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As the four members of the public, three supervisors and township secretary made their way to the Great Bend Township building for the board’s August 1 meeting, they couldn’t help but notice a chalk outline on the grass, punctuated at its corners by stakes extending from the building out to the curved parking area.
The outline is the footprint of the new township building. Supervisor Walt Galloway who’s been leading the building project reported that trusses were delivered for it on the morning of the meeting. Excavation was scheduled to begin last Wednesday or Thursday. If all goes according to plan and the unexpected stays away, the new building should be finished in about ten or so weeks and ready for election day.
Board chair Bob Squier read roadmaster Nick Mase’s report that included prep on the lower slide on Graham Hollow Road, removing tons of junk material from Cobble Hill Road, cleaning ditches and regular equipment maintenance. Two members of the road crew also attended two-day dirt-and-gravel road school in Montrose the prior week.
In other road-related discussion, work will start on Old Route 11 by the end of August. In addition, all supervisors commented on how nicely Airport Road turned out for the materials cost of some oil – thanks to construction on the Interstate that gave the township torn-up material as the state was repaving. Supervisor George Haskins suggested that if the township could control the speed of material coming in (it’s dependent on the state crews), put it down with a paver for uniform thickness and then roll it with oil – well the result is close to black-top, and that’s what the supervisors say Airport Road resembles, except for a few holes that a paver would have handled if one were available. The road should be good for three to five years, and Haskins would love to use the technique on other township roads, if possible, instead of tar and chipping.
Haskins also reported on a recent Bridging Communities meeting with Debbie Dissinger and Jean Beautz at which the initial feasibility study was reviewed and changed to bring it in within project costs. Beautz is revising the drawings, and Haskins will fill in greater detail once they’re delivered. Phase 1, expected to start next spring, includes work in the boroughs of Hallstead and Great Bend. Nothing is expected during this phase in the township. However, Squier noted that the owner of the Hallstead Plaza took advantage of earlier traffic-light feasibility plans to invest significant dollars in assigning new traffic patterns within the plaza as well as to relocate power poles – and that was a benefit to the township.
In permitting, secretary Sheila Guinan noted that Dunkin Donuts got final approval from the county planning commission and that approval is expected once the commission reviews updated plans for the car wash in the plaza. Robert Lee received a permit for creek bank rehabilitation and gravel bank renewal by the trailer park, and the American Legion got permission to go into the creek by its property to move gravel out of it and onto a ball field it is preparing for Little League.
Correspondence included a letter from the county Recycling Center, notifying recipients that Taylor Garbage Service is not a licensed hauler in the county. COG notified its members, of which the Township is one, that the state Department of Labor and Industry requires that all general electrical requirements for the installation of portable wiring and equipment for carnivals, circuses, fairs and similar functions, including wiring in or on all structures, must be inspected. Currently, this doesn’t affect the Township but it may impact the Harford Fair and other municipalities where carnivals and like events are held during the warm weather.
Addressing various complaints, supervisors will return to take a look at a property on Route 7 to check on the extent of clean up after the owner received a letter requiring such. Another property whose owner received a similar letter looks to be pretty well cleaned-up, and Guinan is still trying to determine the address of the owner of a third property about which some residents have complained.
Haskins reported that he received a complaint from a resident about a property on Old Route 11. Apparently, the owners enjoy entertaining the friends on Sundays during warm weather and football season, and the resident complained that it’s difficult to get by the property because of all the parked cars. Haskins noted that it’s difficult for the plow truck to get by in the winter. Except the property is in Hallstead, its owner is on town council, and Haskins suggested the township resident make a complaint to the borough, which Haskins said he planned to do.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for 7 p.m. on August 15 and, because of construction of the new building, is expected to be held in the garage.
For Your Information. Because the Transcript was unable to attend the last two Great Bend Township meetings, the following are taken from approved minutes of those meetings.
July 18, 2005 meeting: A notice sent to residents for building a porch without obtaining an assessment permit and thus possibly violating setback requirements was sent to the wrong address; a corrected letter has gone out…A driveway permit was approved for a resident on Airport as long as a Hidden Driveway sign is installed before the driveway and according to direction by the board…A building permit was received for the new Township building, and bids will be advertised on the handicap-access bathroom work and opened by the county Housing/Redevelopment Authority on August 3. A 30-day clean-up period for a resident ends on July 21.
July 5 meeting: On roadwork, it was clarified that a roller was rented for a week – and not a month as originally planned – for work on Airport Road…There is a potential problem on Baptist Hill Road with a sink hole. This road was graded as usual, but if the potential sink hole is there next spring, a French drain may need to be installed…A resident requested the tar and chip that’s being torn up in front of his house so millings could be put down; the road crew will tear up the tar and chip when they work on Penny Hill Road and the resident will be responsible for laying the millings, rolling and oiling the area…Building permits were issued by COG on behalf of the township for three residents and two businesses…A resident building a home needs a Highway Occupancy Permit and the township will use PA Code Chapter 459 as Township guidelines for occupancy of township roads by utilities for this and future situations. The resident was given Chapter 459 and an application. Supervisor Galloway feels the drawings provided by the resident thus far are inadequate and should precisely show where the sewer line will be placed in the Township’s right-of way…A resident was sent a letter for failure to obtain a driveway permit and the current location of his unapproved driveway provides inadequate sight distance…A salt bid from Cargill for the period June 27, 2005-May 31, 2006 of $43 delivered MDU was approved…The handicap access bathroom grant has been approved for the new Township building…An executive session that discussed employee benefits results in deleting Section B of the employee manual and the Township paying $500 a month towards its full-time employee’s benefit, who may choose an insurance package from choices provided by NEPA Business Association…Letters were sent to two residents asking them to clean up their properties and the board approved sending a letter to a third.
Is the Borough of Forest City thinking about adopting some wild geese? Well that may be somewhat of an exaggeration but there has been a suggestion offered to the Borough Council that parallels the idea.
It all started when the Old Home Week Committee scheduled a boat regatta at Kennedy Park in conjunction with the 26th Annual OHW Celebration. But some 22 geese that apparently have taken up residence at Ice Pond in the park are into the molting season.
Molting is the term used when the old, worn feathers are loosened and pushed out of their sockets by the growth of new intruding feathers. The majority of adult birds molt once or twice a year and the process can take two to 12 weeks, depending on the size, weight and species of the bird.
During this period, the birds cannot fly which could create problems on the manicured lawn around the pond. Apparently someone called the state Department of Health who came in for a look. Deciding there wasn't much that could be done, the state turned its attention to Ice Pond.
Gerald Franceski, chair of the Kennedy Park Board, said the state tested the water in the pond and decided it was ok for swimming but with no lifeguard the state said there could be no swimming. The state further noted that a sign reading, “Swim At Your Own Risk,” should be replaced by one reading, “No Swimming Allowed.”
“If the state says no swimming, as far as we are concerned,” said Jim Lowry, council president, “there will be no swimming.” Later however, Mr. Lowry said he doubts if the borough would enforce the no-swimming rule.
And what about the geese. Well, Mr. Franceski suggested the borough, the park board and the police department put a committee together to talk about a long term plan for control of the geese.
As for the OHW’s regatta at the park, it was a huge success drawing a record crowd and featuring a fun-filled day for all, especially the kids.
In other business at last week’s council meeting, the governing body handled a number of issues most of them involving violations of nuisance laws.
Councilman Paul J. Amadio again complained about the lack of enforcement of the ordinance against burning. He said he has had several calls about it including calls from an individual with breathing problems who complained she cannot open her windows because of smoke coming into her home from nearby burn barrels.
Mr. Amadio further complained about the burning in a large pipe in the trailer court on Railroad Street. He said the smoke bothers residents on Railroad, North and North Main streets.
Borough Solicitor Paul Peterson said the pipe is in violation of a borough nuisance law prompting Councilwoman Ruth Fitzsimmons to say the owner of the pipe should be issued a citation and fined. The matter was turned over to Assistant Police Chief Joseph Nolan.
Mr. Amadio also said he observed an 18-wheeler parked on Susquehanna Street recently and noted that an ordinance in the books limits the weight of trucks parking in residential zones. Mr. Amadio said a tanker was attached to the tractor and he did not know if it was hauling fuel or milk.
Chief Joseph Nolan said he will advise all police officers to watch for it and issue a citation.
Councilman Nick Cost said he has been getting complaints of residents tearing garbage stickers in half and using them on two bags of refuse. Council agreed to advise Waste Management to be on the lookout for the practice.
Mr. Cost also suggested an ordinance requiring warning markers around dumpsters. He said they extend quite a distance into the road and could cause an accident. Mr. Amadio said the ordinance should also provide for a place to put the dumpsters since some of them protrude almost to the middle of some roads in the borough.
Mr. Cost also noted that Robert Selinsky is doing some work on a two-family home on Delaware Street but that there are two sides and both need attention. Mr. Cost said the sink protruding from the exterior wall of the building should have been taken down long ago.
He waited until nearly the end of the August meeting on the 4th to drop his "bombshell," as Jerry MacConnell called it. Great Bend Borough Council President Ray Holtzman added one item to the correspondence section of the agenda by reading his own letter of resignation.
No one but perhaps Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan had any hint of Mr. Holtzman's intentions before the meeting. Other Board members were shocked into somber silence for a moment, contemplating the loss of such a well-liked and respected leader. Ms. Guinan held back tears with some difficulty. Rick Franks said Mr. Holtzman had "done a wonderful job."
Mr. Holtzman put a lot of time and effort into the job. He took his seat at the Council table very seriously, so much so that he had come to the conclusion that it was taking too much time away from "other commitments."
His colleagues on Council were clearly chagrined at the prospect of finding a replacement. A motion to accept the resignation "with regret," was withdrawn at the request of Mr. MacConnell, who preferred to table the action for a month to allow time for interested residents to come forward to fill the vacancy. According to Ms. Guinan, Council can fill a vacant seat by appointment until the next municipal election, when the individual must run for election to fill out the remainder of the term.
Nonetheless, accepting the resignation would be a mere formality. Mr. Holtzman left the meeting shortly after his announcement. He clearly had no intention of reconsidering.
Until its startling climax, the meeting was ably conducted by Mr. Holtzman over a lengthy and varied agenda that began with a request by Tax Collector Laura Conarton for support in her dispute with the Blue Ridge School District.
As an employee of the Borough, Ms. Conarton asked Council to "exonerate" her from any responsibility should she decide to refuse to collect taxes for the school district next year. She will continue to collect taxes for the Borough.
Last February the Blue Ridge School Board approved a recommendation of the district administration to cut the fee paid to elected tax collectors to 60 cents for each tax bill handled. Ms. Conarton now gets nearly $3.00 per bill; she would face a cut of about 80%. She told Council that she could not handle the school district's tax bills for only 60 cents apiece. She doesn't think the district can do it either, but administrators at Blue Ridge presumably believe they can handle tax collections themselves at less expense. Without actually saying so, Blue Ridge is forcing the elected tax collectors to abandon their business with the district.
Council approved Ms. Conarton's request. As an elected official, she can do whatever she chooses with the job. Council's action simply supports her decision to refuse to handle Blue Ridge tax bills next year.
Ms. Guinan reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry next year will begin requiring electrical inspections for the "installation of portable wiring and equipment for carnivals, circuses, fairs and similar functions, including wiring in or on all structures." It's unclear how this will affect Great Bend Borough, but the little town does sponsor two or three small events each year.
A couple of new porches in the village provoked a discussion of the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) in force throughout the state, and regulation in general. Replacing an existing structure in its exact dimensions does not require a permit; habitable structures still require inspection. Anything else must come under UCC scrutiny. Exasperation with the details led Mr. MacConnell to sigh, "It's getting difficult to do something without getting permission."
Mr. MacConnell told Council that the Pennsylvania- American water company will be digging up Franklin Street this Fall. Beginning probably in September, the local water company will replace aging four-inch mains under that street with 8-inch pipe, in the area from Randolph Street to Walcott Street. Specifications for the project include completely repaving the affected areas.
An ongoing problem with a deteriorating property across Main Street from the VFW building is crawling toward resolution. Code Enforcement officer Jeff Burkett has been having some difficulty contacting the owner, but Ms. Conarton said that the house had been tangled in an estate. The property has no electric or water service, but the current owner has paid all applicable taxes and is trying to sell.
Another derelict property was fined nearly $250 for violations by the District Justice. The fine was paid, but apparently the violations persist. A letter will be sent suggesting that it might be cheaper to simply clean up the property than to continue paying fines.
Ms. Guinan reported that Taylor Garbage Services of Vestal, NY has become a licensed hauler in Susquehanna County.
She also reported on a meeting of the Bridging Communities project, an extension of the original initiative to take advantage of the new river bridge and welcome center to improve the appearance of the U.S. 11 corridor through the Hallstead-Great Bend area. A recent feasibility study indicated a cost of over $600,000 to install curbing and sidewalks along the thoroughfare. The committee will attempt to find a way to cut the cost and still ensure that "everybody gets something" out of it.
An exchange of correspondence between Sandy Franks and the Borough's solicitor, Frank O'Connor, led to a brief executive session at Mr. O'Connor's request. No further information was provided.
The air conditioner in the Borough Building (also the Blue Ridge Senior Center) was replaced at a cost of under $2,000. Mr. MacConnell pronounced the work of Fair Refrigeration of South Montrose "excellent."
Mr. MacConnell reported on a series of meetings he is attending related to watershed management in the New Milford, Hallstead, Great Bend area. A fund of some $650 million is available through the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under a program called Growing Greener. Some of that money might be available to municipalities in Susquehanna County to help control run-off and minimize damage from flooding of small streams. He said that State Representative Sandra Major and State Senator Roger Madigan have been participating in the meetings. The next meeting will be on August 29, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Bend Borough Building.
Council member Bea Alesky reported an incident involving youngsters throwing stones at an abandoned building. She said a witness noted an automobile license number and the State Police were called. It took about half an hour for the police to respond, but Ms. Alesky wanted others to know that the advice of the troopers to call whenever residents notice something going on is reliable.
Mayor James Riecke praised the effort of the local Fire Company for the recent street fair in the town. "I really can't say enough good things about them [the Fire Company]," he said. "They're terrific." The event was well attended. Borough employee Alan Grannis said he had never seen so many people out and about in town. Mayor Riecke also reported that about 175 runners participated in the annual Tim Fancher Memorial foot race this year. It was noted with some pride (and tongue in cheek) that the Great Bend Borough Mayor beat the Hallstead Borough Mayor in the race.
Mayor Riecke is the nominal leader of the town, and a large figure in many ways. Ray Holtzman was truly a town "father" and erstwhile herder of the collection of cats known as the Great Bend Borough Council. Borough residents interested in trying to fill his shoes are asked to contact the Borough office.
Earlier this summer, a youth set a fire in a garbage can that he tucked into the corner of the pagoda in Midtown Park. Fortunately, the fire was noticed and put out before it did major damage. The youth was arrested and while the New Milford borough council hasn’t heard anything officially, they understand that the young man was sentenced to community service.
On July 29, New Milford’s other park was hit by people with seemingly nothing better to do than destroy property. Council president Scott Smith reported that a group of people used the park’s picnic tables as a springboard over the fence into the area surrounding the county’s only public pool. They proceeded to throw a first aid kit and lifeguard chairs into the pool. In the pavilion, brand new picnic tables were vandalized, and glass was strewn about. Soda machines were stuffed with mulch.
While the pavilion and ballparks are not lighted, the pool is, so Smith suggested that perhaps the vandalism occurred deep into the night. He didn’t know if this group was connected with the earlier pagoda damage.
The town will put up motion lights in the pavilion in an attempt to discourage this shameful behavior, and lights will shortly be around the entire track, courtesy of borough citizens. A camera would be nice, but the thinking was that it would only be stolen.
The borough has also boosted its reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of any person committing vandalism on borough property from $100 to $500.
In the meantime, sewer bills will be sent out to borough residents in a few weeks because, as mayor Joe Taylor explained, that’s when the borough’s municipal authority has to start meeting its loan payments for the new system. Except that only about 75 residents were hooked up as of August 4, with another 285 waiting to be, including council members.
A resident, one of those not yet hooked up, spoke up at the meeting about almost daily phone calls to contractors to hook up his home. None have called back. Taylor promptly told the resident that he’d come out with a contractor the following morning. The resident thought that was great, but wanted to get two or three estimates.
Twelve contractors are on the list and to be on the list, a contractor has to have taken training and provide insurance. A dozen should have been plenty to hook up 360 homes, but with an unclear timeframe on when the contractors would be called upon to do their thing, it was thought that many booked other work and now don’t have the time. The resident understood this, but also thought that nothing was being done to protect the consumers and taxpayers. Could more contractors be added and trained pretty soon?
Secretary Amy Hine reported that the municipal authority was talking about getting more training done so more contractors could be available to those waiting for hook-ups. One resident was reported as being told by a contractor that she might have to wait until October or November and, if the area gets a hard frost, then until next spring.
The resident requested a list of members of the municipal authority.
Borough emergency coordinator Jim Carpenetti reported that the municipal authority will be putting up a modest-sized building on land it owns next to Cosmello’s, for equipment storage. Money for construction will be paid from grant money it received for the sewer project. Carpenetti said that at its last meeting, members of the authority discussed the possibility of storing the borough’s equipment there, too.
Another resident who lives by Suburban Propane asked about the paving project, phase one of which is expected to start this month. He didn’t see any point in blacktopping his street because of water that runs down the street and across his lawn. Council member Chris Allen didn’t know which streets would be ground down – PENNDOT put together the bid and the specifications for it, based on a drive PENNDOT’s Randy Decker and Allen took over every borough street and measurements its representative made.
The resident wanted to know, then, if Suburban Propane could put in a safety ditch to contain the water and any other spills. Council will send a letter advising the company of the water complaint, with a copy to the DEP and the resident.
Council heard from Fred Jackson, representing Barnes-Kasson. The health system is looking to replace its office on Delaware Street with a new building at 131 Main Street, currently zoned residential. He noted that the area is already somewhat commercial, with Jack a Harts and a bed and breakfast across the street. The bed and breakfast owner was at the meeting and noted that it given an exception for use. A house on the property it seeks is empty. BK would like to put up a one-story building slightly larger than the current home that occupies the property, maintaining all the trees (but for one), and with its entrance and parking on Union Street.
Jackson wanted to know what Barnes Kasson needed to do? Smith suggested requesting a zoning map change from residential to commercial. Council set a hearing on a tax map change for August 30 at 7 p.m. to accommodate Jackson’s request that the potential property be changed to accommodate the medical center. Jackson said that the sale of the property to Barnes Kasson is contingent on such a change.
Taylor asked what BK would do if it didn’t get the house? Move out of New Milford? Jackson answered that BK is never moving out of New Milford, but he thought that should not be a reason to say no to its request. Its current facility is not in terrific shape, and the current landlord has no desire to tear it down and build a new facility on the lot. Jackson said he’d speak with the health system’s attorneys to find out what kind of request to make. Council member Rick Ainey informed him that if it’s a request for a variance and not a map change, then it should be made to the planning commission.
New Milford will soon be getting its siren, mounted on a 50-foot pole behind the borough building. Carpenetti reported he found out that county 911 will not set the siren off for public awareness in case of an evacuation but that a councilperson can. Council decided to give emergency management coordinator Carpenetti the authority to set off the alarm. He suggested that residents be notified either through a public meeting or through notice with their water bills about the siren, which will sound a single blast for three minutes and be used only for an evacuation.
Last month, council graciously accepted the gift of land across the creek from the park and donated by the Lawrence Foundation. At this meeting, it recognized good neighbor Eleanor Lawrence, a lifelong resident of New Milford whose foundation donated the land for recreational use. In presenting the good neighbor recognition, Ainey recalled his children sledding on Agway Hill, then owned by the Lawrences, and Mr. Lawrence would put bales of hay at the bottom for safety. Ainey pointed out that all the Lawrence’s children lived in the area, attesting to the fact that New Milford is a good place to live and raise one’s family, and thanking the Lawrences for helping to make it so.
The next regular meeting of the New Milford borough council is scheduled for September 1 at 7 p.m. in the borough building on Main Street.
Roberta Houlihan, Joseph MacConnell to John and June Bussolini, in Clifford Township for $36,000.
Rhonda J. Stalker (nka) Rhonda J. Ralston to Wayne S. Wayman Sr., in Great Bend for $43,000.
Robert Kenyon, Virginia Kenyon to Michael F. Kenyon and Filomena P. Kenyon, in Herrick Township for $100.
Walter W. Carswell, Caroline Ross to Joseph J. Dougherty, in Harmony Township for $5,000.
TCIF REO 2 to Ray M. Ellinger, Kathleen L. Ellinger, in Montrose for $30,000.
Beneficial Consumer Discount Co. to Donald R. MacKenzie, Kim MacKenzie in Great Bend Borough for $52,000.
Anne J. Lee (estate) to Paul McCarthy, Lucy McCarthy, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Sandra Melan to Sandra Melan, Eugene E. Melan, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Paul A. Kelly, Pamela E. Kelly to DRR Quarries, in Liberty Township for $375,000.
Robert R. Cordner, Beverly J. Cordner to Beverly J. Cordner, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
James F. Kerr to James F. Kerr and Jacqueline Kerr, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Robert Hornish, Lillian Hornish to George Dale Howell, in Oakland Borough for one dollar.
Kirk Robert Robinson to Mariusz Tyborowski, in Clifford Township for $147,000.
Louis Harasymczuk, Christine Harasymczuk to Keith L. Underwood, Theresa M. Underwood, in Silver Lake Township for $44,000.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Joann Tavares, in Herrick Township for $500.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Arthur Ray Dean, Becky Abb Dean, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Rosemary A. Hoffman, Terry B. Hoffman, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Eleanor C. Blodgett, Kathleen Blodgett, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Charles R. O’Neal, Laura E. O’Neal, Vickie Alvord, in Herrick Township for $400.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to John B. Halicks, Mary Ellen Halicks, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Rosemary Hoffman, Terry Hoffman, in Herrick Township for $750.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Aldred Liberatore, D. Winifred Liberatore, Dorothy A. Brodhead, Edney D. Liberatore Mealy, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Carla Madara, Randy Madara, in Herrick Township for $100.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Meredith Johansson, Eric Johnansson, in Herrick Township for $100.
Harold A. Antonson, Dorothy C. Antonson to Bremer Hof Owners Inc., in Herrick Township for $100.
William Eakins, Mary Eakins to James Holland, Marie Holland, in Herrick Township for $500.
Russell E. Miller to Rebecca E. Mozi, Michael E. Miller, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Donald Bohlayer to Patricia Thetga, in Herrick Township for $100.
Nancy J. Vanduzer to Sean C. Kress, in Herrick Township for $100.
Mary Ellen Conboy (estate) to Kathleen C. Conboy, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Kenneth J. Pazanski to Francis Hosie in Gibson Township for $81,000.
Lawrence T. O’Reilly, Christine M. O’Reilly, Thomas J. O’Reilly to Joseph E. Erbrick, in Oakland Township for $41,420.
Kenneth W. Laurie to Manzek Land Co. Inc. Pension Plan in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
William Hatch, Robert J. Fleming, Bonnie E. Fleming to Bradford R. Bowman Sr., in Harford Township for $126,000.
Aivars Gerlins, Beverly Gerlins to Mark Wegman, Lynette Wegman, in Montrose for $69,200.
Robert E. Lee Jr., Beverly B. Lee (by attorney) to Simons Rockwell Realty of PA, in Great Bend Township for $180,000.
Robert E. Lee Jr., Beverly B. Lee (by attorney) to Simmons Rockwell Realty of PA, in Great Bend Township for $30,000.
Kenneth E. Smith, Helen Smith, Robert E. Lee J r. to Simons Rockwell Realty of PA, in Great Bend Township for $90,000.
Kirt B. Buzzell, Valerie E. Buzzell to Gary R. Kiernan, Michelle Kiernan, in Harmony Township for $170,000.
Daniel H. Swackhammer II, Shirley Ann Swackhammer to Daniel H. Swackhammer, in Thompson Township for $45,000.
Vivian Merritt (est) to Thomas P. Walter, in Little Meadows Borough for $48,000.
Peter S. Watrous to Peter S. Watrous (trust), in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Joseph B. Watrous Jr. (trust by trustee) to Peter S. Watrous, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Schils American Holding Corporation (by sheriff), Schils America Acquisition Corporation (by sheriff) to Clem Chantiam, Imtiaz Ali Mahmood, William A. Curry Jr., in Oakland and Great Bend townships for $216,000.
Curtis M. Sweeney, Donna Sweeney to Peter T. Strickler, Marilyn P. Strickler, in Herrick Township for $290,000.
Jan Vandenhengel, Hendrika K. Vandenhengel to David Herne, Catherine Herne, in Springville Township for $100,000.
Keith Skinner, Christie V. Skinner to Steven Rosenbloom, Donna Lynn Rosenbloom, in Herrick Township for $240,000.
Donna L. Williams to Palma Gun Club Inc. , in Gibson Township for $47,600.
Robert T. Gregory, Heather T. Gregory to Darrell Sands, Melody L. Slusser, in Montrose for $95,188.
John S. Kokinchak, Denise I. Kokinchak to Robert Kirsh, Anne S. Kirsh, in Gibson Township for $320,000.
Bradley W. Long to Michael G. McGeown, Florid McGeown, in Montrose for $20,000.
Michael W. Snyder (by sheriff, aka) Michael Snyder (by sheriff, aka) Mike Snyder to Aurora Loan Services Inc., in Franklin Township for $2,658.
Dwight Smith, Deborah Smith, Mitchell Maxwell, Sally Maxwell, Jude McCarthy to Dwight Smith, Deborah Smith, Mitchell Maxwell, Sally Maxwell, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Aretta E. Curtis (aka) Aretta O. Curtis to Gail Hatch in Thompson Borough for $115,000.
Daniel A. Montalbano, Nicole Montalbano to Gilbert L. Kohler, Darlene J. Kohler, in Auburn Township for $55,000.
Ferdinand M. Weiss, Joyce M. Weiss to Ferdinand M. Weiss, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Mark D. Wayman, Dianna M. Wayman to Kathleen E. Oakley, in New Milford Township for $48,500.
Mary S. Griffis (by power-of-attorney) to Aivars Gerlins, Beverly Gerlins, in Montrose for $75,000.
Richard Locke O’Hora to Patrick Locke O’Hora, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Vera Scroggins to Christopher T. Tracy, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Leon E. Pointek Sr., Michelle R. Hitchcock to Leon E. Pointex Sr., Michelle R. Hitchcock, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Thomas Christopher Bisel of Dimock and Darlene Larraine Anderson of Montrose.
Andrew Hilary Landis Jr. of New Milford and Socorro W. Ibarra of Rentoul, Ill.
Thomas Laguzzi vs. Theresa Laguzzi, both of Carbondale.
Donald R. Noldy of Meshoppen vs. Helen J. Noldy of Myrtle Beach, SC.
At about 2:30 on the morning of June 24, Timothy William Rogers, New Milford, was behind the wheel of a 1994 Ford F-10 when it collided with a garage after Rogers failed to safely turn left into an alley by Depot Street. He was charged with related motor vehicle violations for the incident.
The State Police are investigating a car fire at the South Montrose Community Church in Bridgewater Township that happened shortly before 2 a.m. on July 4. The car belongs to Susan Bush Pratt, South Montrose.*
This accident happened on the afternoon of July 2 in the parking lot of the Green Gables Restaurant in New Milford when a 2001 Dodge truck driven by Thomas Gardner, Great Bend, was turning into the lot and a 2001 Toyota sedan driven by Lindsay Franks, New Milford, was leaving the parking area. Neither driver was injured.
HIT AND RUN CRASH
Sometime between the evening of July 30 and the following morning, an unknown vehicle struck a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am owned by Richard Tadlock, Susquehanna, while it was legally parked alongside Main Street in Tadlock’s driveway in Susquehanna. Both the driver and the vehicle that hit the Pontiac are unknown, but the vehicle should have extensive driver-side front damage.*
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
On July 31, Vernon Smith, 43, and Katrina Thorn, 20, both of Kingsley, loaned a person known to them their 1993 Jeep Cherokee and the person failed to return it.
Roland Stephaus, 54, Springville, told State Police that someone entered his home in Springville and stole approximately $15 in loose change as well as a small Sentry fire safe containing personal papers. This happened sometime between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on July 6.*
Sometime on July 15, an unknown person applied a substance to the golf course green at the Tall Pines Golf Course in Friendsville that caused damage to the green. The substance caused the grass to burn in a graffiti-type pattern which read “OJML DANY was here.”*
HARASSMENT, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF
Citations for harassment and criminal mischief were filed against Benjamin F. Stine III, 35, Hop Bottom, for kicking a car belonging to Vincent R. Gordon, 19, Hop Bottom, and grabbing Gordon at around 1:15 in the morning on July 31 at the intersection of Forrest Road and Route 11 in Hop Bottom.
Sometime between October 2004 and this past July, unknown person(s) used the seasonal cabin in Auburn Township that belongs to George Novalany, 54, Colonia, NJ, and damaged it during use. This was done without permission, according to Novalany.*
HIT AND RUN CRASH
This accident happened sometime during the evening on August 2 when an unknown person driving a vehicle whose make, model and color are unknown pulled into the driveway of a residence in Brooklyn Township. While attempting to turn around, the unknown vehicle hit a wooden post and cement septic tank and fled the scene.*
VIOLATION OF PFA
Roy Edward Grover, 29, Clifford Township, was arrested for violating a PFA at 1 a.m. on July 14. The victim, Tammy Lynn Grover, 26, reported that Roy Grover verbally harassed her.
VIOLATION OF A PFA
Tammy Lynn Grover, 29, Clifford Township, was arrested for violation of a PFA when she came within 150 feet of Roy Edward Grover, 29, shortly after 4 on the morning of June 29. Tammy Grover was arraigned before a district judge who set bail at $10,000; she was unable to post the bail and was incarcerated in the county prison.
Sometime between 2:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. on July 30, an unknown person(s) smashed a window out of a car belonging to Stanley Wojtkowski, New Milford, while it was parked outside his residence and then fled the scene.*
This crash happened on the evening of June 29 as a vehicle driven by Stephen Knopick, 65, Hallstead, was traveling south on State Route 11 in front of McDonald’s in Great Bend Township at the same time that pedestrian Michael Smith, Hallstead, was crossing the road. Knopick’s vehicle hit Smith who was transported to Wilson Hospital with unknown injuries. The crash is under investigation.
On the afternoon of July 27, Verna Salada, 57, Jackson, was driving north on State Route 92 in Lenox Township in her 1994 Geo Prizm. A 191 Toyota pick-up driven by Dario Lopez, 35, Scranton, was headed north. Lopez turned to make a left-hand turn to go onto State Route 374 and went into the path of Salada, striking her vehicle head on. The air bag in Salada’s car deployed and she suffered apparent minor injuries. Lopez’s vehicle wasn’t equipped with air bags, but neither he nor his passenger suffered any injury. All were wearing seatbelts. The Clifford Township Ambulance Company transported Salada to CMC Hospital in Scranton.
A 1998 Hyundai driven by Joseph Maslan, Susquehanna, received minor damage when it went off the roadway and down a 20-foot embankment because Maslan was (reportedly) driving fast on State Route 171 in Great Bend Township on the evening of July 19. Maslan was wearing a seatbelt and received minor injuries; his car had minor damage.
INVOLUNTARY DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE AND RELATED
Bradley William Megivern, 30, Clifford, was arrested on July 26 and charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors for incidents that took place between August, 2004 and January, 2004. He was arraigned before a district justice and released on $10,000 unsecured bail.
VIOLATION OF PFA
Timothy Scott Craig, 34, Susquehanna, was arrested for a violation of a Protection from Abuse order after he had contact with Nickie Lee Craig, 26, Thompson, by phone and smashing the rear window of her car, which took place between the evening of July 14 and the following morning. He was arraigned before a district justice, posted bail and was released.
TRAFFIC COLLISION, DUI ARREST
A 1993 GMC Jimmy driven by Tammy Rodney, 29, South Montrose, was traveling north on State Road 3029 in Forest Lake Township when it veered off the roadway and entered a drainage ditch on the evening of June 16. The Jimmy continued along the ditch and hit a PENNDOT roadway marker, next striking a dirt embankment and coming to rest alongside the ditch. Rodney was not wearing a seatbelt and was taken to Endless Mountain Health Systems Hospital in Montrose for treatment. She was arrested for DUI and a blood test revealed she was over the legal limit. Charges for DUI and summary traffic violations were filed in district court. State Police were assisted at the scene by the Forest Lake Volunteer Fire and Rescue services.
Sometime between July 1 and 24, someone stole approximately 200 landscaping pavers/edgers that were stacked on pallets outside of a home in Apolacon Township owned by Sarah Nan Sniegos, Bayonne, NJ. Value of the pavers is $200.
Driver Joseph M. Dughi, 25, and passenger Kalena Cook, 22, both of Friendsville, were on Dughi’s 1998 Honda Shadow Classic motorcycle traveling west on State Road 4015 in Middletown Township on the afternoon of July 24 when they hit a bear. Dughi and Cook were both wearing helmets and received minor injuries. The cycle was moderately damaged. Nothing about the bear.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at 570-465-3154
The Starrucca Borough Council met on July 5. Andy Bennett, Council President, called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. Council members present were Kirk Rhone, Helen Haynes, Robert Weldy and Paul Everett. Mayor Frank Mroczka, Brigitte D’Agati and Lou Gurske were absent. The audience included Paul D’Agati, Ron Brownell, Donald Haynes, Jr., Fred Rhone, Darl Haynes, Sr., Annuniata Mohl, Sr., Therese McNamara, Renee B. Warden and Jack Downton.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
President Bennett asked for corrections to the Minutes of June 6, 2005.
A motion to accept the Minutes as reported passed unanimously.
Two corrections were made to the Treasurer’s Report – June Bills - Penelec paid $101.07 (not $107.07), total for July Bills Paid - General Fund $1375.29 (not $1290.70).
A motion to accept the corrected Treasurer’s Report passed unanimously.
A motion to transfer funds ($1600) from the Recreation Field account to the General Fund checking account to pay for lawn care (June, July, August and Sept.) and the Porosky Lumber sign for the ball field passed unanimously.
Correspondence and other communications
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Biennial Report – the secretary asked for assistance in completing the report.
Solicitor Lehutsky – retainer request – a discussion followed concerning the fees of the Solicitor.
Selective Insurance – proposed payment for kitchen repairs – the secretary reported that the insurance company wanted to pay less than the estimate submitted. The contractor contacted the insurance representative, but she was on vacation until July 5. The secretary was assured by the insurance agent that she would do everything to achieve the satisfaction of Council.
Building Permits – None submitted.
Sub-Divisions – None submitted.
Public Comment – Persons to be heard
Darl Haynes questioned the fees regarding the retainer for the Solicitor. Robert Weldy will contact the Solicitor for a schedule of fees.
Emergency Operating Plan – Paul D’Agati and Paul Everett – The EOP was presented and after discussion Robert Weldy offered to review the plan before Council votes for acceptance.
Response from Jim Davis regarding “slot” policy – Jim advised this type of policy was not available for Council and offered to meet with Council to clarify insurance issues.
Response from Amtrol re kitchen tank (burst) – to date, no response after two requests.
Creek Wall repair – Robert Weldy offered an explanation regarding payment of repairs to the creek wall. He presented the floodplain map and stated that the areas noted where FEMA would pay 75% for repair, the additional 25% would be the responsibility of the Borough. Under State law, Boroughs are mandated to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.
COG, Council of Governments
Northern Wayne COG – the Minutes of May 18, 2005 were read. Kirk Rhone noted the amount for dues to be paid was $200, not $100, as noted on the Treasurer’s Report for July bills to be paid. A motion to pay the $200 passed unanimously.
To date, Council has not received the return of the $100 (dues) sent to the Susquehanna COG. The secretary reported that mail had not been picked up prior to the holiday weekend and the check could possibly be included.
Storage Room (Office) – under construction.
Smoke alarms – to be installed.
Revised rental agreement – to be addressed.
Status of kitchen repairs – reported under correspondence.
Outside painting of building – Helen Haynes reported the Civic Association would pay for the paint if the manpower could be supplied, once again, by the Sheriff’s Department. Andy Bennett volunteered to contact the Sheriff’s Department.
Town Hall - President Bennett reported the new locks for the Town Hall have not been installed yet.
Andy Bennett and Paul Everett will attach the billboard for Porosky Lumber to the ball field fence and fill a hole in center field.
Kirk Rhone presented a bill ($850.) for the purchase of two tons of calcium. He advised that although Council had voted a cap of $800 for the purchase of one ton at the June meeting, the price had increased and the minimum purchase was two tons. Paul Everett offered a motion to pay $850. to John Bonham. The motion was seconded by Robert Weldy and passed unanimously.
Council questioned if the letter from Solicitor Lehutsky had been sent to the County Commissioners regarding Bucks Road Bridge. Paul Everett commented that he had contacted the Solicitor after reading the draft because it was his understanding that the Borough would not pay for rails on Bucks Bridge. The secretary advised that correspondence had not been received. from the Solicitor. The secretary will contact the Solicitor for further information.
Ron Brownell commented on the urgency to clean debris from the creek, stating that another heavy rainfall will cause flooding. Robert Weldy reported that he has contacted DEP regarding the situation and was waiting for a response. He also reported that grant money might be possible to pay for the clean-up.
Paul Everett gave an update on funds approved by FEMA for road work and the creek wall repair. President Bennett asked for suggestions regarding engineers to contact for repair of the creek wall. Kirk Rhone suggested Delta Engineering (the company contacted regarding Bucks Road Bridge). Renee Warden expressed her concerns regarding the selection of an engineer.
President Bennett asked if Jack Downton would do the FEMA road repairs since he was hired for summer road maintenance? Robert Weldy suggested the work be put out for a bid. A discussion followed and it was noted that FEMA work does not have to be open for bids. Just as the Borough will hire an engineer for the creek wall, it can also hire someone for the road repairs. Jack Downton commented that he would like to look over the scope or work. Kirk Rhone asked if Jack consents to do the work after reviewing the scope of work, does Council agree to have him do the work? Donald Haynes, Jr. expressed his concerns for the urgency of the roads being repaired. President Bennett stated he wanted the Minutes to reflect that under majority of Council, Jack Downton has already been hired to do summer roadwork, including FEMA projects.
There being no further business to conduct, a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m. passed unanimously.
The next regular Council meeting will be held on August 1, at 7 p.m. at the Community Hall.
The Thompson Boro Council meeting of August 1 was presided over by vice president Andy Gardner. With the exception of president Dennis Price, all other members were present as well as secretary Diane Sheldon, treasurer Marge Whitney, mayor Jim Delaney, police chief Tom Rivenburgh, plant operator Larry Travis and a number of guests.
Mr. Travis gave his monthly report; the main concern is that the plant needs to have sludge hauled away again as the system is producing more product than the bagger can handle. Mr. Travis said that it would be more cost efficient to have the sludge hauled away than to enlarge the bagging capacity. Mr. Gardner asked if using the bagger, including manpower costs, is adding to the cost to operate the system; would it be more cost efficient to just have the sludge hauled away on a regular basis? Mr. Travis said that using the bagger does reduce odors, not using it could be a problem. He recommends using the bagger to a limited extent, and having the excess hauled. He estimated that the cost would be about the same either way.
All necessary paperwork has been completed and submitted for the boro to participate in the One Call program.
The next loan payment to the USDA for the sewage project is due on August 21, in the amount of $17,013.
The sidewalks in front of the post office have been fixed.
A resident asked if anything could be done about the access road to Fairview Cemetery, which has been blocked. Mr. Gardner said that it is private property, with a private driveway; it is not a public access road.
An onsite inspection was held at the Sunoco property on July 29. Among those who attended were the boro’s Sewage Enforcement Officer. A hearing is scheduled for October 18-20 in Harrisburg, at which the boro will need to have a representative present.
With the police department designated as inactive, the boro had two options regarding liability insurance; a one-time payment of $1,000 to provide coverage until all of Mr. Rivenburgh’s court cases have taken place, or to retain full coverage for the fiscal year, which had been budgeted. As the boro is a member of PIRMA, an insurance pool, the liability is paid once a year. If it were not paid now, at renewal time, it would not be possible to get it again until next year. The police car can be taken off the policy, and put back on at any time. It has been taken off the policy at the present time, what to do with it was tabled for the time being.
Information indicates that the boro does require payment of unemployment compensation; two options were available. After discussion on the pros and cons of each, one was chosen.
The old Spencer mill property was sold at an auction on July 30, to a couple from Waymart; the sale will be finalized in thirty days. In light of this, a motion carried to table condemnation of the property until council could meet with the new owners and discuss council’s concerns.
As what the boro usually spends for plowing and cindering each winter season falls below the amount that would require putting out bids, council agreed that it would be preferable to automatically contract with Thompson Township for this service instead of putting it out to bid. The township does have one load of cinders in storage (purchased by the boro). Mr. Lloyd will check prices, etc. to purchase more.
After review, a motion carried to request the CEO to inspect a list of properties for possible violations.
A rough draft of the comprehensive plan commissioned by the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership is available for review. A meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 15, 7:00 p.m. at the Thompson Township Building; Mr. Gardner urged all council members to attend. After a 45-day public review period, a public hearing will be held on October 17, after which each of the six member municipalities will formally adopt the plan. The plan, Mr. Gardner said, would be the basis for any decision regarding land use within the member municipalities, what can or cannot be done in the future. “We do want to have the option to discourage negative activities, and to encourage positive ones… to preserve our natural resources… to preserve (our) life the way it is.”
The big discussion of the evening centered around the police department; more particularly, whether Chief Rivenburgh retired, or if council had made that decision for him. It began with the reading of a letter from Mr. Rivenburgh, to council; the letter stated that council had voted not to renew his certifications, forcing his retirement six months earlier than he had intended. Then, at the July meeting, council discussed hiring another officer, part-time. As he felt that council broke their contract with him, he felt that he was owed the six-month’s salary he would have received until the end of December.
Mr. Gardner classified the situation as a misunderstanding on both parties’ parts. It was stressed that Mr. Price did not solicit another officer to work for the boro, but was contacted by an individual who was interested in obtaining part-time police work; no action had been taken by council.
There seemed to be a general consensus that all were under the impression that it was Mr. Rivenburgh’s intent to retire; just how the word “retire” became applied to the current situation was not clear. Mr. Gardner commented that it seemed to be a “he said, she said” situation. He asked Mr. Rivenburgh if he would stay on until the end of the year; Mr. Rivenburgh said that he would consider it. Mr. Gardner noted that Mr. Rivenburgh’s updates could be obtained until October. It was agreed by many that the boro is in need of police protection; Mr. Gardner had a petition with thirty-plus signatures from boro residents asking that the police department be reactivated. That should certainly be taken into consideration, Mr. Gardner said.
“I don’t think we really can resolve this right now,” Mr. Gardner said, as there were a number of items that would need to be discussed to find an equitable solution. A meeting was tentatively set for the following Saturday, August 6 to discuss the situation in depth, pending Mr. Rivenburgh’s decision and obtaining information on reactivating the department.
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