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With all members present, president Ron Whitehead presided at the February 22 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council. At his request, an item was added to the agenda, reopening discussion on the proposed shared police services agreement with Great Bend Boro. There was some debate as to whether or not this item should be added; a special meeting had been held on February 15 to discuss the matter. At that meeting, a motion had carried to authorize the boro solicitor to draw up a contract, but (due to a family situation) Mr. Bronchella had left the meeting before the motion was brought to a vote; a tied three-to-three vote was broken by Mayor Hurley. Mr. Whitehead felt that Mr. Bronchella should have the opportunity to vote on the matter, and questioned whether it was prudent for council to continue spending money to pursue it.
When the discussion continued later in the meeting, Mr. Whitehead said that he had spoken with the solicitor; the solicitor would not draw up an agreement until council had drawn up a rough draft, which would then have to be approved by Great Bend Council and their solicitor. With an agreement being sent back and forth to solicitors, he said, the legal fees would continue to mount up. “Do we want to do that?”
Mayor Hurley said that she had copies of contracts from other boros who had similar agreements; these should help council figure out what the “ins and outs” would be.
Mrs. Frederick stated that she had not changed her mind, she was still against it, and had not heard any positive feedback from residents. And, she felt that pursuing it was a waste of money. She added that it was not fair to Great Bend (not to make a final decision).
Mr. Matis said that the topic had been in local newspapers a number of times, residents should be aware of the proposal. And, only one resident attended the special meeting, and that person had had a positive response.
Mr. Lewis concurred, and noted that there were no residents at this evening’s meeting.
Mr. Williams said that he, also is against it and had not changed his mind; he believed that council is wasting time and money by dragging the issue out. He made a motion to cease all talk with Great Bend until more research had been done. It was, he said, a waste of taxpayers’ money to continue. Final vote, Bronchella, Frederick, Williams and Whitehead in favor of the motion, Lewis, Matis and Kuiper against.
And, after some questions raised by Mr. Matis as to the legality of doing so, a motion carried to rescind the motion made at the February 15 meeting to proceed.
Secretary Collins’ report included an update of communications and information received from the PA Downtown Center regarding the Main Street project. The boro has received a check from the fire on Jackson Ave., to be placed in the fire escrow account.
Mayor Hurley reported that she has received grant application information for the rail car committee. She reminded council about a police seminar being held next month in Scranton. And, information she had received indicates that recent changes enacted to Clean and Green would not affect boros; the changes would affect townships (which have larger land parcels than boros).
Requesting time on the agenda was Tom Chamberlain, who owns property on Willow Ave. In 1928, part of this property was deeded over to the boro, where stairs connected Willow with Erie Ave. In recent years, the stairs had deteriorated to a state where they were no longer safe; they had been closed off as it had been determined that the cost to repair them would be prohibitive. Mr. Chamberlain asked council to consider turning the property, approximately six feet by sixty feet, back to him. There was some questions on council’s part as to whether it would require the boro to vacate the land. A motion carried to check with the boro solicitor, and if it is legally permitted to turn the property back to Mr. Chamberlain.
A motion carried to roll over a CD in the amount of $4,500; this fund has been designated towards purchase of a new police car.
Council received some disturbing news; projected costs for employee health care insurance will be increasing as of April 1, by 40%, a significant rise. Although a rise had been considered when this year’s budget was drawn up, the increase is far beyond what had been expected. At the present time, there are only two employees (and their spouses) who receive this benefit; neither are enrolled in a family plan, which would include children. Mrs. Collins is checking into other plans that may be more affordable. As there will be a substantial penalty if the current carrier is not notified by March 10 that the policy will not be renewed, a special meeting may be scheduled pending Mrs. Collins’ findings.
A motion carried to refund an individual’s payment of a $5.00 per capita tax; this person had been exonerated from the tax but had made the payment before notice was received of the exoneration.
Correspondence received included two letters from the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority. The first requested setting a date for an annual meeting to discuss building maintenance, according to the lease agreement the boro has with the authority. The second notified council of the authority’s intent to file an application for a permit to discharge treated effluent from the treatment plant into the Susquehanna River; DEP requires that municipalities in the affected area be notified of such applications. Mr. Lewis suggested that council request more specific information.
Other items included information on waste oil recycling at the county recycling facility, a Leadership 20/20 program to be held in Montrose, and information on purchasing advertisements in a commemorative booklet being prepared by St. John’s Church in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the church.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss a legal issue.
The next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
A handful of regulars attended the February 22 meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors, and heard one of the three, George Haskins, submit his resignation as roadmaster. It wasn’t unexpected, really, since Haskins expressed a desire last fall to vacate the position to attend to his business. With the majority of winter pretty well behind us (fingers crossed), and with confidence in his successor, the timing was right for Haskins to step down from this responsibility.
He recommend to other supervisors that Nick Mase, a member of the road crew, was well qualified to assume the position, telling them that Mase is “dealing with [the work] on a day-to-day basis, and I’m not. It’s more efficient to the township for me not to be its roadmaster.”
Supervisor Walt Galloway and board chair Bob Squier accepted Haskins’ resignation with regret. Galloway spoke for both, saying, “George has done a tremendous job. He does an awful lot of work that we don’t see, puts in a lot of hours and we appreciate it very, very much.”
After all three approved the appointment of Mase to roadmaster, Haskins gave his final report on roadwork accomplished since the board last met two weeks ago. And it was pretty obvious to anyone who lives in the township: plowing and applying anti-skid for the snowfalls and squalls that recently left plenty of black ice on roadways.
The F350 truck has been repaired, he said, and is back in service – this time with a more efficient flatbed on it rather than a pick-up. Haskins was especially pleased with the work that Gary Blewitt did on the truck to make it look and perform better than ever. Blewitt was one of three township businesses that submitted bids for the work; all agreed to do it for the amount of insurance reimbursement. The only difference was that Blewitt said he would also fix, at no additional charge, a fender that was damaged last year. He did that, and he also painted severely rusted areas of the cab and support that came to light once the pick-up was taken off the truck. Again at no charge. Plus, Blewitt credited the township with one-half of its insurance deductible. Haskins was very pleased and so were the other supervisors.
The DEP, he reported, got back to the township about the plan to repair the slide on Graham Hollow Road. The road and the slide that’s cheek-by-jowl to it are both terrifically close to the wet-weather stream that courses next to the road. The DEP is concerned about accessing the stream with equipment to place the first few feet of material that will be required to fix the slide. It’s pretty much the only place from which work can be started. Haskins noted that the streambed is solid bedrock and not a fishing stream, equipment that would be in it for the time it takes to repair should not pose a problem with environmental concerns, and he will, along with Mase and KBA Engineering, inform the DEP of such when KBA responds to the DEP letter.
Haskins also met with KBA on another matter – the sidewalking for the Bridging Communities project. A KBA representative noted that because the firm is backlogged with work, the township and Hallstead Borough would be better served to look to another engineering firm for the work. Haskins thought that he and other people involved in the Bridging project would speak further with Plan B, an engineering firm in the old train depot in Hallstead, to find out what its capabilities are.
He clarified that Nick Mase, who received approval last month to attend a dirt and gravel road certification class in Wysox, would instead be attending the same workshop in the spring in Montrose which was added to the list of locations. Mase’s re-certification at that time would be good for five years. Work on the employee manual is ongoing, Haskins reported. The supervisors are looking to rewrite portions of it to eliminate ambiguity and redundancy.
Lastly – as far as current business on roads – the board approved advertising for the usual materials used by the township; bids will be opened on March 21.
Secretary Sheila Guinan reported that she checked into the amount of funds left from a grant that was used to purchase the pull-down stop sign to be used should the red light at the intersection ever be out of service. The grant money was $500, and $292 of it was spent on the sign, leaving a balance of $208 that could be applied to radios requested by emergency management coordinator Dixie Russell. Squier reported that Russell is tracking down the possibility that radios might be available from a police department. In the meantime, there are a couple hundred dollars that could be used towards their purchase.
In the second emergency-related items, Squier read a letter from the Broome Volunteer Ambulance service that pitched in while the local corps was regrouping. The Broome group – an advanced life support (ALS) group – expressed concern that it hadn’t received any correspondence from the township on its preference of the local corps for basic life support (BLS). The concern of the Broome group was that it or Montrose (another ALS corps) might arrive on the scene earlier than the BLS crew. They requested guidelines on what to do when another ambulance shows up, and it’s not needed.
Guinan, who also serves the borough of Great Bend, reported that she checked this out for the borough, which received a similar letter. She contacted Brent Meadows, area director and to whom the local groups report, and he told her that there would be no trouble with dispatching an ambulance (ALS or BLS) appropriate to the call, and that he handles those kinds of decisions. (Del Austin, who sits on the board of the Hallstead-Great Bend BLS corps, attended the meeting, asked for a copy of the letter the township received, and reported that in the week or so that it has been up and running, has received and responded to four calls.)
Galloway explained two sample ordinances that have been provided by COG for its member municipalities, should they wish to adopt them, or parts of them. One is a setback ordinance; the township currently has none and construction has taken place in the township according to a general rule of thumb (that would not be enforceable, lacking an ordinance). The other sample ordinance would require that a building permit can be issued, even for seasonal cabins and other “habitable” structures, a sewage permit must be issued first. All supervisors were interested in both ordinances, will review them further and plan to address them at the board’s next meeting for the advertising or not.
Galloway also updated his counterparts on the status of the new township building; Galloway and Guinan recently submitted a request for a grant which, if obtained, would be dedicated to the building. He met with KBA a couple of times, including an executive session with other supervisors at which KBA presented complete plan designs, minus the mechanicals, which will be added for presentation of the complete plan by February 26. Apparently, the plans are pretty impressive and both Haskins and Galloway thought they looked terrific.
As for new business, Galloway said it was important that the board and Guinan get together and develop a plan, including estimates, of redoing Old Route 11. Haskins mentioned the possibility of obtaining $50,000 of materials at no cost, and while this is a lovely chunk of change, the full project would cost somewhere around $250,000. Galloway was looking to tackle the south end of the road, although Haskins noted that the north end would need to be done as well. “In my opinion,” said Galloway, “it’s going to be what we can afford to do, and I don’t think we can do it all next year.” Then there’s the fact that the township, however much it eventually decides to do and when, would need to borrow some funds, and the group will need to determine how much debt the township can service. The board will hold an executive session soon to determine the best course to take.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for March 7 at 7 p.m. in the township building.
The Clandestine Laboratory Emergency Response Team (CLERT) was dispatched to South Montrose, Pennsylvania late Friday evening. With the assistance of Pennsylvania State Troopers of Gibson Barracks, Susquehanna County Sheriff and local emergency response teams one more methamphetamine lab was shut down in South Montrose.
According to State Trooper Corporal Strong a complaint was received Friday evening at approximately 8:00 p.m. alleging a strong, ether-like odor. Trooper Strong confirmed the smell and notified the Vice unit. The CLERT was dispatched to the rented residence of Mark Shingler, age 43, and Kelly Button, age unknown along Route 29.
A search warrant was received from the Susquehanna County District Attorney, Jason Legg. According to Strong undercover agents maintained surveillance until approximately 1:30 am Saturday, at which point the warrant was served and a forced entry was executed. Both Shingler and Button were arrested. Button was released reported Strong. Shingler however was taken up the street and placed in jail pending bail. The matter will be taken before the magistrate.
Strong stated a meth lab was in the basement of the residence (pictured above). Various toxic chemicals were removed including starting fluid, lithium battery casings and anhydrous ammonia. It is a felony to be in possession of anhydrous ammonia and to manufacture methamphetamine.
HAZMAT was summoned to remove the hazardous materials. They were there Saturday morning to clean up. Local ambulance and firefighter crews responded to secure the crime scene and provide protection due to the explosive nature of the materials. Firefighters were observed entering the residence with breathing apparatus.
This lab was located near the intersection of Route 29 South and SR 3029 across from the South Montrose Post office. It was less than one mile from the county jail and adjacent to the baseball field. Another meth lab was busted about a year ago on Ridge Road (SR3029). Strong admitted there has been a string of burglaries from the areas of Elk Lake Corner through Hop Bottom and Kingsley.
Strong noted that people may contact 911 or the Gibson Barracks (465-3156) with tips and information to assist their efforts. The PA State Police web page is www.psp.state.pa.us. The tip line is #1-877-PA NO DRUGS. Confidentiality will be maintained according to Strong.
Robert C. Canfield and Dorothy A. Canfield to Scott R. Grill, in New Milford Borough for $130,000.
Mark W. Lewis and Terri Lynn Lewis to Mark W. Lewis, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Robert M. Coleman and Anna May Coleman to Rita A. Graham, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Elbert R. Luce and Joan M. Luce to Susan M. Giblin, in Liberty Township for $70,500.
William E. Dean (estate) to R & D Land Co. in Bridgewater Township for $225,000.
Community Bank & Trust Co. to Joseph M. Taylor Sr. and Leona Florance, in New Milford Township for $30,000.
Terence W. Repine and Susan K. Repine to Michael W. Munda, in Apolacon Township for $319,587.
Kurt S. Weidner (estate) to Donna Jean Weidner, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Donna Williams (aka) Donna L. Williams to Jeffrey D. Williams and Beth Ann Williams, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Susan C. Rose to Randy D. Decker and Lou Ann Decker, in Harmony Township for $1,000.
Susan C. Rose to Randy D. Decker and Lou Ann Decker, in Harmony Township for $16,500.
Marion C. Schmitt to Randolph LaCroix and Evelyn LaCroix in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Donald Purtell and Norene Purtell to Leo Purtell and Sandra Purtell, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Marion C. Schmitt to Randolph LaCroix and Evelyn LaCroix, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Marion C. Schmitt to Gary L. Schmitt, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Stephen A. Teter (estate) to David J. Selmach and Victoria A. Stelmach, in Gibson Township for $109,500.
George F. DeBella (by sheriff) and Loretta M. DeBella (by sheriff) to Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota (fka) Norwest Bank Minnesota, in Hallstead Borough for $3,148.
Elspeth Mateer to Charles W. Mateer and Doreen McMurry, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Genevieve Corwin to Jerry L. Cronk and Diane L. Cronk, in Montrose for one dollar.
Christine L. Kiriposki (nka) Christine L. Mayor to Daniel C. Kiriposki, in Gibson and New Milford townships for one dollar.
David R. Bender (by sheriff) and Sarah M. Bender (by sheriff) to Fannie Mae, in Dimock Township for $1,077.
Robert Compton and Elsie E. Compton to Robert Compton and Elsie E. Compton, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Clinton B. Tyler (by sheriff) and Ramona E. Tyler (aka) Ramona Hill (by sheriff) to Fannie Mae, in Springville Township for $1,244.
Hank L. Peck and Joanne E. Peck to Hank L. Peck and Joanne E. Peck, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Jean Wilson to Lloyd Sheldon, Deborah Cohen, and Peter Wilson, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Raymond Romspert aka Raymond F. Romspert (estate) to John M. Ord and Justine M. Ord, in Harmony Township for zero dollars.
Charles W. Mateer to Charles W. Mateer and Marlene A. Mateer, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Ruth E. Morris to Fred Stark and Twila Stark, in Oakland Borough for $25,000.
Seward Rice to Sandra M. Rinker and Raymond A. Rinker, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
William Brown and Gayle Brown to Peter Ohrt, in Middletown Township for $3,000.
Emery B. Benscoter and Julie Benscoter to David Dorman, in Auburn Township for $120,000.
Silver Lake Township to Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Company, in Silver Lake Township for $12,000.
Matthew Maciuski (estate, by sheriff) to Wachovia Bank (fka) First Union National Bank (trustee for) Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, in Union Dale Borough for $900.
Charles W. Chapell and Elizabeth Chapell to Raymond F. Creeden and Kathleen Braker Woloszczuk, in Jackson Township for $197,500.
James E. Cooper and Lisa M. Cooper to Lisa M. Cooper, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
RALLG Associated, WNG Co., Margaret V. Rockey, John J. Lavelle Sr. (estate), and Susan Lavelle to Ralph L. May and Debra Santini May, in Herrick Township for $21,000.
The Internal Revenue Service has filed income tax liens against Kenneth F. Collins of Hallstead in the amount of $5,260 for the tax period ending Sept. 30, 2004; and, Kevin G. Newman and Linda Ann Jones of RR 1, Susquehanna, in the amount of $6,334 for the period ending Dec. 31, 2001, and $3,045 for the period ending Dec. 31, 2003.
Brian Carl Posten and Ronnie Ann Rodridgues, both of Meshoppen.
Jason B. Horn and Jennifer Beth Myers, both of Springville.
Steven Bucci of PO Box 46, Forest City vs. Charisse Bucci of RR 1, Honesdale.
Jennifer L. Birtch of Lawton vs. Robert L. Birtch of South Montrose.
Paula Smith of RR 1, Montrose vs. David M. Smith of Binghamton, NY.
Mary G. Dixon of Hallstead vs. Mark Whitman Dixon of RR 1, Great Bend Twp.
Julie R. Daley of RR 5, Montrose vs. Matthew Dailey of Meshoppen.
In last week’s Barracks Report we inadvertently listed that James Hanrahan, Susquehanna, was cited for DUI as the result of a traffic accident. In fact, Mr. Hanrahan was cited for driving at an unsafe speed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
A 1984 Ford L9000 PENNDOT vehicle driven by John Smith, New Milford, was following a 2004 Hyundai driven by Tammy Wallace, Thompson, south on Route 11 in Great Bend Township at 11 on the morning of February 23. Smith failed to see the Hyundai’s turn signal when Wallace began to turn left into a parking area and hit her vehicle. Both drivers were wearing seat belts; Smith was not injured; Wallace received unreported injuries. The PENNDOT Ford received minor damage and the Hyundai was damaged.
A 16-year-old male juvenile was driving a 1987 Honda Accord west on State road 1009 in Harmony Township when he lost control of it because of snow on the road. He went into the eastbound lane, where his car struck a 1995 Subaru Legacy, driven by Patrick Harris, 58, Susquehanna. This accident happened on the afternoon of February 21. The juvenile was injured; Harris received moderate injuries; and both vehicles were towed from the scene.
This accident happened when James J. Dekin, 30, Meshoppen, lost control of his 2000 Dodge Durango while driving on State Route 267 in Rush Township. The Dodge left the road, hit a ditch and a culvert and returned to the roadway where it came to a stop. Dekin received minor injuries as a result of this crash that occurred on the night of February 22 and was treated at the scene by members of the Rush Fire Department. His vehicle was disabled and removed by Park’s Garage in Friendsville.
HINDERING APPREHENSION OR PROSECUTION
Carol E. Rafferty, 64, Montrose, gave false information to law enforcement late on the morning of February 21, and attempted to harbor or conceal her daughter, Arlene Hendrickson, who was wanted for probation violations.
ACCIDENT – FATAL
Julie Capwell, 45, Jessup Township, was pulling out of a driveway on the afternoon of February 20 when Kenneth Bucksbee, 28, Hallstead, was traveling west on State Route 706 in Jessup Township. Bucksbee hit the left side of Capwell’s vehicle as she was negotiating it into the east lane of 706. Capwell’s injuries as a result of this accident proved fatal. Bucksbee received minor injuries and his passenger was not injured. An investigation is ongoing.
Shortly before 1 on the afternoon of February 17, Brooke Gheen, New Milford, Jessica Waugh, Hop Bottom, Todd James/Arthur, Nicholson, and a juvenile from Susquehanna were caught smashing mailboxes along Golf Road and State Road 547 in Harford Township. State Police request assistance in this investigation by having citizens who had their mailboxes damaged on February 9, 12, and 16 contact them and leave their information on the list of victims from this incident, if they haven’t already reported the damage. State police specifically mention the areas of Hop Bottom, Lenox and New Milford.*
Unknown person(s) arrived at the Tri-County Human Services Building off State Route 706 in Montrose, broke the left and right side-view mirrors of the van owned by Tri-County and fled the scene undetected.
At about 1 on the afternoon of February 18, Eva Wisniewski, Forest City, was driving south on State Road 247 in Clifford Township. Leroy Rotherforth, Forest City, was driving north along the road. Wisniewski lost control of her 2004 Camry LE on the snow-covered roadway, slid sideways and went into the northbound lane where it hit Rotherforth’s 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander. Both vehicles were removed from the scene by Kozlowski’s Towing and both drivers were taken to CMC Hospital in Scranton – Wisniewski complaining of chest pain, Rotherforth with an injured wrist. Both drivers were wearing a seat belt. Cottage and Greenfield Ambulances took them to CMC.
An unknown person(s) stole packages of steaks from the meat section at Rob’s Market in Great Bend Township.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154 or 800-506-0372.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners rewarded two county employees last week with pays raises they say is commensurate with their work habits and additional responsibilities both of them have accepted.
Meeting as the Salary Board after a boring regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners, the three commissioners supported motions giving Sylvia Beamer, who joined the county’s administrative staff last year as personnel director, a $5,000 raise, and Nicholas Conigliaro, who was appointed deputy jail warden last year, a $2,000 salary increase.
Chief Clerk Suzanne Brainard recommended Ms. Beamer’s increase. Her annual salary went from $24,840 to $29,840 and became effective February 24. Ms. Beamer was cited for working with the county solicitor to resolve union grievances and for having her workweek extended from 35 to 40 hours.
Mrs. Brainard said Ms. Beamer’s job description was conservative when it was written last year. She said Ms. Beamer has assumed additional responsibilities over and above the job description and singled out her ability in dealing with employee grievances as a major plus for the county. “It is vital to the employees to have someone they can be comfortable with,” Mrs. Brainard said.
“Sylvia is a bargain,” Roberta Kelly, chair of the Salary Board, said. “She was a terrific hire for the county.”
Mr. Conigliaro recently completed his six-months probation period as deputy warden but he has distinguished himself in the eyes of jail Warden Bill Brennan and the county’s Prison Board. The Salary Board accepted a recommendation from Mr. Brennan increasing Mr. Conigliaro’s annual salary from $27,945 to $29,945.
Besides doing work that has earned him the wage increase, Mr. Conigliaro has also cooperated with a request from Mr. Brennan that his hours be from Noon until 8 p.m. The change allows extra hours for an administrator to be on duty.
In another change, the Salary Board agreed to pay Chief County Detective Debra Millard $20 per compliance check as determined in the county’s contract with the Drug and Alcohol Commission. Periodically, Mrs. Millard will accompany a school age teenager to a store that sells cigarettes and have him/her attempt to purchase a pack of cigarettes. If the purchase is made, the store owner will be issued a citation.
The money paid to Mrs. Millard comes from a state grant from the Tobacco Compliance Grant Program. The county receive $45 per compliance check. The teenager participating in the program is paid $10 per compliance check.
At the commissioner’s meeting, approval was given for two jail employees to switch jobs with no change in salary. Joan Roberts will move from full time cook to full time correction officer and Jennifer Joines will move from part time correction office to full time cook.
In another employee move at the jail, Kelly Cady and Charles Bower were hired to part time positions as correction officers and the Salary Board set their hourly rate at $11.34 in accordance with the union contract.
The commissioners accepted the retirement of Elwin Henry as a full-time corrections officer effective March 16.
Robert Templeton, Susquehanna County Planner, presented the commissioners with the 2004 annual report of the County Planning Commission.
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