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When the Hallstead Boro Council met for their regular monthly meeting on March 17, they had a surprise in store for resident Ken Yeisley. Mr. Yeisley had been “lured” to attend the meeting on a pretext. The real reason for inviting him was to honor his efforts to keep the boro beautiful. For years, Mr. Yeisley has been in the habit of taking daily walks. While out on his walks, he gathers litter and disposes of it. Several residents had contacted council, and urged that some recognition be made of his efforts.
On this evening, on behalf of council, Joey Franks presented Mr. Yeisley with a plaque to show their appreciation. “As council members are representatives of this fine, little boro,” he said, “(your efforts) are well worth recognizing.”
Councilman Joey Franks (left) presents Ken Yeisley with a plaque in recognition of his efforts to beautify Hallstead Borough.
Accepting the plaque, Mr. Yeisley said that, initially, he had started by picking up litter around his home and putting it in a box, but the box was quickly filled, and his efforts expanded. He paraphrased a passage from the Scripture, saying that Hallstead is sacred ground, and people shouldn’t litter on it. He thanked council for their recognition.
Not willing to let an opportunity pass by, Mr. Yeisley then spoke about some concerns he had on the topic of keeping the boro clean. On his walks, he has noticed that people often put up posters to advertise yard sales, etc. but, after the date of the event, not too may people are thoughtful enough to take the posters down; they should do so. He has also noticed that there is often an overflow of (household) trash at the receptacles at the boro’s parks. Perhaps, he suggested, it would be a good idea to remove them, to discourage people from filling them to overflowing. He also noted that there is a problem with people putting their trash out in plastic bags, where animals get into it, and with pickup truck beds filled with trash that flies out as they are driven around.
In closing, he thanked council for their efforts to get the foundry property cleaned up.
In other business, council discussed correspondence received from a resident, who had contacted PENNDOT about the continuing problem with parked cars blocking the sight distance at the intersection of Susquehanna Street and Route 11. PENNDOT’s reply stated that “No Parking” sign installation would require that the boro first pass an ordinance banning parking in the area, so that the signs are legally enforceable. But, according to state law, parking is prohibited within twenty feet of a marked crosswalk. PENNDOT has agreed, on a one-time basis, to schedule painting crosswalks at the two depressed curb locations at this intersection during this year’s painting season. Once the walks have been painted, it will be the boro’s responsibility to maintain them.
At the request of COG, of which the boro is a member, a motion carried to begin procedure to adopt a building ordinance pertaining to habitable structures erected within the boro.
Continuing discussion about spring paving, it was agreed that before any paving is done on Pine Hill, water problems first need to be addressed. Maintenance supervisor John Gordon was authorized to purchase materials to put in catch basins, and to hire machinery and an operator as needed. Once it can be determined if this will take care of the water, council will proceed with paving. Mr. Gordon will also see what can be done about a blocked catch basin at the underpass on Route 7, which has been causing a problem with ice buildup.
And, now that plowing is (hopefully) not his first priority, Mr. Gordon will continue work on renovating the restroom in the boro building.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 21, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
The Forest City Board of Education announced at last week’s meeting that it will offer a formal presentation April 7 on Act 72 and how it could affect the regional school district. The session is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium and the public is invited.
Act 72 requires school districts to reduce property taxes using state revenues from gaming allocations and local revenues using newly authorized income taxes. The bill also provides for voter approval on some tax increases.
“It can have a tremendous impact on our school district,” School Superintendent Robert J. Vadala said.
In an overview on Act 72, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association said the act requires school districts to “utilize a homestead/farmstead exclusion to provide property tax relief to owners of eligible homestead or farmstead properties.”
“The amount of relief available,” a PSAB report notes, “will depend on the amount of funds districts will have to reduce property taxes under Act 72 and the number of eligible properties in the district. Funds that must be used to reduce property taxes are state gaming allocations, revenue from a 0.1 percent local contribution, revenue from any increase in income tax approved by the voters through a front-end referendum, and any Sterling Tax credits received by districts.
“Eligible properties are those whose owners have submitted a homestead/farmstead application to their county assessor and have been deemed eligible by that office.”
While the objectives of Act 72 are pretty clear, the methodology is somewhat ambiguous. There are a number of ways school districts can opt in to the provisions of Act 72 or, if the school board prefers, it can take no action and remain under the current taxing system. The provisions for opting into the act expire at the end of 2005.
In another matter at last week’s meeting, the board approved, with regret, resignations that virtually wiped out its computer technology department. William “Chip” DeWolfe resigned as technology coordinator effective May 2 and Christopher Kuruts resigned as technology specialist effective March 18.
Board President Fred Garm said the district will advertise the positions and interview potential replacements.
“I just want to say thanks to Chip,” said Director Tom Baileys. “We heard some complaints as we always do when we pay professionals. But I think if anyone looked at the time he worked, he was probably one of the lowest paid people here.”
Dr. Vadala said Mr. Wolf will be honored at a dinner that will include a “little bit of roasting.”
Secondary Principal Anthony Rusnak reported on the success of Forest City students at the recent PJAS held at Kings College. He said Awards of Excellence were presented to Andrew Seaman for computer science, Amanda White for biology, and Jaclyn Smith for ecology.
Elementary School Principal Ken Swartz cited winners of the “In Celebration of Reading” winners. A kindergarten student, Hether Agentovich, was the overall school winner of a $15 gift certificate to be spent at the Elementary Book Fair.
Other winners included: Kindergarten- Grace Ross, Ryan Kelleher, Camera Kilgallon and Jeffrey Burrell; First Grade- Matthew Lee, Monique Barrese, Sarah Stephens and Alex Bean; Second Grade- Destiny Megivern, Abbigail Westgate, Alex Lucchesi and Sebastian Canfield; Third Grade- Will Jonas, Christian Retana and Jennifer Baron; Fourth Grade- Jennifer Pace, Kaitlyn Sweeney and Kylie Besz; Fifth Grade- Teddy Carpenter, Brigette Davies and Kristine Kuriger; and, Sixth Grade- Cree Townsent, Stephen Terry and Jamie Schoonmaker.
Mr. Rusnak and Mr. Swartz reported the same number of students in high school and grade school, 452, for a total student population of 904.
Motions passed by the board:
-Approved the general operating budget for the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19, in the amount of $2.8 million, an increase of $129,942. Forest City’s increase of $643 brought the district’s share of the cost to $13,504.
-Permitted the board secretary to advertise for bids for refusal removal.
-Agreed to support Western Wayne Regional School District’s legal action against Florid Power & Light Company, owners of the Windmill Farm on Waymart Mountain.
-Approved the hiring of Patricia Gardus as part-time assistant school nurse assistant effective April 4.
-Added Charlene Collins and Chad Rosar to the substitute teachers list.
-Appointed Mark Durkin as JV baseball coach.
-Accepted the Auditor General’s Audit Report for fiscal years ending June 30, 2001 and 2002.
-Entered into an agreement with Tri-County Services Center regarding the Student Assistance Program.
There will not be a referendum in May to return Prohibition to Rush Township.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans said petitions calling for a vote on the subject did not conform with the statutory requirements and ordered that the proposed referendum be set aside.
Alvah and Marge Weaver, proponents of a referendum that could make the township dry, say they will be back in a year with another petition and the proper verbiage to put the question on the ballot.
The Weavers, who live next door to the only bar in the township, had collected more than enough signatures to place the referendum on the ballot. An error in the way the petition was presented to the Susquehanna County Board of Elections caused a successful court argument by Michael Giangrieco, solicitor for the Board of Elections and Jason Legg, who represented Mark and Mary Anne Waddington, owners of The Hayloft.
Mr. Giangrieco said the Rush Township petition should actually have been submitted as two separate referenda questions that were lumped into one petition.
At the hearing on March 14, Attorney Charles Wage, who represented the petitioners argued that the current referendum should be allowed because it is similar to the language on a petition from Gibson Township that was accepted by the county.
Judge Seamans would not accept the argument because the Gibson Township referendum only dealt with licenses for retail dispensers of malt and brewed beverages while the Rush Township referendum sought to include alcoholic beverages. He also pointed out that the fact that no one challenged the Gibson Township referendum does not mean that the proposed Ruth Township referendum complied with the statutory requirements.
Jean Bonham, lead auditor for Harford Township, read her report covering 2004 at the Supervisors' meeting on March 12, characterizing the books of the township as generally "in order" and "correct." Ms. Bonham's report questioned only the flagpole installed in front of the township building last year, and "whether such an expensive one was needed." The pole cost approximately $1,200. She also noted that a flag was not flying on the pole while the auditors were working afternoons in the office.
Supervisor Terry VanGorden said that, because of potential vandalism and theft, the township bought a "lockable" flagpole. He also mentioned electrical problems. Roadmaster George Sansky added that, because of the electrical problems and short bulb life, the flag has been left down most of the winter. They don't want to have to raise and lower the flag each day and take a risk that it might be left up at night unlighted. Once the winter weather is past, they expect to make repairs and put the pole back into service.
Another observer who is not an auditor, asked about recent large legal fees. It appears that the $7,000 fine paid last month to the Clean Water Fund as a penalty for operating the sewage plant briefly without a license was augmented by about $2,500 spent on lawyers to sort out the bureaucratic tangle.
In addition, another $4,000 or so has( so far) been paid to lawyers to prepare paperwork to remove restrictive covenants to the deed for the Odd Fellows Hall. In the absence of Rick Pisasik, presiding Supervisor Terry VanGorden said that the paperwork now seems complete and ready for signing to request of the court a quit claim deed that should clear the deed on the old "town hall". It wasn't clear just what the next step might be on the Odd Fellows issue, but presumably, once the papers are filed, a court date must be set. Since the fire company will be joining the township in the petition to the court, both organizations must sign the papers. The fire company put the restrictions in the deed when the property was turned over to the township more than 20 years ago.
The Supervisors opened bids from three suppliers for stone and selected State Aggregates as the winning bidder for 6000 tons of 2RC, 400 tons of 2B and 1500 tons of anti-skid. State Aggregates was not the lowest bidder in all categories, but Mr. Sansky and Mr. VanGorden said that they have not been satisfied with the quality of the 2RC material supplied by New Milford Sand and Gravel (which offered the lowest bid in this category). A representative of Montrose Materials was present to observe. His bid on 2B stone was lowest but only for FOB at the plant; Mr. Sansky said that Harford rarely takes delivery in its own vehicles at the plant, preferring to have the materials delivered to the township.
Mr. Sansky said that the crews are working well with only two trucks at the end of the winter season. "We're keeping up with it," he said. By next winter, however, the township will be outfitted with three full-size trucks and one smaller one, all equipped for plowing and spreading, "one more than we've ever had," he said.
Mr. VanGorden announced that the last phase of the project to renovate the township building and garage will begin this summer. He also vowed that the windows and doors in the garage will be replaced. Leaking warm air in the winter, the old doors and windows are costing the township excessive amounts for propane.
The Harford Township Supervisors meet on the second Saturday of each month beginning at 10:00 a.m.; and on the fourth Tuesday of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are held at the township building on Route 547.
James A. Lake Jr. (aka) James A. Lake and Carol M. Lake to John M. Wilson Jr. and Margaret S. Wilson, in Herrick and Clifford townships for $125,000.
Joseph Rybnick Jr. and Jean A. Rybnick to Daniel R. Rybnick and Stacey Rybnick, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Alton G. Arnold to Jessup Township, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Patricia Farrell and William S. Farrell to Frank Vassallo and Jane Vassallo, in Lenox Township for $21,000.
Joseph Weidow Sr. and Sharon Weidow to Joseph Weidow Jr., in Harford Township for $150,000.
Robert A. Coleman and Donna C. Coleman to Robert G. Gawlinski and Josefa L. Gawlinski, in Gibson Township for $75,000.
Richard Arthur Romano Jr. (aka) Richard A. Romano, Julie A. Romano (aka) Julie Ann Romano to Stuart K. Feenstra and Catherine B. Feenstra, in Lenox Township for $135,000.
R. Hewitt Sutton and Sharon L. Sutton to Harry Vaow and Wendy Vaow, in Dimock Township for $163,000.
Jack S. Otto and Roberta E. Otto to Michael Spataro, in Montrose for $145,000.
Carolyn Wilbur (nbm) Carolyn Conboy, and Joseph P. Conboy to John Dimichele, in Rush Township for $46,000.
Peter Oleniacz Jr. to Pamela Oleniacz, in Brooklyn Township for $27,000.
Peter Oleniacz Jr. to Erika Ann Megivern and Michael John Megivern, in Brooklyn Township for $15,000.
Eugene L. Sheninger and Lynne M. Sheninger to Elwood H. Williams and Thelma F. Williams, in Lathrop Township for $77,500.
Susan J. Lavelle to James B. Meandro and Pamela S. Meandro, in Herrick Township for $26,000.
Maria Cerretani (estate) to Laurie A. Cerretani, Daniel A. Cerretani, Patricia Cerretani, Joseph L. Cerretani, and Anthony J. Cerretani, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
John M. Kelly to Randy K. Lewis, in Franklin Township for $32,500.
Daniel J. Pratt and Patricia A. Pratt to Catherine A. Cornelius and Ethelyn V. Enos, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Marjorie J. Wilkins to Brian Post, in Choconut and Silver Lake townships for one dollar.
Sharon S. Butts (estate), Gary L. Butts (estate), Christopher Alan Butts, and Laura Jean Butts to Christopher Alan Butts and Laura Jean Butts, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Forest Lake Rod & Gun Club (by tax claim), Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau to David L. Biesecker in Forest Lake Township for $611.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Vera Scroggins (by tax claim) to Chris Tracy, in Bridgewater Township for $1,370
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Rick Pollock (by tax claim), to Chris Tracy, in Liberty Township for $11,200.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Ricky L. Williams (by tax claim), and Nancy A. Williams (by tax claim) to Skip M. Tracy, in Susquehanna for $7,600.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Janner Incorporated (by tax claim) to Donna M. Fekette and Thomas J. Lopatofsky Jr., in Montrose for $41,300.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Mark Smith (by tax claim), Lona Smith (by tax claim), to John Amirault, in Oakland Borough for $2,000.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Billiejo Herman (by tax claim), Helen Collins (estate) to Wallace Burns and Joan Burns, in Liberty Township for $743.
Carol Smith to John W. Oakley and Erin Oakley, in Great Bend Township for $105,000.
Citifinancial (sbn) Associated First Capital Corp. to Chann Investments Inc. , in Susquehanna for $19,900.
Steven G. Woolbaugh and Janice D. Woolbaugh to Janice D. Woolbauch, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Lisa M. Phillips (nbm) Lisa M. Anderson, and Brian Anderson to Tammy R. Wenzl and Karl M. Wenzl, in Jackson Township for $121,000.
Olga Kosick to Christine M. Kosick and John Kosick Jr., in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Alton G. Arnold to Fairdale Grange No. 1157, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Merton R. Kilpatrick and Judy A. Kilpatrick to Merton R. Kilpatrick Jr. and Holly Kilpatrick, in Lenox Township for $47,500.
Salvatore J. Polumbo Sr. and Beverly Palumbo to Palumbo Family Irrevocable Trust, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Elaine M. Sorensen (estate), Edward F. Sorensen III, Carol A. Antoniewicz, Elaine Sanches (nka) Elaine L. Sorensen, Teri Mudry (aka) Teri Lynn, Hugh Gooden, Kristin Sorensen, Erik Sorensen, Mark Sorensen, Nathanael D. Tompkins, and Marsha Tompkins, to Nathanael D. Tompkins and Marsha Tomkpins, in Gibson Township for $37,500.
Pearl Smith and David G. Smith to David G. Smith and Kenneth John Smith, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Deborah E. Patton to R. Thomas Dooley and Anne A. Dooley, in Jackson Township for $49,925.
Household Finance Corporation to Charles Stephan Dunn and Linda Dunn, in Harford Township for $71,400.
Cheryl B. Greene to Edward B. Greene III, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Cheryl B. Greene to Edward B. Greene III, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Cheryl B. Greene to Edward B. Greene III, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Betsy Jo Stankiewicz (nbm) Betsy Jo Diaz and Manual Diaz Jr. to David Tim Smith Sr., in Harford Township for $80,000.
Kenneth Gall Jr. and Trudy K. Gall to Kenneth Gall Jr., in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Bridgewater Township Municipal Authority has filed judgments in the Susquehanna County Court House against the following individuals.
Christopher Rockwood, Box 228, South Montrose, for $324.49.
Jennie L. Comstock, Box 18, South Montrose, for $237.57.
William Tyler of New Milford, and Dorothy L. Hine of Susquehanna.
Thomas Edward Wright of Union Dale, and Janice Marie Dingee of Susquehanna.
Kendall Douglas Bryden of New Milford and Becky Lou Bryden of New Milford.
Joshua R. Shoemaker of Tunkhannock and Diana M. Smith of Laceyville.
Nancy Thompson of Meshoppen vs. Wayne Thompson of Meshoppen.
Terry L. Russell of Friendsville vs. Rona L. Russell of Friendsville.
HIT AND RUN CRASH
A juvenile female from Hop Bottom struck the rear of a vehicle driven by Elizabeth Hortman, Hop Bottom, when it was at a stop sign at State Route 167 in Hop Bottom on the afternoon of March 15. The juvenile failed to stop at the scene and faces charges, including driving without a license and failure to stop at the scene.
SIMPLE ASSAULT, HARASSMENT
Lloyd Westbrook, Jr., Montrose, was assaulted after being escorted out of the County Seat Bar in Montrose for the second time on March 10. He annoyed some other patrons and was sent on his way. Westbrook then returned to have a few words with the bartender and he was again removed from the bar. That’s when Westbrook was assaulted outside the bar, receiving bruises about his head.*
Sometime between 9 p.m. on the night of March 12 and 1:15 the following morning, Jessica Corey, 26, Union Dale, had her purse, wallet, cell phone and checkbook taken from her unlocked vehicle while it was parked at the Beacon Bar & Restaurant in Union Dale. Her purse and wallet have since been recovered.*
At 6 a.m. on March 13, Andre Gladstone, 25, Brooklyn, N.Y. was driving his 1999 Mercedes at an apparent very high rate of speed on Interstate 81 north when he lost control of it on a curve. His car left the road, rolled over and came to rest on State Route 106 near Exit 211. Gladstone was wearing a seatbelt. State police were assisted at the scene by the Susquehanna County coroner and Clifford Township Fire and Ambulance.
Lucas D. Mack, Kingsley, was on his ATV traveling north on State Road 2015 in Brooklyn Township when he apparently “pulled a wheelie” and fell off the back of the ATV, striking his head upon the blacktop road. Mack received moderate head injuries and was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City via MedEvac helicopter, in the accident that happened on the afternoon of March 13. He was cited for not wearing a helmet and operating an ATV upon a state highway.
Early in the day on March 12, state troopers received complaints of ATVs operating on roadways in Auburn Township (Elk Lake Road, Dougherty Road, Farly Road and State Road 3009). Later on, troopers were again called down to investigate an ATV crash in the exact location of the neighborhood complaints. The incident is still being investigated, however police say that John Wildoner, 21, Patrick Warner, 21, and Mark Taylor, 21, were operating their ATVs on State Road 3009 at a high rate of speed. As they came to a curve in the road, Taylor – the last in the line – failed to negotiate the curve, went off the road and hit the guard cable. He suffered serious injuries and was subsequently life-flighted to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Troopers say the investigation has not yet been completed, but citations are expected to be issued. They were assisted by Meshoppen Fire Company chief Robert Carney, as well as members of the FWM Mehoopany Ambulance and Montrose ambulance.
THEFT VIA COMPUTER
Fernando Barton, 25, New Milford Township, bought a motorcycle on E-bay and wired a large sum of money to an account in Minnesota. An investigation revealed that the motorcycle was never shipped to Barton and that he was a victim of fraud. Barton reported the crime on March 4, and an investigation is continuing. State police remind citizens to use discretion when purchasing items on the Internet.
On the afternoon of March 12, Abigail Manns, 19, was driving fast through a curve on State Road 4015 in Rush Township when she lost control of her vehicle which went into a ditch and flipped onto its side. She was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
A 16-year-old juvenile received minor injuries when the juvenile lost control of a 1997 Chevy Cavalier on State Road 3011 in Auburn Township. The vehicle left the road, rolled twice and came to rest on its roof. The juvenile was wearing a seatbelt in this accident that happened on the afternoon of March 10.
This incident happened when Brian L. Keller, Hop Bottom, entered the VFW in Lenox Township on the evening of March 12 and grabbed the hair of Robin L. Griffin, Nicholson, pulling some of it out. Charges were filed against Keller with the district justice.
Between February 12 and March 12, an unknown person(s) broke into a Thompson Township residence owned by Joseph V. Phillips, Brooklyn, NY. Stolen were a Sharp microwave oven and an Emerson 21-inch color television.*
A 1989 Buick driven by Jeffrey Jablonsky, 44, Binghamton, was driving south on State Route 29 in Franklin Township, followed by another vehicle and then by a 1991 Buick Century driven by Stephen Filchak, 48, Montrose. When Jablonsky came to the intersection with State Road 1018, he turned left into Filchak’s path, causing a collision. Filchak continued south, hitting a guide rail before his car came to a stop. Neither Filchak nor Jablonsky were injured in this accident that happened on the morning of March 4. Both were wearing seatbelts. Their cars were towed from the scene, and the Montrose Fire Department assisted.
On the afternoon of February 10, Michelle Shepard, 31, Susquehanna, tried to leave the Price Chopper in Montrose without paying for her merchandise. She was stopped by store employees and faces charges of retail theft.
TRAFFIC CRASH, HIT AND RUN VEHICLE
This collision happened at 2:30 in the morning of March 6 on Marshall Road in Auburn Township. A 1995 Chevy Astro van driven by Kimberly Godshall, 34, Meshoppen, was traveling south on the road at the same time an unknown vehicle was driving north. The unknown vehicle failed to yield half the road and hit Godshall’s van in the left front area, forcing it off the road. The unknown vehicle momentarily stopped at the scene and then fled, heading south into Wyoming County toward Meshoppen. This vehicle is described as possibly a blue or green Ford Probe.*
A 2004 Chevy Cavalier driven by Gwen Pelick, 35, Forest City, was driving south on State Route 171 in Herrick Township when it veered onto the snow-covered shoulder on the afternoon of March 10. Pelick lost control of the car, which traveled across the northbound lane and east berm before striking a road sign; it then went down a small embankment, where it stopped. Both Pelick and her passenger were wearing seatbelts and were not injured. The Chevy received minor damage and was towed. Cottage Ambulance, Pleasant Mount Fire Company and Union Dale Fire Company assisted at the scene.
HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT
On March 6, and unknown operator of an unknown model-and-make vehicle over-compensated at the intersection of Dayton and Wellington Streets in Hallstead and drove their vehicle into the right side of a parked 1991 Chevy Corsica owned by Louella Coolridge, Hallstead. The unknown driver left the scene without stopping to report this accident as required.*
Philip S. Davidson was driving his 1994 Ford Explorer north on State Route 29 in Bridgewater Township at noon on March 3 when he lost control of it on a snow patch, causing the Explorer to flip on its side, coming to rest in the southbound lane. Davidson was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
The Clifford Township Board of Supervisors does not appear to be ready to move on a proposed plan to sewer the Dundaff/Crystal Lake areas of the township.
At last week’s meeting, a vote on the project was again delayed by John Regan, chair of the board. This time Regan said the vote would only be taken if Supervisor Randy LaCroix showed up for the meeting. Apparently Mr. LaCroix told Mr. Regan to begin the meeting without him and that he would be late.
“If Randy gets here, we will vote and get it over with,” Mr. Regan said. Mr. LaCroix never arrived.
At the February meeting, it was Lynda Williams of Crystal Lake who attempted to get the matter on the floor for a vote only to be denied by Mr. Regan. This month it was Mrs. Williams’ husband, Chuck, who pressed for action by the supervisors and he didn’t do much better than his wife. Mr. Williams has been a supporter of the sewer project from the onset and has been lobbying for funds to finance it.
“We have requested $450,000 from Senator Lemmond,” Mr. Williams said, “but I doubt if we can get that much.” Mr. Williams said money for the sewer system is still coming in but the township is running out of time and needs to act on the project.
Mr. Regan said that State Senator Charles Lemmond and State Representative Sandra Major have pledged $50,000 each in state funds toward the project. But he seemed in doubt about the township’s ability to receive additional grant money.
“I feel once we sign up no one will help us,” Mr. Regan said. Last April the supervisors agreed to move forward with a sewer system for the Dundaff/Crystal Lake area. However, at the time, Mr. Regan said a final decision would not be made until the township’s grant application to finance the project is approved.
“If we don’t get the grant, where’s the money going to come from,” Mr. Regan said. His position has not wavered during the past 11 months.
The first phase of the plan, updating the township’s Act 537 plan, has been completed. Last April’s decision to proceed with the second phase was made at a special meeting when the supervisors approved a motion authorizing the township to ask the Rural Development Department of the US Department of Agriculture to arrange financing for the project including a grant of 75 percent of the cost and an interest rate under five percent on a township loan to finance the remainder of the construction costs.
When the initial contact was made with the Rural Development Department of the US Department of Agriculture, it appeared the township would get 75 percent of the cost paid by a federal grant. However, since than that figure has been reduced to 59 percent and before he will support the project Mr. Regan wants to make sure it isn’t completely cut out or reduced some more.
In another matter, the supervisors are considering renting space in the township building which was once an elementary school. Mr. Regan said he was advised that the township could rent rooms as long as it was not making a profit on the rentals. He said a day care center has expressed an interest in locating in the building and others have also inquired about office space.
Prisoners from the State Correctional Facility in Waymart have been working inside the building. They put a drop ceiling in the gymnasium and are presently cleaning the floor in the gym. They also painted the hallway and a number of rooms. Mr. Regan said the only cost to the township was for the paint. The township also received word that it will get $20,000 from the county to repair the restrooms and install new front and side doors.
Clifford Township Police Officer Donald Carroll reported he investigated seven incidents in February and one motor vehicle accident. He also issued 12 traffic citations and four motor vehicle warnings during the month.
Harvey Rosenkrans presided over the March Sewage Enforcement Committee meeting that basically was a series of updates, and one good question from a member.
Rosenkrans informed members about an appeal hearing for a Reddon violation in Dimock Township and which was scheduled for the night after the meeting. A new hearing day, he also reported, has been set for proceedings about a violation that has been dragging on and which stem from noncompliant repairs by contractor Mr. Vadovsky. The Committee’s solicitor, Jason Legg, will be sending yet another letter to Hawkins Homes to follow up on nonpayment of civil penalties that were assessed at a hearing that took place well before the Vadovsky one.
SEO Duane Wood had a very short report. Basically, he’s waiting for the weather to break and for it to quit snowing so that he can get on with what he and Adam Griffis do with enforcing sewage compliance.
The good question came from Gibson Township’s representative who reported that the municipality passed a resolution to require approval of port-a-potties at events held in the township. The principal reason for passing it was the very large crowds that show up every year for a large music festival. Last year, 20 of the temporary facilities plus five wash basins were available at the event. Having the resolution, said the representative, gave the township some control over that aspect of the festival.
He noted that the fee schedule for COG approval on the temporary outhouses is $125, and he asked if the group could take another look at the fee to make it a bit more reasonable. He did not want to penalize smaller events, such as family reunions or other gatherings, or discourage people from appropriate houses when they were needed. Both Rosenkrans and secretary Karen Trynoski said the executive committee would look into making a proposed fee change next month. Some suggestions from Trynoski included a set fee for, say, 1-4 outhouses, and a different fee above that number.
Not a lot of municipalities had adopted this voluntary resolution, but for those that have, there will likely be a change in the fee coming soon. SEO Duane Wood and other Sewage Committee people will be meeting with Gibson Township representatives to talk it over.
COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
Elliot Ross opened the COG meeting by noting that PENNDOT representative Randy Decker was sitting in the back, if members had any questions. They didn’t, and Decker didn’t have much to report, either, except that COG member municipalities will be “getting their big check in April.”
Mike Greene, Thompson Township COG representative and president of the planning commission, had nothing to report. Ross, who is the street/road signs committee, updated members on progress making signs for various member municipalities who requested them. And the by-laws committee has gotten together and Dave Barrow, who’s on the committee, said it has made quite a bit of headway, with more to do before it finishes and makes recommendations.
Also on hand was a representative from Starrucca Borough, in Wayne County. Secretary Cheryl Wellman reported that COG received a check for dues and a resolution to join COG. She noted that earlier in the year, the group voted to accept Starrucca Borough, and Wellman welcomed them on behalf of COG.
However, there are some questions that will need to be cleaned up. Greene was concerned that Starrucca become familiar with and have a copy of COG fee schedules. Some fees are based on distance, and with Starrucca being out of the county, how visits to it by either Codes or Sewage enforcement officers need to be resolved. If a sewage officer were used, then he would be working with Wayne County DEP representatives. Should an appeal ever occur down the road, no one was sure who would sit on an appeals board (i.e., Wayne or Susquehanna County folks).
The best way to resolve these issues is for COG executive committee representatives to meet with members from Starrucca’s Borough Council, and that’s what Wellman will set up as early as can be arranged.
CODES ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE
Codes members were informed by president Ted Plevinsky that some adjustments were made to a sample ordinance that some went home with last month and are considering adopting. It concerns a sewage report-permit requirement prior to applying for a building permit for any habitable structure.
The adjustments clarify what “habitable” means, and as rewritten, the sample ordinance says it’s any type of structure that is occupied. On advice of solicitor Jason Legg, penalties in the sample ordinance have also been revised, from a minimum $25/maximum $100 to $100/$300.
A member had a concern that these changes would mean re-advertising the proposed ordinance. They do not, said Plevinsky, if the entire ordinance was not published in the advertisement. Municipalities can plug in the new language and new penalties if they decide to go that way, prior to adopting it.
On hand at the Codes meeting was Mike Mustica, COG’s assigned CEO from BUI, the group’s third-party inspector. Mustica introduced Rory Newhart, who will work the southern end of the county for COG municipalities there. A list of which municipalities will be serviced by which CEO will be provided to COG members, although Mustica noted that both will spell each other if and when needed.
He also reported that he has been really, really busy this year, with he and Newhart reviewing 6-7 building plans in the last week alone, including a lot of commercial work. Both are gearing up to be pretty busy, pretty quickly.
The next meeting of the Council of Governments is scheduled for April 19 in COG offices in the New Milford Borough building on Main Street.
The Mountain View School District Board of Education public meeting, March 14, 2005 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, James Zick, and Carolyn Price, Secretary. Absent was Sondra Stine. Also attending the meeting were Arthur Chambers, Superintendent, Colin Furneaux, High School Principal, Eliza Vagni, High School Assistant Principal, and Margaret Foster, Elementary School Principal.
The minutes of the March 7 meeting were approved as presented. Mr. Price gave the Treasurer report. Beginning balance in the General Fund checking account as of Feb 1, 2005 was $2,411,064.31; Receipts totaled $810,455.52 and Disbursements totaled $1,110,897.11 for an ending balance on Feb 28, 2005 of $2,110,622.72. The report was accepted.
The report of the financial services committee was given by Mr. Griffiths. Among financial items, the board approved a number of routine disbursements for payroll, transportation, cafeteria, fringe benefit payments, list of bills, budget transfers and fund transfers. In addition, the board approved the NEIU #19 General Operating budget and copier paper purchases. Also approved were exonerations of tax collectors for real estate, per capita, and occupational taxes for 2004 and that taxables not be exonerated but turned over to respective delinquent tax collectors. The board approved appointment of G.H. Harris, Inc. of Dallas, PA, as delinquent occupational tax collector for the 2005-2006 school year.
Lastly, sponsorship in the amount of $500.00 of the NEIU #19 program “Together…Supporting children with Cancer in the Classroom” was approved as presented. Mrs. Karen Voigt was on hand to explain that this was a joint sponsorship program to provide information to the faculty on how to support the educational needs of children with cancer and those undergoing chemotherapy.
2005-2006 Budget Presentations were discussed, including the Athletic budget, High School budget, and Elementary School budget. All budgets were close to targets. Members of the board wanted to reiterate that there were no plans to discontinue the wrestling program, as rumors in the community indicated that such was being considered. The only comment made was that there had been a reduction in the number of students participating in the wrestling program but no discussion of dropping the program. It was noted that $6,000.00 had been budgeted for charter and virtual school tuition, based on estimates from the current enrollments of 15 students in the Fell Charter School and 11 students in Virtual public schools.
Mr. Furneaux provided highlights of the high school budget, explaining that additional monies had been allocated for next year’s graduation (it was believed that more risers would be needed to accommodate the class), new science text books, new furniture and desks, photocopiers, and increased postage costs. Mr. Halupke asked if use and/or repair of older desks in storage had been considered. It was noted that those were elementary desks, and would not be appropriate for high school students.
Miss Foster provided highlights of the Elementary school budget, explaining increased allocations for such items as repair/maintenance of duplicators, musical instruments and pianos, guidance services, postage, staff development, and social studies text books. She commented that teachers had been supplementing the current social studies text book, which was outdated (copyright 1988).
Mr. Halupke gave the report of the Human Resources, Policy and Labor Relations Committee. Several teachers were added to the substitute list pending receipt of all documentation, and one full-time and five part-time custodians were appointed. The board approved the abolition of the 80% psychologist position, approved the creation of a full-time (186 day) psychologist position and authorized advertising for that new position. Also, advertising was authorized for secondary math, secondary science, nurse substitute, and elementary positions. Finally, supplemental salary positions for junior varsity softball coach and boys track assistant were approved.
A second reading of policy # 808 Food Service was held. The changes discussed at the last meeting had been incorporated to include that students would not be denied breakfast or lunch if their accounts were in arrears, however the alternate lunch would be provided if the amount exceeded $25.00. This policy would hold for both elementary and high school students. Mr. Halupke noted that the policy also needed to be corrected to indicate that breakfast is only served at the elementary school. Mr. Furneaux commented that the possibility of serving breakfast at the high school was being investigated.
Mr. Beeman reported that the building and facilities committee would be meeting with the architect on March 23, and would have more information on the building project after that.
There was no report from the superintendent of schools. It was noted that high school student Matt Panasevich was awarded a medal at the state wrestling championships. The board agreed to invite Matt to the next board meeting. Also, student Whitney Williams would be invited for her outstanding soccer accomplishments.
The report on the education committee was given by Mrs. Christensen. Numerous conference attendance requests and educational field trips were approved as amended to include several students as well as faculty and the 2004-2005 school year calendar was approved.
A brief discussion was held on a new social studies text book. Mr. Furneaux noted that it was highly recommended by the social studies teachers, and was a good investment because it covered two grade levels. Mrs. Christensen agreed and said she had reviewed the text, noting that it tied in current events, and included reading strategies for students.
At the second hearing of visitors, a public member had two comments and one question.
The first comment was regarding the budget discussions noting the increased expenditures for photocopiers, duplicators, and paper purchases and the need by teachers to supplement outdated text books. It was observed that the volume of copies of supplemental materials provided to students was high and perhaps if the textbooks were more current, less supplementing with photocopies of other materials would be necessary.
The second comment was to note that although alpine ski racing does not receive the press afforded other sports like wrestling and basketball, it should be noted that two students from Mountain View—junior, Andy Conrad, and seventh-grader Kyle Shostek—made the Pennsylvania State Alpine Racing team, representing Elk Mountain.
The question was a follow up on the provision of the executive summary of the Institute of Medicine’s report on childhood obesity to the school board, approximately six months ago. The report included several recommendations for school districts for actions in combating obesity in school age children. Had the board reviewed that report, and if not, did it intend to? Mr. Chambers admitted that it had not been reviewed, but asked that it be put on the agenda for the board to discuss.
The meeting was then adjourned.
All members were present at the March 16 meeting of the Susquehanna Community School District board meeting, with the exception of Mike Kosko.
The board approved the minutes of the February 16 meeting, filing of the treasurer’s report, the general fund bills, the food service report, and filing of the activity fund and athletic fund reports.
Superintendent Stone reported that, again this year over the summer months, the district will be sponsoring a remediation program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The program is funded through Title I, and its purpose is to address any academic deficiencies students may have.
Mr. Stone was pleased to report that the district will be receiving a Block Accountability Grant in the amount of $188,254, which will be used to fund the pre-kindergarten program. He also wished to stress that the pre-K students receive their own, separate transportation and are not bussed with older students. The pre-K students not only have separate buses with their own routes, the buses have seat belts for all students, and an aide is present on each bus (in addition to the driver).
Mr. Stone thanked Cook Foam for their donation of foam rubber blocks that were used in the elementary cafeteria to soften ridges where the lower brick wall and the upper drywall meet.
Two newsletters have been sent out since the beginning of the school year, both focusing on initiatives. The third newsletter will focus on student accomplishments, and next year’s budget. Parents will also be receiving information released by the state, dealing with PSSA exams.
And, due to the number of snow days needed this year, there have been a number of changes to the year’s calendar. Parent-teacher conferences have been changed from April 7 and 8 to April 14 and 15, which will both be half-days. The all-curriculum expo has also been rescheduled to April 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in conjunction with the parent-teacher conferences. March 28 (Easter Monday) had originally been scheduled to be a holiday, but will be in session as a makeup day.
Elementary Principal Bob Keyes reported that an after-school tutoring program has been going well, with 24 students in grades 3-5 participating. The district has been awarded a $5,000 grant, to improve the elementary library’s collection of books, and is in the process of applying for another grant, through Improving Literacy Through School Libraries, also to be used to improve the elementary library collection.
High School Principal Mike Lisowski reported that, as in the last several years, the district has been conducting intruder drills where, after an alert is sounded all are asked to stay silent and still for a period of about five minutes. This year, the drill was held during what is usually the most active time of day, lunch. And, a tornado drill was also held, where students are to line up in the halls in silence. He was very impressed by how well both drills were conducted. He was very pleased to note that discipline referrals have drastically decreased from last year.
Assistant Principal Mark Gerchman reported that the faculty and students have been preparing for PSSA testing, to be held April 5-7 for students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11, focusing on reading and math. Students in grades 4, 6 and 7 will be field-tested in reading, and Terranova tests will be administered.
The newly-formed computer club has begun meeting with 14 student members. Students will be starting with learning theory (the mechanics of a computer) and will possibly evolve into a course of study where students could attain certifications.
A number of individual students and teams (too numerous to mention) were commended for their achievements in various sports.
The board was treated to two musical selections from eleventh grader Mellissa Leet and sophomore Caitlin Piercy, both of whom recently performed well in state competitions.
Business Manager Ray Testa has been busy, conducting interviews for a candidate to fill his position. A total of 41 applications were received and reviewed, and extensive interviews were conducted. He introduced the board to the candidate he felt best qualified, Gary Kiernan.
The board approved exoneration of district tax collectors from the collection of unpaid school taxes for the year 2004, and the NEIU 19 proposed budget of $2,984,123, with the district’s contribution $7,952.10. This is an increase of $378.67 over last year’s cost, but, Mr. Stone said in light of the services the district receives through NEIU the increase is very conservative.
Board member Mary Wescott was unanimously elected as the district’s representative for the NEIU board for the 2005-06 school year.
The calendar for the 2005-06 school year was approved. Classes will begin a bit earlier, on a Monday rather than a Wednesday. The change, Mr. Stone said is to get as many days in as possible before PSSA testing begins. The calendar also shows a reduction in the number of half-days for students.
Intents to retire at the end of the 2004-05 school year were approved from Robert Romanofski, secondary math; Richard Bagnall, secondary science; Sherry Tortual, secondary English/reading, and Diana Hurlburt, secondary librarian. Also accepted was the intent to retire from Charles Pooler, maintenance, effective August 31, 2005.
A one-year contract for photography services with Lauren Studios was approved.
Two additions to the substitute list were approved, Leanne Rhone and Raymond Testa III, both emergency certified.
One volunteer was approved, Mark Snitzer (track).
Resignations were accepted from Matt Orner, assistant baseball coach; Joe Zabielski, assistant football coach; Roland Salamon, drama advisor; and Kristen Stanford, assistant drama advisor.
Approval was given for Ms. Stanford to be hired as drama advisor. Other positions approved were Jill Franceski, junior high softball co-advisor; Jamie Smith, baseball assistant coach; Hannah Barnes, drama assistant; and Gary Kiernan, business manager.
Homebound instruction was approved for one student, for a period of 12 weeks.
The usual lists of requests for workshops, seminars, conferences, use of the district facilities, activities and fund-raisers were approved.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
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