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A month ago the Blue Ridge School Board hired Linda Cole-Koloski as the new food-service manager. Apparently she hit the ground running, already making a notable difference in the cafeteria offerings at the schools. Several administrators and board members commented on the swift progress so far at the January business meeting on the 10th. High School Principal Michael Thornton said, "The cafeteria has seen some great improvements," and reporting students have remarked that the cafeteria "smells like a kitchen."
Among routine personnel actions taken at the January meeting, the board hired Kevin Price of Susquehanna as the Custodial/Maintenance Supervisor. He attended the meeting to accept a warm welcome.
The meeting actually opened with a 40-minute slide presentation by DeDe Tersteeg, art teacher in the Elementary School, who was among 199 selected nationwide to visit Japan in October 2004 as Fulbright Memorial Fund scholars. This Fulbright program is entirely funded by the government of Japan, bringing public school teachers in both countries together to share methods and experiences. Ms. Tersteeg was among 20 of the group who stayed in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo (across Tokyo bay). While there, they visited an elementary school, a middle school and a high school.
Among the highlights of her presentation, Ms. Tersteeg noted that Japanese elementary schools do not have regular janitors, nor cafeterias; she showed photographs of Japanese youngsters wiping floors (they don't wear shoes inside the schools; instead they wear special slippers), and serving lunch. In the district she visited, Ms. Tersteeg said that there is no school board as we know it. The schools are administered by the city. Classes in the schools she visited had as many as 35-40 students each, relatively little technology available, and children begin learning English in the 7th grade.
Middle School Principal John Manchester reported that the Blue Ridge 8th grade had been selected to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes known as the National Report Card. This testing process selects millions of students across the country to assess what they know and what they are learning. Schools are encouraged to participate through provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind act, and are initially assessed by state. Mr. Manchester did not seem to consider Blue Ridge's selection as a particular honor.
School Board President Alan Hall told his colleagues that Susquehanna County school districts are beginning to meet to consider joining a state-wide initiative called "blended schools" (blendedschools.net), a project based on distance learning through the use of networks and technology that hopes to gain some control over the development of so- called "cyber-charter" schools in Pennsylvania. The state charter school law requires local school districts to pay for students who enroll in schools chartered anywhere in the state, opening the way for computer-based schools chartered elsewhere in the state to spring large bills on unsuspecting districts, and leaving them no control over the education of children residing in their local areas. The blended-schools project so far is just getting under way, and meetings in the county will help boards and administrators to learn more about the idea.
School Boards across the state are being warned about litigation that threatens funding for changes to the tax structure that now supports public schools in Pennsylvania. The so-called Act 72, passed last summer, hopes to bring property tax relief by encouraging income-based taxing in local districts, as well as large infusions from gambling. The gambling revenue was anticipated through provisions in Act 71, passed at the same time, and it is this measure which is now under review in the courts. Should Act 71 be struck down, what becomes of Act 72, which local districts have been preparing for for several months? No one knows, although some of the same arguments that might kill Act 71 could also be used against Act 72. This whole process is very important to public schools across the state, that struggle to meet mandated requirements largely on the basis of property taxes.
Mr. Hall also announced that the various board committees will begin to meet as a committee of the whole at monthly workshops (usually the fourth Monday of the month). He said that board members had expressed a desire to take part in deliberations on all issues before the board, rather than just those matters assigned to their committees. It was also difficult to attend multiple committee meetings since they were often scheduled on the same evenings. So, board workshops will now discuss all issues before the full board. The next such workshop will take place on January 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
The Mountain View School District Board of Education public meeting held on January 10 was called to order and roll call taken. Those present were Bryce Beeman, President, John Halupke, First Vice President, Kevin Griffiths, Second Vice President, Ordie Price, Treasurer, John Beeman, Susan Christensen, Ronald Phillips, Sondra Stine, James Zick, and Diane Makosky as secretary pro tempore for Carolyn Price. Also attending the meeting were Arthur Chambers, Superintendent, Eliza Bagni, High School Assistant Principal, Margaret Foster, Elementary School Principal, and Mary Hvezda, Director of Special Services.
First on the agenda was the election of Diane Makosky as secretary pro tempore for the duration of the meeting per section 405 of the PA School Code. The next item was to approve the minutes of the December 20 regular public meeting as presented/corrected. Citing Roberts Rules of Order, Mrs. Christensen moved that the derogatory remarks and opinions made by Mr. Halupke regarding the audit report as well as those made by him during the Act 72 discussion be expunged from the minutes because they reflected only his opinions, and not those of the entire board. Discussion ensued over how the minutes should be written, what they should contain, and whether all individual board members’ opinions should be captured on agenda items. Mr. Bryce Beeman also commented that the newspaper article about the December 20 meeting may have fostered the misunderstanding that all board members agreed with Mr. Halupke’s comments, when in fact, they did not. Mr. Price noted it was clear in the matter of the audit report that the other 7 board members did not agree with Mr. Halupke’s criticisms because they voted to accept the report and its contents as accurate, while only Mr. Halupke did not. One change that was made to the minutes in the end was under the Education Committee regarding the uniform code, which should be under the purview of the Policy Committee.
Ordie Price gave the treasurer’s report and financial services report. The beginning balance for the General Fund Checking Account was $3,919,533.68, disbursements totaled $1,193,730.85 and the ending balance as of Dec. 31, 2004 was $3,520,496.60. With regards to the Cafeteria Report, it was pointed out by Mr. Halupke that the total for Lunches on Account ($3,524.95) indicated a one thousand dollar increase over the previous month. As an item of concern, it was agreed that collections of outstanding accounts needed follow-up.
Kevin Griffiths gave the report of the financial services committee. All board members with the exception of Mr. Halupke voted to confirm payment of the General Fund Bill List, Cafeteria Fund Bill List, payroll, transportation contracts, fringe benefits, and fund transfers. The remainder of bill lists and budget transfers were unanimously approved, as was adoption of the 2005 IRS mileage reimbursement rate of 40.5 cents per mile. One addition to the January, 2005 Bill List was approved for Library purchases, largely made possible by a $200 award to the Library by the Alumni Association of Cedarcrest College on behalf of Linda Masiura, a 2003 Mt. View graduate for achieving the highest Grade Point Average (4.0) in her freshman class last year. It was noted that Ms. Masiura will be formally recognized for her achievement and her contribution to the Library at the January 24 board meeting.
Mr. Halupke gave the report of the Human Resources, Policy and Labor Relations Committee. The board accepted the additions to the substitute lists and after vacation of all coaching positions, authorized advertising for Fall Coaches for the 2005-2006 school year. Mr. Halupke raised several issues for the board to consider with regards to security during school sports events and other activities. They included: 1) a requirement for uniforms or other means of identification for security personnel 2) crisis management training for all security personnel and 3) a reporting structure or chain of command for security personnel. The board agreed to look into costs of a uniform or provision of a stipend to security officers, use of the two crisis management trainers already on staff to train security personnel, and development of a reporting structure for them. There was nothing to report about negotiations. There being no comments on the second readings of policies #105.2, #106, #107, #108, #109, #109.1 and #110, they were referred to the school board association for final review.
Mr. John Beeman reported that the Building & Facilities Committee is gathering additional information on options for enhancing the administrative offices, and the elementary cafeteria. Mr. Chambers noted that he would consult with the building architects, and arrange a question and answer meeting with them.
Mrs. Christensen gave the report of the Education Committee, and reiterated the goals of the committee, enumerated at the last meeting. They include tying PSSA achievements to student responsibilities and graduation requirements, simplification of the dress code, adding an autism class, increasing life skills education, and assessing discipline. Conference attendance was approved as presented. A field trip to Elk Mt. for the Special Olympics was approved with a change to cover costs of two teachers, not one as stated, although the trip chaperone, Mr. Thomas had indicated that his wife volunteered to chaperone the trip, eliminating the need for the second teacher.
Mr. Chambers’ superintendent report mainly consisted of presentations by two invited guests. First, Melissa Wasko, Gifted Facilitator reviewed the success of the new PEAK program at Mt. View. Providing Enrichment and Acceleration for Kids is a program started in the district in 2004 that strives to identify gifted and bright students and offers opportunities for enrichment to all students in particular areas of interest. There are currently six high school and three elementary students formally participating in the program. Ms. Wasko said she will proceed with further efforts to educate and engage teachers as well as students in the classrooms in the coming year and looks forward to seeing more structure in the program.
Secondly, representatives from the Pennsylvania Freemasons provided an overview of the CHIP program (Child Identification Program) underwritten by their fraternal organization and developed in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Association of PA. CHIP is a service that provides the child’s parents with an identification kit that includes a CD with audio, fingerprints and DNA samples, for use in the event their child is ever missing. With the school board’s authorization, CHIP will be offered in the elementary school, beginning with newly registered kindergarten students, and then the rest of the students for 2005. All costs of the program will be funded by the Freemasons, with an initial donation of $500 given by the Harford Lodge. The identification information is confidential, not kept by anyone except the child’s parents. All board members voiced support of the program and agreed to vote on its implementation at the next board meeting.
As an item of new business, Mrs. Christensen asked the board to consider a supplemental salary position for a Special Olympics Coordinator in the future because she, herself spent countless hours working to get ski equipment and other program materials ready and indicated that there is a need to compensate a teacher or staff member for all the time and effort for this worthwhile endeavor in the future.
The meeting was then adjourned.
Oakland Boro Council met on January 13 with president Ron Beavan presiding. Also present were council members Chad Crawford, Randy Glover, Jack Agler and Doug Arthur, Mayor Art Towner, Secretary Flo Brush and two residents.
The meeting began with the customary moment of silence in support of our troops, as well as for councilman Leon Dubanowitz and the tsunami victims in Asia.
Mr. Beavan reported that a court hearing has been scheduled for February 2 regarding a Wilson Ave. property codes violation case.
One of the residents in attendance requested that extra attention be given to an area of Brush St. that has had a continuing water problem; could it be salted well to ensure that an ice problem does not develop? Council said that it would, and that addressing the runoff problem is on the project list for the spring.
Resident Paul Dudley has agreed to be the boro’s Emergency Management Coordinator, and to fill the last vacancy on the appeals board. The board is comprised of citizens and council members who meet when needed, in cases where property owners protest codes violations.
Mr. Beavan commented that there is a “nice” balance in the Parks and Rec. account. Resident Wendy Dudley explained that the bulk of the funds have been raised through the committee’s fundraising efforts, but some of it has been donated by residents towards the boro’s portion of a matched grant the committee has applied for. If the application is approved, Mrs. Dudley said, other pledges will be forthcoming. Mr. Beavan also commended the accomplishments of Community Cares, a group of residents who conduct various activities to do what they can for residents in situations of need.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding recent events in Susquehanna Boro; PENNDOT has relinquished responsibility for catch basins on state roads to the boro. Mr. Beavan said that his understanding was that a PENNDOT work crew had been called off the job in the middle of repairs to basins on Franklin Ave., and that the boro had subsequently been notified that the basins are now the boro’s responsibility. He is very concerned that the same situation could occur in Oakland, particularly on State St. and Westfall Ave., both state roads; State St. in particular is in need of attention. Mr. Beavan said that his understanding is that, if responsibility were to be turned over to the boro, the basins must be in good condition and, at present, they are not. He has been in contact with the Susquehanna Boro Council, to see if the two boros could join forces to address the situation. In the meantime, he received a “disturbing” letter from a state representative which basically said that much of the state’s transportation funding is being funneled into Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to address mass transit problems in those areas, leaving a shortfall in funds for local bridges and roads. After some discussion, it was agreed that council should proceed with caution. Mr. Beavan will documentat the conditions on State St.
In other business, council has been blocking off a portion of Walnut St. during the winter, as it is quite steep and sees very little traffic. Mr. Glover reported that a vacant home in the area that has been blocked off will soon be occupied. Mr. Crawford said that he had just recently been contacted about the situation, and that the road will be plowed up to the driveway in question.
In a related subject, Mr. Crawford reported that there has been a problem with vehicles being left on the street during plowing, impeding clearing of snow. Police Chief Bob VanFleet will be asked to contact the owners of the vehicles.
The Experience Works program has placed Mr. Floyd Mead with the boro, to work with the streets department.
Information is available at the boro office regarding waste oil recycling conducted by the county.
The borough has received tax abatement approval for 2004 from KOZ.
Council received a letter from American Legion Post 86, requesting that the sidewalks near the Veterans Memorial Bridge be kept clear for the Post’s annual “Poker Walk” on January 22.
The boro received a favorable report on an audit of liquid fuels funds for 2003 from the Auditor General.
The borough has received a “thank you” letter from county Commissioner Mary Ann Warren.
And, all council members must complete a 2004 financial statement and submit them by the next meeting.
In closing, Mr. Beavan noted that this year will see the completion of his term on council, as well as Mr. Crawford’s and Mr. Dubanowitz’. While no one would speculate on what Mr. Dubanowitz’ plans are, Mr. Beavan and Mr. Crawford both stated that they would not seek additional terms, and Mr. Agler gave notice that he intends to resign at the end of the year. Mr. Towner noted that his term was also up at the end of the year.
Mr. Beavan stated that he would like to see more involvement by Oakland’s residents. “If there’s not enough interest in this town, maybe we should join with Susquehanna Borough... we need people to ‘step up to the plate’ and get involved.”
The next meeting will be on Thursday, February 10, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Richard Paul York and Stacie E. York to Marilyn York, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Gerald E. Burke and Gail M. Burke to Auburn Township, in Auburn Township for $25,000.
Ada Lema to Gail Ross, in Franklin and New Milford townships for one dollar (Assignment of proprietary lease lot 5).
Michael Urda to Robert V. Swegal and Noreen Swegel, in Herrick Township for $8,500.
Yuscellis Family Trust (by trustee) to Frank Schuler, Lawrence Wynn and Thomas Pelech, in Middletown Township for $10,300.
Gustavo Jaramillo, Claudia Jaramillo, Hector Eduardo Jaramillo, Gloria Monsalve (nbm) Gloria Jaramillo, Juan Carlos (aka) Juan Saldarriaga, Patricia Saldarriago, Jairo Jaramillo, Monserrat Jaramillo, Digeo Jaramillo, Frances Jaramillo to Lance Tesoroni and Lisa Kisbaugh, in New Milford Township for $20,000.
Margaret V. Rockey, Susan Lavelle, William Gerber (estate), WMG Go, RALLG Assoc. to Lance R. Tesoroni and Lisa Kisbaugh, in Herrick Township for $17,500.
Lawrence Butler and Cheryl Butler to Cheryl Butler, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Karen Higgins and Edward G. Higgins to John Burris, in New Milford Township for $49,000.
Dean A. Johnson and Valeria Johnson to Roger Mueller and Theresia Mueller, in New Milford Township for $69,000.
Colonia Land Trust (by trustee), Hillside Land Trust (by trustee), Reese A. Price, Anthony Wade Price, and Theresa Ann Dingee to Edmund R. Poplawski and Kimberly A. Poplawski, in Lenox Township for $250,000.
Patricia Kollar to Donald J. Beemer Jr., in Herrick Township for $82,000.
Lorraine Martinez to Robert D. Keen and Gertrude Keen, in Jackson Township for $194,900.
Gerald L. Snyder Jr. and Carrie L. Snyder (aka) Carrie L. Arcovitch-Snyder, in Union Dale for $187,500.
Bobbie Scarborough to Lawrence T. O’Reilly, Christine O’Reilly and Thomas J. O’Reilly, in Friendsville Borough for $29,500.
Merle W. Colwell and Gertrude J. Colwell to Donald M. Dissinger and Debra E. Dissinger, in Great Bend Township for $28,026.
Colwell Living Trust (by trustee) to Larry E. French and Marjorie E. French, in Great Bend Township for $45,774.
Glenn G. Whitney and Grace Whitney to Ralph P. Hall Jr. and Patricia M. Hall, in Jackson Township for $7,800.
Dennis Whitney, Louise P. Whitney (by atty), Ronald Whitney (by atty) and Vicki Whitney (by atty) to Ralph P. Hall Jr., in Jackson Township for $19,780.
Dennis Whitney, Louise P. Whitney (by atty), Ronald Whitney (by atty) and Vicki Whitney (by atty) to Ralph P. Hall Jr., in Jackson Township for $49,420.
Michael McCarthy to Gardens McCarthy, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Hilda Lois Delp to Gene Hubbard and Denise Hubbard, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Robert W. Repine and Lois J. Repine to Patrick J. Yost, in Middletown Township for $83,000.
Daniel S. Noble and Nancy M. Noble to Henry F. Elgert, in Ararat Township for $121,500.
Arthur Roberts and Robin Roberts to Amy Lunn Mushala and Peter Paul Mushala Jr., in Clifford Township for one dollar.
William Terpstra Jr., Beth Terpstra, Arnold Terpstra, Diane Terpstra, Linda Upright, Maynard Upright to Conrad Zebrowski and Jean Zebrowski, in Thompson Borough and Thompson Township for $112,500.
Michele L. Sterner and Douglas R. Sterner to Michele L. Sterner, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Calvin Sutton to Eleanor Sutton, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Christopher R. Berry to Barbara Hammell, in Ararat Township for $100,000.
Erick Linden Jenner, Montrose, and Danielle Marie Krukowski, Wyalusing.
James Walter Bennett and Jennifer M. Foote, both of Montrose.
Alford David Wayman and Rachel Melanie Kopacz, both of Susquehanna.
Charles E. Wiseman, Great Bend vs. Nancy L. Wiseman, Great Bend.
Kathleen Marie Gaynor, Jackson vs. John Eugene Gaynor, Enola.
Jonathan Michael Lare, Dumont vs. Marissa Lynne Lare, Montrose.
Irini Harms, Montrose vs. Keith G. Harms, Brackney.
Margaret E. Nichols, Union Dale vs. Richard J. Nichols, Union Dale.
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Thomas Reilly, Factoryville, was driving east on snow-covered State Road 374 in Lenox Township on the afternoon of January 11 when he lost control of his 1987 Chevy, crossed into opposing traffic, and struck a 1993 International driven by Robert Dean, Montrose. Both Dean and Reilly were wearing seat belts; Dean was uninjured; Reilly was not. Reilly was issued a traffic citation for driving too fast in the snow.
John Francis McAllister, 49, Lenox Township, was arrested on January 11 and charged with 7 counts of rape, 14 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and 7 counts of indecent assault committed against a female between 1987 and 1994. McAllister was arraigned and committed to the county jail in lieu of bail.
STATUTORY SEXUAL ASSAULT
On January 11, Todd Richard Phillips, 23, Rushville, was arrested and criminally charged with statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors for incidents committed with a juvenile female in spring, 2004. Phillips was arraigned and released on bail.
Around 2 a.m. on January 8, a 1995 Toyota pick-up driven by Ronald Hughes, Forest City, was traveling west on State Road 2034 near the intersection with State Route 92 in Gibson Township. Hughes fell asleep and his car veered off the road and struck at ditch, coming to rest on its driver’s side. Neither Hughes, who was wearing a seat belt, nor his passenger were injured.
This incident occurred when Marcie A. Henderson, 33, South Montrose, lost control of the 2001 BMW X5 while she was driving on State road 3004 in Springville Township. The car left the road, struck several trees and came to rest in a field. County Line Towing removed the BMW from the scene, and the Springville Fire Department assisted at the scene. Henderson, who was wearing a seat belt, was not injured in this accident that occurred on the night of January 9.
David Lavern Walter, 64, Lathrop Township, reported that a trailer on his property was damaged sometime between December 23 and 27.
A Plymouth Sundance driven by Troy B. Lee, 30, Carbondale, went off State Route 106 in Royal, Clifford Township on the night of January 3 and hit a 1968 Ford truck. Both the Plymouth and the truck were severely damaged, and Lee received minor injuries.
Terry R. Wescott, 25, Montrose, was driving his 1998 Jeep Cherokee too fast for snow and ice conditions on State Road 267 in Forest Lake Township shortly after noon on January 8. He lost control of the Jeep, which struck a telephone pole and rolled over onto its roof.
Shortly after it snowed late on the afternoon of December 28, Daniel Healy, 22, Montrose, lost control of his vehicle on a curve on Route 706, Bridgewater Township, and hit a utility pole. Healy, who faces charges of driving a vehicle at an unsafe speed, was wearing a seat belt and was not injured, although Montrose EMS assisted state police at the scene.
A 2004 Dodge Neon driven by Jason R. Casselbury, 28, Hop Bottom, hit an embankment and rolled over onto its roof after Casselbury lost control of it on a curve on icy State Route 267 in Auburn Township on the morning of January 8. Casselbury was wearing a seat belt and was not injured, but the Dodge was towed from the scene.
Sometime between November 28 and January 1, an unknown person(s) cut a padlock on a cable that crossed a driveway along Melrose Road in Harmony Township and entered the property. They then drove to a cabin and cut a padlock on a cable that held a trailer to a tree, took the trailer and fled the scene.
Diane Ives lost control of her vehicle while driving on a partially snow-covered State Road 3001 in Auburn Township on the afternoon of December 28. Her vehicle struck an embankment, flipped over onto its right side and came to rest on the road. Ives, who was assisted at the scene by Meshoppen EMS for unreported injuries, faces charges of driving at an unsafe speed.
Shortly after noon on January 8, Amy Carr, 19, Harford, was driving her 2002 Ford Explorer south on State Route 171 in Great Bend Township when she lost control of it on a curve. The ice- and slush-covered road caused the Explorer to travel sideways across both lanes before leaving the road and striking a large boulder with its right side and coming to a stop. Carr was not injured, she was wearing a seat belt and the air bag deployed as a result of this accident.
Approximately 30 feet of chain link fence at the Claverack Rural Electric substation on State Route 20 in Bridgewater Township was damaged sometime between January 5-7.*
Harold Alfred Smith, 21, Kingsley, was not injured when his 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix lost traction going down a steep hill on State Route 2073 in Lenox Township on the afternoon of January 6. The car slid across the road, through the guardrail and over the embankment, where it rolled over twice before coming to a stop. Smith was not injured.
Earl H. Thompson, Jr., 30, Franklin Township, and Roxanne Houghton, 28, New Milford, were arguing in Thompson’s house in the middle of the afternoon on January 5. When Houghton tried to leave, Thompson subjected her to physical contact – shoving, pulling hair. Houghton left the residence and Thompson was arrested for assault; charges were filed with the district justice office in Montrose.
Stanley Sandle, 58, Susquehanna, was stopped in his 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500 on State Route 706 in Bridgewater Township, waiting to make a left turn into the Price Chopper parking lot. Timothy Welsh, 24, Montrose, was driving a 1999 Nissan Altima west on 706 when he took his eyes off the road. When Welsh looked back to the road, he saw the truck stopped, but was unable to stop his car and hit the Silverado. Both Sandle and Welsh were wearing seat belts. Welsh was injured and Sandle received unreported injuries. Both the Nissan and the truck were disabled in this accident that occurred on the afternoon of January 4.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners took 35 minutes last week to complete their regular meeting and a meeting of the Salary Board that includes the commissioners and county Treasurer Cathy Benedict. The meetings were held before the smallest audience to attend the meetings in more than a year.
The highlight of the otherwise dull sessions was the Salary Board’s approval of the 2005 Miscellaneous Compensation Schedule. The only change from the 2004 schedule was the commission for tax collectors that was increased to $3.90 per tax bill.
The following solicitors were reappointed at $600 per year per office: Auditors, Charles Aliano; Register of Wills, Raymond Davis; Recorder of Deeds, Raymond Davis; Sheriff, Michael Giangrieco; Prothonotary, Michael Giangrieco; Clerk of Courts, Michael Giangrieco; and, Coroner, Michael Giangrieco.
Also under professional services: arbitration chairman, $100 per case; arbitration association, $75 per case; Mental Health hearings, $40 an hour; Mental Health hearing officer, $220 per case; and, court appointed counsel, $50 an hour.
Adult and juvenile probation officers who are on call after regular working hours will be reimbursed at the rate of $160 per week; individuals on call services for Children and Youth Services will also be paid $160 per week; and legal, services for Domestic Relations will be $35 per case.
Court stenographers will be paid $67 a day; court tipstaffs, $50 a day; viewers, $75 a day; and, chairman of Board of Viewers, $125 a day. Jurors will be paid nine dollars a day; witnesses, five dollars a day; transcripts of court actions will cost $1.75 a page; and depositions will be $35 each.
Compensation for election day workers varies according to number of voters. If the number is 150 or less, the judge of elections receives $65 for the day. If it is 500 or less, the pay is boosted by five dollars to $70 for the day; and, if the number exceeds 500, the compensation is $75 for the day. For election inspectors, clerks, and constables, the number of $60, $65 and $70 respectively. Election Return Board members are paid $40 a day.
County employees who are entitled to travel pay when they use their own vehicles for county business will receive 36 cents per mile with a minimum reimbursement of two dollars per trip.
In another matter, the commissioners explained in detail why they awarded a TRANS loan to PNC Bank despite the fact that Community Bank & Trust submitted a lower interest rate. The commissioners noted that PNC’s interest rate of 2.25 percent was .08 percent higher than CBT but PNC agreed to do the required paper work and also pay interest on any money left in the bank if the county would only make withdrawals on an as-needed basis.
The commissioners said the offer from PNC could result in the county borrowing the needed $1.6 million at no interest.
The commissioners ratified Resolution 2005-01 which is a grant application filed by Friends of Salt Springs Park. The money will be used for administering a Pennsylvania Conservation Corps Program and Friends of Salt Springs Park will provide the required $5,000 matching funds. And, in another Salary Board matter, a request from Sue Eddleston, prothonotary/clerk of courts, for a temporary clerk/typist at $7.87 an hour for about five months was approved. Mrs. Eddleston explained that one of her employees will be on maternity leave during the vacation season requiring the temporary help.
Students with outstanding achievements dominated the Forest City Regional Board of Education meeting last week.
The program started with Katie O’Neill, an elementary student whose participation in the 2005 Reading Is Fundamental National Poster Contest gained her statewide honors and the opportunity to compete nationally in Washington.
With her proud parents in the audience, Miss O’Neill was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from Board President Fred Germ and a round of applause from the audience.
Bill Orasin, a senior, explained how he turned his senior project into a successful update of the school district’s automated external defibrillator. Mr. Orasin concluded his project by presenting a check for $1,900 to the board for the required updating.
Mr. Orasin received financial help from local businesses as well as civil, social and religious organizations and area residents. With the help of Father Patrick Albert, pastor of his church, Mr. Orasin was able to put together a successful hoagie sale that netted $750.
“My goal was to raise $1,500 and I raised $1,900,” he said with pride. He received a generous applause and a pledge from an audience member to present a check for $100 to round out the take at $2,000.
“Thank you for such a wonderful project,” Mr. Garm said. “Truly this is what a senior project is designed to do.”
Kyle Pedley, Lindsey Pierzga, Ashley Quinnan and Stephanie Thiem began their senior project as freshmen and offered a year-by-year explanation of their activities in a Students Against Tobacco Program.
The girls held Poster Contests, Kick Butts Day, Puppet Shows and an assortment of projects designed to explain the hazards of smoking. With the help of an $800 grant, they gave out lollipops with non-smoking messages attached; held a dance and had students create bumper stickers that were accepted as admission tickets to the dance; attended stop smoking conferences and wrote a number of anti-smoking articles for the school newspaper.
“We feel we saved many lives with our project,” a spokesman for the four students said. Their presentation was also widely applauded.
Earlier in the meeting, board members were praised by the executive board of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in conjunction with January being designated School Director Recognition Month.
“The contributions of these men and women,” the PSBA said in a resolution, “should be recognized and appreciated by those who benefit from the workings of our public school system.”
Dr. Robert J. Vadella, superintendent of schools, released a letter from Asbestos Management Inc. stating that the six-month periodic surveillance report for all buildings in the school district found no problems.
“All asbestos containing material appears to be non-friable and in good condition,” the management company reported. “We will continue to monitor the buildings to provide complete compliance with all state and federal regulations.”
In their reports, High School Principal Anthony F. Rusnak reported a student enrollment of 452, and Elementary Principal Ken Schwartz said his enrollment is 447.
Motions approved by the board included-
-adding Jennifer Decker, Jacob Erdmann, Danielle Kresock and Heather Suraci to the substitute teachers list for the 2004-2005 school year.
-approving Sherrie Durko as assistant cook in the cafeteria effective January 10.
-approving Danielle Kresock as an unpaid volunteer to assist the seventh and eighth grade girls basketball.
-accepting Michael Scavone as a regular van driver for JD Transportation.
The Starrucca Borough Council met on January 3. Andy Bennett, Council President, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Council members present were Brigitte D’Agati, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes and Robert Weldy. Mayor Frank Mroczka was also present. The audience included Paul D’Agati, Darl Haynes, Charlie Levchak, Ruth Mroczka, Alice Rhone and Fred Rhone.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The secretary reported that a correction needed to be made to the minutes of the December 6 meeting. The spelling of Fairmount Road needed to be corrected from Fairmont Road.
Andy Bennett suggested holding a payment to Como Construction because FEMA funds were not yet available. Motion to pay bills as presented, excluding the FEMA payment to Como Construction, passed unanimously.
Kirk Rhone quoted from the Boro Code Book, “All expenditures shall be paid out of funds in the treasury when authorized by the Treasurer. This Act shall apply to all boroughs.” The current secretary does not have authorization to sign checks. Andy Bennett explained this was due to the fact that the temporary secretary was the mayor’s wife. Andy Bennett instructed the secretary to handle the paperwork with the bank to obtain authorization for her signature on the Borough accounts.
A letter of resignation was submitted by Ruth Mroczka, temporary secretary/treasurer, which motion passed unanimously.
The secretary asked for assistance in completing two reports due January 28 to the Wayne County Department of Planning and the Wayne County Board of Assessment. Andy Bennett assisted.
Statements of Financial Interest were distributed to Council members. The statements that were not distributed will be mailed by the secretary. Council members were asked to return the forms as soon as possible.
Andy Bennett reported that the Borough’s application to the PA Federal Surplus Program has been approved.
A driveway permit with a plan attached was submitted by Adam S. Choi (Jacob’s Ladder Road). After inspection/discussion of the plan, a motion that the application be accepted passed unanimously.
Darl Haynes asked for status of the FEMA funds in July? Paul Everett will contact for update.
Darl Haynes asked if Council had looked at the bridge on Bucks Road? Andy Bennett advised that Council (as a whole) has not.
Charlie Levchak reported the sluice on Cemetery Road is clogged.
Fred Rhone reported that water had been running over the bank and on to the County Bridge. He advised Council he was able to clear the problem. Council extended “thanks.”
Thompson Hose Co. – Kirk Rhone reported the two mils paid on the old assessment in 2004 would apply for 2005 and presented Council with the contract.
Repairs to retaining wall near the new Shadigee Creek Bridge – Paul Everett reported FEMA has determined the repair is “regular,” not an emergency. Council is seeking preliminary bids. Paul Everett will continue to work with FEMA.
Wayne County Board of Elections – Council members with terms expiring in 2005 were advised that it would be necessary to run in the May primary if they wished to extend their term. Petitions should be available in Honesdale by mid-January.
Registered Business Partner-PENNDOT – The Council decided not to pursue at this time.
List of “Action Items” prepared by Ruth Mroczka – Community Development Block Grants have not been awarded as yet.
Ballfield plaque – Council took no action. This was left to the Civic Association, as per the Minutes of July 2004.
Auditor Vacancy – Paul D’Agati expressed an interest in the position of auditor. A motion to nominate Paul D’Agati as auditor passed unanimously; Brigitte D’Agati abstained.
Liquid Fuels Year-End Report 2004 – The secretary was unable to open the files using EXCEL. Paul Everett is going to examine the discs and report back to the secretary.
DCED report – Andy Bennett furnished the necessary information.
COG, Council of Governments
Mayor Mroczka attended a meeting of the Susquehanna COG in December and reported the reaction of the Susquehanna COG was positive. They will contact the group that controls COGs in the state and seek bylaws because the Borough’s participation will mean crossing county lines. The Susquehanna COG meets on the third Tuesday of every month.
Paul Everett attended a meeting of the Northern Wayne COG on December 15 and advised they are still putting together an appeals board.
A motion to switch from Northern Wayne COG to Susquehanna COG passed unanimously.
Paul Everett and Kirk Rhone will attend the next meeting of the Susquehanna COG.
Hall – Andy Bennett asked about keys to the Town Hall. A motion to purchase two new locks for the Town Hall passed unanimously.
Ballfield (Advertising) – A motion to have the secretary send out letters for the existing signs, requesting payment within 60 days passed unanimously.
Fairmount and Kellogg Roads – Mayor Mroczka reported that Scott Township has agreed to do winter maintenance on Fairmount Road and Kellogg Road. A motion to hire Scott Township to do winter maintenance on Fairmount Road and Kellogg Road at the specified prices passed unanimously.
Road Committee – A lengthy discussion concerning the abolished Road Committee followed. Darl Haynes and Helen Haynes expressed their concerns for the roads without a Road Committee, stating the Road Committee was effective in the past. Robert Weldy and Kirk Rhone explained the Council’s position was that the entire Council should participate in road decisions particularly in view of the fact that fully half of Council’s expenses were road-related. The residents of the Borough should contact Andy Bennett or Kirk Rhone with any problems related to the roads. If unavailable, residents should contact any member of Council who will then pass the information to Andy Bennett or Kirk Rhone. As stated at the previous meeting, residents of Starrucca Borough should not contact the contractors directly. A motion to appoint Kirk Rhone and Andy Bennett as contacts regarding any road problems passed with a Council vote of 6-1; Helen Haynes voted “no.”
Wayne County Conservation District – Mayor Mroczka reported that Council will submit applications for additional grant monies. No guarantee, but next step should be to re-surface Jacob’s Ladder Road. Follow-up if the forms are not received by March.
Dirt & Gravel Road Seminar – Mayor Mroczka reported a Dirt & Gravel Road Seminar will be held in Honesdale on May 11 and 12. The Mayor is planning to attend and advised that representatives at the Seminar are necessary to apply for grants. Como Construction will be invited to attend.
Bucks Bridge Road – Kirk Rhone reported the Borough is eligible to apply for a loan at 3.75% for 10 years. A preliminary plan will be presented by Delta Engineering at the next meeting in February. Kirk Rhone will contact DEP. Brigitte D’Agati asked what the cost would be to the taxpayers. Kirk Rhone and Andy Bennett emphasized that this was a preliminary plan – nothing is final at this time.
Storage Room (Office) – Volunteers (Lou Gurske, Kirk Rhone and Robert Weldy) were to meet on January 7 to install plywood, sheet rock and locks.
New Business –
Cyclical Calendar – A “draft” of a cyclical calendar will be sent to all Council members. Please review with comments for the next meeting.
Meeting Change – A discussion followed regarding the changing of the meeting night for the Council from the first Monday to the second Monday. Due to conflicts, the meeting night for Council will remain unchanged. Council will continue to meet on the first Monday of the month.
There being no further business to conduct, Council adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
The next regular Council meeting will be held on February 7, 7 p.m. at the Community Hall.
President Ron Whitehead presided at the January 11 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council. Council members Pat Frederick, Shane Lewis, Mike Matis, Bill Kuiper and Roy Williams were present, as well as Mayor Nancy Hurley, Secretary Judy Collins and one resident.
Correspondence reviewed included a request from the Tri Boro Municipal authority, to reappoint Robert Burns to its board. A motion carried to approve. And, at the request of SOLIDA, a motion carried to appoint Martha Stanford to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Mary Ann Ayres.
Mrs. Collins’ report included information from DGK, the boro’s insurance carrier regarding Workmen’s Comp and liability if the boro does proceed with a shared services agreement with Great Bend Boro, for police coverage. The boro’s costs will not change unless the payroll is increased, another officer is added, or more service hours are provided.
The subdivision of the land acquired through River Bounty has been recorded with the county and pertinent paperwork sent to River Bounty.
The owner of the property adjacent to the boro building has been told by her insurance carrier that allowing a skating rink on that property would be too costly. The boro’s carrier would require a rider to their policy, if the rink is put up on boro property, a flat fee of $250. Other requirements would also need to be met, including supervision during specified hours of operation.
Mr. Lewis said that the Susquehanna Community Development Association would be willing to pay the rider fee, and to provide supervision. A motion carried to allow the rink to be put in behind the boro building.
A Workmen’s Comp claim has been filed on behalf of a member of the Susquehanna Fire Dept., who was injured in a fall while covering a fire in Great Bend.
A meeting with a representative from the PA Downtown Center has been rescheduled to Friday, February 4, to conduct an assessment and overview of the boro’s Main Street projects.
Mayor Hurley reported that an application for grant funding for the police department is still under review. At her request, council will continue further discussion of shared police services with Great Bend at a police committee meeting, where it can be discussed more in depth. And, she reported that the boro police have been investigating an incident of damage caused by vandalism at one of the boro’s cemeteries.
One person had requested time on the agenda but was not present, presumably due to the evening’s inclement weather.
During public comment, the lone resident in attendance expressed concern about three buildings on Main Street; all three have heavy, plate glass windows that are broken, with questionable means used to temporarily “repair” them. Mr. Lewis said that, in one case, the building’s owner has refused to address any safety issues; the boro is presently in the process of pursuing litigation to have the building demolished. He said that the owner of another of the three buildings has always been willing to work with the boro on safety issues, and would be contacted regarding the glass. Mr. Lewis said that he had been unaware of the third situation, and would look into it.
Mr. Williams reported that all of the required paperwork has been submitted to FEMA relevant to damage caused by Hurricane Ivan. He expected to be contacted shortly by a caseworker, who would conduct a survey of the damage. And, one grant application for funds to address the damage to the Drinker Creek Park had been denied, but had been forwarded to another entity for a different grant; word should come some time in March as to whether or not this application is approved.
Mr. Williams said that business owners affected by a proposed ban of right-hand truck traffic onto Erie Ave would be contacted to let them know what the situation is, and what steps will be taken to correct the problem. The ban would only involve vehicles over 25 feet in length.
A motion carried to “roll over” a certificate of deposit; these funds have been earmarked to be used towards purchase of a new police car.
Council continued discussion from prior meetings, about purchasing a street sweeper. The one the boro has now is in need of extensive repairs, and a better one has been found that would cost approximately the same amount to purchase. While the newer one does need some repairs, it was thought that the cost of those repairs could be negotiated into the purchase price. And, Mr. Lewis suggested holding on to the old one, to be used as backup or for parts. Mr. Whitehead pointed out that, under the boro’s present Agility agreement with PENNDOT, street sweeping is the only service that the boro provides. Further discussion will take place after several council members go take a look at the new one.
Council reviewed a list of memberships that need to be renewed and decided which ones to continue; a motion carried to approve payment.
Approval was given for the SCDA to host a website kickoff on Wednesday, January 12 at the boro building.
A motion carried to approve all but three applications submitted for tax exoneration; the rejected applications do not meet the required criteria.
Council approved an advertisement in the County Transcript, to remind residents about snow emergency parking regulations.
Two resolutions were approved. The first states that no department can overspend their yearly budget line items without council’s approval. At year’s end, any unused funds will be transferred to the debt service or capital improvement funds. The second resolution designated the Parks and Rec. Committee to act in the boro’s behalf for application for disaster relief funding.
Police officer Michelle Summers has fulfilled her probationary period; a motion carried to designate her as a permanent, part-time officer.
Some time ago, council had enacted an ordinance that requires that, in cases where a building is destroyed by fire a portion of insurance proceeds be placed in an escrow account to ensure that the property is cleaned up. Mr. Lewis requested that council consider amending this ordinance. As it stands now, $1,000 of every $20,000 in coverage must be placed in escrow. But, with costs rising the way they have, this amount might not be enough to adequately cover costs. He cited one recent instance, where the cleanup had cost $6,500. He suggested that the ordinance be amended to change the amount put in escrow to 25%.
Mr. Lewis gave reports on his codes enforcement activities during the past month for both Susquehanna and Oakland Boros, in keeping with the shared services agreement between the two boros.
No action was taken on a request from the Parks and Rec. Committee to “forgive” the little league for a utility bill in the amount of $173, in light of the fact that the little league has donated nearly $3,000. Mrs. Frederick pointed out that the donated funds were used for improvements to the Prospect St. park, and that her understanding was that the little league would be responsible for the utility bills for the lights at that park. After discussion, the matter was tabled for further information.
Mr. Whitehead commended the county chapter of the Red Cross, which had recently helped a family in the boro that had been burned out of their home. He said that he had heard that local Red Cross chapters are having a hard time lately, with the bulk of donations being made to help victims of the tsunami in Asia. While the tsunami was devastating, he said, he was not trying to undermine what had happened there; but, he would like to encourage people to continue to donate to local charities. Mr. Williams concurred, and suggested that donors could specify that their donations be used locally.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 25, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
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