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The Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association is on the move. Don’t look for the moving vans yet, but keep an eye on this organization because some big and wonderful things are going to happen in the not too distant future.
On the drawing board is a brand new multi-million dollar library that will be built on a three-acre tract of land near the Montrose High School. The site was donated to the association by the Montrose School District Board of Education.
A fund drive to raise money for the new library is expected to get launched this year. Thomas Horlacher, a Scranton architect, is designing the one-story building.
In case you are wondering if leaving downtown Montrose for a site in Bridgewater Township will hurt the library, fear not. We put the same question to Ellen O'Malley, a member of the association’s board of directors.
“Not at all,” she replied. “Most people drive to the library. And there will be a lot of school students using the library when it is located near the school.”
At the present time, the association’s only building at 2 Monument Square in Montrose is shared by the library and the historical museum. Both facilities are cramped for space. When the new library is constructed, the historical museum will occupy the entire building and it is expected to become one of the area’s top tourist attractions.
The museum is chock full of memorabilia some of which is more than 100 years old. Taking over the whole downtown building will allow for a better display of the hundreds of well preserved artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries. Incidentally, the brick structure was built in 1907. Since that time it has undergone only two changes, -an addition in 1957 and the installation of an elevator in 1996.
It would be impossible to itemize each and every item that is on display in the museum. But perhaps we can whet your appetite by mentioning a few.
If you are a Civil War buff, there is plenty to see, from a mannequin dressed in a Civil War uniform to an assortment of firearms including a sharpshooter’s rifle. There are other wartime remnants and home made goodies such as a baby cradle and a baby carriage built in 1870.
There are copies of old newspapers, magazines and photographs, two pillars from Colonial Hall that originally was a Universalist Church built in 1843. Who can every forget that infamous midnight in 1988 when a wrecking crew tore down Colonial Hall.
You can’t leave the museum without gazing in wonder at the F.A.B. Schwartz dollhouse or looking at some of the pictures taken in the 1700’s and 1800’s. You may also want to look at some of Henry Drinker’s maps or just have a nice chat with Betty Smith, curator of the museum.
We should also mention some of the business signs that were fashionable years ago. For example, in 1820, “J. Williams’s Inn” was the sign that hung on the tavern of Joseph Williams of Williams Pond in Bridgewater Township.
“C.I. Baker, Hardware & General Merchandise” focused attention on a store that was located in Herrick Township from 1900 to 1941. And, “Entertainment” was all that was needed over a tavern owned by Simon Stevens in 1817. Many believe he was the first settler at Elk Lake.
“F. D. Morris & Co.” hung atop a drugstore on Public Avenue in Montrose in 1897. Then there was the Burns Drugstore also on Public Avenue that remained in business until 1981. And, believe it or not, in 1915, Cruser and Gardner were publishers of the Montrose Democrat that was also headquartered on Public Avenue in Montrose.
We have barely touched the tip of the iceberg and already space limitations force us to stop. Let’s leave the museum with this thought. No matter how well they might be written, words alone could never provide you with a full understanding and appreciation for what is in the museum.
No library is ever fully complete. There are too many books written about too many subjects for any librarian anywhere in the world to say her library is complete. But taking everything into consideration, the Montrose Library is more than a something-for-everyone facility. Moreover, if you cannot find the book you are after, try asking Susan Stone, administrator and librarian. She is tied into a network of libraries that just might be able to find the book that has been eluding you for some time.
In this day and age, there are more than books found in libraries. There are audible books and video books. And, of course, since we are living in a computerized world, there are a dozen computers in the Montrose library available for public use.
The Montrose library is the home base for satellite libraries that are located in Forest City, Susquehanna, and Hallstead. The county’s library system operates on a budget of about $800.000. Some tax dollars help to keep the county’s library system operating and the state kicks in about 25 percent of the annual cost. Other funds come from the highly successful Blueberry Festival which has become a tradition, from fines and donations, and from an investment fund set up by the Board of Directors.
With only four members present the Susquehanna Borough Council met on December 27 for their final meeting of the year. Those attending were president Mike Matis, John Bronchella, Bill Kuiper, Shane Lewis, secretary Ann (Kemmerer) Stewart, mayor-elect Denise Reddon, councilperson-elect Margaret Biegert, former council member Ron Whitehead and two reporters.
Mrs. Stewart reported that, with her recent marriage a resolution would not be needed to change her name on the boro’s bank accounts, just new signature cards. And, District Magistrate Peter Janicelli would be present at the January 3 reorganization meeting to swear in Ms. Reddon.
Mrs. Biegert had a question about the 2006 budget that was to be voted on; wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest for Mr. Lewis to vote on it as it includes a budget for codes? (Mr. Lewis is the boro’s codes enforcement officer.) Mr. Lewis said that he would be voting on the budget with the exception of the codes budget, as he did last year.
Moving on to other business, two parties had expressed interest in purchasing the Erie Ave. steps property. Mr. Matis stated that both parties had been contacted, and while one was in greater need of space for parking, the other party was not; council’s decision was to sell the property to the one in need. A motion carried to approve sale of the property to Rip Howard with the stipulation that Mr. Howard will be responsible for all related costs.
When the budget came up for a vote, there was some question as to whether a vote of only three members (with Mr. Lewis’ abstention from the codes budget) was sufficient to pass it. Mr. Lewis said that council had addressed this problem in other instances; the meeting could be conducted with a quorum present (four council members), and a majority vote of those members present would suffice; Mr. Matis concurred.
During the discussion, Mr. Matis left the room to call Pat Frederick; when he returned he said that she would arrive shortly; voting on the budget could wait until her arrival.
A motion carried to approve the ordinance levying taxes for 2006, with an increase of one mil.
Discussion turned to bids council had solicited for a new police vehicle; Mr. Matis requested a motion to enter into a lease agreement for a 2006 Dodge Durango, for four years, total cost $31,500 plus an APR of 5.45%. The vehicle would be equipped with a complete police package and included unlimited mileage and at the end of the four years, a one-dollar buy-out is available. Mr. Matis said that there have been considerable repair expenses for the department’s Caprice, and that the Jeep is not functional.
Mrs. Biegert asked why council was taking action on this now, rushing it through before the new council is in place on January 3, and with no input from Ms. Reddon. Mr. Matis said that council has been discussing the matter for months, and that (absent) council member Roy Williams agreed with leasing a new vehicle. He said that, over several years, $17,000 had been saved towards its purchase. Other dealers had been contacted; this offer was the better one. Although no figures were available as to the amount of monthly payments, Mr. Lewis said that the boro has 60% of the cost to put down, and will divide the remainder of the cost over the four-year lease period. Mr. Matis said that the money the boro has earmarked for a new vehicle would pay the lease costs for the first two years.
Mr. Bronchella agreed that a new vehicle was needed, but felt the matter should be tabled for the new council and mayor to address.
At this point, Mrs. Frederick arrived. When she was apprised of the subject at hand, she asked why council was taking action; she thought that bids were being solicited for informational purposes, that no action would be taken.
Reporter’s note: at the December 13 meeting, Mr. Matis requested a motion to solicit bids, to be used to collect information that council could use to review options. He said council would not move forward with purchase of a new vehicle at this time.
Mrs. Frederick had some questions about the efficiency of this particular vehicle; wouldn’t it consume a lot of gas? And, why such a large vehicle? Wouldn’t a smaller one be more efficient? Mr. Matis said that council had looked at other mid-sized vehicles, with this being the best deal. Ms. Reddon remarked that such a vehicle would get very low gas mileage with in-town driving.
Mr. Whitehead asked if the boro’s insurance costs would increase; Mr. Matis said that they would go up a little, but that the Jeep would be taken off the policy.
Ms. Reddon said that she would be willing to contact other dealerships to see if a better price could be found. Mr. Matis responded that this is a state (rate) contract, and that a better price would not be found. Ms. Reddon said that she, personally, would like to see council wait before taking action, to look into it herself before a vote was taken. Mr. Matis reiterated that a motion on the matter had been made. Mrs. Biegert asked if the offer wouldn’t be good for a few weeks, rather than rushing into it at this time. Mrs. Frederick noted that when council discussed contracting out police services to Great Bend it had been said that the vehicles were in good condition. Mr. Matis said that at that time, they were. Ms. Reddon said they might be in better shape if they were not being taken to Elk Mountain, as she had been told. Mr. Matis responded that the boro’s officers are professionals, and go where they are needed while on call. Chief Golka, who arrived in the midst of the discussion, said that he would write up any officer who took a vehicle out of town while not on official duty. He asked for a date and time of the alleged incident.
Ms. Reddon then asked why vehicles belonging to people preparing for church services were ticketed when they were parked on West Main Street, across from the Episcopal Church; it was her understanding that parking there would be permitted for church services. Shouldn’t parking also be allowed for people preparing for those services? Mrs. Biegert noted that parking tickets were not given out when it snowed; how do you make a comparison, she asked? Ms. Reddon added that the area was not posted as a “no parking” area. If tickets were given to church personnel, shouldn’t they also be given when it snows? “Some common sense could be used,” she said. Mr. Golka responded that “who is who” does not matter in police work. Mr. Matis added that there should never be parking in that area, as it impedes emergency vehicles. Mr. Lewis asked if the area was posted to permit parking during church services only; Ms. Reddon said that it is not, only the Catholic church is posted that way.
The motion on the floor to proceed with leasing of the vehicle was put to a vote; voting yes were Mr. Kuiper, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Matis. Voting against were Mr. Bronchella and Mrs. Frederick. The motion carried.
The budget was again brought to a vote and carried unanimously, with Mr. Lewis abstaining on the codes budget.
Under new business, a motion carried to accept the resignation of police officer Gerald Gow, with thanks for his service to the boro.
The next meeting will be council’s reorganization on Tuesday, January 3, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
Over the last week the Pittsburgh Poison Center has assisted in the management of eight patients (21 since October) who have suffered respiratory effects following the inhalation of leather shoe/boot waterproofing or water repellant products. A survey of other US poison centers over the past two days has revealed dozens of similar incidents. Three products have been identified as being responsible for the local exposures: Boot Mate water repellant; Job Site heavy duty boot spray; Rock Boot waterproofer.
There are a number of products that have similar names, so this alert is not restricted to the three named products.
The common ingredients, in a variety of combinations, are hydrocarbons such as heptanes and Stoddard solvent, fluorocarbons, silicon, etc.
Patients who have suffered adverse events have been exposed after use of the products in enclosed areas and after the fumes spread throughout the residence. The symptoms of coughing and upper respiratory irritation usually have a rapid onset, within minutes. Pneumonitis, shortness of breath and bronchospasm have been reported. In some patients the symptoms resolve after termination of the exposure. Five of the 21 patients were admitted for medical care and one required admission to a critical care unit.
7 Minutes in Harford
Brittnay Lee White, 18, and Kevin Charles Paige, 44, both of Choconut Township, were both charged with harassment after being involved in a domestic dispute at their residence on December 21 shortly before 9 a.m.
Between 10-10:30 on the evening of December 17, an unknown person assaulted Larry Gene Wallworth, Hallstead, as he was leaving the Harmony Creek Pub. Wallworth was treated at Barnes Kasson Hospital for a laceration and contusions. The investigation continues.*
HIT AND RUN CRASH
On November 29 in Herrick Center, a vehicle operator was traveling west on State Route 374, veered across the road and into a yard. The vehicle then sideswiped a tree before continuing to travel, next smacking a utility pole and severing it before fleeing west along the road. The vehicle is a blue pickup; the operator had tools that were left behind that would indicate the operator is a contractor or mason.*
An employee at the HO Mart on State Route 492 in New Milford reported that a white, full-size truck fled without paying for $41.51 of fuel. It then fled east along 492 towards East Lake. The truck is a newer model, extended cab-type truck. This incident happened shortly after 8 on the evening of December 22.*
Unknown person(s) discharged three fire extinguishers at Suburban Energy Services in New Milford sometime between the night of December 24 and the morning of December 26.
Someone stole a wallet and a purse belonging, respectively, to Richard Kern, 55, Factoryville, and Kristin Kern, 25, Factoryville, from a vehicle while it was parked at PJ’s Bar in Bridgewater Township sometime between 9 on the evening of December 23 and 1 on the following morning.
HARASSMENT BY COMMUNICATION
The State Police are investigating a report of harassing phone calls to the home of Robert Zeleznik, 55, Choconut Township. Zeleznik reported receiving the calls shortly after 10 on the evening of December 13.
Sometime between the evening of December 20 and the following morning, an unknown person(s) used a vehicle to remove a new American MRS log splitter and a used, red 26-inch snow blower from Susquehanna Small Engine on Route 171 in Oakland Township, owned by John Pirnik.*
On Main Street in Great Bend, unknown person(s) removed Stanley socket tools from the open bed of a pickup belonging to Jesse Yachymiak, Great Bend, and sprayed motor oil on his vehicle. This occurred sometime between the night of December 20 and the following morning.
Thomas Roeller, 49, Friendsville, reported that he was at the Forest Lake Inn early in the morning of December 10 and got into an argument there. He was unsure if he asked Gene Hummel, Friendsville, to step outside, or if Hummel asked him to step out. But once outside, the argument became physical and Roeller got punched or kicked in the face, resulting in two black eyes. An investigation was continuing as to the exact circumstances of the altercation.
HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT
At an unknown time on December 17, an unknown make or model vehicle failed to make a curve on Nagel Road in Forest City Township and went off of it, damaging a mailbox, a large ornamental rock and two trees belonging to Janice Lewis.*
Shortly after noon on December 7, an unknown person(s) arrived at the Gibson Exxon and pumped about 5 gallons of gas into their vehicle, fleeing the scene in a dark-colored vehicle without paying for the fuel. The vehicle was bearing NY State registration AVZ8132.*
RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY
At 8 on the morning of December 18, a 1995 Chrysler Sebring coupe was recovered along Stanley Lake Road in Choconut Township. It belongs to Graham Hall Auto Sales, Binghamton, who reported it stolen on December 16.
Sometime between the afternoon of December 17 and mid-morning on the following day, someone stole a mailbox belonging to Diana A. Quattrocchi, Bridgewater Township. Value of the mailbox is $15.
A 1998 Buick LeSabre was severely damaged after driver Beth L. Plutino, 43, Susquehanna, lost control of it when she failed to make a curve on a slippery State Route 92 in Oakland Township and hit a guide rail and a tree. Plutino received minor injuries. This accident happened at 1 on the afternoon of December 16.
On the afternoon of December 5, the county sheriff’s department served a warrant on suspect Lee Joseph Van Why, 37, Hazleton, on State Road 1039 in Bridgewater Township. There, they discovered drug paraphernalia, along with suspected marijuana in Van Why’s pants pocket. Charges were filed for possession of a small amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Sometime between 10 on the night of December 17 and 8:30 the following morning, an unknown person(s) threw a Coors Lite beer bottle through the driver’s side window of a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche belonging to Andrew Henry II, 28, Norfolk, Virginia, while it was parked at the intersection of State Roads 3001 and 3023 in Dimock Township.
William McNeice, 42, Meshoppen, violated the terms of a protection from abuse order issued by the county court of common pleas by contacting Constance Swackhamer, 54, Springville, after being directed not to do so. He was charged with this violation that occurred December 13-15.
This accident happened as a 1997 Malibu driven by Gary Blaise, Vestal, was traveling south on State Route 267 in Choconut Township and a 2001 Dodge Dakota owned by Eric Wilson, Montrose, was traveling north. The Malibu made a turn into the Mobil gas station when the front of the Dakota hit its right front. The front of both vehicles was severely damaged and towed from the scene. All were wearing seatbelts, and a passenger in the Dakota received minor injuries. Kerr’s and Midnight Express did the towing, Silver Lake and Forest Lake EMS responded to the scene, and the passenger was taken to Wilson Hospital for minor treatment. This accident occurred shortly after 9 on the morning of December 15.
Shortly before 3 on the afternoon of December 14, a 17-year-old juvenile from New Milford was driving a 1995 Nissan Quest van west on Township Road 617 when he lost control of it on the snow- and ice-covered road and hit the front end of a 1997 school bus operated by Rebecca MacGeorge, 44, New Milford. Neither MacGeorge nor the juvenile and his five passengers were injured, although the juvenile was cited for driving a vehicle at safe speed.
This crash happened shortly before 4 on the afternoon of December 14 when a 1998 GMC Savana driven by David Prislupsk, Jr., Throop, was traveling south on Pratt Road in Lathrop Township and a 2006 Thomas bus driven by Deborah Garrison, Nicholson, was traveling north. Both vehicles were traveling around a corner and met. Both tried to stop but slid on the ice-covered roadway. Both vehicles had to be towed, by Plummers and Morels; Hop Bottom Fire and EMS responded to the scene. About 30 children were on the bus. None were injured and neither were both drivers.
*Anyone with information about the incident is requested to call the State Police at 570-465-3154.
Driver Guilty In Work Zone Incident