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The Harford Township Supervisors braved the first snowfall of the season to meet as scheduled on October 25. Working steadily through a typically varied agenda, the Supervisors naturally started off with a report on the Odd Fellows Hall.
Terry VanGorden said that he tried to pin down the township's lawyers on a time-frame. The best estimate he could come up with was that the process of clearing the deed of restrictive covenants would be complete "maybe by mid- December." There was yet more paperwork to be signed. The proposed action then has to be advertised for 30 days. Already the process has taken nearly a year since voters were asked in a special survey to let the Supervisors take complete control of the property in the center of Harford village. Legal fees for the project so far total over $10,000 and it has become a "political football," according to Mr. VanGorden, who is in a tight race to retain his chair at the table at November's election.
For his part, of the lengthy, expensive process Supervisor Rick Pisasik said, "above all, the township needs to be protected. We need to do it right," he said. "There's no easy solution."
So far it's not looking quite as expensive, but the process to rename some township roads in advance of the county's readdressing scheme is moving along at a deliberate pace. There seems to be general agreement to rename North Appleman Ridge Road to Forester Road. However, a suggestion to rename South Harmony Road to Dibble Road has met some opposition from residents in the area. One submitted a list of possible alternatives. Dibble was chosen initially because, "that's what people called it," according to Mr. Pisasik. Since there seems to be some disagreement, the Supervisors say they will give the neighbors time to work it out on their own.
The Supervisors approved an estimate by Home Services (Garry Foltz) to complete what is expected to be the last phase of renovations on the township buildings. For $3,400 Mr. Foltz will finish winterizing the garage by installing new man doors, changing some window configurations, and generally tightening up the space.
Considering permits, one application for a garage was questioned when Mr. Pisasik expressed uncertainty about inspection requirements. The application did not say whether the garage would have a poured concrete floor, and Mr. Pisasik asked Secretary and fellow Supervisor Sue Furney to check with the Council of Governments (COG) about that. The applications under consideration were for so-called "assessment permits," which are usually granted for structures that do not have to meet the more stringent codes required for occupied buildings.
In his report on the roads, Roadmaster George Sansky asked the Supervisors to begin considering what to do with three old trucks. One, an old FWD with a good engine, can no longer be maintained for lack of parts (the FWD company has long been out of business). Another has a blown engine, and the big L8000 was written off after it was rolled. Can they be sold for anything? Do they have salvage value? How can they be removed, and at what cost?
Mr. Sansky also reported that the township now knows how to conduct its own traffic studies. A month or so ago a resident along Blanding Lake Road appealed to the Supervisors to cut the speed limit in her neighborhood, currently posted at 35 miles per hour. Mr. Sansky said that the road study he performed according to state guidelines indicated that an appropriate speed limit along that stretch should be 25 mph. The Supervisors are now anxious to conduct such studies along all township roads, and Mr. Sansky said that he would fit them in when time allowed; he estimated that it might take about a year to complete studies on all major roads in Harford Township.
Mr. Sansky reported that the most significant problem with the roads is now the all-terrain vehicle. "We're having a lot of trouble with four-wheelers," he said. The small machines create ruts in the roads and tear up the surface when riders do "donuts" and "wheelies". He said the problem is evident "all over" the township. Many of the perpetrators are known, but, said Rick Pisasik, there's "nothing we can do until the State Police can catch them red- handed." It is illegal to ride such vehicles on public roads in Pennsylvania.
The next public meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors is expected to be on Saturday, November 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m., at the township building office.
The parents of a Forest City Regional High School student who was hit by a block of wood thrown at him by a teacher are livid over a plea bargaining arrangement that allowed the teacher to get off with a $300 fine.
Michael and Sharon Novak of Forest City said they will attend the next Board of Education meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the treatment accorded David S. Costanzo, 50, a shop teacher at Forest City Regional. Moreover, sources say other parents are rallying around the Novaks and will accompany them to the board meeting.
“He got off with a slap on the wrist and returned to teaching,” Mr. Novak said. “If my kid threw something at somebody, he would be suspended. We are very disappointed with the outcome and we are going to the next school board meeting to complain about it.”
According to an affidavit of probable cause, on September 28, Mr. Costanzo threw a block of wood at 15-year-old Michael Novak, a sophomore at Forest City Regional. Mr. Costanzo and the student were at opposite ends of the workshop when the object was thrown. The block of wood hit the boy in the left hand causing a blood blister on his thumb.
“It could have hit him in the eye and knocked his eye out,” Mr. Novak said. He said this is not the first incident involving Mr. Costanzo but other parents said nothing because they were afraid of repercussions against their children.
“Nobody ever had enough guts to report it.” Mr. Novak said. “But I am not paying my school taxes for a teacher to abuse my kids.”
As a result of the incident, Police Chief Paul Lukus filed a police criminal complaint against Mr. Costanzo charging him with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and disorderly conduct. The case was to be heard October 27 before District Magistrate Gene Franklin in Harford.
Minutes before the court was scheduled to convene, Chief Lukus and Mr. Costanzo apparently began plea bargain talks that ended with the dismissal of the simple assault and reckless endangering counts and Mr. Costanzo agreeing to plead guilty to disorderly conduct.
Besides paying the $300 fine, Mr. Costanzo paid $118 in court-related costs.
Efforts to obtain a comment about the incident from school Superintendent Robert Vadella failed when he did not return calls to his office.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners last week released the settlement agreement reached between the county, the Teamsters Union Local 229, and Erik Knifer, a former county employee.
In what is believed to be a landmark decision, the commissioners agreed to pay Mr. Knifer severance pay in the amount of $110,000 minus $875 that Mr. Knifer owed to the Teamsters Union in delinquent dues. The agreement also stipulates that Mr. Knifer will not pursue any further legal action against the county and that he will never again be a county employee.
Mr. Knifer was discharged on July 23, 2003 following an employment investigation. Prior to his dismissal, State Police confiscated the computer assigned to him when he worked for the county. Subsequently authorities alleged that the computer contained questionable material and photographs.
Through the entire scenario, Mr. Knifer maintained his innocence and advised the county that he was not the only person who had access to the computer in question. The Teamsters Union filed a grievance challenging the termination and on November 25, 2004, a labor arbitrator ordered the county to reinstate Mr. Knifer with full back pay and benefits. The county appealed the decision and lost.
In another matter, the commissioners appropriated $950 for the design and placement of a tourism advertisement in the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau 2006 Visitors Guide. The action complied with a recommendation from the Susquehanna County Tourism Committee.
Meeting as the Salary Board, the commissioners agreed to increase the per diem pay for court tipstaffs from $50 to $60 effective January 1, 2006.
The commissioners again presented an extremely short meeting agenda and finished their regular meeting and the Salary Board meeting in 21 minutes including public comment.
FATAL TRAFFIC COLLISION
Shortly before 11 on the night of October 27, Brian Thomas, 46, Lawton, was driving east on State Route 706 in a 1994 Chevrolet K-1500 truck when, going too fast, he failed to make a left curve and traveled off the road and hit a guide rail and then a tree. Thomas and passenger Michael Hibbard, 21, Springville were pronounced dead at the scene. They were not wearing seatbelts and neither was another passenger, Jeremy Kaufman, 22, Meshoppen, who received moderate injuries.
On the afternoon of October 26, Eugene Shortt, Montrose, was stopped in a 2001 Chevrolet at the intersection of State Route 29 and Montrose Terrace in Bridgewater Township, waiting for a car ahead to turn left when a 1989 Honda driven by Douglas Ely, South Montrose, rear-ended his Chevy. Neither Shortt nor Ely were injured and both were wearing seatbelts.
This crash happened shortly after midnight on October 26 when Kurt Brunges, 35, Montrose, took his attention away from State Route 706 to light a cigarette that resulted in his 2005 Chevy 2500HD leaving the road and striking a culvert. He was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured, but the Chevy was severely damaged. Brunges will be charged with careless driving at district court.
Shortly before 8:30 on the morning of October 10, Ann Marie Lay, Montrose, was seat belted in and driving a 1997 Buick Skylark on State Route 267 when a deer ran out in from of the car, disabling it, although Lay was not hurt.
An unknown person(s), using a sharp object, punctured a tire on a vehicle belonging to Jason Lynn Welch, Susquehanna, while it was parked at Bi-Lo Market in Great Bend Township between 3-5 p.m. on the afternoon of October 24.
An unknown person(s) entered an unsecured barn owned by the Scroggins’ on State Road 2030 about half a mile from State Road 2014, climbed a ladder to the upper level and took a .22-caliber rifle that was lying on the floor in a soft case before fleeing the scene undetected.
This accident happened as a 1985 Honda 250 ATV operated by Keith Meyer, 34, Thompson, was traveling north on Barton Road in Thompson Township and Meyer lost control of it for unknown reasons. He and the ATV came to rest on the west berm of the road. Meyer was transported to Barnes Kasson Hospital by Thompson Ambulance after this crash that occurred at noon on October 1.
A 2002 Dodge pick up driven by Ken Gumber, 44, New Milford, was going east on State Route 492 in New Milford while a 2000 van driven by Lawrence Hardy, 47, Binghamton, was going west. Gumber crossed over into the opposite lane and hit Hardy head on. Both vehicles sustained major damage, both drivers were wearing seatbelts and neither was injured. New Milford Fire & Rescue assisted at the scene of this accident that happened around 10:30 on the evening of October 23.
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
A juvenile student at Montrose Area High School was found to be in possession of a marijuana pipe at the school shortly after 2 on the afternoon of October 19.
A 1998 Chevy Cavalier driven by Linda MacDonald, 54, Dimock, was going south on State Route 29 at around 2 on the morning of October 22 when MacDonald lost control of it while having a coughing fit. Her car crossed both lanes, left the road and hit a utility pole. MacDonald was wearing a seatbelt and was not hurt. United Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.
A cabin on Crowley Road, Forest Lake Township owned by Paul Orobello, Islip Terrace, NY, was broken into sometime between September 5-30. Windows, doors and household goods were damaged, and a Daisy Ryder BB gun was also taken.*
This accident occurred shortly after 8 on the morning of October 21 when Derek Ladden, 17, Kingsley, drove a 1983 Honda Accord into the intersection of Township Road 430 and State Route 106 in Harford Township when he thought the way was clear for him to do so. Unfortunately, he drove the car out onto Route 106 and into the path of a 2004 Dodge Neon heading east and driven by Patricia VanGorder, 49, Kingsley. Ladden, his passenger and VanGorder were wearing seatbelts, and the passenger and VanGorder received minor injuries. Ladden was cited for proceeding into an intersection from a stop sign without yielding to oncoming traffic. The Harford Township Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.
Someone gained entry into the Choconut Inn on State Route 267 sometime between 11 on the evening of October 11 and 10 the following morning. The person(s) removed a set of keys from the counter at the bar, entered the back office and then a metal cabinet, and removed assorted cash kept inside before leaving undetected.
Several guns were stolen from the home of Michael Coleman, 54, Rush Township, sometime between September 25 and 27. Taken were: Remington model 700 .3006-caliber rifle with Leuopold scope, serial number S6278487; a Remington model 1187 12-gauge automatic shotgun with “Wilson F. Moore” engraving; a Remington model 1100 12-gauge automatic shotgun with an extra barrel and missing a front sight; a Mossberg model 9200 12-gauge automatic shotgun; and two boxes of .3006-caliber rounds.*
Between October 17 and 19, someone has stolen gasoline from four vehicles belonging to John Roger Luce, Jr., 57, Great Bend Township, while parked on his property.*
Brian Payne, 25, Susquehanna, was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured when the 2000 Chevy Cavalier he was driving south on State Route 92 in Gibson Township hit a deer in the road shortly before 7 on the morning of October 19.
Sometime between the evening of October 15 and 7 the following morning, someone used an ATV to cut ruts in a putting green at the Montrose Club, Montrose. An investigation is continuing.
Unknown person(s) entered an unlocked barn on a property in Bridgewater Township owned by William Newlin, Devon, PA, and set fire to a Chevy pick up parked there before fleeing the scene undetected. This occurred shortly before nine on the morning of October 16.*
A white mail pumped fuel into a blue Chevy Corsica at the Great Bend Exxon at about 11:20 on the morning of October 23 and fled without paying.*
This happened at about 2:35 on the afternoon when Kim Scott, Montrose, was driving a 2004 Jeep Cherokee on State Road 4008 and swung at a bee inside the Jeep. The vehicle left the road, hit a sign, jumped a creek, struck a stone wall and an apple tree, and came to a stop. Scott was wearing a seat belt and was taken to Wilson Memorial Hospital with undisclosed injuries. Snake Creek Fire and both Snake Creek and Montrose EMS responded, and High Tech towed the Jeep.
An unknown person(s) took a Haro bike from the front yard of Ronda Monks, New Milford, sometime between October 16 and 17. The bike’s serial number is x0p5f0534.*
Someone smashed a mailbox belonging to Jo-Anne Langevin-Tozer, Great Bend, sometime between the evening of October 15 and the middle of the following morning.
An unknown person(s) used a vehicle to damage siding on Mess Fireworks building in Great Bend sometime between 8 on the evening of October 15 and 8:20 the following morning.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Someone damaged a registration plate belonging to Petty Taccman-Petts, Nicholson, by cutting the expiration sticker off the plate and stealing it. This happened between the evening of October 1 and 6 the following evening.
Employees of Stephen Joseph Kaminsky are suspected of stealing flagstone valued at $816 from Kaminsky’s business in Apolacon Township. Charges are pending.
An unknown person telephoned Monica Marta, 34, Dimock, on several occasions and apparently threatened her. The incident was reported on October 3 and an investigation into it continues.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
A 1998 Escort driven by Jack Sterling, 47, Kingsley, was heading west on State Road 2020 in Lenox Township on the night of October 1 at the same time a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder driven by Joshua Derichie, 22, Carbondale, was heading east. Sterling drove into the opposing lane and hit the front of the Pathfinder. Both vehicles had heavy front-end damage. Sterling was wearing a seatbelt and had to be extricated from the Ford by mechanical means by emergency personnel and was flown by helicopter to CMC, where Derichie was sent by ambulance. Harford and Clifford Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. Both vehicles were towed by Kozlowski Towing. The crash is still under investigation.
An unknown person(s) took an unattended purse belonging to Bonnie Freeman, New Milford, from the top of a laundry machine at the Bubble Bank Laundromat in Montrose at about 2 on the afternoon of October 5.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at 570-465-3154
Joseph Svecz and Angeline Svecz to Joseph J. Svecz Jr. and David B. Svecz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Tanya Turpack (nbm) Tanya Grover, Kurt Grover to Tanya Grover and Kurt Grover, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Sue Lutz Warriner to Robert E. Aiken and Patricia O. Aiken, in Montrose for $130,000.
Arthur Douglass, Jeanne Douglass to Joseph V. Tillman Jr. and Marianne C. Tillman, in Clifford Township for $219,000.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Emil Holveck and Angel Holveck, in Great Bend Township for $61,600.
Patrick McDermott to Patrick McDermott and Barbara McDermott, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
George Miguelez and Barbara J. Miguelez to ALM Trust G, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Ruth LaBelle, Alan Barney, Linette Cheetham, Lorrie Mosblack, Robert L. Williams, Margaret Williams, Irwin Moriarity, Barbara Moriarity, Gladys Barney to B. J. Barney Farm, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
EMC Mortgage Corporation to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in Auburn Township for one dollar. (Corrective deed)
Roy E. Cole Jr., Kariann Cole to Roy E. Cole Jr., in Montrose for one dollar.
George H. Stover III to Bradley Alan Hepler, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Alan Bradley Hepler to George H. Stover III, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
John A. Holmes and Edna Holmes (by POA) to John A. Holmes (Lifetime Trust Number One) and Edna Holmes (Lifetime Trust Number One) in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Sommerville Land Development Inc. to Great Bend Limited Partnership, in Great Bend Township for $6,180.
Sommerville Land Development Inc. to Dawn Mervine, in Great Bend Township for $15,300.
William J. Privitar, Gail E. Privitar to Hans R. Kummer and Isle Kummer, in Forest City for $72,000.
Sommerville Land Development Inc. to Robert E. Lee Jr. and Beverly B. Lee, in Great Bend Township for $11,700.
Kathleen T. Lewis (aka) Kathaleen T. Lewis to Kathaleen T. Lewis and Millard H. Stalker, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Sommerville Land Development Inc. to Robert T. Lee Jr. and Beverly B. Lee, in Great Bend Township for $24,200.
Dawn C. Watson (nbm) Dawn C. Zalewski, William Zalewski Sr. to Martin R. Alfred and Sylinda Alfred, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
David P. Compton, Sandra A. Compton to J&J Stone Products Inc., in Lenox Township for $225,000.
Harry J. Stevens to David R. Reid and Laura K. Reid, in Ararat Towship for one dollar.
Frank Yankauskas and Elizabeth K. Yankauskas to Samuel Yankauskas, in Forest City for $30,000.
Thomas F. Walsh to Thomas F. Walsh and Mary A. Dipaolo, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Richard Marcho and Donna Marcho to Michael Barhite and Elki Barhite, in Clifford Township for $155,000.
Ceclia A. Prezlomic (aka) Ceclila Prezlomic (by POA), Ann Suhadolnik to Thomas C. Zigon and Terry J. M. Zigon, in Forest City for $62,000.
James J. Nagle Jr., Tina G. Nagle to James J. Nagle Jr., in Gibson Township for $32,500.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Paul S. Stein and Heather M. Stein, in Silver Lake Township for $142,500.
Lucille M. Collins (nbm) Lucille M. Ims to Christopher A. Snyder, Jill B. Snyder, in Herrick Township for $89,900.
Joseph Calamari, Laurie Scott to Thomas Vahalla, Mary Ann Vahalla, in Harford Township for $63,000.
Richard D. Sopko, Sharon L. Sopko to Clarence B. Carpenter and Martha J. Carpenter, in New Milford Township for $40,500.
Charlene A. Ayres (aka) Charlene A. Ayers (trust by trustee) to Mary Wheaton and Eric Wheaton, in Bridgewater Township for $135,000.
Charlene A. Ayres (aka) Charlene A. Ayers (trust by trustee) to Russell D. Ely and Sharon D. Ely, in Bridgewater Township for $155,000.
Arthur W. Bolles and Marion Bolles to Thomas J. Bolles and Lynn F. Bolles, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Arthur W. Bolles and Marion Bolles to Thomas J. Bolles and Lynn F. Bolles, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Charles E. Bolles to Thomas J. Bolles and Lynn F. Bolles, in Franklin Township for $80,000.
Charles E. Bolles to Thomas J. Bolles and Lynn F. Bolles, in Franklin Township for $62,500.
Linda Jean Vasile to Michael Salansky, Connie Wilson, Rosemary Talley, in Gibson Township for $60,000.
Mary Ellen Snively to Thomas A. Stone and Patricia A. Stone, in Jackson Township for $267,500.
Frank A. Beblo to Dorina Meszler,Theresa Andrews, Patricia Bean and Paula Karwan, in Forest City for one dollar.
Henry A. Torrie to Michael C. Rott, Charles M. Rott, in Ararat Township for $10,000.
Joseph F. Cerra Jr., Debra H. Cerra to Brent M. Mack and Darlene M. Mack, in Harford Township for $60,000.
Kevin H. MacDonald to Stephen Howell and Marybeth Howell, in Dimock Township for $116,495.
Steven R. Stark, Jessica A. Bajkowski to Steven A. Stark, in Lanesboro Borough for $57,000.
Harford Volunteer Fire Company (by trustees) to Harford Township, in Harford Township for one dollar. (Corrective deed)
Sheila A. Plevinsky to Sheila A. Plevinsky, Joseph M. Plevinsky, Martin C. Plevinsky, Katherine A. Wages, Karen M. Shaver, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Charles E. Vanerson, Dorothy L. Vanerson to Guy L. Parrish, David Stone, in Bridgewater Township for $95,000.
Scott Johnsen to Stalker Hill Realty Trust in Ararat and Jackson townships for $40,000.
Christina Lattanzio (aka) Christina A. Lattanzio to Thomas M. Temple and Neva Lattanzio, in Thompson Township for $30,000.
Rebecca D. Randall to Susan Cudo, in New Milford Township for $62,000.
Joseph Michael Dughi and Kaleena Renee Cook, both of Friendsville.
Dale Yoder Jr. and Kelly Ann Donovan, both of Friendsville.
Edison Leland Seymour III and Loann Reba Jacobs, both of Susquehanna.
John J. Mondigo and Terri Lynn Rose, both of Forest City.
Judd M. Hollbrook and Andra J. Kirkpatrick, both of Binghamton, NY.
Amos Howard Dixon and Shirley A. Dixon, both of Kingsley.
A full Board sat for the monthly meeting at Mountain View School District of October 24. The first thing noticed by the public in attendance was the missing Treasurer’s Report. The Board apologized for the oversight and promised to provide them.
Business decisions were made as follows: A contract was approved for the previously debated Apangea Learning Software which is a tutoring program.
Sheridan Bus received the bid for the student trips to Baltimore, MD./Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg, PA. This was the low and only bid received however the price was comparable to past years.
Resignation was accepted for a part time food service worker.
Two EAP Reading tutors and one EAP Math tutor were hired at a rate of $22.00 per hour. One reading and math tutor were hired for 600 hours each and the other reading tutor was hired for 400 hours. The position effective date of hire was stated as October 26.
Supplemental salary positions, one long term substitute and an Instructional Aide were approved, some pending documentation.
A second reading of the LEP (Limited English Proficiency) Policy was completed and is anticipated to be approved at the next meeting.
The Revised Student Dress Code Policy also had a second reading. Again discussion took place on this issue. Parents complained that students are now receiving detention for wearing “hoodies.” Superintendent Chambers said that the students have been warned that “flagrant violations” are considered “insubordination” and will receive detention. According to Administration a few older students engage in this insubordination and most students have accepted the dress code. Further student behavior called “bumping” is not permissible. “Bumping” is behavior in which a student knocks or bumps another in the halls causing the target child to fall or lose balance. This is not only dangerous but highly disruptive to the flow of traffic as students change classes. The Board voted to keep the dress code as is but review it again next year. The issue rests for now.
The Graduation Project Policy had a first reading and was revised from its current state. The changes should give students more time to do the projects and encourage them to be completed in their Junior year. A second reading is slated for the next Board meeting.
Conferences and field trips were approved. It was noted however that one field trip was approved retroactively and is not an acceptable business practice.
A vote approved of the purchase of new cafeteria tables for the Elementary. The intent is to buy 22 tables at an approximate cost of $23,000. Few on the Board stated that this item should have been budgeted. Again the Board is being asked to suddenly “find” money to pay for an item that has an anticipated replacement time.
During public comment, Ron Whitaker addressed the Board and was supported by Joe Harvey. They asked if the Board would consider the creation of a Jr. High boys baseball team. A Board member noted that historically there has not been enough interest to support a team. Further the involvement by parents and staff is high. Finally that the declining school enrollment suggests a team is not foreseeable at this time. Whitaker stated he had the necessary numbers of students and adults willing to get this team established. He further believed that this organized sport would benefit the students and school as well.
Several parents wanted to know what the lawsuit was for that required a $25,000 payment and is it ongoing or finalized. Also parents questioned as to whether a procedure has been put in place to prevent further lawsuits.
Superintendent Arthur Chambers provided handouts regarding the High School PSSA scores. At the next Board meeting the Elementary scores will be reviewed. Grade eleven Math scores improved by 16% and the staff were commended. MVSD met its target goal of earning a 54% proficiency in Reading for all grades tested. The Math target of 45% proficiency was met in all grades tested except the eleventh grade (from last year).
The Board meets on the second and fourth Mondays at eight in the evening. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Montrose – Applications for this year’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are now available at the Susquehanna County Assistance Office, Thomas Kurosky announced.
LIHEAP is a federal program that assists low-income individuals who cannot pay their heating bills. Eligible households can receive assistance through a direct payment to energy vendors that supply their fuel, or through a crisis component during weather-related emergencies, such as a broken furnace, leaking pipes, or terminated utility service. Homeowners, renters (including those whose rent includes heat), roomers and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible. Any type of fuel may be used.
The program opens for both the cash and crisis components on November 7, 2005 with the cash and crisis components closing March 23, 2006. Grant awards are based on household income, household size, the type of fuel used, and the county of residence.
Susquehanna CAO Executive Director, Thomas Kurosky, urges county residents to apply early for the program.
“Last year, some families missed out on the program because they waited too long to apply,” Kurosky said. “This is unfortunate because, in most cases, documentation of income for the previous 30 days is enough to establish eligibility. I urge all families who receive mail-in applications to return the form promptly. Families who didn’t receive applications can obtain one from the County Assistance Office.”
To be eligible for the program, household income cannot exceed 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines: $12,920 for a one-person household, $17,321 for two persons, $21,722 for three persons, $26,123 for four persons, $30,524 for five persons, and $34,925 for six persons. For larger households, the guidelines increase by $4,401 for each additional person.
Last year, 1,724 county households received $446,033 in basic LIHEAP cash grants to offset heating bills. Crisis grants totaling $252,000 were given to 890 county households with heating emergencies.
Help for families with a heating emergency is available 24 hours a day by contacting Susquehanna CAO at 888–753–6328.
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