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There were enough members of the public at the October 3 meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors meeting to field a baseball team. But they didn’t have to sit in the township garage – where recent meetings have been held while the new building goes up – for very long. The three supervisors went through an already short agenda with speed and efficiency.
Chair Bob Squier gave the roadmaster’s report, even though the township is still without a road crew (although the board would go into an executive session after the meeting to review six applications the township received in response to recent advertisements for a road worker).
Squier reported that the Old Route 11 work is complete, except for sweeping the road, which was expected to be done within a week, following a second coat of tar and chips. The north end of Old Route 11, Orchard Road, was also completed but for the sweeping.
Supervisor George Haskins relayed his opinion of a truck he looked at recently up near Syracuse. He thinks the 1997 GMC truck with a four-season dump box that works as a cinder spreader is in pretty good shape, and that it would get the township through a few years of good work. He thought the price the seller was looking for was a good buy, and that the township should bid on the truck. It will, with the caveat that the truck is in good operating condition. Should it not come equipped with a wing plow, it will bid separately on the installation of a new one.
Squier also reported that the township is still waiting for a bond or a line of credit information from a quarry operator on Graham Hollow Road. Secretary Sheila Guinan will send another letter to the operator, once again requesting the letter of credit, which the township could access should any damage to the newly rehabbed road be caused by trucks transporting stone. The quarry has been operating for about a month without the line of credit.
In permit activities, a UCC permit was issued to George Stover III, and an assessment permit to Donald Bliss. The township is waiting on a surety bond from Patrick MacConnell for sewage work on McHugh Hill Road. The board approved changes to a driveway relocation (because of a culvert) and to a lot line (to accommodate a Water Authority pump station and land surrounding it) for Sommersville Land Development Inc.
Guinan also reported some good news. The township received an estimated tax base summary that took into account the 2004 changes to Clean and Green, which basically gave a base acre to everyone (although the law allows for appeals). While it’s only an estimate, the increase to the township in taxes on all those base acres would be $32,600 (times the millage, it was thought).
Township emergency management coordinator Dixie Russell attended the meeting and she informed the board that she will be attending NIMS training in Montrose. The township voted to reimburse Russell for mileage for this and for other required training.
In properties strewn with junk, supervisor Walt Galloway reported that he looked over one source of complaints and saw no reason to cite the property owner. Another property owner who was asked to clean up has done so, and Galloway reported big improvements on the lot. The board will send a letter to the owner of a trailer park on New York Avenue that was unanimously said to be a real mess.
In community news, Sandra Kazinetz reported that a meeting of the Watershed Association is scheduled for October 19 at 7:30 in the Hallstead Borough Building, and that members of the public are welcome to attend.
Other community news has been long awaited: Haskins reported that he went into the Welcome Center recently and the building is “absolutely beautiful,” with a gorgeous bluestone floor. He thought the ribbon cutting would be held towards the end of the month. Area residents have long been waiting to visit the Center, and it seems they’ll have a chance to do so pretty soon.
The meeting was adjourned, but before the board headed into its executive session, it took the audience on a walk-through of the new township building, where Galloway thought the next township meeting might be held. It looks simply grand. Galloway reported that a few small things need to be finished up, and a final inspection was scheduled for this week. Galloway also thought it appropriate to send a letter of thanks to Bobbie Joe Turner of county housing redevelopment, for her tremendous help in getting grants and bids on the handicap-accessible bathroom for the new digs.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for October 17 at 7 p.m. – hopefully, in the new township building. If not, see you in the garage.
"Bridging Communities" is a local initiative among businesses and municipalities in the Hallstead-Great Bend area whose goal is to spruce up the appearance of the U.S. 11 corridor between Hallstead Borough, Great Bend Township and Great Bend Borough. The hope was that grant money would become available through inter-municipal cooperation and as a follow-on to the opening of the new state welcome center on the Interstate.
The response to the Bridging Communities work has been lukewarm at best. To begin with, each community was expected to put up some money for studies and planning. Great Bend Borough never saw much clear benefit from what the group was proposing and did not choose to part with the $5,000 that was requested from its already meager budget. However, an anonymous donor provided the money as the Borough's share to get the program started.
Since the initiative was begun a couple of years ago, its goals have been scaled back considerably in view of the scope of the work involved compared with the amount of money that might be available to do it. The Bridging Communities committee recently redrew its plans for Great Bend Borough to fit within a budget covered by what money might be found.
The latest drawing was presented to the Great Bend Borough Council at its meeting on October 6 by Secretary Sheila Guinan. What the Borough would get from the project is a new sidewalk one block long along the east side of Main Street. Council was underwhelmed by the proposal, surprised that such a small amount of work would cost nearly $80,000, and chagrined that the section of sidewalk to be replaced already has some of the best sidewalks in town.
Some council members expressed frustration that the Bridging Communities group didn't communicate its work clearly and frequently to the Borough. Ms. Guinan reminded Council that none of its members attended any of the Bridging Communities meetings (which were rarely scheduled in the evening). She said the latest drawings were based on decisions the group had to make in the absence of any input from the Borough. Councilman Rick Franks said, "The Borough never approved this, period."
Council wants to go ahead with its own beautification campaign however. They are trying to find the resources to purchase flags, poles and mounting equipment for as many as 25 American flags to be installed on Main Street. They will ask local veterans groups for contributions. Some estimate the cost of the installation might total $2,000. One suggested that some of the money in the Fun Day account, designated for use in the parks, be allocated for this project. Council member and President Bea Alesky, who chaired the Fun Day event for several years, hoped that some of the Fun Day money could be used for new equipment in the parks, "for the kids."
Resources of any kind are hard to come by in the little town squeezed between the Interstate, the river and the railroad. Council would like to offer better police protection, and has been talking with Susquehanna Borough about leasing some time from its police force. The Susquehanna Borough Council has waffled several times on the issue; another vote is expected soon on whether or not to continue talks. The Great Bend Council decided to await that vote before looking seriously at whether or not they can afford it. Ms. Guinan has reminded Council that "there is no money in the budget" for police support.
When the chief of the Susquehanna force attended a Great Bend Council meeting some time ago he said that one could expect that about half of an officer's time would be spent on paperwork and court appearances. Some on the Great Bend Council are concerned that, considering the amount of time they might afford to purchase, very little of it would be spent actually on the street.
At least one of those streets isn't getting much traffic at the moment, as the water company is replacing a pipe on Franklin Street. Some residents in the area have complained about lack of notice. A notice about the forthcoming work was posted at every residence along the street, but some complained that the notice did not specify dates and times clearly enough.
Once it's done, Franklin Street might be easier to see. The Borough has asked the electric company to replace the mercury vapor street lights with brighter sodium vapor lamps. That project is under way. Each of the new lights will cost the Borough about $5 more per month; once all of the lights have been replaced, the Borough can expect to be paying between $200 and $400 more per month on its electric bill.
A typical bill of fare for the Great Bend Borough Council, Patricia Thatcher, took the seat of Ray Holtzman, who resigned two months ago. At the suggestion of Councilman Mike Wasko, the Borough will design a certificate of appreciation for Mr. Holtzman, for the "tremendous amount of work" he did for the Borough during his brief tenure as Council President.
The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets.
HARRISBURG – Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that an 18-mile stretch of Route 92 in Susquehanna County has been named as a Viaduct Valley Way Scenic Byway.
“The vistas and history along this road beg for the Scenic Byway designation. Granting that title will help attract tourists and enrich the local economy,” Governor Rendell said. “Tourism is one of the state’s biggest industries and this highway contributes to local and regional efforts.”
“Pennsylvania now has 12 Scenic Byways highlighting the natural beauty and richness of our communities,” Governor Rendell said.
Route 92 carries motorists past a number of attractions, including the Starrucca Viaduct (an historic railroad landmark), the Susquehanna Depot Area Museum, the Florence Shelly Preserve, the Elk Mountain ski area, Rails-to-Trails on the west branch of the Lackawanna River, the Fish Hatchery near Pleasant Mount, as well as state game lands and boating on the Susquehanna River.
Transportation Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E., said, “This designation will help draw attention to the natural beauty of the Endless Mountain region.”
The new Viaduct Valley Way Scenic Byway also winds through parts of five municipalities that took formal action to endorse the program: Lenox Township, Gibson Township, Jackson Township, Susquehanna Borough and Oakland Borough.
The Pennsylvania Byways Program, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), allows designated routes to qualify for federal funds to pay for such improvements as paved shoulders, interpretative signs and scenic overlooks. The designation also limits the type of outdoor advertising that may be placed along the roads.
The Forest City Borough Council tabled a request to accept the only road in the borough’s recently ordained industrial park pending additional review of the road by Dennis Kutch, borough engineer.
In a lengthy letter to the governing body, Mr. Kutch said a number of technical and legal issues need to be straightened out before he would recommend that the borough accept the road. Among them, Mr. Kutch said the manholes create a noticeable lip on the downslope side of the roadway; catch basins appear to be remotely located from the roadway and any drainage swales; and there is no inter-municipal agreement between Forest City and neighboring Clinton Township regarding a portion of the road that is in Clinton Township.
Mr. Kutch said there is also some indication of roadway subsurface failure in an area opposite the cul-de-sac at the end of the dead-end street. He further noted that there appears to be some slope failure and could continued to fail without some corrective measures.
Officials of the borough will meet with Greater Forest City Industries in an effort to reach an amicable agreement on issues brought up by Mr. Kutch.
In another matter, Councilwoman Mary Twilley said there is considerable partying going on at the Babe Ruth Park off Higgins Street. Mrs. Twilley said she has heard of beer parties and sex parties taking place at the park and asked for additional police patrols in the area.
Council President Jim Lowry advised Police Chief Paul Lukus to have more frequent patrols in the park. Chief Lukus concurred and pointed out that when the weather gets cold, the activities at the park will disappear.
Mr. Lowry advised council that he is opposed to the purchase of an additional truck for the Department of Public works. His remark came on the heels of a comment by Councilman Nick Cost, chairman of the Public Works Committee, recommending that the borough purchase a used truck to help with winter snowplowing.
“What are we going to do in the winter?” Mr. Cost asked.
Mr. Lowry said he would prefer to hire someone to assist with the plowing than purchase another truck.
Councilman Paul J. Amadio said he received a complaint from a handicapped motorist who said a borough police car was parked in one of the two-handicapped parking spots at the Dollar General Store on South Main Street.
Chief Lukus said he parked there because he was summoned to the store on an emergency call. He said he was advised by the store manager that someone scattered trash behind the store.
Mr. Amadio also said he had complaints about the condition of a vacant house on Lackawanna Street. He asked the township secretary to look at borough ordinances regarding the number of days a building permit is valid and the number of renewals allowed per permit.
Council agreed to appropriate a maximum of $500 for repairs to the Coal Miners Memorial on South Main Street. The motion came after the Rotary Club of Forest City Area called attention to some needed repairs. It was the Rotary Club that raised the funds for the monument.
Albert H. Stickney, Doris Stickney, Madalyn L. Panarello, Paul J. Panarello to Barney and Dickenson Inc., Vestal, NY, in Choconut Township for $30,000.
Larry Proof (by sheriff) to Wells Bargo Bank, Irvine, CA, in Bridgewater Township for $2,103.
James N. Slocun, Joan L. Slocun to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Dunmore, PA, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Larry A. Williams (by marshal), Stephanie S. Williams (by marshal) to Donna Fekette, New Milford, and Thomas Lopatofsky, in Montrose for $47,000.
Robert B. Lott (estate), Charles R. Lott, Celine F. Lott to Eileen Lott, RR2, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Barbara A. Loughery to David H. Loughery, Columbia, PA, in Harford Township for one dollar.
H. David Loughery, Valerie A. Loughery to Andrea Marie Laske, RR1, New Milford, in Harford Township for $10,000.
Peter Marcho, Ina Marcho to Chris Marcho, Jane Ellen Marcho, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
John J. Evola, Kathleen M. Evola to John Thomas Evola, 766 Hudson Street, Forest City, in Forest City for $125,000.
Anthony L. Gargiulo to Michael and Marianne Norwood, Rockville Centre, NY, in Silver Lake Township for $175,000.
Laura A. Ellis, Shannon A. Conklin to Lawrence M. Grasso (rev living trust), Vero Beach, FL, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Bruce W. Bondurant (estate) to Kenneth L. Bondurant, RR2, New Milford, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Davis Stoll (by sheriff), Carol Stoll (by sheriff) to Community Bank and Trust, Clarks Summit, in Forest City for $4,923.
Charles J. Morgese Sr. (by sheriff), Wilma Collins (by sheriff) to Bank of America, NNNN, PA, in Harford Township for $2,983.
Felix P. Delsordo, Joanne Delsordo, to Felix P. Delsordo (revocable trust) and Joanne Delsordo, RR3, Montrose, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Felix P. Delsordo, Joanne Delsordo, to Felix P. Delsordo (revocable trust) and Joanne Delsordo, (revocable trust), RR3, Montrose, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Michael Downend, Karen Blomain to E T Associates, Waverly, PA, in Herrick Township for $237,000.
Daniel John Vieira, Sheila Vieira to Daniel John Vieira, RR1, Nicholson, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. Pension Plan (by trustee) to Mark S. Klatchak and Joanne D. Klatchak, Alburtis, PA, in Auburn Township for $39,000.
Marty W. Arneson, Steven A. Marshall, to Annette L. Varcoe, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for $130,000.
Joan Walworth to Rag Apple, Brackney, in New Milford Township for $570,000.
Stanley Griffis, Linda Griffis to James F. Small and Kenneth C. Small, RR2, Montrose, in Forest Lake Township for $55,000.
Searle D. Noble, Jean Noble to James Miller, Glen Garden, NJ, in Brooklyn Township for $160,000.
Donald L. Purtell (aka) Donald Purtell, Norene Purtell to Leo and Sandra Purtell, in Apolacon Township and Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Susan Paul Nurney to Susan Paul Nurney, Hatboro, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Madeline Martin to Janet Austin, Windsor, NY, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Violet Yarns Benjamin (nka) Violet Yarns Benjamin Schnader to Jeanette Chamberlin and Violet Smith, Great Bend, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Jo Ann Floridia, Diane Langschultz to Edward J. Dietzel, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $65,000.
Harry G. Vanartsdalen, Betty Vanartsdalen to David G. Talabiska and Lesha L. Talabiska, Lewisburg, in Lenox Township for $25,000.
Charles P. Romano, Lisa M. Romano to David G. Talabiska and Lesha L. Talabiska, Lewisburg, in Lenox Township for $79,000.
Pearl C. Gottschall to Mark A. Davella and Mary C. Davella, Glen Gardiner, NJ, in Choconut Township for $52,640.
Glenn Mattos (by sheriff), Lori Mattos (by sheriff) to Fannie Mae, Philadelphia, in Lanesboro Borough for $3,879.
George Dossena, Kathryn Dossena to Ryan J. Cosklo, RR1, Carbondale, in Clifford Township for $12,000.
Peter Hruby Jr., Ruth A. Hruby (aka) Ruth Hruby to Frank Faber, RR1, Forest City, Erika Faber, Peter Osborn, Elizabeth Osborn, in Clifford Township for $196,000.
Douglas Alan Clark, Janet Bryant Clark to Paul G. Slocum, Mildred S. Slocum, Mountain Top, in Auburn Township for $99,900.
William A. Llewellyn (aka) William Llewellyn, Sandra K. Llewellyn (aka) Sandra Llewellyn to Hans C. and Victoria K. Moelder, Hallstead, in Great Bend Township for $194,000.
Elsie Joan Fetkowitz (estate, aka) Elsie Fetkowitz (estate), Karen Revello, John Fetkowitz, Nancy Fetkowitz, Michele Morgan Ramos to Karen Revello, Washington, NJ, Nancy Fetkowitz and Michele Morgan Ramos, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Scott MacKenzie McDonald, New Milford and Diane Elizabeth Colwell, Hallstead.
Daniel Castiglione, RR 3, Montrose and Heather Joy Hallam, RR 2, Montrose.
Jay Alan Brown and Rae Ann Benham, both of Feltone, DE.
Michelle L. Austin, Susquehanna vs. Randall Austin, Hallstead.
Kevin L. Rought, RR1, Montrose vs. Tanya S. Rought, Kingsley.
Daniele J. Vieira, Nicholson vs. Sheila G. Vieira, Hop Bottom.
Marguerite Maxey, Hallstead vs. Gregory Maxey, Friendsville.
Elizabeth Kelly Mead, Hallstead vs. Duane Edward Mead, Montrose.
Harford Township Supervisors disposed of a typically sparse agenda on Saturday morning, October 1 in good order.
The Odd Fellows Hall, always at the top of the agenda, is said to be waiting for a court date. The Fire Company's attorney still seems to be waiting for a copy of the firemen's bylaws.
On election day last year, residents were given an opportunity to demonstrate their support of a proposal to remove restrictions from the deed on the property in the center of Harford village. With the restrictions removed, the Supervisors would be free to demolish, sell, or otherwise "dispose of" the building and the central lot on which it stands.
Since then, the township has spent more than $10,000 in fees to collect the paperwork necessary to present to the court in a petition to remove the restrictions. The township also spends $2,000-$3,000 per year to maintain the structure, which has been closed to the public for 2-3 years for lack of insurance coverage.
The Supervisors are also mulling over road names. Residents have been asked for suggestions as the process of regularizing the names goes forward. The county emergency management staff are assisting municipalities to bring more consistency to road names, and to assign new street addresses to each property. The idea is to make emergency response more efficient and reliable.
Harford Supervisors have received only two requests so far. Residents along what is now called North Appleman Ridge Road have agreed to rename their thoroughfare of some 8/10ths of a mile to Forester Road. And a request from residents along Foltz Road may result in a change there to Marten Road.
The Supervisors decided to send a letter to each residence on any road for which a name change is contemplated to elicit comments and objections.
The Supervisors agreed to boost mileage reimbursement for themselves and their employees to 48.5 cents per mile, in line with a recent adjustment by the Internal Revenue Service.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will be on Tuesday, October 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are held in the township building on Route 547, southwest of Interstate 81 exit 217.
Five residents of the borough arrived at the Montrose Borough Council meeting on Monday, October 3 to inform them of the incessant barking of dogs—specifically on the “Bollinger property.” Police have been repeatedly summoned in an attempt to encourage the owners to deal with the public nuisance created by their dogs. Pleas were made by the upset neighbors to post the dog ordinance and have it enforced. According to the Ordinance number 1996-01 (amending #76-2-01) regarding dog barking “it is unlawful…to keep or harbor any dog which habitually barks, howls, yelps to the great discomfort of the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, or in such manner as to materially disturb or annoy persons in the neighborhood who are of ordinary sensibilities. Such dogs ARE hereby declared to be a public nuisance.” Further police will notify the offending party and they should alleviate the problem behavior. If the warning is ineffective then two separate citizen’s households must file a complaint. After that a citation should be issued with a fine that can be up to $300 plus costs. The Council has agreed to evaluate the effectiveness of the current ordinance and the other possible remedies for barking dogs.
Fuel bids were awarded to Pump & Pantry. Next summer a pre-play plan will be looked into. It was noted that the furnace is currently being repaired and is hoped to be done before the weather gets chilly.
The Halloween Parade will be held on October 27th with a curfew to be instituted on the 31st to reduce nuisance or criminal behavior.
The County 911 Re-Addressing as suggested by the Commissioners was discussed again. Boro Solicitor Legg claimed he asked the County Solicitor Giangreco why the resolution suggested was not sufficient. Legg said the county solicitor’s response was ”Because…” Then Giangreco added there was a statute but he has been unable to produce such according to Legg. Legg stated he questioned why the county needed an ordinance as opposed to just a resolution. The reason later given by the county solicitor for needing an ordinance is that the Post Office will not deliver mail. Legg admits he finds that hard to believe. Legg stated he reminded the county that the Boro Council is willing to participate in re-addressing and will verify this with the Post Office if needed. An ordinance may be adopted once and if any changes are made in addressing. It makes one wonder if purchasing a stamp is an agreement that the post office will deliver that mail – wind, rain, sleet, hail or new address.
Mary Hart of Holy Name of Mary Parish inquired as to the enforcement of crosswalks for the safety of the parishioners and the children at the day care. Hart noted one crosswalk sign is not fully visible and the surrounding trees should be trimmed. Council discussed who is responsible and what can be done to protect the people as they cross the streets at the church. It was noted that the law requires traffic to stop or yield to pedestrians.
Officer Michelle Summers will attend VASCAR training. Officers will also attend National Incident Management System Compliance.
Council would now like to join the North East Coalition if they will agree.
A vote was unanimous to join and assist that organization as needed.
Annette reported that efforts are being made to convert one acre of the closed landfill to be utilized for recycling organic vegetation.
Jack Yeager noted that the engineering firm hired to create sidewalks downtown pointed out that the light in Montrose is not up to state code. Yeager noted that is the way it was installed by the state. It appears the sidewalk renovations will not be done until well after 2006. To get a full lighted four way cross walk with markings will cost approximately $100,000.
A Budget meeting will be held Tuesday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.
An executive session was held to discuss personnel issues.
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