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Blue Ridge School District will be getting some national publicity this summer. Superintendent Robert McNamara told his Board of Directors that a company called Remote Productions will visit the school later this month to film an episode of "High School Stories" for cable music channel MTV. The project will feature a reenactment of a "senior prank" of a few years ago when seniors blocked entrances to the schools with huge "marshmallow" hay bales.
Mr. McNamara told the Board at its only meeting in July on the 18th that he expected "no problems" for the district from the project, nor any cost. And there may be some benefit besides the publicity.
Among other routine personnel actions, the Board welcomed Lesley Stonier, who attended the meeting in person, as Administrative Assistant in the Elementary School. The Board also accepted the resignation of Jessica Wright as foreign language teacher, and immediately hired her replacement, Jennie Castrogiovanni, of Montrose.
Patricia Petula resigned from the High School to take a half-time position in Montrose. And Marion Yurgosky resigned from the Elementary School to accept a position as principal at the elementary school in the Lakeland District.
Career-long teacher Barbara Wheeler's request for early retirement for health reasons was accepted with sincere regret. Ms. Wheeler's request fell outside the retirement incentive program offered earlier in the year. But the Board wanted to "do something for her to reward her for her years of service," said Board President Alan Hall, so they also approved a special "severance package" for her.
Among other actions by the Board this month:
The contract with Bethesda Day Treatment Center was renewed for the next school year without an increase in the daily rate of $39 per student. Bethesda operates a program in South Montrose that tries to bring disruptive and difficult students back into the educational mainstream.
The Blue Ridge campus facilities are again made available to the Summer Adventures educational recreation program.
Teachers were approved for the two Elementary School summer sessions, one of which ended on July 1, nearly two weeks before.
Kurtz Brothers was awarded the contract to provide general supplies to the district at a low (and only) bid of $23,115.46.
The Board approved an agreement with KBA Engineering, of Jermyn, for "professional services." KBA will be paid on an "hourly rate, as requested," according to Business Manager Loren Small. The agreement will cover any engineering services the district requires, and the hourly rate will depend on the level of engineering services required for whatever project is involved.
The first project the engineers will have to handle is the demolition of the old sewage treatment plant. The Board approved advertising for bids for that, as well as improving grading and drainage at the upper elementary school playground. Board member Harold Empett reported progress replacing the stairs in that area already.
Board members were especially curious about the details of a proposal to resurface the running track. The contractor, Atlas Track & Tennis, headquartered in Oregon, was chosen through a state-wide bidding consortium (which bypasses the normal, local bidding process).
It took a while for Mr. Hall to get a second to a motion to approve the project. Board members wanted some reassurance that the $65,000 the work is expected to cost will be worth it.
The track is now about 10 years old; a track surface of that type normally can be expected to last only 5-7 years. Mr. Hall said that if the surface is not replaced now, substantially more money would be needed in another year or two to replace the entire facility.
In the end the Board approved the project, which will include some minor repairs, two coats of new surface, and restriping.
It has been a busy summer at the Blue Ridge campus. New Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski listed a physical fitness "boot camp," the Endless Mountains Theater camp, and the Summer Adventure program, not to mention summer school sessions.
All participants at school activities this summer are eligible for free lunches courtesy of a pilot program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because of the popularity of the program, and the enthusiasm of the Blue Ridge administration for it, the Agriculture Department will visit the campus in August to film presentational material, using Blue Ridge as a demonstration vehicle for the success of the program.
The Agriculture Department film may not get as much national exposure as MTV, but it demonstrates the district's progress and achievement.
You can gauge progress and achievement yourself by attending a meeting of the Blue Ridge Board of School Directors. They will meet next in public session on August 22, in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
The Susquehanna Community School District board met for their monthly meeting on July 20 with all members present.
Superintendent Bronson Stone reported that the faculty has met with representatives of NEIU 19 to work on the district’s Strategic Plan. On-line tools will be implemented in October, which will allow the district to submit information on-line into a data base, which will then be available to be incorporated with other plans and reports the district must file. The Strategic Plan committee will meet from September through July to develop its plan.
The evening’s report of district personnel was mostly comprised of accolades for business manager Ray Testa, who will be retiring as of September 1. With many of Mr. Testa’s family members present, Mr. Testa was commended for his many contributions to the district. In recognition of those, he was presented with a plaque in recognition of his service, which spans 36 years. Board members, faculty and staff spoke of their appreciation for all he has accomplished, the guidance and advice he has provided, the outstanding job he has done, and best wishes for his continued health and happiness. Mr. Testa thanked everyone for their good words, as well as his family for their support. “All I wanted to do was work, and to do a good job,” he said.
Summer work is progressing on schedule. Most of the 42 kindergarten through second grade students enrolled in summer school have been attending the program. Elementary principal Bob Keyes said that it has been a positive experience for students and staff alike.
Mr. Stone noted that the board had scheduled the July meeting in anticipation of receiving PSSA scores, but the district had been notified by the Dept. of Education that receipt of those scores will be delayed by a month. An independent firm has been engaged to conduct a statistical analysis of the scores, and they will not be sent to districts until shortly before the new school year starts.
At the district’s invitation, the Dept. of Labor and Industry conducted a “mock” inspection of hazardous materials storage. Mr. Stone said that there were some recommendations the district will act on, and that it is planned to conduct the inspections on a yearly basis.
Under New Business, the board approved a maintenance contract for Beck & Beck Services, Inc. for the 2005/2006 school year.
The board approved a resolution authorizing execution of a Visa Card through Peoples National Bank. Mr. Stone said that it is needed, as many of the concerns the district conducts business with no longer wish to deal with the purchase order system. The card would be worthwhile, and there are safeguards in place to see that it is used properly. It will be kept in the administration office, which is responsible for all of the district’s purchasing.
The board approved a $10 raise to the daily rate paid to substitute teachers, to $ 85.00. The increase, Mr. Stone said is necessary to increase the number of substitutes available, as other districts offer a higher rate of pay.
A request for medical leave for Audrey Sullivan effective July 5, 2005 was approved.
Changes/additions were approved for a Substitute Employee Orientation Policy, a Non-Instructional Hiring Policy, and a Non-Instructional Evaluation Form. Mr. Stoned explained that these were in keeping with Keystone Education Accountability Standards and Indicators.
Board Members Steve Stanford and Terry Carpenter were appointed to serve on the Strategic Plan/Act 48 Planning Committee.
Resignations were approved from Wrestling Cheerleading Advisor Aimee Wademan, Elementary Aide Laurie Hubal, and SADD Advisor Rose Ann Escandel.
Hiring of Josh Silver (instrumental music) was approved for the 2005/2006 school year, as was Vince Rock (senior class advisor), rescinding an earlier resignation. Mr. Stone said that Mr. Rock had reconsidered as he wishes to maintain some involvement. Hiring of Charles Cuevas (full-time maintenance) was also approved.
The following requests were approved:
Kathy Flor/Special Education Aide – Summer training for Para-educators at PATTAN in Harrisburg on August 18 and 19.
Rose Ann Escandel/Class of 2007 – Permission to hold the 2006 Prom at the Heart Lake Lodge in Jermyn, PA on May 13.
Mike Lisowski/Senior Class – Prompton Reservoir – September 30. The trip includes outdoor activities, such as kayaking and hiking, Mr. Lisowski said, and has been an enjoyable event for students.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, August 17, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
The man who broke into the Forest City Police Station on February 6, 2004 and made off with some weapons, cash and jewelry, also broke into a private home in Forest City and stole a Beretta pistol that was later used in a shooting in New Jersey.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans sentenced Timothy Mel Abuiz, 29, of Deposit, NY, to jail terms of 14 months to five years and 18 months to five years in a state correctional facility on multiple charges stemming from both incidents and fined him a total of $2,000. He will also be on probation for 15 years.
Judge Seamans further ordered that Mr. Abuiz make restitution and pay the cost of prosecution. The defendant’s jail terms will run consecutive with jail sentences he is now serving in New York.
In an affidavit of probable cause, State Trooper Craig Purdom said Abuiz sold the Beretta in Binghamton, NY to the individual who used it in the New Jersey shooting. The weapon was confiscated by police in Union City, NJ, who reported that the victim in the shooting was shot in the neck.
Besides the Beretta, Trooper Purdom said Abuiz stole a camcorder, a DVD/VCR player, some jewelry and some coins from the private home in Forest City on January 13, 2004.
In the break-in at Forest City Police Headquarters, Abuiz made off with eight weapons, $150 in crash and took $500 worth of jewelry from a secured evidence locker.
Abuiz said he entered the municipal building through an unlocked side door on Center Street. He made his way to police headquarters where he forced a door open. Once inside, he forced open locked cabinets and lockers. He told State Trooper Benjamin Clark that he removed “all I could carry.”
Other sentences meted out by Judge Seamans included:
Vickie L. Angelo, 52, of Endicott, NY, one year state probation, $300 fine, cost of prosecution, for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Silver Lake Township on July 25, 2004. She was also fined $500 and must perform 25 hours of community service for disorderly conduct in Silver Lake Township also on July 25, 2004.
Keith Richard Thomas, 40, of Dallas, PA, 30 days to six months in the Susquehanna County Jail on work release program and with credit for time served, $750 fine, cost of prosecution, for drunk driving in Liberty Township on June 19, 2004.
Clarence Pifcho, 49, of Lawton, PA, five days to six months in the county jail, $500 fine, 25 hours of community service for drunk driving in Springville Township on October 18, 2004.
Thomas Edward D’Andrea, 29, of Taylor, 8 months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail to run concurrent with Lackawanna County, $500 fine, $250 DNA fee, pay restitution to victims, 50 hours of community service for forgery in Gibson Township on Sept. 24, 2004.
Joseph R. Gerchman, 41, of Union Dale, 72 hours to six months in the county jail with credit for time served, $1,000 fine, cost of prosecution, 25 hours of community service for drunk driving in Herrick Township on September 26, 2004.
William Lee Dearie, 23, of Carbondale, 15 days to two years minus one day in the county jail with credit for time served, two years probation, $500 fine, pay restitution, 50 hours of community service for receiving stolen property in Herrick Township on September 16, 2002. He also received 15 days to 23 1/2 months in the county jail to run concurrent with the first sentence, 50 hours community service, $500 fine, pay restitution for receiving stolen property in Herrick Township on September 16, 2002; and, 30 days probation and $250 fine for possession of a controlled substance in Union Dale on August 1, 2004.
Jonathan E. Thomas, 44, of Hazelton, 48 hours to six months in the county jail, cost of prosecution, $300 fine, 25 hours of community service for drunk driving in Bridgewater Township on July 6, 2003.
Mark James McCracken, 27, of Browndale, 30 days to six months in the county jail with work release, $750 fine, cost of prosecution, 50 hours of community service, for drunk driving in Forest City on June 19, 2004.
Garret James Yakoski, 25, of Galeton, one year state probation, $250 fine, cost of prosecution, 25 hours community service, for possession of drug paraphernalia in Springville on August 13, 2004.
Albert Bishop Jr., 38, of Susquehanna, one month to 12 months in the county jail with credit for time served, $250 fine, cost of prosecution, 50 hours community service, for disorderly conduct in Susquehanna on May 24, 2005.
Timothy W. Murray, 43, of Brooklyn, 60 days to 90 days in the county jail work release program, $500 fine, cost of prosecution, for driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked, in Dimock Township on July 6, 2004.
Beverly Angela Carvin, 23, of New Milford, 6 months probation, $300 fine, cost of prosecution, 25 hours community service, for receiving stolen property in New Milford Township on February 26, 2005.
Jamie I, Kelly, 36, of Hallstead, one year state probation, $400 fine, cost of prosecution, restitution, 25 hours community service, for receiving stolen property in Great Bend Township on Aug. 21, 2004.
Arthur Michael Dearie, 27, of Union Dale, 15 days to two years minus one day in the county jail, restitution, 50 hours community service, cost of prosecution, $100 fine for theft by unlawful taking in Herrick Township on September 18, 2002. Also 14 days to two years (to run concurrent), pay restitution, 50 hours of community service, $100 fine, for theft by unlawful taking in Herrick Township on September 16, 2002.
Reavis Levon Kendrick, 23, of Ocala, FL, 72 hours to six months in county jail with credit for time served, cost of prosecution, 25 hours community service, $100 fine, for drunk driving in Great Bend Township on July 25, 2004.
Richard Lee Saab, 23, of New Milford, 48 hours to six months in the county jail, $500 fine, 25 hours community service, for drunk driving in Great Bend Township on October 1, 2004. He was also fined $100 for disorderly conduct on October 1, 2004 in Great Bend Township and $25 for careless driving also on October 1, 2004 in Great Bend Twp.
Linda Leigh Bucksbee, 24, of New Milford, two months to 12 months in the county jail with credit for time served, 25 hours community service, $150 fine, for theft by unlawful taking in New Milford Borough on April 27, 2005.
Thomas Theobald, 29, of South Montrose, two and one half months to one year in the county jail with credit for time served , cost of prosecution, perform 25 hours community service, $200 fine, for resisting arrest and other law enforcement on December 28, 2004 in Susquehanna. He was also sentenced to two and one half months to one year (to run concurrent) and fined $100 for institutional vandalism also in Susquehanna on December 28, 2004.
Angelo V. Marino, 29, of Susquehanna, one year state probation, cost of prosecution, $150 fine, for theft by deception in Gibson on October 24, 2004. Also pay $150 fine, pay restitution, cost of prosecution, for theft by deception in Clifford Township on October 9, 2004.
Rebecca A. Sorber, Noel W. Sorber to Manzerk Land Co. Inc., in Rush Township for $31,000.
David B. Colwell to Clyde G. Colwell, Janes Colwell Birchard, Ronald W. Colwell, in Montrose for one dollar.
SB&D to Choice Properties of PA, in Little Meadows Borough for $40,000.
Deutsche National Trust Company (by attorney) to Stephen Melnick, in Little Meadows Borough for $65,100.
John J. Hanagan, Carolyn S. Turner to Thomas Branca, Donna Branca, in Herrick Township for $200,000.
Robert Pascavage to Robert Pascavage and Ellen Pascavage, in Bridgewater and Jessup townships for one dollar.
Theresa A. Jones, Harold F. Hones (est, aka) Harold Jones, Carl J. Woods to Ronald L. Wallace and Marlene Wallace, in Forest City for $11,000.
Caroline M. Lynch, Robert Lynch to Barbie L. Zerby, in Forest City for $97,000.
Brian P. Gesford, Patricia Laraine Gesford to Mathew D. Neenan, Tiffany M. Gesford, in Dimock Township for $70,000.
Demetrio Carlini, Jacqueline Carline (nka) Jacqueline MacBlane to Jacqueline MacBlane, in Silver Lake Township for $10.
Michael Zuk, Susan Zuk to Paul J. McAndrew and Kristin L. McAndrew, in Lenox Township for $3,000.
C. Edward Howsare, Barbara K. Howsare to David R. Hankins, Theresa M. Hankins, in Jackson Township for $54,000.
Larry E. French, Marjorie E. French to Scott C. Chapman, Cathi B. Chapman, in Jackson Township for $300,000.
Jessica A. Sigle to David J . Zawalich, Jessica S. Zawalich, in Forest Lake Township for $269,000.
John Machir to Bruce W. Vail Sr., Effie B. Vail, in Montrose for one dollar.
Jay Olivo to Daniel Olivo in Lathrop Township for $25,000.
John Reeder to Robert H. Drill III, Kathleen A.Drill, Robert H. Drill Jr., Patricia Drill, in Herrick Township for $185,000.
Charles H. Jefferies, Valeski I. Jefferies to Valeski I. Jefferies, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Charles H. Jefferies, Valeski I. Jefferies to Valeski I. Jefferies, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Cendent Mortgage Corporation, PHH Mortgage Corporation (fka) to Federal National Mortgage Association in Montrose for one dollar.
Federal National Mortgage Association (aka) Fannie Mae to John Schreiber, Norma Schreiber, in Montrose for $92,000.
Charles J. Aliano, Marcia Aliano, Donna Fekette to Donna M. Fekette, Thomas J. Lopatofsky Jr., in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Keith F. Hausser, Renee M. Hausser, Margaret M. Darrow to William C. Burchell, Margo J. Burchell, in New Milford Township for $120,000.
Kenneth R. Ward Jr., Georgia M. Ward to Frank Mela, Mary Ellen Mela, in Herrick Township for $35,000.
Pen H . Shaver, Sandra A. Shaver to Diana L. Atkinson, in Auburn Township for $73,034.
Arnold Terpstra, Diane Wood (nbm) Diana Terpstra to Carl E Stauffer Jr., Virginia L. Stauffer, in Susquehanna for $73,500.
Dorothy Davis, Robert Davis to Phillip C. Hodges Jr., in Forest City for $37.500.
Joseph P. Demchak, Billie S. Demchak, Harold Ely, Frances Ely, to Arthur Murphy, in Bridgewater Township for $129,000.
RALLG Associates, WNG Co., Margaret V. Rockey, John J. Lavelle Sr. (est), Susan Lavelle, William Gerber (est) to Frank Mela, Ellen Mela, Brian Mela, in Herrick Township for $28,000.
William S. Robinson, Patricia C. Robinson to Crystal Lake Estates, in Clifford Township for $1,370,000.
River Bounty Inc. to Susquehanna Fire Department Inc., in Susquehanna for one dollar.
River Bounty Inc. to River Bounty Inc., in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Kathleen J. Setzer to Kurt F. Frey, in Silver Lake Township for $5,000.
Richard T. Meskowitz, Kathleen Meskowitz to David Strollo, in Forest Lake Township for $14,000.
Andrew Yakubik (estate) to Carolyn Yakubik, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Janet S. Walker, James S. Walker, Donna M. Walker to Frank H. Holtsmaster, Kaye E. Holstmaster, in Ararat Township for $85,000.
Stanley W. Koziol Jr., Shirley C. Koziol to Stanley V. Koziol, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Esther A. Grace, Paul L. Grace to Cathy A. Cottrell, in Ararat Township for $162,000.
Sarah C. Smith, Michael J. Smith to Paula R. Clemens, Karen C. Dennis, in Great Bend Township for $29,000.
Sarah C. Smith, Michael J. Smith to Paula R. Clemens, Karen C. Dennis, in Great Bend Township for $23,333.
Raymond G. Sheridan Jr., Shirley Sheridan to Shirley D. Sheridan, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Shirley D. Sheriden to Henry Pease, Sandra Darde, in Bridgewater Township for $250,000.
Ralph H. Tietbohl Jr. and Susan R. Tietbohl to Robert M. Mason and Kathleen L. Mason, in Great Bend Township for $75,000.
Stephen Rudowsky, Betty Rudowsky to Anthony R. Baroni, Linda L. Baroni, in New Milford Township for $335,000.
Alyce Zura to Alyce Zura, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Alex Palmer, Johnson City, NY and Susan Jane Perry, New Milford.
Brian E. Mahon, Hyde Park, NY and Aimee C. Snyder, Montrose.
Christopher McGee and Courtney Lee Emmons, both of Montrose.
William E. Harshaw Jr. and Kimberly Rae Henry, both of Montrose.
Christopher Jason Canfield and Carol Grace Gambone, both of Federalsburg, MD.
James Joseph Haggerty Jr. and Tina Marie Brown, both of New Milford.
Todd C. Oakley and Kimberly Scott, both of Springville.
Arthur Michael Trynoski and Diane J. Stone, both of Susquehanna.
Melissa Williams (aka) Melissa Lampherer of Montrose vs. Roderick Williams of Hallstead.
Charles Randall of Binghamton vs. Joanne M. Randall (aka) Joanne Kerilla of New Milford.
Barbara Moody Jeffers of Greenfield Township vs. Eugene J . Jeffers of Scranton.
Kimberly L. Grace vs. John J . Puzo, both of Montrose.
The US Department of Revenue has filed a federal tax lien against Brad Smales, RR5, Montrose, in the amount of $255,779 for the tax periods 1999 and 2000.
On July 19, Robert Conrad, Harford Township, reported the theft of a large amount of cash from his residence.*
Late on the afternoon of July 11, Susan Huff, 32, Montrose, was assaulted by a 17-year-old juvenile male, also from Montrose, during an argument in Auburn Township. The juvenile faces charges of simple assault and harassment.
Kory Sorensen, 18, who is incarcerated at the County correctional facility, destroyed his toilet in his cell after becoming angered over a missing cereal bowl on the evening of July 4. He faces charges of institutional vandalism and criminal mischief.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on the morning of July 15, a 1999 Chevrolet Venture owned by Sunoco Holding Corp., Binghamton, and operated by Sandra Schoch, 34, Binghamton, was traveling northbound on Interstate 81 near New Milford Township. Schoch lost control of the vehicle which went into the median and rolled over. Schoch and six passengers ranging in age from one month to 49 years, were transported to Wilson Hospital or Lourdes Hospital by ambulance. Injuries were reported as none or minor, but the Venture was disabled. Members of the Hallstead-Great Bend, Montrose Minutemen, Mew Milford ambulances, and New Milford and Hallstead Fire Departments assisted at the scene.
Unknown person(s) hit and dented a mailbox belonging to Craig Henry, Bridgewater Township, shortly after midnight on the morning of July 16.
Unknown person(s) pulled a gate belonging to William Paolucci, Lenox Township, out of the ground sometime between July 12 and 13.
Sometime Between the afternoon of July 13 and the following morning, someone removed two 2 1/2 gallon containers of gasoline from the driveway of Jeffrey Kaminsky, New Milford Township.*
HARASSMENT, DISORDERLY CONDUCT
Scott McDonald, 21, and Diane Colwell, 29, no address given for either, were ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend. The two met at the Flying J on the evening of July 12, where they ended up in a verbal argument. During the argument, Scott opened Colwell’s car door and would not let her close it. Colwell then repeatedly slammed the car door on Scott’s arm. Due to both parties’ being extremely inconsistent in their statements of the events related to this incident, it cannot be determined if this is truly what occurred. Colwell was charged with harassment and McDonald was charged with disorderly conduct.
THEFT BY DECEPTION
On the afternoon of June 3, suspect Michelle Lynn Shephard (aka Michelle Lynn Sterling), Susquehanna, used the drive-thru at Peoples National Bank in Hallstead and cashed a personal check on a closed account.
Unknown person(s) arrived at Lymanville Road, no municipality given, in an unknown vehicle and dumped 12 tires and rims in the woods along the roadway and fled the scene undetected. The dumping occurred sometime between May 26 and June 23.
Two girl’s bicycles were found in the Franklin Street area of Great Bend. Both appear to be for older children. One is a Huffy and the other is a Magna with an imitation license plate on it.*
William Frank Jesse, 44, no address given, according to police, has been having an affair with the wife of John Franklin Burt, 28, for several months. According to statements, Jesse’s wife found out about the affair and Jesse believes that Burt was the one who told her. Jesse went to Burt’s residence at Acre Lake to confront him about this on the afternoon of July 9. Jesse refused to leave the property after being told to do so by Burt, and Burt threw a rock at Jesse.
HIT AND RUN TRAFFIC CRASH
A blue 2002 Mitsubishi owned by Kristen Towner, 26, New Milford, was struck and damaged sometime between 7 –11 a.m. on June 22 while it was parked in front of the Joines Building at State Routes 11 and 706 in New Milford Township.*
A juvenile operator from Montrose lost control of his dirt bike while traveling on Garrison Road in Springville Township on the night of June 23. He hit a tree and was thrown over an embankment. The youth was transported to CMC for injuries and faces several vehicle code violations concerning this collision.
At around midnight on June 20, someone went to the driveway of State Line Quarries in Apolocan Township and dumped nails, screws and various other metal objects in the tire tracks of the driveway. An investigation is continuing.
On July 10, Jordan Petro, Endicott, reported that on the afternoon of June 26 he was assaulted by Bradley Greenough, Brackney. An investigation is continuing.
Someone arrived at the Crispino residence in Thompson sometime between 6 p.m. on July 5 and 6 p.m. on the following day and used an unknown blunt object and hit plywood siding on the porch, creating a hole in the quarter-inch plywood before fleeing the scene undetected.
David Merrifield, Jr., 20, Scranton, and several friends stopped at Acre Lake on July 9 to visit a friend. Around midnight, four people went out onto the lake in a paddleboat that at some point started taking on water. Merrifield jumped off the boat and into the lake and started swimming toward shore. A short time later, the others heard him yelling for help. They, along with people on the shore, tried to locate Merrifield, but could not. County 911 was notified and various EMS agencies responded including the Scott Dive/Rescue team, Germania Dive/Rescue, Tunkhannock Dive, Harford EMS/Fire, Clifford EMS/Fire. A diver from the Germania Dive/Rescue team found Merrifield’s body about two hours later. An investigation is continuing.
In the commission of this crime that happened on the afternoon of July 3, Ashudosh Kumar, Morris Plains, NJ, did not pay for his gas at the Great Bend Exxon and was later found, to pay for it.
Donald Meshach, Nicholson, reported that money and a cell phone were stolen from his residence on July 1. The cell phone was a Motorola I730.*
The staff at the PennCan fuel station in Harford Township reported a drive-off that occurred on the afternoon of July 7. The driver is reportedly a white male in a black car.*
On July 3, someone shot a dog belonging to Kevin Casselbury, Bridgewater Township. His rottweiler was roaming the neighboring farms at the time of the incident. Casselbury took the dog to his veterinarian and the dog will recover.*
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at (570) 465-3154
In last week’s issue of the County Transcript regarding the Mary Hess Estate donation to the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association, the article should have read as follows: "Books belonging to the late Mary Hess were donated to the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association by her brothers, Samuel and Robert Hess,” not by her estate.
The SCHS&FLA regrets the error.
Members Michelle Giangrieco, Ted Loomis, Mary Rudock, David Callender and John Giangrieco were present at the July 21 meeting of the Hallstead Boro council. Also present were secretary Cindy Gillespie, maintenance supervisor John Gordon, Debbie Dissinger (Bridging Communities Committee) and several residents.
Mrs. Dissinger was given the floor to update council on the committee’s activities. A feasibility study had been completed in June for sidewalk replacement. Hallstead will be getting 1550 linear feet of new walks, total cost $139,037, including skirting for driveways and 16 trees. The area covered will span from just past Thunder Valley Pet Shop almost to the Humbies building, on the one side of Main Street that did not receive new walks when the new bridge was put in. Architect for the project is Gene Beautz, who worked with Susquehanna Boro on their sidewalk replacement project. Mrs. Dissinger explained that many of the existing walks are below grade and will need engineering work to raise them above road level. In response to a question from council, she said that Mr. Beautz’ fees are covered by grant funding, but that an engineer’s would not be. She added that there is a community group in place that will tackle the job of raising additional funding, which should be easier now that specific targets are clear.
There was some discussion about the homeowners who have opted not to take part in the project, approximately 22 of them. One council member mused, “Why would they want to pay for (new sidewalks) themselves, when they can get them for free?”
In response to another question, Mrs. Dissinger said that the grant funding is good for a period of five years. There will be an informational meeting on August 1, 3:30 at the Peoples National Bank offices, which Mr. Beautz will attend to answer any questions about the project costs, and to discuss the engineering costs. She added that all phases of the project must conform to PENNDOT specifications.
Mr. Giangrieco was concerned that some property owners have placed large concrete blocks on the median between the sidewalk and the road; he wondered if they were aware that they would be responsible for any damage caused if a vehicle were to hit one of them. Ms. Giangrieco pointed out that, once the new walks and curbs are in place, the blocks would not be necessary as the sidewalks would be raised higher than the road.
Residents Mark and Leonor Maston, Chase Ave., addressed council to request that an open ditch in front of their property be closed in and a drain pipe be installed; theirs is the only property on that block with an open ditch. Mrs. Maston said that there have been people using the nearby park who park their vehicles on the sidewalk. If the ditch were to be closed, it would allow for additional parking and eliminate a buildup of stagnant water. After discussion, council tabled the request until Mr. Gordon could take a look at the situation and make a recommendation as to what could be done.
Mrs. Gillespie will contact COG for information on a complaint received about a possible violation.
Council approved purchase of a new table for the copier in the secretary’s office. Ms. Giangrieco suggested getting a window air conditioner for the office, but Mrs. Gillespie declined. She said that there is adequate ventilation, even when the weather is warm.
A motion carried to adopt a resolution setting new fees for building permits. Initial cost will be $15 for up to $1,000 in building costs, with $5 added for each additional $1,000.
Mr. Gordon was commended for the work he has done to repair flood damage at the Route 11 park.
A special meeting had been held on June 23, to open bids for paving Pine Hill. Low bid was received from Contour Construction in the amount of $28,992.90, which council accepted. Mr. Gordon reported that paving was scheduled to be started on Monday, July 25 and completed by Wednesday, July 27.
It was noted that intermittent cleanup has been ongoing at the old foundry property.
And, a motion carried to contact PENNDOT to request a traffic study for the intersection of Route 11, Harmony Road and Susquehanna Ave., and to request placement on PENNDOT’s waiting list to have a traffic light installed. In the meantime, Ms. Giangrieco will contact as many officials as possible to see if the process can be at all speeded up.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 18, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
The old Spencer grist mill located in the boro of Thompson is going up for auction on this Saturday, July 30. In an area that has so few remaining historical buildings or even landmarks, this wonderful old building is still in very good shape for its years and, with some tender loving care, could be a source of education for generations to come.
The Spencer mill is said to be one of the few, if not the only, remaining horizontal water-driven turbine mills in the state. Operations began in the 1870’s when George Fenton Spencer owned and operated the mill, making use of a water wheel to supply nearly all of its power, requiring fossil fuel backup only when drought caused the water level in the mill pond to drop.
The mill was at the center of a bustling farming community, helped by the Delaware and Hudson trains that deposited grain in the storage building located on the old rail bed (and also being auctioned) for use by the mill down the hill.
The mill changed hands several times beginning in the 1870’s. In 1906, George’s son, Willard, bought it back and operated it until his tragic death, in 1967, while operating it. His son, Sumner operated it until former worker, Ralph Lee purchased it in 1982. The mill ceased operation in 1988. Three men had dreams of restoring it, perhaps with a restaurant and shops, but those dreams faded over the years. Amazingly, after 17 years of benign neglect, the interior of the mill is almost entirely intact and in great condition.
There is a group in the area who would like to see the mill preserved and restored as the landmark it is. Jo-Ellen Greene, one of the group, is looking for more people to help. “We’re looking for sources of funding to purchase it. There’s plenty of grant money to restore the building, but none for purchase. We need several ‘guardian angels’ to help us get control of the mill and allow the group time to apply for grants to restore it.”
The group sees part of the restored mill as a venue for artists and crafters, while another part displays the actual milling process for educational purposes and tourists.
Those interested in getting involved in the effort may contact Greene at (570) 727–2321.
VFW Post 6223 wanted a way to show their support for the troops overseas serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Eddie Arnold, Post Commander, said that they decided to sell decals that said “Support our Troops” and “God Bless America”. They took their decals, table and chairs and went over to spend the day at Rob’s Market, in Great Bend, selling them for a donation of $5.00 to go directly to the troops. It was only 6 hours later and they were gone. There were so many more people that wanted them that they decided to order more, and they did it all over again. What a success this was, said Tom Lacey. The next decision was how to utilize the money to make sure it went to those men and women who are serving our county.
That was when someone mentioned the American Red Cross and the “Help our Troops Call Home” program. With one call to Becky Naylor, Executive Director of the Susquehanna Co. Chapter they knew that they were onto something good. Within a few hours Tom arrived at the Red Cross chapter in Montrose with a check for $3000.00, and within another hour the order was placed. The local Red Cross office has agreed to distribute the cards for the VFW Post 6223 to military members who are residents of Susquehanna County.
Pictured (l-r) are Tom Lacey – VFW Post 6223, Becky Naylor – Exec. Dir. Susq. Co. American Red Cross, Eddie Arnold – Post Commander Post 6223 with phone cards for service members at the Volunteer Annual Picnic at Green Gables on July 20.
To have a phone card sent in a “You’re my Hero” card please send your name and address and the name, rank and military address of the soldier to 6 Public Avenue, Montrose, PA 18801 or fax to 570-278-4689 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The number of cards are limited to the first 70 replies received.
If anyone is interested in making a donation to this program for further purchase of cards please call Becky at (570) 278–1427. The cards need to be bought in increments of 10, 25, or 100.
The Red Cross has partnered with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) to offer Americans a way to support our troops serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The Help Our Troops Call Home Program allows people to purchase a Military Exchange Prepaid Phone Card for US troops stationed overseas. The program makes it easy for deployed military members to call home and stay in touch with family and friends. Hearing a familiar voice is one of the best ways to boost morale and feeling of well being for our troops.
Each card costs $39 and provides more than two hours of call time from call center locations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Cards can be sent to "any service member" who is deployed or hospitalized. Charitable partners, including the Red Cross, USO, Air Force Aid Society and Fisher House, distribute the cards earmarked for "any service member."
Though the cards are widely sold by other retailers, AAFES offers the best value with lower rates and connection charges. These cards can be purchased through your local American Red Cross Chapter.
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