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Despite a couple of postponements, there may still be a second trial for Dr. Stephen B. Scher although he is leaving no stone unturned in his effort to avoid it.
On October 22, 1997, immediately after a jury convicted Dr. Scher, who is now 65, of first degree murder in the 1976 shooting death of Montrose attorney Martin Dillon, Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans sentenced Dr. Scher to life in prison. However, on March 26, 2004, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania granted Dr. Scher a new trial and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court subsequently rejected the Commonwealth’s attempt to appeal that decision.
The second trial was supposed to get under way with a jury selection in February. An assortment of motions filed by the defense coupled with counter-motions by the Commonwealth, moved the trial date to June but there were still some motions awaiting court rulings. And Dr. Scher’s attorney, Joshua Lock, recently filed yet another motion.
On August 24, 2005, Lycoming County Senior Judge Clinton W. Smith, who will be the presiding judge if there is a second trial, rendered an opinion denying Dr. Scher’s motion to dismiss the charge of first degree murder against him. The move prompted Mr. Lock, to file a notice of appeal to that decision.
Papers filed in the Susquehanna County Courthouse on September 6 by Mr. Lock, allege that prosecutorial misconduct during Dr. Scher’s first trial raises a double jeopardy bar to a second trial. However, Judge Smith ruled that, while the conduct of the prosecutor in the first trial was “nothing short of offensive and reprehensible,” it did not cause Dr. Scher to suffer the type of prejudice necessary to implicate the double jeopardy clause.
“Rather,” Judge Smith declared, “the appropriate remedy is a new trial which the defendant has been awarded.”
Regarding the Superior Court opinion calling for a new trial, Judge Smith took exception to the Commonwealth’s claims that the court resolved the issue of a double jeopardy claim when it considered relevant case law and found that dismissal was not appropriate.
“This court does not agree,” Judge Smith said. “The Superior Court granted a new trial solely upon the grounds of the first issue it considered – the improper replacement of a deliberating juror.”
Judge Smith also denied a second motion filed by the Commonwealth that asked the court to reject Dr. Scher’s motion to dismiss based upon the law of the case and other doctrines. In his opinion, Judge Smith said the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss lacked merit in that it seemed likely but was open to doubt. He said the defendant’s motion to dismiss the charge of first-degree murder raised fact-sensitive issues upon which reasonable minds could differ.
“The above disposition of these issues merits appellate review,” Judge Smith concluded.
Oakland Boro Council met on September 8 with all members present except Leon Dubanowitz. President Ron Beavan was happy to report that Mr. Dubanowitz has been making some progress in dealing with the health challenges he has been facing.
Addressing council was Art Donato, county 911 coordinator, regarding the county’s readdressing program. He explained that the program’s purpose was to establish a standard form of addressing within the county’s municipalities which would have many benefits, particularly speeding up emergency medical services as well as making sure that delivery personnel can locate a particular home. Municipalities who choose to participate will be asked to make sure that all road names are correct, and to work with their local post offices to ensure that all information is correct. Residents in those municipalities will be notified of their new address numbers, and will have one year to notify anyone from whom they receive correspondence. The county tax office and major utilities will be notified of the changes.
A firm hired by the county has been working on the project since June, with two-thirds of the county completed. Once the changes are determined, municipalities will bear the cost of road sign changes, but existing signs will be “grandfathered,” and can remain in place until they need to be replaced, when new signage will need to conform to PENNDOT specifications. Homeowners will bear the responsibility of seeing that house numbers are changed, preferably with two-tone numbers that can be easily seen from the road. The new scheme will be based on a new number for every 5.28 feet, which will leave an allowance for future development. The new plan follows NENA (National Emergency Numbering Association) guidelines. Mr. Donato said that the new numbering will also be beneficial, in that it will allow for emergency services to easily locate a destination, especially when they are called from another municipality, such as when an ambulance service “covers” another area when their services are on another call. The firm contracted to map out the county is using GPS, which will be a tremendous aid in helping emergency workers to locate a particular destination. It is estimated that the plan will take another 12 to 14 months to be completed, after which a period of about two years will be allowed before all changes must be completed.
After discussion later in the meeting, council voted in favor of the readdressing project.
In other business, the scrap metal pickup was expected to be completed earlier this week, with removal of items still in the boro building parking lot.
Final results of the survey recently distributed to boro residents have been compiled.
Discussion will continue as to a suitable tribute to Mayor Art Towner, who recently passed away.
There were many favorable comments on the improvements made by the Parks and Rec. committee to the boro’s park. A new sidewalk has been completed, the tennis courts have been resealed, and work is underway on railings. A bigger backhoe than the boro’s, which is also in need of repair, will be needed to take care of dirt mounds at the back of the field. The committee would welcome any donations of machinery and/or manpower to take care of it.
No letters of interest had been received as of the date of the meeting, from qualified individuals interested in working part-time as the boro’s police officers.
There was discussion about an individual who had a drainage ditch filled in in front of his home to create parking space. This individual had been asked to remove the fill that was used to fill in the ditch, and had refused. It was agreed that it would set a dangerous precedence to allow the situation to go unaddressed, and concern that it would cause a danger to others if it caused water problems for homes below the site or ice buildup on the roads once winter sets in. The boro’s policy has always been that, if the homeowner supplies the pipe to close the ditches, the boro will install it.
Police Chief Bob VanFleet gave his monthly report; with some ongoing court cases and the recent drastic increase in gas prices, his patrol hours have been reduced. He said that when residents have a problem, they still call him directly, but they should call the comm. center, so that the nearest available officer can be called if he is not on duty or unavailable to respond to calls.
Paving work the boro has contracted for should begin by the end of the month.
There was some discussion about the boro’s Experience Works worker, Floyd Mead, who recently left to explore other career possibilities. It was unanimous that the boro has been very fortunate in its participation in this program, and has benefited by receiving the services of excellent personnel. Mr. Mead was said to have done a lot for the boro, and had some comp time for which he had not received remuneration. Council agreed that something should be done for Mr. Mead, to express their appreciation. After a closer look at the year’s budget, council will determine just what. And, it was agreed that a donation of $50 should be made to the Experience Works program, and that a further donation should be considered when next year’s budget will be drawn up. Mr. Beavan and Mr. Crawford will shortly begin work on the 2006 budget.
Several résumés have been received for the position of the boro’s water fee collector; a special meeting will be held on Thursday, September 15, to review them and any others that may be received and to make a final decision.
The next regular meeting will be on Thursday, October 13, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
The Thompson Borough Council meeting of September 6 began with an executive session, to discuss a legal issue and a personnel issue. All members were present with the exception of Nick Sheptak.
Council is still working on an amended agreement with the PAWC for sewer billing. A work session was tentatively scheduled for September 14 to go over the sewer authority’s budget for the coming year. Consideration will have to be given to the rising costs of heating fuel (for the plant) and the additional expense of having to have sludge hauled away (which will also be impacted by the rise in fuel costs). Plant operator Larry Travis will be asked to attend the work session to give his input on the expected operation costs for the coming year.
CEO Shane Lewis has been given a list of properties that need to be inspected for possible violations.
The new owners of the Spenser mill property had, as of the date of the meeting, not yet closed on it.
A motion carried to proceed with condemnation of the old “chicken coop” property, which led to a discussion of just what consequences the boro might face if it is condemned. It was agreed to ask Mr. Lewis to attend the work session to answer these and any other questions there may be.
Mr. Price attended a recent meeting hosted by the ESCP (Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership) and was very impressed by the presentation of the ESCP’s proposed comprehensive plan. Any questions raised were answered; he feels that it would be very wise of council to continue its membership in ESCP and to adopt the plan. A motion carried to adopt a resolution to accept the plan, which covers such areas as zoning, subdivisions, and land development. A public meeting will be held to discuss the plan on October 17, 7 p.m. at the Thompson Township building.
Total costs of adopting the plan are expected to be in the area of $60,000, which will be proportionately distributed among ESCP’s member municipalities after deduction of DCED funding of $36,000. Thompson Boro’s portion will be about $1,176, which can be paid over a three-year period. A question was asked; where is this money to come from? It was noted that next year’s budget will not include the expenditures of a police department. Mr. Gardner noted that the plan will also look into intermunicipal sharing of services, which could result in savings for member municipalities. And, he said, the plan gives a sound legal basis for any land decisions member municipalities may make in the future.
A motion carried to discontinue the boro’s present fax (phone) line for the time being; council will consider having one installed at the sewage plant.
Under new business, council discussed a complaint received from a resident regarding the boro’s occupational tax assessor. This individual reportedly came to the resident’s home at 8:30 p.m. on the night of August 29, was apparently drunk and acting in a disorderly manner. The resident called the State Police, who did follow through on the complaint. At least one other similar occurrence was brought to council’s attention. But, since the individual was elected to this position, council has very little recourse; the individual cannot be removed from office and cannot be fired by either council or the county. After discussion, it was agreed that council’s best course of action was to send the individual a letter stating that his actions were inappropriate and requesting his resignation. A copy of council’s letter and the resident’s complaint will be sent to the county commissioners.
A complaint brought up during public comment was about a purported petition being circulated by Mayor Delaney, asking that one of the boro’s new residents leave town. Mr. Delaney assured that no such petition exists.
Another complaint was about Mr. Delaney’s actions while this individual was in the process of moving in. Mr. Delaney said that he had responded to several complaints about a moving truck parked across the road, and had told the driver that flares should be placed so that oncoming vehicles could be aware of its location. There was some disagreement about exactly what was said during a subsequent conversation between the mayor and the resident.
Councilman Allen Lloyd asked why the mayor was investigating anything, whether it be speeding vehicles, drug activity or a truck parked improperly in the road? Why weren’t the State Police called when complaints were made? Mayor Delaney answered that he is the one people call when there is a problem, he is constantly receiving complaints. Secretary Sheldon (the boro’s previous mayor) stated that the mayor’s responsibility is to oversee the police department; Mr. Delaney responded, “the boro, too.” He reiterated that he was responding to complaints, and had done so out of concern for the boro.
Mr. Price stressed that he knew that Mr. Delaney has good intentions to keep the community safe, but that his actions could be misinterpreted as harassment. “Your actions could become a liability to the boro; council would have to answer for your actions in court.” He suggested that if Mr. Delaney did act in the manner the resident described, he would ask that Mr. Delaney write a letter of apology as the resident requested. Mr. Delaney said that he would consider it, and would let council know of his decision.
Mr. Delaney said that he has received seventeen complaints about two dogs roaming loose and menacing residents. Mr. Price said that those making the complaints should be asked to call the state police. “In any situation (residents) don’t think you can control, start making calls to the appropriate agency,” whether it be the dog warden or the State Police. For other types of complaints, forms are available from Secretary Sheldon.
Council member Diane Sabatelli agreed to check current fuel prices with three suppliers, and was authorized to purchase at the best price for the sewage plant.
A motion carried to notify the boro solicitor to proceed with legal action against a homeowner who has ignored requests to settle an outstanding sewage bill.
The last item of business was the resignation of Mr. Price, effective immediately. He had served on council for 18 years, he said, and it had been a great honor to serve the boro and to be trusted by its residents. Although he had intended to serve out the remainder of his term (until the end of this year), the time that council business was taking away from his family and a conflict with his job left him with no choice but to make this decision at this time.
His resignation was accepted, “with deep sorrow.”
The next meeting will be on Monday, October 3, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall on Water St.
John D. Farrow, Michelle D. Farrow, Catherine A. Farrow (nka) Catherine Feheley, Cheryl L. Feheley, Dennis M. Feheley, Donald J. Feheley, Mary P. Feheldy (nka) Mary P. Leitner, Donald D. Leitner to John D. Farrow, Michelle D. Farrow, in Silver Lake Township for $87,500.
Montrose Borough to Bridgewater Township, in Bridgewater Township for $5,000.
Stanley L. Colwell to Thomas J. Lopatofsky, Donna M. Fekette, in New Milford Township for $170,782.
Donald Gerola to Donald Gerola, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Donald Gerola to Donald Gerola, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Shirley A. Granger to Suzanne Dean, in Lenox Township for $134,500.
Vickie Lane Conners Hofmaster, John Hofmaster to Peter Isakson, Brenda D. Fahy-Isakson, in Herrick Township for $142,000.
Marilynn Puskas to Michael J. Puskas, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
John Russo II, Nancy Jean Russo to Donald Williams Jr., Kristina M. Williams, in Springville Township for $110,000.
Albert Podminick to James F. Weiss, Maureen Weiss, in Rush Township for $105,000.
Thomas C. Cramer Sr., Linda L. Cramer to Albert A. Paolucci, Victoria Paolucci, in Bridgewater Township for $144,000.
Paul L. Reposa, Kathryn J. Reposa to Terence A. Darling, Lori A. Darling, in Springville Township for $185,000.
Willilam E. Trommald (trust by trustee), Geraldine D. Trommald (trust by trustee) to Trommald Bypass Trust, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Charles D. Pudish (trustee),Jean M. Pudish (trustee) to Charles D. Pudish (revocable trust), Jean M. Pudish (revocable trust), in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Robert A. Signorello to Neil D. Traver, Kathy A. Traver, in Auburn Township for $227,000.
Michael Bohr (by sheriff) to US Bank (trustee), in Hop Bottom for $3,330.
Gary Lee Jurista, Dawn A. Jurista to Walter Zielinski, Barbara Zielinski, in Springville Township for $123,000.
John Bussolini, June Bussolini, to John Bussolini, June Bussolini, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Robert Wedin, Dorothy Wedin, Dennis Wedin to Robert Wedin, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
David Aion to John W. Conolly, Deborah Conolly, in Gibson Township for $17,000.
Michele Hackett, David T. Hackett to Christine L. Plavier, in Bridgewater Township and Montrose Borough for $90,000.
Wachovia Bank (fka) First Union National Bank, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to John B. Savino, in Union Dale Borough for $44,000.
Beverly A. Delp (nbm) Beverly Delp Derstine, Wilmer Derstine to Gene R. Hubbard, Denise A. Hubbard, in Dimock Township for $50,000.
Sophia Turoski (estatem aka) Sophie Turoski (estate, aka) Sophie R. Turoski to Charles Schimpf, Robert G. Donald, in Silver Lake Township for $70,524.
Elena M. Giuliano, Benedict L. DeFonzo to Lance Tesoroni, in Clifford Township for $17,000.
David B. Salsman Sr., Regina R. Salsman to Glenn Smith (dba), Patrick Kipar (dba) S&K Stone, in Auburn Township for $52,000.
Bruce Wheaton, Marie Wheaton to Marie Wheaton, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Arthur H . Scott, Sybil R. Scott to James E. Henry, Leslie J. Henry, Michael A. Rosa, in New Milford Township for $500,000.
Robin J. Wallace, James H. Aldrich, Gail L. Aldrich to James H. Aldrich, Gail L. Aldrich, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
John J. Lauter, Ottilie Lauter, to James G. Blaine, Connie Blaine, in Lenox Township for $240,000.
Konstantinos Konstas, Sophie Konstas to Francis M. McNamara, Susan Griffis McNamara, in Montrose for $65,000.
Kenneth E. Hartman (by attorney), Marion E. Hartman (by attorney) to Nancy Chuck, Deborah Chuck Knobel, in Thompson Township for $245,000.
Eugene S. Figured, Carole A. Figured to Walter M. Drab, Eileen A. Drab, in Harmony Township for $37,200.
Mary E. Plutino to Scott Burlingame, in Susquehanna for $32,000.
Richard Bishop Jr. to William F. Kane, in Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Susquehanna County, in Oakland Township for zero dollars.
Susquehanna, Oakland, Lanesboro Industrial Development Authority (aka) SOLIDA Inc. to Susquehanna County, in Oakland Township for zero dollars.
Daniel J . Maisano, Patricia A. Maisano to Adam Sobel, Allixon Sobel, in Herrick Township for $340,000.
William B. Lopatofsky, Betty Lopatofsky to James Resseguie, Rebecca L. Tingley, in Lenox Township for $103,000.
Robert A. Heeman, Judith Heeman to Brandon M. Blewett, Malinda Blewett, in Liberty Township for $39,102.
Frank J. Derbartola to Paul W. MacNutt, Mary Ann T. MacNutt, in Forest Lake Township for $275,000.
Lisa M. Coper to Joanne M. Edington, in Dimock Township for $180,000.
Anne C. Granko, Joseph S. Granko Jr. to Joseph J. Granko, Andrea M. Tomassoni Granko, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Margaret A. Marquardt to Margaret A. Marquardt (living trust), in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Kenneth B. Strickland (estate) to Lewis R. Garrison Jr., Susan R. Garrison, in Springville Township for $50,000.
Washington Mutual Bank to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
John R. Bennett to Morgan Turner, in Brooklyn Township for $8,000.
C. Wayne Berry, Rachel S. Berry to Scott D. Johnson, in Auburn Township for $50,000.
Christopher Dana Hall and Ashlee Leigh Litchfield, both of Reston, VA.
Rodney W. Wallace, Clifford and Kimberly M. Becker, Lenoxville.
Louis Yachymiak and Jennifer L. Thatcher, both of New Milford.
Thomas J . Lynady and Tammy M. Gibson, both of Montrose.
Cassidy Allen Snedeker and Crystal L. Kuiper, both of Hallstead.
Barbara Mensel, Lakeland, FL vs. Gerard J. Mensel, Nicholson.
Marie E. Wheaton, Hallstead vs. Bruce A. Wheaton, Atlanta, NY.
Less Slocum II vs. Julie A. Slocum, both of Susquehanna.
Susan R. Nicholson, Susquehanna vs. Eric W. Nicholson, Findley Lake, NY.
The Forest City Borough Council turned down a request from Greater Forest City Industries to accept the access road into GFCI's industrial park pending an inspection by the borough engineer.
The move came after Brian Fitzsimmons, vice president of GFCI, told the council that additional work on the road has been completed, including some prior recommendations made by KBA Associates, the borough’s engineering firm.
Mr. Fitzsimmons said work was done on catch basins, some drainage problems were alleviated, a finishing coat of asphalt was put down, and efforts were taken to prevent any further rock slides that have happened in the past.
Council President Jim Lowry said he would not accept the road until it was inspected and approved by the engineer and council went along with him.
Mr. Fitzsimmons pointed out that winter is approaching and GFCI would like to have the borough take over the road before the snow flies. He said GFCI does not have much money and is trying to get its Board of Directors covered by liability insurance.
In another matter, council was advised by Nick Cost, chairman of the street committee, that the borough is holding back 10 percent of the money owed to the paving contractor until problems with recently paved streets are fixed. Mr. Cost said the borough has tried to contact the contractor and set up an inspection meeting but the firm has not returned calls.
John Kameen asked council to consider another Main Street Project similar to one that was done in the early 1980’s. However, Mr. Kameen said he was unhappy with the first project and Councilman Paul J. Amadio, who was mayor when that project was in progress, echoed Mr. Kameen’s comments.
Mr. Amadio said the first project was ruined by political interference and that some Main Street merchants were promised funds to repair their buildings and never received any money. He said other merchants received money more than once.
“It was intended to be a revolving fund so that everyone would get an opportunity to fix up their buildings but it did not turn out that way,” Mr. Amadio said. He said very few businesses that received money paid it back.
Council will meet with neighboring Vandling Borough to discuss the possibility of employing a zoning officer to serve both communities. That meeting is set for Tuesday, September 20 in Vandling.
Prior to the meeting, council attended a rededication of the Coal Miners Memorial marking the 10th anniversary of its completion. Billed as the world’s largest testimonial to coal miners, the bronze memorial is located on South Main Street at the site of the William Penn Apartments.
A resident attending the September 6 meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors asked for an update on when the township’s road crew would be coming to repair his road.
The answer was, not any time soon, because there is no road crew. Supervisor and board chair Bob Squier reported that Nick Mase, who served as roadmaster, quit earlier last week and gave no notice. An on-call, seasonal employee, who was expected to continue to be on call through the end of September, was called back to work by the state. And a third employee has been out on workers’ compensation for some time. As supervisor Walt Galloway put it, “At the moment, we don’t have any people working for us except Sheila [Guinan, township secretary/treasurer, who piped in that she wasn’t going to be doing the roads].”
The township will advertise to fill the vacancy, but, as Haskins pointed out, the real problem is finding someone who’s qualified to work the grader.
The resident then wanted to know why it took so long to work on his road once winter was well over and done with. Supervisor George Haskins said the supervisors, whose goal is to have all the calcium roadwork done by July, shared the resident’s concern. Last year’s rains turned that into July and August, and this year, Galloway noted that damage done by last September’s Hurricane Ivan flooding and reimbursed by FEMA had to be attended to first.
If the township did have a road crew, they expected to get to the resident’s road this week, but that didn’t help the resident who then asked if there was some modified material he could pick up from the township to fill in the holes in his road. There was, and Haskins told the resident he would work with him to get it down and spread it around with the township’s backhoe.
Even though the township no longer had a roadmaster for the time being, it did have a roadmaster’s report, read by Squier. It included mowing along and grading some high spots on Old Route 11, patching holes on Bogert Street, working on a sinkhole by a storm pipe on Locust Street, replacing a culvert pipe on Baptist Hill Road, and repairing the spreader, tractor-mower and other equipment. Squier reported that he will be calling a down state municipality for more information about a spreader it is selling, and Haskins will be looking at one by Syracuse University. Both will report their findings when they have them.
In addition, work was expected to start on the Old Route 11 paving project on September 8.
While just a handful of people attended this meeting, they got a special treat – a quick tour of the new township building which just three weeks prior to the meeting consisted of not much more than a concrete slab. The roof and siding are on, and people strolled through two spacious rooms (one, the township office; the other, the meeting room) all sheet-rocked up and with moldings waiting to be installed. They peered into two roomy bathrooms awaiting the fixtures.
Galloway, who heads up the project, reported that the phone people were expected the following day, bathroom floors would be installed on the following Friday, and the furnace and heating system would be working this past Monday. “Everything is going along just super-well,” he said, adding that Joe Kovitch, the project contractor, should be complemented.
In updates on prior business, the township sent a letter to Bill Liepinis, the quarry operator on Graham Hollow Road, agreeing to the $5,000 line of credit he has established at a local bank should his operation cause damage to the road. He was also granted a permit for small non-coal operations from the DEP. The board also received a land-use questionnaire for a permit to conduct a small non-coal surface operation for Thomas G. Moore, Sr. Near as the board could tell by a quick review of the information provided, the proposed operation looks to be somewhere off Tarzan Road close to the state line, where Galloway recalled there was an abandoned stone quarry.
A revised feasibility study was received from Gene Beautz and delivered to Debbie Dissinger who is directing the Bridging Communities project. Guinan noted that Dissinger needs approval of the plan from Hallstead and Great Bend boroughs before sending it to PENNDOT.
COG assessment and building permits were issued to London Kibler, Sr.; Larry and Marjorie French; Peoples National Bank (for a new sign); Charles Skiba; and Joe’s Disposal Service (for a new pole barn). Final approval was granted for the George H. Stover III/Bradley Alan Hepler minor subdivision, and the Hugh Coombs subdivision.
The board also requested approval for commercial development by Simmons-Rockwell. It received it, contingent upon the township receiving a PENNDOT driving permit, sewer planning module approved by the DEP, a letter from American Water Company that it will provide service to the development, and clarification of the screening of proposed lots on it. This project is a car dealership that will be sited on Route 11 north, just before the Pennsylvania Welcome Center.
In correspondence, the board received statement of assets for the pension plan covering the six-month period January 1-June 30, 2005. With the road crew gone, and no one participating in the plan, the assets will be held in the plan against future contributions once a road crew is on board.
County economic development director Bob Templeton wrote about his availability to continue to work with municipalities still interested in working together in a multi-municipal coalition to develop a comprehensive plan. The kibosh was put on a contiguous municipal coalition comprising Great Bend, New Milford and Hallstead boroughs and Great Bend and Harford townships when New Milford Township responded less than enthusiastically, according to municipal representatives who attended a recent meeting in that township with Templeton.
Guinan reported that Great Bend borough would like to get together with the municipalities who were in favor of a multi-municipal coalition to work as a smaller group. That sounded good by the board, and it asked Guinan to contact Templeton to set up a meeting. Guinan also passed along that she and others heard that the Northern Tier Coalition – a multi-municipal coalition that has been together for some time in the county – recently received $1 million from the state to take care of getting three miles of the Wilkes-Barre turnpike into shape.
In other business, a letter that was sent to a resident about junk littering the resident’s property produced neither a reply nor a clean up of the junk. Another property owner also did not reply to a township letter, but reports are that the property is being cleaned up. Galloway looked into a complaint about a business on Route 11 and found the property neat and tidy.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for September 19 at 7 p.m. Whether it will be held in the township garage, as were the past two meetings, or in a brand-spanking-new meeting room, is for residents to show up and find out.
September 19 – first day to apply for an absentee ballot.
October 11 – last day to register before the November election.
November 1 – last day to apply for an absentee ballot.
November 4 – all absentee ballots must be returned by 5:00 p.m.
November 8 – Municipal Election – polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
August 2, 2005
Present: Ray Barnes, Dan Boughton, Paul Corse, Regina Dilello, Chris Maby, Bob Page and Bob Mireider. Also present: Mayor Slater, Secy. Gail Hanrahan, Officers VanFleet and Canini. Visitors: Jeannine Keefer, Bill Roberts, Cora Cameron, Rick Fabrizi, Tammy Skasko, Coleen Wilkes and Dennis Martel.
Minutes: motion to accept as presented passed unanimously.
Rick Fabrizi requesting info on permits for tank replacement on Rotorcast property.
Council agreed no permits necessary. Letter to be sent to Rotorcast stating information as such.
Tammy Skasko had a question as to why police have to follow garbage truck, waste of money, and to why garbage was picked up on both sides of the street at once instead of up one side and down the other side. Mayor Slater replied that it was proven efficient to pick up garbage as is currently done and it is a safety matter to have the police follow the truck to slow traffic. Another question presented was the speeding in the boro.
Coleen Wilkes also presented a question on speeding. Stone trucks, concrete trucks are speeding during day time hours. Also a question of young people hanging out on the bridge after 9:00 p.m . Does Lanesboro have a curfew? Secy. will look into ordinance on curfew.
Dennis Martel reported water in basement. Also questioned speed problem. Police patrol but drivers flash lights and slow cars down. Drivers should be ticketed. The council reminded the residents with questions about speed that there were two meetings held regarding what should be done about the speed situation and that a special committee was set up. Very few attended the meetings and no further meetings were held.
Letter from Susquehanna county recycling center introducing Taylor Garbage Services of Owego, NY as a licensed hauler in Susquehanna County.
Letter from Ron Kelly to request no further billing for garbage services as he has moved to New York State after his home was demolished. Council granted the request.
Code enforcement report – Shane Lewis absent. Report stated (3) complaints, (2) verbal warnings, (2) condemnations, (3) general inspections.
Officer VanFleet provided a report for himself and officer Canini – (17) speeding, (2) burn complaints, (2) assault concerns, (1) stabbing. Incident at Rotorcast for 911 hang-up calls. Officers followed up and found modem on office computer dialing in on 911 instead of 411. Corrected. No other calls.
Repairs needed on refuse truck. Parts ordered.
Community center report:
Recycling, (6) rentals. Insurance check received for ice damage repairs. Discussion for fuel for the 2005 – 2006 season. Prices to be obtained for prepay and budget.
Motion to accept passed unanimously.
(8) properties turned over to solicitor for liens.
April 2 flood funding update tabled for September meeting.
Playground update - equipment expected third week of august. Further discussion for September meeting.
Gruen/Landry property driveway. Letter to be written by solicitor.
Gelineau property – request Shane Lewis to review ordinance for demolition.
Request from Dan Boughton for pump for sewer station from Ray Barnes to be reinstalled.
Motion to adjourn.
Montrose Borough Council met Tuesday, September 6 due to the holiday.
Ken DiPhillips, Street Foreman, has obtained, through a grant, a leaf box for recycling leaves instead of burning them. He has also applied for a grant to offset costs of equipment rental needed to create a dump.
A dumpster that is privately rented is on boro property and is not being kept neat. It was cleaned up once and will be removed and billed to the owner.
Deb Nagle and Pam Kelley representing the Montrose Restoration Committee presented plans and drawings depicting sidewalk renovations. The sidewalks are planned to be a blend of cement and bluestone which will enhance the downtown area. Period street lamps will also be installed. The power lines would ideally be underground but due to cost will likely just be moved. Boro was asked to release the funds allocated for this project. Grants were applied for to defray the cost.
One person will attend the October 25 Volunteer Fire Company conference.
Street addressing was discussed. Adopting the ordinance suggested by County 911 and Commissioners will bind the Boro to that. If differences arose between the Boro and County, the Boro would be placed in the position of only deferring to the County. In doing so the Boro could be sued and fined by the County Solicitor for violations. Borough Solicitor Jason Legg suggested simply send a resolution to co-operate with the mapping and addressing project.
An $800 donation was approved for the library.
Two resignations were accepted with regret. Bruce Korty will resign effective October 1 and Earl Sickler’s resignation is effective September 2.
Following a brief executive session, Scott Singer was approved to a changed employment status. Singer will go from part time to full time and will receive $10.00/hour.
The boro has opted not to join the Northeast Coalition but will continue to work with them.
One employee will attend the “Terrorism Awareness Class” in November.
DEP also approved a Land Application of Sewage Sludge for the Morgan Farm.
The Starrucca Borough Council met on August 1. Andy Bennett, Council President, called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M. Council members present were Brigitte D’Agati, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, Kirk Rhone and Robert Weldy. Mayor Frank Mroczka was also present. The audience included Kuni Holbert (United Country Real Estate), Mary Beth Wood (WEDCO), Mike Pastica (BIU), Al Baker (ABCO Construction), Renee B. Warden, Scott Carmody, Erin Rhone, Jeff Schuler, Paul D’Agati, Ron Brownell, Tony Palonis and Donald Haynes, Jr.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
President Bennett asked for corrections to the Minutes of July 5, 2005. A motion to accept the Minutes as reported passed unanimously.
A motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report passed unanimously.
Correspondence and other communications
- PENNDOT re: Liquid Fuels Audit 2002-2003 discrepancy – Follow-up by Mayor Mroczka.
- Liquid Fuels Audit – 2004 – Approved subject to PENNDOT Audit - Filed
- E-mail from George DeBalko regarding payment to Auditors (payment noted on cyclical calendar in November). President Bennett advised payment will be made in December.
Building Permits – None submitted. Mike Pastica, BIU, addressed Council regarding procedures and requirements for obtaining building permits, explaining certain situations where a building permit is not required. He also answered questions presented by Council and the audience.
Sub-Divisions –A prospective sub-division located on Shadigee Creek Road (at the top of the Dugway) was discussed. The Borough Ordinance states the minimum lot size is 1.50 acres. Plans have not been submitted to Council.
Public Comment – Persons to be heard
Mayor Mroczka addressed Council regarding community projects. The Mayor stated the first meeting held in June was productive and the meeting scheduled for July was cancelled due to lack of attendance. Noting that this is a bad time of the year for meetings due to vacations, etc., the Mayor asked for Council’s support.
Charles Levchak thanked Council for the use of the Community Hall for the Starrucca School Reunion. The reunion was successful and plans are being made for the next reunion in 2007.
Tony Palonis expressed his concern regarding the prospective sub-division on Shadigee Creek Road stating that the Borough Ordinance may need to be refined as far as minimum lot size. Ron Brownell advised (as per a newspaper article) that the state had recently passed a law stating the minimum acreage for a sub-division would be 2 acres. President Bennett remarked a Borough Ordinance can be overturned by the State.
Emergency Operating Plan – Robert Weldy is reviewing the plan before Council votes for acceptance.
Debris removal from the creeks – Mayor Mroczka remarked that he had a discussion with Carl DeLuca (Water Pollution Advisor) and that a permit was not required. The Mayor is discussing this project with a volunteer from the community. The Mayor also commented about the importance of establishing a watershed and will contact Keystone College regarding the possibility of a research project for the borough.
FEMA $$ for creek wall repair and road repairs – Mayor Mroczka commented that the name of an engineering company (for the creek wall repair) was to be sent to Paul Everett by Bob Mueller, stating this particular engineering company also does the actual work. Mayor Mroczka will follow-up. Tony Palonis suggested a set of plans be put out for bid. Kuni Holbert recommended talking to a Township Engineer (Probst or Knash). Robert Weldy stated the FEMA road work repairs should be put out for bid, but Council reminded Mr. Weldy that Jack Downton had already been hired for summer road maintenance, which also included the FEMA work. Mr. Downton has agreed to complete the FEMA scope of work on the Borough roads.
COG, Council of Governments
Northern Wayne COG – the Minutes of June 15 were read. To save time at future meetings, President Bennett asked that the secretary scan the document when received and then send to Council members.
Storage Room (Office) – under construction.
Smoke alarms – to be installed.
Revised rental agreement – to be addressed.
Status of kitchen repairs – insurance company wants to pay less than actual bid and suggests obtaining another estimate. Al Baker (ABCO Construction) addressed Council regarding his conversations with the insurance adjuster. Another estimate was submitted to Council by Jim Slocum ($10,200.00). President Bennett suggested he would call the insurance adjuster and advised the secretary not to submit the estimate from Jim Slocum (which was higher than Al Baker’s estimate).
Town Hall - President Bennett reported the new locks for the Town Hall have not been installed yet.
Due to other commitments, Andy Bennett and Paul Everett have not attached the billboard for Porosky Lumber to the ball field fence or filled a hole in center field.
Mayor Mroczka commented on the fine volunteer work being done on the Coxton Lake Road in preparation for road repairs. He presented a list of machine hours/ man hours to be filed with the secretary for future reference.
Council requested that the secretary contact Preston Township for the winter maintenance of Stephano Road (same as last year) and Scott Township for the winter maintenance of Fairmount and Kellogg Roads (same as last year).
Paul Everett suggested adding the appointment of a Starrucca Borough Roadmaster to the Agenda for the next meeting in September.
Adjournment – There being no further business to conduct, meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Following is the Susquehanna Police Department Report for August, 2005 as submitted.
Scott Nier of Susquehanna was charged and since convicted of Harassment for pushing Andrew Scro, Sr. of Susquehanna during the day of August 1.
Jason Penny of Susquehanna was charged on August 2 after he allegedly broke a mirror from a vehicle parked at Benson Brothers.
On August 6, at 11:50 p.m., Police identified an 18 year old male as “Thomas Ramseur” on Washington St. from Binghamton, NY after he’d attempted to hide a beer can. He was charged with Underage Possession and taken to parent via taxi.
Daniel Washburn was charged with theft after he’d taken a refrigerator from Willow Ave. on August 7. Restitution arrangements have since been made for charge to be withdrawn.
RESISTING ARREST/LOITERING & PROWLING AT NIGHTTIME
On August 9 at 9:40 p.m., Joel Thompson of New Milford attempted to gain entry to an occupied house on East Church St. Police arrived and found Thompson intoxicated with his vehicle parked in yard. Upon arrest, Thompson resisted.
THEFT FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE**
Sometime during the day on August 10, someone took a PA Turnpike EZ pass card out of a blue Subaru in Schneider’s parking lot while the driver was shopping.
Also on August 10 at 11:30 p.m., Andrew Kark of Binghamton was charged with disorderly conduct for causing a disturbance with his vehicle on East Main St.
On August 13 at 9:20 p.m. Police responded to the 900 block of Prospect St. where Roger Benson, Jr. of Susquehanna and Melinda Holbrook of Susquehanna were fighting with a motor vehicle involved. An investigation revealed that Benson and Holbrook were both involved in assault and harassment. They've withdrawn charges against one another.
On August 18, at 3:30 p.m., Phillip Foote of Susquehanna allegedly was riding an ATV on Prospect St. He’s since been charged after a witness filed complaint.
Darren Hall (20) from Bronx, NY was found transporting a case of beer and a bottle of liquor at Benson Brothers parking area with several juvenile residents on August 20. He’s been charged for same.
On August 20 at 9:00 p.m., John Blackington, Jr. of Susquehanna was charged with disorderly conduct for causing a disturbance at 317 Grand St.
FLEEING AND ELUDING (ATV)**
On the evening of August 23, Police attempted to stop a younger male operating a yellow Yamaha Blaster with no tail lights at Willow and Main St. Police stopped pursuit for safety reasons. Rider fled to Westfall Ave. in Oakland.
On August 24 at 11 p.m., a traffic stop was initiated after Justin Hopkins of New York was following another vehicle too closely. Hopkins was found intoxicated and arrested for DUI in which he refused test. His passenger, Daniel Ervin of Susquehanna was released. Around 1 a.m. on August 25, Ervin had taken the same vehicle before it was impounded to which it was stopped again. Ervin was arrested for DUI and underage drinking.
In the afternoon of August 25, a juvenile from Oakland stole a Mongoose bicycle from the Prospect Park Apartments. Juvenile is charged for theft in juvenile court.
On August 27, at 10:12 p.m., Police found Jeffrey Drumm of Hancock, NY unconscious in the roadway at 400 block of Grand St. Susquehanna EMS responded and took Drumm to BK Hospital where he was treated for head injury from several people assaulting him. Witnesses reported suspects ran into residence at 410 Grand St. Drumm has since withdrawn charges.
REPORTED UNDERAGE DRINKING**
Also on August 27, Susquehanna and State Police went to 410 Grand St. around 11:00 p.m. for reports of Underage Drinking. Several juveniles ran from residence. Investigation is still open due to Police being called to a domestic.
On August 31, at 3:30 a.m., Police found Jeff Hilkert (18) of Susquehanna in a wooded area at Reddon Park intoxicated. He was arrested for DUI after Police found the vehicle they’d seen him driving minutes earlier on Prospect St.
** Any information/tips please call Police at 853-3147 or E-Mail: SusqPol@Epix.net.
Under Age Drinking: 1-888-UNDER-21 (Anonymous); Drug Tips: 1-877-PA NO-DRUGS; Terrorism Tips: 1-888-292-1919 (Homeland Security).
The First United Methodist Church of New Milford will be collecting Health Kits for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which will be distributed by UMCOR. The following articles will be needed in the kit: one hand towel; one washcloth; one comb; one nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers); one bath-size bar of soap; one toothbrush (adult size, individually wrapped); one large tube of toothpaste; six band aids.
All items should be placed inside a sealed, one-gallon plastic bag. No money, notes, religious or political items should be placed in the kits. Health kits may be placed in the Narthex of the church any day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Pratt St., New Milford.
Further information may be obtained by calling the church on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or call Rae Fiske at 465–3760.
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