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Dawn Watson Zalewski, who headed up Susquehanna County’s 9-1-1 Communications Center since 1989, has resigned.
Mrs. Zalewski submitted her letter of resignation to the county commissioners last week after a meeting with Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, and Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren. Her resignation becomes effective April 29 but sources said her offer to assist her replacement and wrap up any loose ends she felt needed attention was rejected.
“I had enough,” Mrs. Zalewski said when asked why she resigned. “We have a different philosophy of how the 9-1-1 center should be run,” she added, referring to the commissioners.
Mrs. Kelly said Mrs. Zalewski had been planning to retire and apparently felt this was the time for her to leave. She said she and Mrs. Warren did meet with Mrs. Zalewski because there were some issues relating to the comm. center that needed to be discussed.
“We had some questions and some concerns,” Mrs. Kelly said, “and as the department head, she is responsible. But this is a personnel matter and I would rather not talk about it.”
Mrs. Kelly said the commissioners will accept Mrs. Zalewski’s letter with regret. She described Mrs. Zalewski as a “very knowledgeable girl” but said the commissioners are “getting hammered” because the center is missing opportunities including grants.
Commissioner Jeff Loomis, who is the liaison between the Board of Commissioners and the 9-1-1 Communications Center, said he was not invited to the meeting with Mrs. Zalewski.
“Dawn resigned,” Mr. Loomis said, “following a heated meeting with Commissioners Kelly and Warren. I was here (in the courthouse) at the time of the meeting but I was not invited and I did not know about it until it was over.
“I do not like the way in which she was called into a meeting without me being there. I would have supported her. I thought she was progressing very well and I think that is why they left me out of the meeting.”
Mr. Loomis said he visited Mrs. Zalewski at her office shortly before she left and apologized for the way the situation was handled. He said there were some things that he felt needed attention but he believes in giving Mrs. Zalewski a “fair chance.”
Mrs. Kelly said Mr. Loomis was not in the courthouse when the meeting was held with Mrs. Zalewski. She added that Mr. Loomis knows the commissioners get together with the chief clerk and the county solicitor every morning about 8:30 a.m. and he seldom attends.
“Some things come up rather quickly,” Mrs. Kelly said, “and he is not really here enough to know what is going on. But I will not get down in the gutter. I do my job and I do not care to answer questions on personnel issues.”
Jerry Fives, chairman of the recently created Susquehanna County Emergency Services Advisory Committee, also praised Mrs. Zalewski.
“I think she was doing a good job,” Mr. Fives said, “and the bulk of the people on our advisory committee agreed. I am very unhappy personally at the way it was handled by the commissioners. I am going to miss her.”
Mrs. Zalewski started work at the comm. center on a part-time basis in 1973. In 1980 she became a fulltime employee and in December of 1989 she was promoted to the top slot as head of the 9-1-1 Communication Center and the Emergency Management Agency. “It’s the only primary job I have ever had,” she said. “I think I served the citizens well and, with a lot of help, brought it (the comm. center) along very well. It is heartwarming to know that people are supportive. I am going to miss the people I worked with.”
The Mountain View School District board of education meeting 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 and Eliza Vagni, High School Assistant Principal.
The minutes of the March 14 meeting were approved as presented which moved directly to the first hearing of visitors. A letter of appreciation was read to the board regarding the support and sponsorship for the recent program on caring for children with cancer in the classroom. Many faculty members took advantage of attending the program where much was learned about the effects of cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and so forth on school-age children. On behalf of the board, Mr. Bryce Beeman said they were proud to be able to support such a worthwhile endeavor.
The report of the financial services committee was given by Mr. Griffiths. Among routine financial items, the board approved budget transfers for 2004-2005 as presented and purchases of custodial supply purchases. Approval was given to amend the security benefit flexible benefits plan by adding insurance/self funded plan benefits to the adoption agreement and adding basic welfare programs to the flexible spending account service agreement.
On behalf of Mary Hvezda, Director of Special Services, Mr. Furneaux provided an overview of the special education budget, explaining that the budget was higher this year for several reasons including higher postage costs, the cost of adding a home school counselor, and projected costs of tuition and transportation amounting to $50,000 for autistic students in the district. Amid board discussion, it was noted that this amount would be shifted internally, should autistic students remain at Mountain View instead of attending outside programs, as those costs would be incurred internally for staff salaries and other special accommodations.
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- custodian was appointed. The board approved a volunteer for the 2004-2005 baseball season, approved an unpaid leave for child bearing, and appointed a temporary learning support teacher. Motions were revised regarding the date of resignation of Mrs. Price from her Business Manager/Board Secretary position to be effective June 29, and to clarify maximum work hours for the part-time custodian/maintenance workers whose positions became effective March 19. It was reported that negotiations were held with the support staff on March 21.
Mr. Beeman reported that the building and facilities committee finally met with the architect from the third firm, but had not reported yet. He said they were developing a template for comparison of all three firms’ projects and costs and should have that along with a recommendation at the next meeting.
The report of the superintendent of schools consisted of an overview by the faculty of a proposal to expand the course of study for Anatomy & Physiology II at the high school to include Emergency Management Technician (EMT) training. The Bradford/Susquehanna County Emergency Management Services Council has agreed to fund the program and provide the necessary textbooks and materials. It was believed that this was an opportunity to have an advanced course with more applied, hands-on learning that would benefit the students as well as the community since, upon completion they would be eligible to take the EMT certification test.
The report on the education committee was given by Mrs. Christensen. Numerous conference attendance requests and educational field trips were approved as presented. The revised calendar was also approved, noting that due to the unexpected late snow days, graduation would now be held on June 18, with the last day of school for the district on June 17.
Approval was given to hold a public meeting on Monday, April 4, to serve as a public forum, review all school policies, and in particular to seek input on the topic of a dress and grooming policy. Mr. Chambers said the meeting would be a listening session to share ideas and engage the community in the school district’s policies and activities.
At the second hearing of visitors, a public member asked two questions. The first was inquiring why there was no elementary school play this year. Mr. Chambers noted the reason to be that no faculty advisors applied to coordinate a play this year. The second question was why the Special Olympics kids received no recognition or awards. Mrs. Christensen explained that although Mountain View had secured new ski equipment for the special students, no other special Olympic teams were able to do so and the games were cancelled. New equipment was declared necessary across the state because of the liability associated with the use of ski equipment over 10 years old which was deemed “illegal”.
Next, a public member posed two questions regarding the proposed EMT training of high school students. First, were there any other school districts involved with this program of incorporating EMT training into Anatomy & Physiology courses, and second what degree of “hands-on” training was involved since that raises concerns of blood and body fluid exposures as well as confidentiality concerns if they would interact with “real” patients. The faculty noted that one school in Lebanon Valley, PA had implemented the EMT course, and affirmed that the students would not interact with real patients, but rather would use models and “dummies” in a simulated environment for the training.
Another public member expressed concerns about the food service, notably the poor quality as well as the small serving sizes at both the elementary and high schools. In addition, the member related a recent incident where a student was denied extra servings because his lunch account lacked sufficient funds, and yet leftover food had been discarded after the lunch period.
The board indicated that it was evaluating the food services, that this particular incident was not in accordance with the school policy, and that it would be investigated and followed up accordingly with the food service staff and manager.
Lastly, concerns were raised about the extended absence policy that required a bone fide medical excuse for all absences over 12 days. A parent related a situation where a child had missed over 12 days due to having a leg fracture, and another due to having an infectious disease. The requirement to take the children to a physician and pay for a visit to obtain a written excuse for mild ailments such as a cold or flu was burdensome when there were extenuating circumstances involved with the first injuries or illnesses that had consumed 12 days of absences. Mr. Chambers indicated that the policy committee would be looking into this and thanked the parent for expressing solutions in a written letter about the extended absence policy.
There being no new business, it was noted that executive sessions were held on March 14 and March 28, and the meeting was adjourned.
Post Easter holiday, the entire Board was present for the monthly meeting of the Elk Lake School District, Monday, March 28.
After an executive session, approval was given to the hiring and compensation package of Lori Ellis. Also quickly approved was the compensation package of Alice Davis, which later brought scrutiny.
Approval was granted to obtain bids for automotive and cosmetology kits.
Approval was given to accept a Confidentiality Policy and a Behavior Management Policy, which was not available at the meeting. Mrs. Staats explained that the guidelines were already followed but a policy per se was not formalized in writing, in compliance with the recent audit. Parent training will also be scheduled.
An Asthma and Epi-pen Policy was submitted for Board review and approval at next month’s meeting, scheduled for April 18. This may effect a large student population.
During public comment it was questioned as to what is the “compensation package” for Mrs. Davis. Superintendent Mr. Bush said that it includes “salary and benefits.” After further prodding Bush said that Davis’ salary will be calculated from the base of approximately $70,500 at ten months but will be paid for twelve months. The exact compensation package was elusive.
Copies of last month’s minutes were not prepared nor available for the public at this time.
A reminder was given to staff to register for the convention in Scranton scheduled for April 26. Board members were also advised to submit time for the “special meeting” attended on March 21. The nature of the meeting may have been an executive session to address personnel. The Board adjourned at 7:57 p.m., then held a meeting for the Career/Tech Center.
Correspondence was read aloud. The Women’s Club of Springville sent an invitation for a talent show which was held already. Some board members did attend and said the show was great.
Two staff members, Mrs. Hunsinger and Mrs. Babcock are hospitalized.
The Child and Adolescent partial hospital program seeks to run a summer program at the school from June 20 to August 12 for elementary age students. Approval was granted.
Karen Russick submitted a resignation from coaching and field hockey.
Cheryl Balcomb submitted a letter seeking retirement after 33 years, to begin June 2005. This was accepted. Linda DiStasio requested a leave of absence for family needs.
Jennifer Sobeck requested a maternity leave, sick leave, personal time and unpaid leave through the 2006 school year. This was approved.
Mallery noted the athletic schedule, with changes, will be on the website and will have a phone extension to call for up-to-the-minute changes.
Pirone noted the elementary activity including a sixth grade field trip, standard testing and science fair scheduled for April 21.
Cuomo noted high school activity including May 3 is the scheduled mock car crash. March 17 was the induction of National Honor students including 23 sophomores. Further Senior students needing credits to graduate may make up one credit during the year. The class will be scheduled instead of study hall. The student will still not be permitted to drive to school until current with credits. This is to defray the cost of summer school. Currently the credit make up policy is under the jurisdiction of a Chapter 4 policy not Chapter 5. The revision to the policy is to encourage timely graduations.
The school calendar was revised to end on June 10 with graduation scheduled for Saturday June 11. The 2005-2006 calendar was submitted for review and approval.
An anonymous student was approved for return to class beginning April 11.
An internet safety and acceptable use policy was adopted.
Compensation plans were approved for: Birtch, Cuomo,Truman and Jones. Board member Copeland did not approve.
Administration fees were approved at the rates of $3.15 for dental and $0.90 vision per policy. Medical stop-loss and deductibles were discussed and approval was given to increase the premium and deductible.
A motorcycle club will not be permitted to have a public demonstration or show at this time but in the future it may be a viable public event.
The cafeteria food program reportedly has too many people in the data base. Many people are due refunds and some owe the school for services. It was approved to delete prior customers from the data base and to establish a regular procedure to do so at the end of the school year. Inactive accounts will be deleted and all monies not able to be returned will remain in the cafeteria budget.
Bids were approved for new copiers and fuel oil.
A list of tax payers was approved for exoneration but was not shown to the public.
The ACT 72 litigation was briefly discussed. The Board has not opted-in yet. Tewksbury stated on the record that he does not approve of the Act and would vote against it.
The Board will meet Monday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m.
In the March 23 issue of the County Transcript, it was reported that charges were filed against Brian Keller, Hop Bottom, for assault and harassment. Brian Keller was the victim in this incident that occurred on March 12. Robin L. Griffin, Nicholson, is the accused, and the assault and harassment charges were filed against her. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
THEFT, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF
Sometime between the night of March 28 and the following morning, an unknown person(s) went to Johnson Hill and Overlook Roads in Lenox Township and did some damage, knocking over a lamp post owned by John Dubas, Carbondale, smashing a mailbox and stealing a cedar wishing well belonging to Gerard Booths, Carbondale, and smashing a mailbox belonging to Robert Crifasi. An investigation is continuing.
Dorothy Martin, 48, Montrose, was driving north on State Route 267 late in the snowy afternoon of March 23. She lost control of her vehicle, which went into the southbound lane and hit a vehicle driven by Megan Detrick, 27, Camptown. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and were not injured. Rush EMS assisted at the scene.
An unknown person(s) arrived at an unreported location on State Road 247 by Crystal Lake sometime between 11:55 p.m. on March 18 and 7 the following morning. There, the person threw a large, flat rock through the back windshield of an unnamed victim’s car, fleeing the scene undetected.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Someone removed or stole a 1996 Chevy Tahoe belonging to Thaddeus James Capwell, Brackney, from his driveway between the evening of March 25 and the following morning.
Sally A. Donahue, 57, Hallstead, received minor injuries when she lost control of her 1999 Chrysler Sebring while driving on State Route 11, south of Kingsley on the evening of March 23. The car went off the road and struck a concrete drainage culvert. Donahue was wearing a seatbelt; her car was moderately damaged.
William R. Paulin and Carrie A. Paulin to Michael K. Fitzsimmons, in Forest City for one dollar.
Michael K. Fitzsimmons to Michael Newak and Patricia Newak, in Forest City for $12,000,
Michele T. Swingle (by US Marshal) to Randall J. Houser, in Silver Lake Township for $51,000.
Thomas M. Healy to Wachovia Bank, in Forest Lake Township, for one dollar.
Bernard L. Bell, Gretchen Bell, Chadwick Bell, Alice M. Davis, and Raymond C. Davis to Peoples National Bank, in Montrose for one dollar.
Andrew J. Glover (by sheriff) to Washington Mutual Bank (sbm) Washington Mutual Home Loans Inc. (fka) PNC Mortgage Corp of America, in Susquehanna for $1,797.
Brian Post to Marjorie J. Wilkins, in Choconut and Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Dawn M. Branzuela to David H. Branzuela and Dawn M. Branzuela, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Hazel B. Cron to John S. Cron, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Mary Agnes Julius (estate) to Eileen Aguiar and Michael Aguiar, in Forest City for one dollar.
Shirley Harinec (aka) Shirley A. Harinec to Barry Gilmore, in Herrick Township for $168,000.
Ricky Davis Sr. (aka) Ricky E. Davis Sr., Michelle Davis to Ricky E. Davis Sr. and Michelle Davis, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Blanche S. Wehrung, Vernon C. Wehrung, Jeffrey P. Wehrung (by custodian), Jason W. Wehrung (by custodian), Jean E. Wehrung, Kelly R. Wehrung to Hillside Cabin, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Edward J. Fruehauf and Diane M. Fruehauf to William M. Schulz and Deborah Schulz, in Herrick Township for $10,000.
Michael Villanella to Michael Villanella and Lori H. Villanella, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Sidney Slody and Florence Slody to Susan E. Dawes, in Bridgewater Township for $53,000.
Marjorie J. Wilkins to Kenneth Hansford, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Beverly Marcy Wetering and Joseph Henry Wetering to Beverly Marcy Weterling and Joseph Henry Wetering, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Edward J. Wade (by sheriff) and Debra L. Wade (by sheriff) to Wachovia Bank (fka) First Union National Bank, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (by trustee), in Susquehanna for $1,897.
Craig R. Hildebrand and Ann Marie Hildebrand to Craig R. Hildebrand and Ann Marie Hildebrand, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Roselyn R. Johnson (estate) to William Johnson and Janice Johnson, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Trehab Center Inc. to Barbara A. Woodruff, Robert H. Owen, in Oakland Township for $89,000.
Ronald Olson and Annette L. Olson to Ronald Olson, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Edward F. John and Claudette N. John to Willliam B. Bush and Amy L. Bush, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Mary Alice Bush Hawley, Leslie Hawley, Edwin A. Bush Jr., Sheila Bush, Susan M. Bush Barefoot (nbm) Susan M. Bush Pratt, Kelly Pratt, Julie E. Bush Capwell (estate), Michael S. Bush, Amy Bush, William B. Bush, Amy L. Bush to William B. Bush and Amy L. Bush, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
James Neel and Wendy Neel to Shirley A. Harinec, in Union Dale for $85,000.
Rafe H. Zeyher to Lance H. Zeyher in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Judith M. Bartholomew (by tax claim) and Paul W. Bartholomew Jr. (by tax claim) to Habitat for Humanity of Susquehanna County Inc. (additional municipal transfer tax due).
Thom Norton & Company Inc. to Sean R. Smith, in Silver Lake Township for $41,600.
Washington Mutual Bank (sbm) Washington Mutual Home Loans (fka) PNC Mortgage Corp of America, to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Carmen Perkins to Ruth E. Morris, in Susquehanna for $1,200.
Donald Dean & Sons Inc. to Halsley Inc., in Bridgewater Township for $225,000.
Isaac C. Delgado, Cynthia H. Delgado, to Cynthia H. Peters, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Patrick Carricato and Rosalie Carricato to Patrick Carricato and Rosalie Carricato, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Kenneth A. Thompson (by marshal) and Krathyn L. Thompson to Rachel Engle, in Liberty Township for $26,000.
Augusto Matute Trigido Jr. and Jennifer Lisette Rivera, both of Old Forge.
Russell W. Breeze, South Montrose vs. Jennifer L. Breeze, Endicott, NY.
The March 21 meeting of the Bridgewater Township Supervisors began promptly at 7:00 p.m. Supervisors Chuck Mead, Beverly Way and William Gorkski were present along with Secretary Connie Ely. Connie read last meeting’s minutes. Beverly Way suggested an addition to the minutes regarding the approval of signs pending property owner’s approval. The minutes were approved with the addition.
Old business: Chuck Mead picked up the new law, Senate Bill 858 regarding fireworks from Sandy Major’s office. After reading parts of the law and discussing it, the Supervisors agreed that the county solicitor Michael Giangrieco should help them interpret the township’s responsibilities. The Township is still waiting on the surveyors to submit their findings to Montrose Borough on the land acquisition.
New business: Chuck Mead reminded everyone that he will not be attending the April 4 and 18 meetings. He will be at the PSATS convention on April 18. Beverly Way let everyone know that she will be unavailable for the May 16 meeting. Chuck asked Connie about the bids for stone and cinders. She will get the information ready for Bill and there will be an advertisement for bids, shortly. Bill suggested that the township obtain their own broom for sweeping the streets. Previously, they had borrowed Montrose Borough’s broom. Connie Ely submitted loan papers that the Supervisors signed. The loan is for two months for $15,000 from Peoples Bank.
Connie presented 14 checks totaling $7,771.35 which were approved and signed. The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
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