Please visit our kind sponsors
Margaret Biegert and Roy Williams were absent at the January 10 Susquehanna Boro Council meeting. President Tom Kelly presided, with all others present as well as Mayor Denise Reddon, Secretary Ann Stewart, Streets Commissioner Steve Glover, and a number of guests.
Requesting time on the agenda was David Scales, who began with some questions for council in response to the discussion that took place at the December 27 meeting regarding the boro’s parking ordinance; Mayor Reddon answered that the issue has been resolved.
Mr. Scales asked that council address the issue of vehicles parked within 30 feet from a corner, which is prohibited on any boro street; the fire department has experienced difficulty making some turns with their present equipment. They are contemplating getting a bigger vehicle, which would be even more difficult to maneuver around illegally parked cars.
And, on behalf of the Susquehanna Fire Department, Mr. Scales asked council to consider enacting an ordinance that would allow the department to bill for rescue services that it performed on a regular basis. The department would like to contract with a third-party billing service, which will primarily target insurance companies for the costs incurred from responding to auto accidents. Analysis shows, Mr. Scales said, that most drivers involved in the accidents the department responds to are transients, not boro residents. The idea is to lighten the load on the department expense-wise, and to try to get those who benefit from the services provided to contribute to the expense. Other municipalities are instituting such billing, which requires that council approve of the contract, and pass an ordinance allowing it. The contract spells out specifics, such as an outline of the billing procedure to be used, which mainly targets insurance companies. In a case where a driver is not insured, the driver will be billed. A sample ordinance was provided for council and the boro solicitor to review. Mr. Scales also recommended that the billing service be contacted for information on their “track record” with other municipalities. Mrs. Stewart was asked to contact them for information.
Mr. Kelly reported that the Parks and Rec. Committee is working on obtaining grant funding for work on the riverfront park, particularly a boat launch and access road; the boro had to take ownership of the property before applications could be submitted. And, there had been a break-in at a shed at the Prospect Street park.
Mr. Glover gave a detailed breakdown of the projects completed in 2005, including costs. The F550 was in the process of getting work done, and the backhoe has been repaired. A meeting is being set up with PENNDOT, to discuss potential projects for the Agility program.
Mr. Kelly noted that one storm drain on Franklin Ave. (a state road) was not in good working order when responsibility for the drains were turned over to the boro for maintenance (by PENNDOT). Mr. Glover will see if it can be flushed.
And, Mr. Glover has applied for CDBG grant funding for drainage work on Jackson Ave., and some resurfacing on Maple and Grand. Word is expected some time in May as to whether or not the application will be approved.
Mr. Lewis gave his monthly activities report for Susquehanna and Oakland Boro. It was noted that he has submitted his resignation, with January 17 being his last day as CEO. Council will address the matter at their next meeting.
Mayor Reddon gave a detailed report of the police department’s December activities.
Lt. Jon Record was present, and introduced county District Attorney Jason Legg. Mr. Legg commended the boro police department for how well its officers interact with the community and other county offices. They are, he said extremely professional, with no improper arrests and no reports of violations of rights (from citizens).
Mr. Legg said that heroin is an increasing problem in our area, with Susquehanna and Forest City seeing more activity. Right now, the county is sharing a Drug Task Force with Bradford County, through the state attorney general’s office. Mr. Legg said that he would like to see a local task force and his office is working on having one in place by mid-year. Local police departments would be offered the opportunity to participate; council’s approval would be needed. The drug problem is not getting any better, he said, with most of it coming into the county from outside and it has taken a terrible toll on our county’s juveniles. The task force would be grant-funded, at no cost to the boro. Training would be provided for officers.
Mr. Matis asked Mr. Legg how he would rate the boro’s police department as compared to other boros’. Mr. Legg said that Susquehanna’s facilities are above par, and its officers are just as good as any, and better than some.
Mr. Matis asked if Mr. Legg feels that it is important for communities to work together. Mr. Legg answered that it is crucial. He is in favor of shared municipal forces, and has been working with COG on a feasibility study for a regionalized department; regionalization is an important concept, and would provide good coverage to areas where it is presently unavailable. It is expensive, he said, but worth it. He offered his assistance if Susquehanna should choose to discuss regionalization with neighboring municipalities.
The next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, January 24, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, January 25 to adopt a revised budget.
It may be a new year but it was like old times at last week’s meeting of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners.
The first meeting of the year failed to produce any signs of an armistice between the feuding commissioners. If anything, it appears the gap separating Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren from Commissioner Jeff Loomis is widening.
Mr. Loomis found a budgetary item that sliced one third of the customary appropriations from the Agricultural Land Preservation Board (ALPB). He quickly rifled off letters to some key members of the board and to members of the Susquehanna County Farm Bureau. He urged them to call Commissioners Kelly and Warren and ask that the $20,000 that was removed from the ALPB be restored. And he urged them to attend last Wednesday’s commissioners meeting.
The organizations responded with some of their best members many of whom urged the commissioners to put the money back in the budget.
Perhaps Donna Williams, president of the Susquehanna County Farm Bureau offered the best condensed version on the importance of putting the $20,000 back into the budget. “For the past five years,” Mrs. Williams said, “the county has allocated $60,000 a year and now you are looking at reducing it to $40,000. Up until this year, instead of the 2.5 dollars that the state gave us for every one dollar we put into the land preservation, we are looking at 5.8 dollars from the state for every one of our dollars. This is an opportunity that may never come along again and I urge you to put that $20,000 back into that particular item.”
Mr. Loomis said the county entered the new year with more than one million dollars leftover from 2005. He said the county stands to lose $166,000 if the commissioners do not put the twenty grand back in the program.
“We could easily put the money back in.” Mr. Loomis said. “We could get $350,000 this year.”
“We have a balanced budget and I am proud of that fact,” Chair Roberta Kelly said. “Jeff voted for that budget and he was well aware of everything about it. We try to represent all the taxpayers and we cannot please everyone. We are stewards of all the taxpayers money. I would much rather work as a team instead of pitting one against the other. That is not the way I like to do business.”
“I am the Ag representative,” said Commissioner Warren, “not only because I wanted to be, but because no one else wanted it. I am trying my best to serve the Ag society and, at the same time, trying to represent everyone. I believe we should give every taxpayer a break if we can and not a particular group or whatever. Why don’t we use the money to cut everybody’s taxes? I apologize if I disappointed all on the Ag society. If you would like me to step down, I will. But I want you to know that I want to work with the Ag society but I am also here by default.”
Ted Place of Auburn Township said he has been a farmer for over 50 years and his farm has been in ag preservation several years. He said he has over 300 acres in ag preservation.
“My personal feelings,” he said about putting the additional $20,000 into the program, “is if there is anyway possible, let’s try to do it this year. I am not against people but I don’t like to see farms give way to homes.”
“This money,” Mr. Loomis said, “not only has to be restored but has to be signed and into the state by January 26 so I am going to make a motion right now that we put the $20,000 back into the Ag Preservation account.”
“I do not work that way,” Mrs. Kelly said. “I am not going to be pushed against the wall and pressured to make a decision. If we are in such great financial shape, why are we getting a tax revenue anticipation note?”
Mr. Loomis said the 2006 taxes do not start coming into the county until sometime in April. He said the county went into the new year with over $1 million in the coffers but that it cost more than $1 million a month to finance county government. “I went through all the figures,” Mr. Loomis said, “and I am an accountant. I have a motion on the floor and I would like to have it acted upon instead of all this rhetoric.”
“I think arguments are pointless,” Mrs. Kelly said. “But I need time to study this and I cannot vote on it today.”
“I did not and will not be put into a position to have to make a decision today,” Mrs. Warren said. “If we give it to you now, we are not going to give it to you next year, is that fair enough?”
“Let’s just say we will agree to disagree,” Mrs. Kelly concluded, “and hopefully we will have some sort of answer for you in the future.”
When it was pointed out that the next meeting is January 25, only one day before the deadline, Mrs. Warren said if the commissioners vote favorably on it at that time it could be sent by overnight mail to Harrisburg and reach there in time for the deadline.
Motions approved by the commissioners included:
Signing a contract with Mental Health/Mental Retardation that gives the county 21 percent of the state allocation for the MH/MR program. Neighboring Lackawanna County will get 79 percent.
Reappointed Robert Bartron to the Susquehanna County Housing/Redevelopment Board for a five year term.
Hired Tiffany Lord of Hallstead to the open fulltime dispatcher position with a six month probation period, and Thomas Cox of Montrose to the open part time dispatcher position. The Salary Board agreed to pay each of them $8.50 an hour in accordance with the union contract.
Reappointed Patrick Ahearn, Richard Franks and Frank Kwader to the county Planning Commission for four-year terms.
Adopted a resolution authorizing the county to float a Tax Revenue Anticipation Note in the amount of $1,140,000 and accepted the low bid 2.49 percent interest from PennStar Bank. The bank also agreed to pay the county 3.49 percent reinvestment interest.
Approved a resolution authorizing the county to dispose of unusable computer equipment to Envirocycle at a cost of $576.
Ratified the hiring of Deborah Gregory to the position of fulltime switchboard operator/clerk typist at a starting hourly rate of $7.75.
In other Salary Board matters, two new positions were created in the Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts offices. The first creates another Second Deputy Prothonotary position at a starting salary of $9.70 an hour and the second creates a fulltime temporary position of clerk/typist in the Clerk of Courts department at a starting hourly rate of $7.75.
It was a short meeting and, for a refreshing change of pace, one could even add the words “and sweet” to it.
Members of the Forest City Regional Board of Education have never been known for their comic appeal. Dr. Henry Nebzydoski, new board president, has uttered a laughable quip now and then, but as the senior school director, he is respected more for his knowledge of board procedure and protocol than his sense of humor.
Last Wednesday night he presided over his first meeting. And it did not take him long to relax the small attendance, some of whom wondered what his demure would be like as board president.
“Okay,” he said, “I am going to open the meeting to the public. Anyone have anything good to say. We are taking good remarks first.” The comment brought a laugh followed by silence and Dr. Nebzydoski continued with the public work session.
Not only did the meeting draw a small audience, but the board was barely able to muster up a quorum for it. Besides Dr. Nebzydoski, directors who showed up included Al Dyno, Mary Emmett, Rita Lowry and Marge Schwartz. Absent were Fred Garm, Tom Heller, Lorne Sutton Powell and Dr. Michael Sterchak.
As for the session itself, actually all of the directors could have stayed home. The abbreviated agenda included 10 motions that School Superintendent Robert Vadella said would be expanded by the next regular meeting.
Perhaps the most significant motion on the agenda at the moment is an increase in employer contributions to the retirement system. Dr. Vadella said the increase from 4.69 percent to 6.46 percent will cost the school district an additional $60,000 in the 2006-2007 school year.
The Federal government has also made an adjustment on the standard mileage rate. Dr. Vadella said the change reduces the rate from 48.5 cents to 44.5 cents. He said the reduction is the result of lower prices on gasoline.
Dr. Vadella said the district is planning a high school trip to Maryland and Virginia May 17-20. He said the cost of the trip will be under $400 and there is room for 88 students.
The Mountain View School Board of Directors convened Wednesday, January 9 with a full house of guests including three students whose achievements were highlighted in celebration of School Director Recognition Month. First, though business had to be addressed.
During the reading of the minutes, First Vice President John Halupke clarified that he did not want to be on any committee to which he was appointed. Halupke however is interested in being on five of the seven committees to which he was not appointed. Currently he is not a member of any committee.
Issues questioned by visitors involved some expenses. The COBRA insurance maintained on former employees was voted upon and tabled until next month due to lack of a majority. Currently 23 people are covered. The number of resignations was questioned. According to Business Manager, Jennifer Hilkert now a third party will handle the COBRA participants with no cost ascribed to the district.
A $15,000 settlement was approved for a special education services student pursuant to a legal dispute. A bus contract received a Memorandum of Understanding to include no free trips to Elk Mountain for the students. A concern was made by the public as to the lack of local businesses represented on the Strategic Planning Committee. The Board did verbalize a plan to encourage businesses to get involved as required by law.
Four public meetings will be advertised for the purpose of budget development. A property will be sold at auction with hopes to bring it back on the tax rolls.
A math teacher resigned contingent upon a replacement which was approved for advertising. Also in the personnel department, two play director positions will be advertised.
Superintendent Art Chambers delivered his report to the public. Chambers called the Board members “Citizen Soldiers.” They work tirelessly attending board meetings and committee meetings and reading a “stack of paperwork” that is handed out for their review according to Chambers. Their “time and commitment is tremendous” Chambers thanked. He added that for all they do “the pay has been what it always has been.” He explained that the board members are the “gatekeepers of good things happening at Mountain View!” Local control is under siege by government, Chambers lamented but the Board represents the people and what they want for their community. Then Chambers presented the three students that placed second in the nation as Mountain View’s Stock Market Game team. Competition was among 130 schools. The members are: Jenna Regan, Joe Kochmer and Vic Ceria. The idea of the academic sport is to take a hypothetical stock portfolio of $100,000 and increase the value. This is done by researching trends in the stock market, reading reviews and otherwise acquiring relevant information from any source to make sound investments. For this the team won $250. Regional competition will be held Wednesday night and State finals will be in March.
Chambers also released the results of the parent survey which were presented by Director of Special Services, Margaret Foster. There were 220 respondents. Foster stated, “We are delivering the product parents are asking for.” Parents agreed or strongly agreed with all indicators. The lowest score of 68% was given by parents for the statement: School personnel listen to and welcome my ideas about how to improve the school. So a concerted effort will be made to improve communication, according to Foster. Complete results will be in the Eagle Eye.
An anonymous staff survey is underway with results to be presented later.
Mike Stewart the Technology Coordinator gave a presentation about the benefits of Wide Area Network (WAN). The cost for internet is anticipated to be approximately $600 up from the $330 that currently includes rebates. Internet 2 will encompass research and education from corporations and universities. Video conferencing, staff training and distant learning will enhance the offerings at Mountain View. Courses that are available could be made available to more students via the internet. Board member Ronald Phillips commented that soon traditional classroom instructions will be limited. Chambers forewarned the public that with distant learning students may only be in school two days–in the not so distant future. A Virtual Private Network will allow files to be shared between the home and school. The public welcomed the aggressive pursuit of this technology.
Textbooks approved for purchase have not been reviewed by the new Board. Chambers agreed with Kevin Griffiths that the Board should review the books. The school calendar was revised to account for snow days.
The Board clarified that the Dress Code Policy in effect is the one approved June, 2005. A parent commented that two students in the Christmas presentation wore “hoodies” which are not allowed to be worn and asked for consistent enforcement.
The school held a Geography Bee with 67 students. The kids had a great time and were encouraging their peers to win. It was well received. The basketball team is the number one AA team in the area. The games are drawing large crowds. The game against #2 team Lackawanna Trail will be on closed circuit television. The next board meeting is Wednesday, January 23 at eight o’clock in the evening.
Terry Lee Melan and Karen Melan to Michael R. Balog and Sherrie Balog, East Brunswick, NJ, in Rush Township for $6,000.
Valerie A. Adams (nbm) Valerie A. Browne, Clayton Browne to Timothy J. Rothrock, Stephanie J. Rothrock, Newton, in Ararat Twp. for $65,000.
Three Little Bears to Bonnie Lynne Groves (trust), RR1, Forest City, in Jackson Township for $299,000.
Harold F. Jones (estate), Theresa A. Jones, Carl J. Woods to Catherine M. Burke, Brooklyn, NY, in Forest City for $107,000.
Nancy Harris to Ararat Twp., in Ararat Twp. for one dollar.
Louis W. Hawley, Natalie J. Hawley to Janet L. Winemiller, Carlisle, in Montrose for $98,500.
Emma Griffiths to Jeffrey J. Kilhullen, Middlesburg, VA, in Thompson Township for $155,000.
Earl D. Raub Jr., Lori Ann Raub to Warren W. Weeks Jr., Laurie J. Weeks, Hallstead, in Liberty Township for $125,000.
Zola S. Darrow, K. Calvin Summers Living Trust (by trustees) to Sommerville Land Development Inc., New Milford, in New Milford Twp. for one dollar (corrective deed).
Raymond G. Barnes, Linda A. Barnes to Raymond G. Barnes, Linda A. Barnes, RR2, Susquehanna, in Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.
Richard D. Lorenz, Stefani M. Lorenz (aka) Stefani M. Lyons to James Edward O’Neill, Susquehanna, in Oakland Township for $55,000.
WM Specialty Mortgage (by poa) to Stephen Putzi, Honesdale, in Forest City for $25,000.
Thomas Robinson, Mary Ann Robinson to Thomas Robinson, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar (corrective deed).
Fred E. Rathbone Jr. to Roger Richmond, Debra Richmond, RR2, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for $75,000.
William M. Beeman, Virginia W. Beeman to Louis E. Despirito, Karen M. Despirito, in Brooklyn Township for $119,000.
Richard A. Osborne, Elaine P. Osborne to Marybeth Brickner, RR1, New Milford, and David C. Stevens, in New Milford Borough for $79,000.
Shirley D. Sheriden to Carol R. Page, Indianapolis, IN, Candis R. Parry (ira), John C. Parry, Candis R. Parry, in New Milford Borough for $60,000.
Peoples National Bank to Jennifer A. Struble, Binghamton, NY, in Silver Lake Township for $35,000.
Marcia Ann Potter to Marcia Ann Potter, Susquehanna, Jeffrey S. Potter, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
John W. Shingler (aka) John William Shingler, Edward R. Shingler, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
David Symons to Lester B. McDonald, Winchester, VA., in New Milford Borough for $56,000.
Sophia Turoski aka Sophia R. Turoski (estate) to Robert J. Jenkinson, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for $3,000.
Michael A. Daniels, Brenda L. Daniels, to Mark Antinnes and Michelle Antinnes, Tunkhannock, (dba) Antinnes Landmark Properties, in Dimock Twp., for $10,000.
Cappucci Trust (by trustees) Richard Place, Charlotte Place to Phillip J. Wood, Sara J. Wood, Laceyville, in Auburn Township for $38,000.
John W. McLaughlin, Esther McLaughlin to Marsha Ann Jones, RR7, Montrose, Kelly Marie Flugel, William J. McLaughlin, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Chester E. Kilmer Jr. to Curtis G. Hepler, Shirley A. Hepler, RR2, Hallstead in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Skip Michael Tracy to Jason T. Auckland, Amy D. Auckland, Riegelsville, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
James R. Beavan, Shirley L. Beavan to Gary S. Stone, Barbara J. Stone, RR2, Susquehanna, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Peter A. Swawola, Roseanne M. Berger, Peter A. Kachadourian to David Swawola, New Milford, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Glen A. Raub, Edith P. Raub to Earl D. Jones, Lori Ann Jones, RR1, Hallstead, in Liberty Township for $65,000.
Kenneth W. Fisher Jr., Loretta Fisher to Japheth Stoltzfus, New Holland, in Oakland Borough for $8,000.
Borough of Susquehanna to Lewallace P. Howard, RD2, Kingsley, in Susquehanna for $200.
Kenneth R. Ely, Barbara A. Ely to Kenneth R. Ely, Dimock, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Kenneth R. Ely, Barbara A. Ely to Kenneth R. Ely, Dimock, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Eileen Higgins to Edward A. Ims, Lucille C. Ims, Clarks Summit, in Herrick Township for $72,000.
Deborah L. Sellitto (nbm) Deborah L. Bennett, Jeffrey M. Bennett to Susan F. Smith, Susquehanna in Lanesboro Borough for $115,000.
John Manfredonia, Sharon R. Manfredonia to Mark D. Laubach, Michele Laubach, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for $168,000.
Louie A. Birtch Sr. and Patricia A. Funk, both of New Milford.
David Emory Harvey and April L. Walker, both of Hallstead.
Daniel K. Rutherford, Lisbon, NY and Nicole C. Martin, Ogdensburg, NY.
Michael D. Beamer and Erica M. Terpstra, both of Windsor, NY.
Scott Lee Bosack and Sherry L. Torre, both of Forest City.
Corey D. Brewer, Montrose vs. Kristy L. Brewer, Carbondale.
Lynn M. Yoder, Dimock vs. Michael J. Yoder, RR4, Montrose.
Seth M. White, Brackney vs. Shelly White, RR3, Montrose.
Matthew L. Fischer, no address, vs. Elizabeth J. Fischer, Thompson.
A male stopped at the Flying J truck stop and pumped $21.50 of gas into a newer gray car, NY registration BPS2933, and either intentionally failed to pay or forgot to do so. This happened shortly before one on the afternoon of January 11.
This accident happened shortly before 5 on the afternoon of January 11 when a 2004 Hyundai driven by David C. Casey, New Milford, was stopped on State Route 11 in Hallstead, waiting for another vehicle to pull out from a parked position. A 2003 Ford Winstar driven by Jaelynne B. Goff, New Milford, was also waiting. Darin J. Ford, Great Bend, was shifting gears on his 1997 Dodge Dakota and hit Goff’s Winstar in the rear, pushing it into Casey’s Hyundai. Great Bend EMS and Fire responded to the scene, but no one was injured and all were wearing seatbelts. All three vehicles received minor damage, and Marv’s Towing took the Dakota from the scene.
At around 5:30 on the afternoon of January 11, Eugene Nuss, 89, Springville, was driving his vehicle through the fog and rain on State Route 29 in Bridgewater Township, when he was unable to stay on the road and hit a utility pole.
Ronald Childress, Meshoppen, was driving a 1998 Dodge Ram south on State Road 3001 in Dimock Township when he went off the road and hit a tree. He did not survive injuries he sustained in the crash, which happened at noon on December 19.
This accident happened shortly after 2:30 on the morning of January 11 when a 1996 Ford Escort owned by Bonnie Overfield was parked off the south berm of Township Road 810 in Forest Lake Township, after sliding off the ice-covered road. A 1997 Cadillac DeVille driven by Angelo Scarfalloto, 58, Montrose, was traveling east on the road when Scarfalloto lost control of it because of ice. The Cadillac slid off the road, too, and hit the Ford. Both vehicles were severely damaged and towed from the scene by Hi-Tech Towing, Liberty Township. Neither driver was injured.
HIT AND RUN CRASH
At about 11:30 on the night of December 24, a 1989 Lincoln driven by Jeffrey Herbert, New Milford, hit a parked vehicle on Broad Street in New Milford, and then crashed into a stop sign and a tree. Herbert, who was not injured, failed to notify the property owner of the damage, and did not notify the police. He was issued numerous citations.
This accident happened at 3:20 in the morning on January 18 when a 2005 GMC Sierra owned by Kevin Holgate, Hop Bottom and driven by Frank Edward Gardner, 36, Hop Bottom, went off the west berm of High Street in Hop Bottom and into the yard of Martin Jay Alexander. The Sierra then struck a stump and wooden fence before getting stuck and hitting a PENNDOT retaining wall. Gardner then backed up and hit a tree, causing it to fall on the Sierra as well as two vehicles parked in Alexander’s driveway. Gardner, who was not injured, was arrested at the scene for DUI and related traffic offences. The Sierra was towed from the scene by Kozlowski’s Towing.
Shortly before on the morning of January 9, Geoffrey Groven, South Montrose, was driving south on State Route 29 in Bridgewater Township when his 1989 Chevy Blazer went off the road and hit a tree. Groven was not injured but the Blazer was totaled. Montrose Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.
Ashley R. Prindle, Hallstead, reported that between January 1 and 4, someone entered her apartment on Main Street and stole her checkbook.*
Todd Burkey, Dalton, reported that on January 1, he and his family were at the Elk Mountain Ski Resort when they went into the lodge for a few minutes. When they returned outside, they discovered that someone had stolen Burkey’s snowboard – a dark blue Burton Custom X with Burton Mission bindings.*
Christopher Mirra, 29, and Billie Jo Daniels, 34, lived together in New Milford. At 3 on the afternoon of December 26, they became involved in an argument and Mirra apparently pushed and choked Daniels during it. He was charged with Harassment.
Pamela Jane Leiger, 36, Hallstead, was criminally charged with Rape-Felony 1, Incest-Felony 2, Endangering the Welfare of Children and Corruption of Minors-Misdemeanor 1, for incidents that occurred from 2004-05. She was arraigned before a district justice and committed to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
The Gibson State Police are investigating a report of a rape which is alleged to have occurred on January 1 at Bigg’s Trailer Court in Dimock Township.
THEFT OF A MOTORCYCLE
Between December 26 and January 4, an unknown person(s) took a yellow 2005 Suzuki DR400Z motorcycle from property at Biniewicz Stone in Gibson Township, and owned by Stanley Biniewicz, New Milford.*
Every window of a white Ford Explorer owned by Michael John Turock, Waverly, PA, was smashed and body panels dented while it was parked at the Turock property in Lenox Township. This incident, by an unknown person(s), happened sometime between 4-9 a.m. on December 26.
Sometime between the afternoon of December 30 and 7:30 on the afternoon of January 4, someone damaged a Timberjack 250 owned by Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Berwick, and removed about 20 gallons of diesel from it, while it was parked on Township Road 561 in Forest Lake Township.*
At about 8:30 on the morning of January 4, Timothy R. Bennett, Clifford, was driving a 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse west on State Route 106 in Lenox Township when he lost control of it, crossed over the oncoming lane, left the road, and hit a ditch that caused it to roll over and finally land on its wheels on the edge of the eastbound lane. Bennett, who was wearing a seatbelt, was not injured. The Eclipse received moderate damage and was towed by Kozlowski Towing. Harford EMS and Clifford Fire responded.
This accident happened at about 3:30 on the afternoon of January 3 when Michael Perreault, Montrose, fell asleep while he was driving a 1996 Buick on State Route 706 in the EMR Paint Ball area. The Buick left the road, hit a snow bank, jumped a ditch and landed in a field. No fire or EMS responded. Vogel’s towed the Buick.
At 7:30 on the morning of January 3, a 1996 GEO Tracker driven by Dennis Gow, Sr., 50, Great Bend, was in an accident and became disabled in the southbound lane of State Route 171 in Great Bend Township but was facing north. A 1996 Saturn driven by Nathan Piercy, 30, Susquehanna, was traveling south on the road and hit the Tracker after Gow tried in vain to avoid the collision. The roadway was ice- and slush-covered at the time because of an ongoing sleet storm. Assistance at the scene was provided by the Great Bend Fire Department. Both drivers and their passengers were all wearing seatbelts and no one was injured.
FALSE REPORTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
On December 23, Christopher House, 26, Bridgewater Township, reported that his pick up truck had been stolen by a person known to him following the truck’s involvement in a traffic crash in Montrose. An investigation revealed that the person who had been operating the truck when it was in the crash did have permission to be in possession of it. As a result of an investigation, House was charged with False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities, a misdemeanor of the second degree.
A 1999 Ford Explorer driven by Thomas MacDonald, 35, Montrose, received moderate damage when MacDonald failed to fully negotiate a left-hand, downhill curve on State Route 267 approximately 2 miles south of State Road 4014. The vehicle swerved across the center line and left the road, hit a ditch and a small clump of trees, rolled onto its right side, spun 120 degrees counterclockwise, and landed in the ditch on its right side facing north. MacDonald was cited for driving too fast for conditions in this accident that happened at 8 on the morning of January 3.
Sometime between 1 on the afternoon of January 1 and 9 the following morning, an unknown person(s) used what appeared to be a key to scratch a mark from the driver side door front to the driver side rear door of a gold 2003 Olds Alero owned by Amanda Hadlick, Great Bend while it was parked on Orchard Street. *
Kimberly Fiorentino, 39, Dimock Township, reported that an unknown person(s) stole a Honda water pump from her home sometime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on December 23.*
Douglas DePue, Brackney, was traveling west in a 1991 Dodge Caravan along State Road 4008 in Franklin Township when he steered left and went off the road. He crashed into a tree and was transported to and treated at Wilson Hospital. The Dodge was towed by Hi-Tech Collision. DePue was not wearing a seatbelt in this accident, which happened at 3:30 in the morning on December 30.
This collision happened on State Road 3004 in Auburn Township at 2 p.m. on December 26 when Kathleen Visuati, 39, Montrose, tried to pass on the right a vehicle driven by John Hoffman, 51, Meshoppen. Hoffman was attempting to turn right into a driveway along the north berm when the collision occurred with Visuati’s vehicle, blocking the westbound lane for about an hour.
CREDIT CARD FRAUD
An unknown person(s) obtained credit card information about John Russell, Hallstead, and made unauthorized charges to his account between December 21 and 23. An investigation is continuing.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at (570) 465-3154.
Following is the Susquehanna Borough Police Report for December, 2005 as submitted.
Charges were filed on Sonya Argust of Susquehanna for identity theft occurring on October 12 when she identified herself as someone else by using their name and social security number to gain electrical service from Penelec.
FURNISHING ALCOHOL TO MINORS
Dave White of Grand St. is charged for Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages to Minors and Corruption of Minors after Police were called to Barnes-Kasson Hospital on 12-04 for an intoxicated and injured juvenile. Investigation led to White supplying two cases of beer to two juveniles that led to an underage drinking party on Jackson Ave. The juvenile suffered a laceration from a glass window after gaining forced entry to a residence on Jackson Ave. Other charges are pending.
On 12-05-05, two healthy mules were found by the railroad tracks by local residents. They were graciously cared for by Keith Meagley after being in Police custody (garage) for several hours. Anyone missing a brown and a black mule is asked to call Police so they can go home. They are currently being cared for at a dairy farm in NY. Special thanks to Art Trynoski, Andy Meagley, Chris Davis, Dawn Carpenter, Patrick Johnson and Edward Kenny III for all the help to Police in taking care of the animals.
THEFT OF PROPERTY
On December 11, between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m., someone took 10 towels out of a dryer at the coin laundry mat. Investigation led to Daniele Upright of New Milford being charged for same.
FLEEING AND ELUDING
On December 11 at 1:57 p.m. Police attempted a routine traffic stop on a Plymouth van for running two stop signs with DUI suspicion on W. Church St. Multiple complaints were made of the same vehicle prior. Driver fled from Police South on 171 where Police followed vehicle to Uniondale while working with State Police and Forest City PD. Nicholaus Baker of Susquehanna was arrested for Fleeing Police, DUI suspended license and multiple traffic violations. Jodee Mickavicz of Susquehanna was further charged for letting Baker drive her Plymouth van with a DUI suspended license.
THEFT BY DECEPTION
William Ruddy of Scranton has been charged for three counts of Theft by Deception and Bad Checks after passing three checks to Schneider’s with no valid checking account. He was stopped by Schneider’s on 12-14-05 at 8:30 p.m. for attempting another bad check. (A warrant of arrest was issued on 01-11-06.)
THEFT FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE**
Sometime in the early morning of December 15, someone took a medical device, flashlight and change from the Tarbox’s vehicle that was parked at 513 Franklin Avenue.
On 12-22-05, Police with Susquehanna County Probation and Sheriffs Dept. served probation warrants at 802 West Main St. for Tim Craig and Jeffrey Norton. They were taken into custody without incident. Codes Officer was called to investigate the condition of residence. Other charges pending.
Anthony Beamer (20) of Susquehanna was arrested for Underage Drinking on 12-30-05 after Police were called to the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge for an intoxicated male at 11:44 p.m.
**Any information please call Police at 853-3147.
Under Age Drinking: 1-888-UNDER-21 (Anonymous).
Drug Tips: 1-877-PA NO-DRUGS (Anonymous).
Terrorism Tips: 1-888-292-1919 (Homeland Security).
Of 501 school districts in Pennsylvania, Blue Ridge was one of only 111 (and the only one of six in Susquehanna County) that chose to participate in the so-called Act 72 program that proposed to offer some property tax relief by changing the rules by which school districts budget their money. The governor and legislature are still wrangling about what to do about this startling rejection. In the meantime, school boards that "opted in" on Act 72 must follow the new rules, one of which requires them to develop budgets substantially earlier than before.
Blue Ridge must publish a budget for the school year that will start next Fall by February 26. The public – and the state Department of Education – will have until the end of June to study the budget before formal and final adoption.
At their first meeting of the new year on January 9, Blue Ridge School Board members heard Business Manager Loren Small's estimates on the revenue side. Expenses will be considered at a workshop on January 23. The complete budget will be considered after that.
The only major revenue component that can be clearly established this early is income from local sources, most of which still comes from property taxes. Mr. Small projects nearly 4% more from this source next year, primarily due to changes in the Clean and Green rules, which brings the "base acre" back under regular assessment rules. Property taxes for the schools are expected to total just over $5 million from the six jurisdictions covered by the Blue Ridge District, up about $192,000 more from the current year.
With the turmoil over tax reform in Harrisburg, no one can tell for sure what the schools will get from the state next year. Mr. Small estimates a slight increase in subsidies for special education, but he said he was "basically guessing what might happen" in the governor's budget, due out by the end of the month. Of a total of about $14.8 million, $8.2 million should come from state sources. Funds from federal sources are not projected to change at all, and represent a fairly small part of the Blue Ridge budget at about $629,000.
Since local property taxes are such an important source of funding for the schools, who actually collects the money is crucial. Blue Ridge will try to go it alone.
Last Spring the Blue Ridge School Board voted to offer the six tax collectors only 60 cents per bill to handle taxes for the district, a cut of about 80% for those elected officials. The tax collectors almost immediately announced their intention not to collect taxes at that rate. Ever since they have been campaigning among their various jurisdictions to be exonerated when they refuse to handle the school taxes. They finally got around to making a similar request of the school board, and they got their answer at this meeting.
Each of the tax collectors received a letter and a proposed agreement that effectively relieves them of responsibility for collecting taxes for the Blue Ridge district. Under the proposal, they would be reimbursed for expenses involved with handling materials directed to them instead of the district, which proposes to handle all the processing itself. They would also agree to forward to the district all materials and information they receive during the transition. All of them must sign the agreement, together with the district, for it to take effect.
Tax collectors attending the meeting said that legal counsel have advised them not to sign the document as offered. They asked for a few changes in the language of the proposed agreement, and they argued for at least some compensation for handling materials that come to them, in addition to reimbursement for expenses. But Board President Alan Hall told them that "this is a legal document" and that the board is not inclined to make any changes to it.
The board adopted the proposed agreement with the tax collectors by resolution. Tax bills will be issued with clear notice that payments are to be forwarded to the district office. The agreement would cover the three-year term of the newly-elected tax collectors, through 2009.
One of the tax collectors asked how the district expects to handle the tax bills itself for only 60 cents apiece. Mr. Hall said merely, "The district is replacing you and the district will take care of it."
$110,293 of the money already collected was appropriated at the meeting to expand the parking lot at the Elementary School. J.J. Wasko Construction of Olyphant won the contract with the lowest bid.
Otherwise, the meeting followed a routine agenda. The board formally adopted a change to its policy manual that lays out what amounts to an extended mission statement, defining the purposes and objectives of the board itself.
The board also made their annual donation of $750 to the county library system.
The meeting came to a close with a small party focused on a large cake. January is "School Director Recognition Month," and Superintendent Robert McNamara thanked each member of the board with a certificate and handshake. The cake was inscribed with the words "Thanks for all you do," (clearly not directed at the tax collectors).
None of the turmoil over taxes is their fault, of course. But High School Principal John Manchester, and Middle School Matthew Nebzydoski will be going to jail. Contributions for their bail will be donated to the campaign against muscular dystrophy.
With some luck they will be back out on the street for the board's next meeting, a workshop, scheduled for January 23. Meetings usually begin at 7:30 in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe