economic development in the town” and requesting the minutes of authority meetings; and appointing Phil Hari to a five-year term to the Municipal Authority.
The next regular meeting of the New Milford borough council is scheduled for February 3, 7 p.m. at the borough building on Main Street.
A tragic fire on Christmas Eve consumed Elisha's Home and Ministry, breeding farm for Personal Ponies, Ltd, causing the death of all thirty animals housed inside.
Elisha's Home and Ministry has been breeding animals for Personal Ponies for the past seven years, and the loss could be devastating. Personal Ponies is an organization that raises and donates, free of charge, U.K. Shetland Ponies to disabled children across the United States.
The intense heat from the barn fire caused families from two homes in the proximity to evacuate their households until the blaze could be brought under control by the Montrose, Forest Lake and Rush Fire departments responding to the call. According to reports, siding on two of the homes was actually starting to melt from the heat produced.
At least one vehicle and a number of pieces of farm equipment were lost in the fire, as well as the heartbreaking loss of all the animals.
Anyone wishing to lend a hand by making a donation is asked to send same to: Elisha's Home, RR 5, Box 237, Montrose, PA 18801.
Robert J. Springer, Betty Jean Ferguson, John C. Ferguson, William George Springer, Teresa Lee Springer, Barbara Ann Herchel, Delsie Springer (est aka) Delise R. Springer (est), James R. Springer Jr. and Jane Lantz to Roger Sherman, in Springville Township for $75,500.
Richard W. Hancock, Gertrude Hancock (estate) to Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock, Randy W. Hancock and Robert D. Hancock, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Genevieve R. Walaski and Paul Walaski, to Paul Walaski, in Forest City for one dollar.
Richard W. Hancock, Gertrude Hancock (estate) to Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock, Randy W. Hancock, and Robert D. Hancock, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock, Randy W. Hancock, and Robert D. Hancock to Richard W. Hancock, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock, Randy W. Hancock, and Robert D. Hancock, in Silver Lake township for one dollar.
Amelia Luckie to Amelia Luckie, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Barbara Hinkley, Helen Austin (estate) to Guy A. Erceg II, Courtney L. Erceg, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar. (corrective Deed)
Warren D. Tompkins, Sieglinde Tompkins to Warren D. Tompkins, Sieglinde Tompkins, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Guardian LTSC Management Inc. (nbn) Guardian Elder Care Inc., Meadow View Senior Living Center to OHIU Asset (PA) Trust in Bridgewater Township and Montrose Borough for $10. (corrective deed)
Marjorie Jean Empett to Harold Lamont Empett and Kristi Lyn Empett, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Nancy E. Pordon, Orville Shoemaker to Nancy E. Pordon, Orville Shoemaker, in Brooklyn and Lathrop towships for one dollar.
Stanley J. Partyka and Catha Partyka, to William H. Liepinis and Cindy Liepinis, in Great Bend Township for $80,000.
John Winter, Louise Winter, Bruce E. Ross, Nancy W. Ross to Ross B. Elliot and Ross Kimberly, in Herrick Township for $30,000.
Dunmore Properties to Scott E. Seman and Renee Seman, in Lenox Township for $152,000.
David T. Baker Jr. and Wendy D. Baker to Eva Baker-Schwartz and David W. Baker, in Susquehanna for $25,000.
Richard Casterline, Patricia Casterline (nbm) Patricia Rowles, Jack Casterline, Theresa Casterline to David King, in Little Meadows Borough for $5,000.
George Lehoczky Sr., Carol R. Lehoczky aka Caroll R. Lehoczky to George Lehoczky, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Mary Jane Taylor and Brian E. Taylor to Maplewood Cemetery, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Arnold D. Brassard and Irene N. Brassard to Michael A. Rosa, in Great Bend Township for $42,000.
Theodore E. Mills Sr. and Nancy D. Mills to John Coombs, in Clifford township for $90,000.
George R. Hibbard and Shirley B. Hibbard to Shirley B. Hibbard, in Montrose for one dollar.
Carl B. Whitney and Marcella L. Whitney to John Cancelliere and Kim D. Cancelliere, in Rush Township for $185,900.
Robert A. Coleman and Donna C. Coleman to Peter J. Churchill, in Gibson Township for $79,000.
James W. McDonald to James W. McDonald and William Patrick McDonald, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Kevin M. Smith and Teresa L. Smith to Kevin M. Smith and Teresa L. Smith, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Lee Fletcher (aka) Lee Fletcher Jr., Janet B. Fletcher to Lee Fletcher Jr. (trust) and Janet B. Fletcher (trust), in Gibson and Ararat townships for one dollar.
Michael S. Ventola, Christine Ventola, Richard Sarokas and Maryln Sarokas to Jon Hager and Jacqueline Hager, in Thompson Borough for $92,500.
Paula Collier to Ellen L. Mulligan, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
James C. Lucas (estate), Karen L. Lucas (estate) to Thomas E. Wooden Sr. and Vicki L. Wooden, in Jessup Township for $94,000.
Elk Hill Estates to Robert Holthausen and Christina G. Holthausen, in Herrick Township for $180,000.
William L. Dittmar to William L. Dittmar and James Corl, in Great Bend Township for $40,000.
G. L. Swisher (estate, aka) Gideon L. Swisher to Leonard Przybyszewski, in Auburn Township for $60,000.
Leona J. Knapman (estate) to Paul Jones and Doris Jones, in Jessup Township for one dollar (water rights).
Bernard M. O’Neil, Joan W. O’Neil, Jeanne M. Delgado to Ross J. Delconte and Susan Delconte, in Great Bend Township for $40,000.
Bridgewater Baptist Church to James H. Fahinger and Rebecca S. Fahinger, in Montrose for $150,000.
United States Secretary of Veteran Affairs to Thomas MacDonald and Lynn MacDonald, in Forest Lake Township for $79,000.
Doris E. Denning and Doris E. Denning (trust by trustee) to Denise N. Caruso, in Thompson Township for $75,000.
George Chalker (aka) George W. Chalker, Betty Chalker (aka) Betty Y. Chalker to George F. Maxson, in Clifford Township for $335,000.
Glenn G. Whitney and Grace Whitney to Ronald Whitney and Dennis Whitney, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Fred S. Siebecker Jr. and Barbara J. Siebecker to Kerry P. Schimelfenig and Joi M. Siebecker-Schimelfenig, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Robert A. Evans (revocable trust by trustee) to Robert Sparrock and Susan M. Sparrock, in Bridgewater Township for $90,000.
Joan T. Johnson (nka) Joan T. Hannigan to By The Stream, in Hop Bottom Borough for $73,500.
Washington Mutual Bank (succ to) Fleet Mortgage Coprporation to U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Developent, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
In last week’s issue we inadvertently misspelled a name in the MARRIAGES section. The marriage announcement should have read as follows.
Neil J. Darrow and Christina M. Major, both of Montrose.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
In the early afternoon of December 22, a group of youths drove erratically around the parking lot of the Elk Mountain Ski Resort in Herrick Township, damaging a cable and signs in the lot. An attendant at the resort got the number of vehicle the kids were driving, and charges are pending following identity of the driver.
A 2004 Chevy driven by Gerald Box, Susquehanna, and a 1998 Ford Tempo with Elizabeth Hanrahan, Susquehanna behind the wheel were waiting on Route 171 in Oakland Township while a school bus was dropping off students on the afternoon of January 3. A 1996 F-150 Ford driven by William Solonowitz, Montrose failed to stop, and collided with Box’s vehicle, which then struck Hanrahan’s Ford. Solonowitz and Hanrahan were not injured and Box had a minor compliant of knee pain.
Billie Jo Snell, 27, Laceyville, received moderate injuries as did her passenger, Arlene Carey, 29, when she lost control of her 1991 Oldsmobile while driving west on White Pond Road in Auburn Township in the early evening of December 26. The car veered and rode a slight embankment before flipping over onto its side and then back upright onto its wheels. The Olds was severely damaged, and Snell, Carey and a third, uninjured passenger, Chris Barnes, 14, were taken to Tyler Memorial Hospital by MICU Mobil 601 and FWM Ambulance. Rush Fire and Police assisted state police at the scene.
Just before noon on December 20, a Chevy-10 pickup owned by Jason Spencer, 23, no address reported, was parked on the right edge of State Route 171 about two miles from Great Bend. It had run out of gas and was almost fully blocking the westbound lane. A westbound produce box truck driven by Richard Annesi, 27, no address reported, was unable to pass the pickup and struck its rear, forcing the pick-up into a ditch on the right berm. The box truck continued west and came to a stop about 200 feet after the collision. Annesi was uninjured, but both his box truck and Spencer’s pick-up received major damage. Annesi was cited for careless driving; Spencer, for illegally parking a vehicle.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
An unknown person(s) took a black and orange K2 snowboard, serial number 4301674 and belonging to Jackie Zusi Neary, Thorofare, NY, from a board rack in front of the lodge at Elk Mountain Ski Resort on the afternoon of January 1.*
Someone damaged the front door of the home belonging to William Frederick Aton, Silver Lake Township, by pulling its wood paneling away from the door frame sometime between 9:50 a.m. and 3 p.m. on January 4.*
A 1996 Ford Explorer driven by Ruben Rios, 18, Meshoppen, was severely damaged when Rios lost control of it on State Route 706 about 3 miles west of Lawton. The Explorer left the road and struck a tree head-on. Neither Rios or his passenger, who were both wearing seat belts, were injured, although Rios was cited for driving too fast for conditions, which were a slippery, snow-covered road at the time the accident occurred on the afternoon of December 19.
A 1992 Chrysler LeBaron driven by Meredith Clapper, 27, Susquehanna was traveling south on State Road 1012 in New Milford Township when Clapper lost control of it, leaving the road and striking a tree. Clapper and passenger Michael Treacy, 42, were seat belted and passenger Michael Z. Treacy, 16 months, was in a child-restraint seat and all were taken to Wilson Hospital by New Milford Fire and Ambulance. The report did not include the extent of any injuries because of this accident that happened on December 18.
At around 7 on the evening of December 15, a state trooper was responding to a report of an attempted burglary at the intersection of State Road 547 and Upper Podunk Road, no municipality given. The trooper had a description of a white male wearing a black sweatshirt with lettering on it, known as Josh Casey by the victims of the attempted burglary. As the trooper turned onto Upper Podunk Road, he saw a man fitting the description, stopped, and asked the man to identify himself, which he did, as Josh Casey.
The trooper detained Casey until the facts of the reported crime could be determined, also patting him down for possible weapons. The trooper felt a pot pipe in the front pocket of Casey’s blue jeans, as well as a prescription medicine bottle containing, according to Casey, percocet. Casey was informed he was being placed under arrest for drug paraphernalia and related charges.
While Casey was detained in the patrol car, the trooper responded to the location of the attempted burglary and determined that it was actually a criminal mischief, for which Casey was also charged.
Tracy Mead, 24, was driving a 1995 Dodge Stratus early in the morning of January 1 when she lost control of it while going around a curve. She, along with passengers Kimberly Mead, 21, and Danielle Legere, 23, were not injured, although passenger Shawn Bedford, 23, received minor injuries. All are from Susquehanna and all were wearing seat belts.
This collision happened as Kathy Moskowitz, South Montrose, was driving her vehicle down State Route 29 in Dimock Township and steered to the right to avoid vehicles that were stopped to make a left turn onto State Road 3023. She collided with a pole. Moskowitz was wearing a seat belt and neither her nor her two children who were passengers were injured in this accident that occurred on the afternoon of December 23.
Leanne Marie Kelley, Union Dale, lost control of her 1994 Mitsubishi while driving along State Road 374 in Lenox Township early in the morning of December 22. She was uninjured when the car hit a ditch; the car was towed from the scene by Kozlowski Towing.
TRAFFIC HIT AND RUN
Someone struck a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe belonging to Dixie Herbert, New Milford, while it was parked and unattended in the Blue Ridge High School parking lot during school hours on December 15. Whoever struck the car fled the scene without leaving required information.*
Debra Wadge, Kingsley, lost control of her 2003 Subaru on a snow-covered Route 11 in Harford Township on the afternoon of December 28. The car left the road, struck the guide rail, crossed both lanes of the road, and then struck an embankment. The car was removed from the scene by Molenko’s Garage, and the report did not include whether Wadge or her juvenile passenger were injured.
Helen Calabro, New Milford, lost control of her 1999 Chrysler on a snow-covered Route 11 in Lathrop Township on the afternoon of December 28. The car left the road and struck a small tree and a parked vehicle, and was towed from the scene by Molenko’s Garage.
Charges were filed against Paul Stein, 44, Liberty Township, for assaulting Jacqueline Mead during an argument at a residence late on the night of December 26.
Tools were taken from the Bridgewater Township property of William Baier sometime between the early evening of December 23 and the following morning.*
Edward Arnold, Montrose, was driving east on State Route 706 in Rush Township when he came upon a deer in the roadway. He swerved to avoid the animal and hit a guardrail. Arnold was treated and released from the Endless Mountains Health Center for injuries resulting from this crash that happened on the evening of December 10.
An unknown person(s) broke a window on the Pennstar Bank in Kingsley sometime during the early morning of December 13.*
The airbag of a 2002 Toyota Camry driven by William Griffin, 72, Montrose, deployed after he lost control of the car while driving west of Grow Avenue in Montrose. The car left the road and struck the Endless Mountains Health Center building. Griffin received minor injuries and his car was towed from the scene in this accident that occurred in the late morning of December 24.
A 1994 Honda driven by Jonathan Short, no address given, was going south on State Route 106 in Clifford at the same time a 2000 Toyota driven by Lisa Kozlowski, 39, no address given, was traveling north. The Honda made a turning movement to turn onto State Road 2050 and did so in front of oncoming traffic and was truck by the Toyota. Kozlowski was taken to Marion Community Hospital in Carbondale for treatment of injuries. She, Short and Short’s passenger were all wearing seat belts in this crash that happened in the middle of the afternoon on December 27.
Nicholas Vanderpool, 22, Laceyville, was traveling west on State Route 706 in Rush Township while Paul Brojack, 50, Lawton, was driving east. Vanderpool, while trying to turn left onto Gary Road, put himself into the path of Brojack. Both drivers were wearing seat belts and while no serious inquiries were reported, state police were assisted at the scene by the Rush Township EMS in this late-morning crash on December 23.
Steve Petryszyn, Binghamton, left his Jeep for just an hour while he went into the Brackney Inn in Silver Lake Township just before midnight on December 24. When he left the Inn, he discovered that someone had entered the Jeep and took a pair of Swarovski binoculars, a Magellan GPS unit, a Browning hunting knife and two FRS two-way radios.*
On the morning of December 21, John Fortuner, 46, Forest City, was driving his 1995 Dodge Neon west on State Road 374 in Lenox Township when he failed to negotiate a right-hand curve, left the road and hit a guide rail. Fortuner displayed signs of drinking alcohol and charges are pending lab results. The Neon was severely damaged.
Don Johnson was not wearing a seat belt and received major injuries when the 1989 Mercury Sable he was driving along Route 11 in New Milford Township on the night of December 9 veered off the road and hit a telephone pole. Johnson was taken to Wilson Memorial Hospital for treatment; his Mercury was severely damaged, and he was arrested and charged with DUI.
As Mark Sherman, 40, Susquehanna, was turning west onto Route 171 in Oakland Township, Jenna Rogut, 18, New Milford, was driving north on the road when they collided. Sherman’s vehicle came to rest against a tree on the west berm, and Rogut’s on the west berm alone. Both were wearing seat belts in this accident that happened on the night of December 21. Sherman was not injured; Rogut received moderate injuries.
A 1997 Pontiac Sunfire came to rest at the edge of a creek along State Road 3001 in Auburn on the morning of December 16. Driver B. Buckingham, 18, no address given, lost control of the car and it spun 180 degrees into the right-hand lane before leaving the roadway, traveling backward, striking the concrete rail of a bridge, going over an embankment and finally stopping by the creek edge. The Pontiac was badly damaged, but Buckingham and a 16-year-old passenger received minor injuries.
Unknown person(s) walked up to a 1991 Chevy Cavalier owned by James Schweppenheiser, Lenox Township, while it was parked on his property and smashed the driver’s-side window, removing the keys from the ignition. This incident occurred on the morning of December 12.*
Shortly after noon on December 22, a 1999 Ford truck driven by David Gorick, Kirkwood, collided on Route 171 in Great Bend Township with a 1993 Mercury driven by Debra Johnson, Susquehanna. Neither driver was injured.
Someone drove off from the Great Bend Sunoco shortly after midnight on the morning of December 23 after pumping $12.48 of gas and driving off without paying for it.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
The first meeting of 2005 for Bridgewater Township ended on a happy note. Chuck Mead presented Bill Gorkski with an official framed citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives honoring him for 25 years of service to the township and signed by Sandra Major. He was also presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Attending were Supervisors, Beverly Way, Chuck Mead and Bill Gorkski; and Connie Ely, Secretary. Auditors, Patty Wood, Eleanor Kurasky and Lois Holbrook also were present at this meeting which included the New Year’s reorganization.
There are no new or elected officials. Chuck Mead was established as the Chairperson; Connie, temporary secretary; Beverly Way, Vice Chairperson and Connie Ely as Secretary/Treasurer. Some Cost of Living raises were agreed upon. They include a monthly raise for Connie Ely of $15. Her last increase was two years ago. A raise for Bill Gorkski as Roadmaster from $15/hr to $16.40/hr, which brings his wages up to the average for our state as researched by Chuck Mead.
Reappointed employees include; Russell Breeze, Burton Miller and Lonzo Issac. They will all receive a Cost of Living raise of $.40/hr. Bill motioned that the Holiday benefits stay the same as last year, with Chuck seconding the motion. All agreed that the Treasury Bond of $390,000 is sufficient. The tax collector’s compensation will stay at $2.50 per bill. The township will continue to use Michael Giangrieco as their legal council. Dave Coddington will be appointed to the Municipal Authority.
Beverly will be delegate to the Northern Tier Coalition convention. Chuck Mead will be delegate to the Council of Governments (COG) convention. Chuck and Bill will both attend the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors convention this year.
Chuck also motioned to appoint Beverly Way as Deputy Secretary/Treasurer. Mileage reimbursement will stay the same at $.36 per mile. Bridgewater Township will also continue to use Peoples National Bank. The meeting times will continue as before, every first and third Monday beginning at 7 p.m.
Connie Ely read the last meetings minutes. Regarding old business, Chuck mentioned a call from Bobby Jo Turner concerning the CDBG grant application. She only received one reply from the income survey. Eight or nine were sent out. The application can go no further if the residents concerned do not respond.
The official appraisal was received for the 2.8 acre property acquisition from Montrose Borough. Chuck Mead will present the appraisal to the Borough Council and an offer will be made. Eleanor Kurasky said the next step involved submitting 8 copies of the survey maps to the Susquehanna Planning Commission along with an application.
New Business: The United Fire Company Resolution was reviewed. Chuck Mead said it was based on tax assessments of 1 mill. He said they did not account for uncollected taxes, the tax collector’s fee and discounted taxes. Chuck will send them a corrected amount along with explanations. The resolution was given to the auditors to sign. Ace Robbins bid for gasoline delivery was received. Resolution 105, which is the Northern Tier Planning Coalition, was signed. It involves application for a grant to do a study regarding subdivision and land development ordinances. A total of nine townships and boroughs have joined together to apply for the grant. The next Northern Tier Coalition meeting will take place on January 20, 7 p.m. at the Silver Lake Township building. They meet every third Thursday of the month with the location rotating between townships.
A permit was also received for storm water drainage for The Church of Latter Day Saints. They are currently putting on an addition. Bills were reviewed and signed; ten checks were presented totaling $5,089.97.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
John Regan, who many believe is the first Democrat ever elected to the Clifford Township Board of Supervisors, was reelected chair of the board at last week’s township reorganization meeting.
Mr. Regan has been the top gun in this predominantly Republican stronghold since he was sworn into office three years ago after a surprise victory over former GOP supervisor T.R. Williams. In his freshman year in office, his Republican colleagues on the board selected him chair and he has been there ever since.
An auctioneer by trade, Mr. Regan blends a sense of humor with a conservative philosophy and it has been successful for him. He pursues his responsibility as chair of the board with tireless determination and his somewhat refreshing approach to municipal government seems to have been accepted by both political parties. Besides being board chair, Mr. Regan is also road master.
Randy LaCroix was elected vice chair of the board and will also serve as police commissioner and Supervisor Adam Baron was named voting delegate to the state convention.
Other appointments approved by the board included:
Paul Peterson, solicitor; Rene Reynolds, secretary/treasurer; Paul Fortuner, code enforcement officer; Thomas Andzulis and Tom Button, sewer enforcement officers; Tom Munley, police chief; Donald Carroll, police officer; Michael Deck, vacancy board chairman; and, Jay Lynch and Phil Price, emergency management coordinators.
The Community Bank & Trust was named as the official township depository; and the Transcript, Forest City News and The Scranton Times are the legal newspapers. Meetings will continue on the second Tuesday of the month only the new starting time will be 7 p.m.
The Forest City Borough Council agreed last week to update its Emergency Management Plan after Mark Wood, coordinator of the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency advised the governing body that its plan has not been updated since 1998.
In a letter to the council, Mr. Wood said all municipal plans are to be updated and submitted to the county EMA office every two years. He said Forest City did submit an update in 2003 but it was not completed in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Management Services Code.
A recommended resolution passed by the borough suggests that the borough will prepare, maintain, and keep current, an emergency operations plan for the “prevention and minimization of injury and damage caused by a major emergency or disaster within the borough.”
In another matter, council rejected a letter of resignation from Councilman Alan Gordon and President Jim Lowry said he would ask Mr. Gordon to remain until his term expires at the end of this year.
In a one sentence letter, Mr. Gordon offered no explanation for leaving the council but did ask that his resignation become effective immediately. If Mr. Gordon refuses to withdraw the letter, Council will have 30 days to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of his term.
A December report on the agreement that has the Forest City Police Department providing patrol and extra-curricular police coverage for neighboring Vandling Borough reveals the police made 100 patrols in the borough during the month. According to the agreement, Forest City Police are required to make three patrols a day through the borough streets.
Police were called to Vandling five times during the month and made one court appearance on a criminal mischief charge. The extra activities cost Vandling a total of 9 hours at $30 an hour and the total cost to that borough for the month was $820, including a fixed monthly cost of $550 for the daily patrols.
In his annual report to the council, Police Chief Paul Lukus noted that borough police responded to 3,694 calls in 2004 and assisted other departments on 205 occasions.
The report reveals that domestic problems were responsible for more callouts than any other incidents. Dog complaints came in second following by accidents, alarms, and warrants served.
Council agreed to ask the state for matching funds to update the borough’s Act 537 that provides for a borough-wide update of the municipal sewer plan. Councilman Paul J. Amadio said the update is required before the state will consider matching funds for improvements to the borough’s sewer system.
Mr. Amadio further suggested that the borough file applications for other grants including funds to update the borough’s downtown business district and for improvements to borough parks.
Council acknowledged a letter from Minority County Commissioner Mary Ann Warren thanking members of the governing body for serving the community.
“Without you and your commitment,” Mrs. Warren wrote, “we would not be able to move forward in our county. Please take a moment to reflect upon your accomplishments in 2004 and set goals for 2005 as you are where inspirations and aspirations unfold.”
Like other first meetings of the new year held by municipalities across the state, the January 3 meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors began with a reorganization.
The three-member board of supervisors more or less reorganized into the organization it had before. This included the following: since there were no volunteers to serve either a two-year term as assessor or a one-year term as auditor, no action was taken (although Joseph Collura was reappointed to perform the township’s DCED audit report); supervisors Bob Squier and George Haskins were reelected chair and vice chair of the board for the ensuing year; Sheila Guinan will continue as secretary/treasurer, George Haskins as roadmaster, David Sienko as chair of the vacancy board (which can intervene to name a person to fill a spot vacated by a supervisor before the end of an elected/appointed term) and Mike Giangrieco as legal counsel; and mileage reimbursement was set at 48.5 cents per mile.
It deferred action on setting an hourly pay scale for a supervisor employed for roadwork, after supervisor Walt Galloway reminded the board that the amount is set by the auditor. The group also passed on naming an engineer (something it does not have to do), preferring to seek engineering services on an as-needed/best-cost-and-efficiency basis.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting was about an executive session that was scheduled for a day or so later to address employee benefits and pay for township employees. A resident asked the supervisors if, considering the financial state of the township, they were considering a wage freeze or requiring employees to contribute a portion of health plan premiums. Both, according to Galloway and Haskins, are on the table for discussion at the executive session; a report of the session conclusions will be presented at the next regular meeting of the board scheduled for January 18.
The resident also pointed out that he saw a township employee washing his truck on December 17 at 2:30 p.m., on what appeared to be township time, on township property. Haskins said he was made aware of this transgression and spoke to township employees “to set the record straight,” but also noting that 2:30 is close to quitting time for some employees.
Galloway continues to stay on top of the grants, paperwork and other requirements that will hopefully work out to get funds to begin constructing a new township building sometime this year. He’s met with engineers and UCC building codes inspectors to have everything coordinated and ready to go to bid sometime in March so all is in place should grant money be forthcoming. A letter of support for the township’s grant application was received from Rep. Sandra Major.
In his roadmaster’s report, Haskins listed a bunch of jobs that were completed in the two weeks prior to the meeting. These included cindering and plowing a couple of times, patching roads, replacing culverts, and servicing equipment. He noted that while patching potholes on the railroad bridge on Old Route 11, he noticed that the frame on the bridge is badly rusted. He’d like to re-blacktop the bridge to better seal the concrete which now pretty much swallows any patching; Galloway thought that since the railroad owns the bridge, it should be called for an evaluation of it. Lastly, in case of nasty weather coming soon, two loads of anti-skid are on hand for when roads really turn nasty.
Going forward, Haskins wants to replace two large culverts on Old Route 11 and Towner Road; continue paving Old Route 11; put Airport Road back to dirt and build it up and maintain it; tar and chip Lovers Lane; and digging and grading ditches so they accommodate a great volume of water, should the area ever become beset with Ivan-caused flooding of the past fall. A slide that is also close to coming down on Graham Hollow Road will need attending as well.
Haskins also met with Debbie Dissinger of the Bridging Communities committee and engineer Todd Schmidt of KBA Engineering to follow up on whether KBA wanted to continue to work on the sidewalk project and, if so, could finish it by a cast-in-concrete deadline. It does, and Haskins says that Schmidt promised to have drawings done for PENNDOT by January 31, 2005. The township needs to get going on this because lateness means loss of the grant and no sidewalks bridging any communities.
Most of the other agenda items were “FYI” (for your information). They included notification by the county planning commission of final approval for the Colwell subdivision and the Coombs subdivision; notification from the county board of assessment that a parcel belonging to Vincent Kruse and Rita Jenney was approved for Clean and Green; and a report by secretary/treasurer Guinan that a recent audit of the township’s liquid fuels fund was “tip-top” – meaning there were no issues and no problems.
Before adjourning, George Haskins announced to the sparse audience that his term as supervisor would be up on December 31, as would that of Walt Galloway. Haskins is firmly not interested in another term. “We need two people for next November’s election to take our spots,” he said. “Maybe Walt will run; I will not.” He urged anyone interested in seeking a township supervisor’s seat to think about attending meetings to keep up to date on township business, should they choose to run and be elected.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, January 18, at 7 p.m. in the township building on Route 171.
Thompson Boro Council met on January 3 for their regular meeting with president Dennis Price presiding. Also present were council members Nick Sheptak, Allen Lloyd, Scott Halesky and Andy Gardner, secretary Diane Sheldon, treasurer Marge Whitney, mayor Jim Delaney, police chief Tom Rivenburgh, emergency management coordinator Mark Carmody, and several residents.
Secretary Sheldon reminded council members (and any other interested parties) that she has the necessary forms that must be filled out by any individual who is planning to run for local office in the next election.
The Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership will be hosting an information session on zoning on January 22 at the fire hall, from 8:30 to noon. All elected officials of member municipalities are welcome, and pre-registration is requested. Mr. Gardner explained that the purpose is to help those officials understand what zoning really is, and what is allowed and what is not.
Mr. Price read a letter received from County Commissioner MaryAnn Warren, who extended good wishes for the coming year, thanking council members for their commitment to serving their community and asking that they reflect on their accomplishments during 2004 and set goals for 2005. Also read was information regarding waste oil recycling at the county recycling center.
A motion carried to ratify paperwork closing out the sewage construction project.
Mr. Price read a report from plant operator Larry Travis. Topics the report covered included the need for lighting at the plant; the boro will supply the fixtures, which Mr. Price has volunteered to install. There has been a problem with the control panel at the pump station; the alarms have been intermittently going off, most likely caused by the cold. Mr. Travis requested that a strip heater be installed. Sludge from the plant will need to be tested before it can be taken to a landfill, cost approximately $1,500. And, Mr. Travis requested information regarding the number of EDU’s served by the system, information required for reports he must complete.
At December’s meeting, council had approved installation of protective sleeves for tee connections located on driveways; 14 had been completed as of the date of the meeting, with four more scheduled for the following day along with cold patching where needed. Council was pleased to note that the cost turned out to be a bit lower than had been expected.
Council is still trying to locate the party responsible for an abandoned property. Records have turned up the name of an attorney who had acted on behalf of the owner several years ago; the boro’s solicitor will be asked to contact that attorney to find out who is currently responsible for the property.
Mr. Price reported that he is still working with engineers to resolve two complaints about damage not addressed after construction of the sewer system.
The boro’s computer monitor is not working; a resident has volunteered use of one until a replacement can be found.
Council approved purchase of a load of calcium chloride, to be mixed with the anti-skid material during plowing and cindering (it keeps the material from freezing and makes it easier to spread).
Mr. Lloyd agreed to look into a complaint about water runoff, where storm water is not making its way into a catch basin.
Mr. Price had looked into obtaining block grant funds for local law enforcement. The grants, he said, are competitive, with a very slim chance of getting funding. An individual he had contacted suggested that the boro would be better off checking into government surplus for materials.
A motion carried to designate Myron DeWitt as the boro’s solicitor for 2005.
Council authorized printing of 100 building permit forms.
Information was made available for a civil service workshop to be held in Scranton on February 15, covering such topics as operations, procedures, and rules and regulations.
A notice was received from RUS informing council that a fidelity bond and insurance for the sewage project is due to expire on February 25; as the project is complete, council will verify whether these items need to be continued.
There was some discussion regarding delinquent sewer usage fees. Mr. Gardner noted that, as of November 30, there were 13 accounts more than two months in arrears. Some, he said, had not been paid since “day one.” Letters will be sent to those property owners to notify them that they are in arrears. If the fees are not paid by the date of the next meeting, they will be referred to the solicitor for further action, which includes late fees after 30 days and termination of water service to those properties.
Mr. Carmody reported that the boro’s emergency operation plan needs to be updated; an update is required every two years. He will draft an update for council’s review at the February meeting.
And, Mr. Rivenburgh reported that in December he had responded to eight calls in Thompson, and six in Ararat.
The next meeting will be on Monday, February 7, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall on Water St.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe