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The Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners agreed last week to spend $327,850 for 43 AutoMark ballot marking machines (one for each voting district in the county) for handicap voters, a high-speed central paper ballot counter, software license, server computer, and election support services.
The money will come from a federal grant authorized in conjunction with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which was passed in 2002 in an effort to correct the problems encountered in Florida during the November 2000 presidential election.
Dave Yulke, county computer technician, said the new equipment, which will be used for the first time in the May Primary Elections, was selected because it continues the county’s use of paper ballots.
“We are familiar with paper ballots,” Yulke said. “They are the most reliable and they are very difficult to tamper with.”
The equipment will come from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a Nebraska-based corporation, and has been endorsed by Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), a nationally recognized disability advocacy group. In a press release issued last week, Chester Finn, chair of SABE’s Executive Committee, said after testing numerous accessible voting machines, the ES&S AutoMark stood out from the competition.
The ES&S AutoMark is designed to provide privacy and accessibility to voters who are blind, vision-impaired, or have a disability that would make it difficult or impossible to mark a ballot in the usual way. The AutoMark is fully qualified to the latest 2002 Federal Voting Systems Standards.
The paper ballot counter and vote tabulator alerts the operator of over votes, blanks, write-in or damaged ballots and can tabulate absentee ballots. Over votes occur when a voter fills in ovals for more candidates than there are elective seats to be decided.
In other business at the commissioners’ meeting, employee matters again took up a sizeable chunk of time as the commissioners acted on two resignations, three new hirings, a couple of employee transfers and one retirement.
When the motions, all of which were approved unanimously by the commissioners, were finished, the following employment issues were settled:
-Raymond C. Davis, a Montrose attorney, was appointed county solicitor replacing Michael Giangrieco who resigned in January. Davis will be paid $31,000 plus benefits.
-Mary Plevyak, a court reporter, and Stephen Barondeau, watershed specialist, both resigned.
-Amy Curley left her position as court liaison/conference officer in Domestic Relations, and was appointed to fill the vacant court reporter’s position. She will be paid $21,000 plus transcription fees.
-Daniel Walter, occupation clerk in the Assessment Office, transferred to the commissioners office where he will serve as deputy chief county clerk. The Salary Board set his annual pay at $24,500.
-Marcia Lamon retired after serving several years as a tipstaff.
-Wesley Wilbur of Hop Bottom was hired as security officer at the main entrance to the courthouse at $8.20 per hour. He replaces Ed Harden who retired.
-And, Robert Bastek of Forest City was named a part-time deputy sheriff at an hourly rate of $9.70.
In other matters, the commissioners awarded contracts totaling $198,943 for repairs to a bridge in Springville Township that was damaged by flood waters in 2005, and approved a resolution to obtain $465,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Development for a housing and redevelopment assistance program in the Borough of Susquehanna.
Following are minutes of the Lanesboro Council meeting of January 3, as submitted.
Roll Call – Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Chris Maby, Bob Mireider, Stan Rockwell, Colleen Wilkes. Absent – Ray Barnes. Also present – Gail Hanrahan.
Resignation of Chris Maby for council position. Swearing in of newly elected officials.
Reorganization: President – Boughton, Vice President – Rockwell. Unanimous.
Resolution passed unanimously authorizing Agility Agreement with PENNDOT.
Police Report – Officers Canini, VanFleet and MacDonald retired in December. Officers Record and Bastek have been hired. Police hours will be split amongst Gow, Record and Bastek. A schedule will be made available to the council each month. County Communications Center notified of changes.
Code Enforcement Report – Shane unable to attend, left reports. Minor activity during the month. Shane and Myron have applied for a hearing date regarding the Gelineau property. As of the meeting date, County Court had not yet set a date. Maby discussed with Myron – a compliance order has been recorded at the courthouse. The compliance order ensures that if the property were sold, an agreement regarding demolition is required as part of the purchase.
Streetlight work should be starting any time now – a work order has been secured and forwarded to the appropriate field personnel at Penelec. Multiple lights that have been out have been replaced and are now working.
Scenic byway extension through Lanesboro – meeting to be held at Shadowbrook January 20. Maby extended invitation for all to attend – no one accepted.
EMC meeting January 11, with Elected Official meeting on January 14. Maby will coordinate if anyone plans to attend – no one accepted.
Maby would like to advertise for a deputy EMC, due to the need for a backup and also the added responsibilities of mayoral position. Will include in the upcoming newsletter if council approves.
Police have informed Maby there will be some expenses not budgeted, due to new state requirements. Long distance service for faxing and Internet access are the primary ones, with possibly the addition of office related equipment. Motion carried to authorize the unbudgeted expenses, with upset limit of $65/month for Internet access. May will add a line item to the base budget for 2007 for any ongoing yearly expenses.
Newsletter is being written – Maby asked if anyone would like to add a short dialogue to it.
Several local businesses, individuals, and State Farm have donated over $3,200 to Phase II of the Community Park. Additional fundraising will be needed to complete the walking path, with an estimated cost of $2,200 for a paved walking surface. In the event enough money cannot be raised, an alternate walking surface will be evaluated.
All future work for the borough, regardless of price, will be advertised by either a request for proposal letter, or advertised in the local papers. Choice of which method to use is dependent upon the cost, and mandated by the state borough code.
Community Center Report
Recycling - $54 in recyclables, which will go down in the future, as NY State no longer accepting non-NY stamped cans.
Rentals – six resident, one non-resident.
Other – extra insulation was sold for cost ($160). Regina asked for authorization to have Kevin clean the floor. Council agreed, Maby asked that he list the time in the appropriate category on his timesheet.
Gruen/Landry property driveway – Maby discussed matter with Myron. Letters will be sent to both owners, and call placed to County to determine a hearing date.
Maby presented an idea regarding sidewalk snow removal via purchase of a new tractor. The tractor would be all hydraulic and equipped with a 4’ snow blower and 5’ mower deck. The benefits are several – all parallel sidewalks would be maintained by the borough, which would help the elderly, in addition to allowing mowing to be paid hourly, rather than a lump sum. He has discussed the idea with several residents, all who are in very strong support of this. Approximately $2,700 is budgeted for snow removal and mowing for 2006. Maby expected the yearly costs, including financing and hourly wages to be somewhere around $4,000. Maby asked council to consider the purchase, with the position advertised with preference given to Lanesboro residents. After discussion, council approved with Mireider and Rockwell against.
Posting & Bonding of local roads (general discussion) – Maby discussed matter with DeWitt regarding Depot. St. Solicitor advised the section of roadway near the TS Ivan collapsed and should not be traveled by overweight vehicles. Bonding, declination of bonding, or proposed developer improvements on the road should be handled on a case by case basis, if a quarry or some other development is constructed which would require overweight vehicles elsewhere on Depot St. After discussion, council agreed to both suggestions. Maby will ask the police to monitor the roadway and inform the appropriate vehicles of the potential violations.
Maby suggested that the agenda be revised from previous years, due to changes in the way things operate. He asked that a focus point of the February meeting be on the budget report – how to read, extrapolate information, etc. Council agreed. Maby will coordinate suggestions with Boughton for inclusion into future agendas.
James G. Day to James G. Day, Nicholson, James G. Day Jr., Christopher H. Day, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Susan Beth Vorndran, West Lawn, in Brooklyn Township for $32,900.
Community Bank & Trust Co. to Leslie Lotz, RR2, Susquehanna, in Forest City for $25,000.
United States Secretary of Housing & Urban Development to Dorothea Sniegos, RR2, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for $27,500.
Martin J. Gallagher, Ruth P. Gallagher to Richard Schumann, Betsy L. Schumann, Yardville, NJ, in Harmony Township for $79,000.
Joseph Gerchman to Lawrence A. Brown Sr., Linda C. Brown, Millville, NJ, in Herrick Township for $150,000.
Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2002-5 (by poa) to David L. Fox, Thompson, in Ararat Township for $14,900.
Kenneth E. Yeisley, Bonnie S. Yeisley to Yeisley Family Rev. Trust, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Archie K. Mackean to Robert C. Newhart, RR4, Montrose, in Jessup Township for $16,000.
Patrick MacConnell, Amy Anderson MacConnell to Robert Treible, Marjorie Treible, Lakeland, FL, in Great Bend Borough for $132,000.
Francisco Perez, Wandy DeJesus Charneco to Sheila Perez (nka) Sheila P. Ghidini, San Francisco, CA, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Paul S. Moseley Sr., Holly A. Moseley to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, in Rush Township for one dollar.
George E. Suchnick to Adam Buffington, Susquehanna, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Paul Gere, Mary Gere to Paul Gere, Mary Gere, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Robert S. Kavaliauskas to Eroic Fehnel, Carbondale, in Brooklyn Township for $63,600.
William C. Deutsch, Alice M. Deutsch to Lawrence M. Grasso, Vero Beach, FL in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Claire Gelineau (estate), Richard L. Gelineau, David Gelineau, Diane Roth to Richard L. Gelineau, Diane Gelineau, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Montrose DG Partners to Craig Reimel (dba), Jay Reimel, (dba) Lees Furniture Store, in Montrose for one dollar.
Gary J. Johnson, Linda C. Johnson to Brian W. Teel, Kelly B. Teel, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for zero dollars.
Norman Triller (aka) Norman E. Triller to Robert C. Kilmer, Clifford, in Clifford Township for $18,000.
US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Joseph W. Francis, Williston Park, NY, in Susquehanna for $18,000.
Florence Fumanti (aka) Florence P. Fumanti to Christopher J. Dick, Rose Dick, Archbald, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Victoria Space to Antoinette Graytock, New Milford, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Hunter A. Wilcox, Louise K. Wilcox to Mark Caterson, RR1, Montrose, Chris Caterson, in Middletown Township for $15,000.
David H. Clemens, Carol J. Clemens to Friends of Salt Springs Park Inc., Montrose, in Franklin Township for $181,539.
Lyle G. Place, Mary Place to Richard E. Place, Charlotte E. Place, Laceyville, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Mellon Bank to Ignatius Rutkowski, Rita Rutkowski, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Ignatius Rutkowski, Rita Rutkowski, to Harold J. Ridall Jr., Meshoppen, Tammy L. Jones-Ridall, in Auburn Township for $82,000.
Harold E. Holdren (aka) Harold Holdren to W. Douglas Holdren, Collegeville, Donald H. Holdren, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Drucker Family Trust (by trustee) to Renee Wallner, Michael Wallner, Tucson, AR, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Robert J. Herrala, Margaret Herrala, Barbara Herrala, James W. Herrala, Charlene Herrala to Belma Herrala, Mountain Top, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Belma Herrala (by poa) to Stanley L. French, Brandy C. French, RR1, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for $106,000.
Daniel S. Bonham, Linda M. Bonham to Chris Heide, Tuckerton, NJ, Deborah Gould, in Harford Township for $189,000.
James W. Zick, Carol Zick to Michele M. Shehata, Scranton, in Lenox Township for $125,000.
Robert B. Carlson, Lisa Carlson to William R. Carlson, Chester Springs, William B. Carlson, James V. Husted, David A. Levitt, in Springville Township for $23,960.
Preston T. Hughes to Jack M. Woyshnar, Olyphant, in Lenox Township for $31,000.
Regis M. Magnus to Plastics Ave. Partnership, Houston, TX, in Thompson Township for $10.
Susquehanna Beverages to Ronald Scott Sherwood, RR2, New Milford, in Hallstead Borough for $114,000.
John H. Hart (revocable trust by trustee), Cheryl C. Hart (revocable trust by trustee) to Ronald Scott Sherwood, RR2, New Milford, in Great Bend Township and Hallstead Borough for $20,000.
Julie R. O’Boyle vs. Richard J. O’Boyle III, both of Brackney.
HIT AND RUN
This accident happened shortly after ten on the evening of February 9 when a unknown person driving an unknown make or model pick up lost control of it, drifted into the northbound land of State Route 29 in Dimock Township, and hit a 1994 Chevy pickup driven by John Snow, 52, Montrose. After both pickups came to a rest, the unknown driver suddenly and unexpectedly drove south and away from the scene.*
At about 8:30 p.m. on February 10, Anne Bensch, New Milford, lost control of the 2003 Ford Explorer she was driving on Highlands Road in Great Bend Township. The vehicle hit an embankment and rolled over onto its roof. New Milford EMS responded to the scene. Bensch was wearing a seatbelt and was not hurt; the Explorer was moderately damaged.
This crime happened at 1 a.m. on February 5 when William Dixon, Vestal, was in the parking lot of the Parkview Hotel in New Milford, talking to his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Morrison. William Neal Hendrickson, Great Bend, came out of the bar and assaulted Dixon, hitting him in the head and face several times. Dixon said he did not fight back and, when Hendrickson left, he got up and went to Barnes-Kasson Hospital, where he was treated for a laceration above his left eye. Charges are being filed against Hendrickson at district court.*
Sometime between January 5 and 12, an unknown person(s) smashed a window and entered a residence in Herrick Township owned by Edward Emanuel, Broomall, PA. Stolen were 3 DVD players, a CD/Audio receiver, CD/clock radio, 13-inch flat-screen television, a digital camera, 20 reduced-price ski tickets, 2 radios and 31 bottles of liquor.*
Sometime between 7:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. on February 6, someone forced their way into a window and into the home of Francis Hood, Forest Lake Township and took groceries. An investigation continues.
On January 23, unknown person(s) entered a barn and a garage belonging to Charles Turner, Kingsley, and stole various tools. Turner’s mailbox was also tampered with.*
Susan Kelsey, 31, Thompson, was involved in an argument with her boyfriend, Roger Conklin, 40, Thompson, who apparently choked and pushed her. Conklin was charged with harassment in this incident that happened at 2:30 p.m. on January 22.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Shortly after five on the afternoon of January 25, Harold Kelsey III, 23, Hallstead, was driving a 1990 Chevy Cavalier north on Shadowbrook Road in Liberty Township. The roadway was snow and ice covered, and Kelsey tried to slow his car in preparation to going through a curve. Instead, he slid into a 1997 Chrysler Concord driven by Rebecca Zawisky, 29, Hallstead, and hit the car’s front end. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and received minor injuries. Both cars were towed. Zawisky was cited for equipment violation.
At around 7:30 p.m. on February 2, Joseph Nusbaum, New Milford, was inside the HO Mart in New Milford. When Bobbi Jo Nusbaum pulled into the parking lot. J. Nusbaum went out to talk to BJ Nusbaum, who drove into J.’s car before driving off herself. Charges were filed against BJ Nusbaum in district court.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Shortly after seven on the morning of January 30, Denise Bloomer, 43, New Milford, was driving a 1999 Dodge Durango from the Pump & Pantry parking lot in New Milford and onto Main Street when she failed to see a 1995 Dodge Ram truck driven by Ronald Kays, 57, New Milford, approaching. She pulled out in front of Kays, causing a collision. Both units were disabled and towed from the scene; neither driver was injured. Bloomer was cited for traffic violation.
On the night of February 2, at both 8:34 and 9:24, Kevin Lee Casselbury, 43, Montrose, text-messaged and telephoned Cheryl Ann Larue, Rush Township, in violation of an effected PFA order. As a result, Casselbury was taken into custody at his home and transported to the district judge’s office in Harford, where he was released to the custody of his brother on ROR bail.
This incident occurred on January 28 when Cindy Jean Pellew, 46, Friendsville, pulled up to Newhart’s Quarry, Middletown Township, to start her workday at around 8 a.m. Eugene Alex Labbe, Jr., 40, Friendsville, came after her, swinging a 4-pound sledge hammer, narrowly missing Pellew several times. Labbe fled from the scene when she informed him she was going to report his cowardly acts to the authorities. The charge of terroristic threats and first-degree misdemeanor charges have been filed against Labbe, in addition to recklessly endangering another person.
This crash happened shortly after 9 p.m. on February 2 when a 1997 Saturn driven by Andrew Bookin, 16, Montrose, was traveling south on State Road 2053 in Bridgewater Township left the road and hit a tree and a parked 1989 Buick Skylark owned by Daniel MacGeorge, Montrose. The Buick received minor damage; the Saturn, severe damage; and Bookin was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
At 8:45 a.m. on February 2, Rudolf Gene Testa, Gibson, was stopped for a routine traffic stop for speeding on State Road 848 in New Milford Township. As the trooper was writing the ticket, Testa left his vehicle and tried to throw himself into the path of an oncoming car. The trooper stopped him. Testa then wrestled free, got back into his car and took off, where he ran his car into an electric pole that cracked in half and disrupted electric service to the area. He was taken into custody and driven to Marion Community Hospital. He is charged with fleeing and eluding, criminal mischief, resisting, speeding, reckless endangerment, careless driving on roadways.
At about 9 on the morning of February 1, Peggy McHugh/Engstrom was caught attempting to steal $304 of groceries from the Price Chopper in Montrose. She was charged with retail theft.
HIT AND RUN
This crash occurred when a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Courtney Kerr, New Milford, was driving west on State Road 706 when an unknown vehicle and operator side-swiped her car from the eastbound lane and continued to drive away after this crash that happened at 6:30 p.m. on January 30.*
At about 2:45 on the afternoon of January 26, someone walked into the PennStar Bank in New Milford, went to the teller counter and placed what appeared to be an improvised explosive device on the counter. He told the tellers it was a bomb, and demanded the teller’s money. After getting it, he fled through the front door of the bank. An investigation revealed that the device was a fake, with no explosive capabilities. A description of the robber is: while male, about 5-feet, 10-inches tall, mustache, about 180 pounds, wearing light gray sweatpants, sweatshirt, dark-colored jacket and ball cap, and a brown wig.*
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, BURGLARY, ATTEMPTED THEFT
Shortly after 7 on the evening of January 28, Darren Hall, 19 , and Robert Theobald, Jr., 30, both of the Susquehanna area, along with Angelo Marino, 30, Great Bend, conspired with each other to commit crimes at the Smithy residence on Elm Street in Susquehanna. They planned and carried out the plans, going to the residence and using force to enter the house. They discussed taking drugs and money from the occupants of the residence before they went there. Hall pulled out, displayed and used a BB gun to strike and assault persons within the residence when they refused to give him the items he demanded. Hall and Marino were located at another residence in Susquehanna and were taken into custody, charged for the crimes. Arraigned before the magisterial district judge and committed to the county jail on $50,000 bail. Theobald was not found, but a warrant was issued for his arrest.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
At 9:30 a.m. on January 26, Robert Bruzas, Jr., 30, Scranton, was driving a 1999 Kenworth Truck Tractor east on a snow-covered State Route 171 in Great Bend Township. After going through a curve, he saw both traffic and pedestrians stopped because of a crash that had just occurred. Bruzas tried to stop, but lost control and steered to the left to avoid striking the stopped vehicles and people in the road. As he traveled off the north berm and into the parking lot of Red Rock Auto Sales, he hit a metal sign and a parked car. A piece of metal from the sign was vaulted across the lot and hit a pedestrian, Michael Matis, 81, Susquehanna, who was standing in the lot. Matis was taken by ambulance to Wilson Hospital for a laceration injury to his leg. The Tractor was towed and Bruzas cited for the collision.
Duane Robert Chase, 40, New Milford, was driving a 1994 Dodge Caravan eastbound on State Road 392 shortly after 2 on the morning of January 29. He failed to properly negotiate a right-hand curve, crossed over the centerline, left the road and entered a driveway where his van hit a parked 1998 Chevy truck owned by Jeffrey Bailey. The van continued east, striking trees in front of Bailey’s home, crossed back over the road and hit a ditch on the opposite side. A strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was noted on Chase’s person. He submitted to field sobriety test and failed. He was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI and taken to Barnes Kasson in for a blood test.
FATAL MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
A 1994 Ford Probe was southbound on State Route 11 in New Milford Township shortly after 3 on the morning of January 27 when it left the road off the west berm, hit an earthen embankment and became airborne. It continued southbound for several hundred feet, became airborne again on several occasions, clearing the railroad tracks and a creek. It came to rest on its roof facing east and on the south side of the creek. When state police arrived, John Link, 18, Conklin, was seat-belted in the front passenger seat of the car and pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner. Other occupants Todd Spry, 20, Brandon Williams, 18, and Douglas Shoemaker, 18, all of Conklin, were taken to Wilson Hospital for treatment. Assisting at the scene were Hallstead EMS/Fire, New Milford EMS/Fire, Harford EMS and Marv’s Towing. Because of the severity of the damage to the vehicle and the necessity of medical treatment for occupants, the operator of the vehicle has yet to be determined. The investigation is ongoing.
Sometime between January 27 and 28, someone cut through a copper propane line with an unknown tool at the back of the Pump and Pantry in Bridgewater Township.*
John Michael Picard, 41, telephoned Diane Marie Sena, 34, Montrose, at her residence 11 times between 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on January 27 in violation of the no-contact clause of an effective Protection from Abuse Order. Picard was taken into custody at a motel room in Montrose and taken before Judge Seamans at the courthouse. He was arraigned, bail was set at $10,000, and he was taken to the county jail in lieu of bail.
Between 5 and 9 p.m. on January 26, someone deposited an unknown substance inside the passenger compartment of a school bus owned by Gene Tranovich Bus Co., Jermyn, PA., which was parked on the Blue Ridge School Campus in New Milford Township.
At around 9:30 on the morning of January 26, Melissa Martin, 29, New Milford, lost control of her 2003 Ford Explorer on snow-covered State Route 171 in Great Bend Township. The vehicle slid off the road and hit a utility pole with its right side. Martin was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. Passengers were in child safety seats as required by law and one was taken to Barnes-Kasson with a minor injury.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at 570-465-3154
Nick Cost, new mayor of Forest City, said last week he loves the borough and for this reason, he is launching a cleanup campaign aimed at improving the appearance of the town.
“I am giving fair warning,” the mayor said, “that this town will be cleaned up. The situation has been out of control long enough and I will not have our borough looking like a pigpen.
“I will not tolerate garbage stacked up on porches or in yards. I intend to enforce the law relating to illegally parked cars on the streets or in back yards. You know who you are and it is time this stopped.”
The mayor said there is no reason for neighbors or visitors to have to look at unsightly messes. He said he would allow some time for residents to clean up around their homes and then begin issuing citations.
“As mayor.” he said, “I can tell you this town will be cleaned up because we are going after them (violators) 100 percent.”
At the same meeting, the mayor and Jim Lowry, council president, exchanged words after the mayor expressed an interest in remaining on the street committee where he was chairman prior to being elected to the borough’s top office.
“Why did you take me off public works?” the mayor asked of Lowry. The Borough Code allows the mayor to be named to a council committee.
“Because, you can go back 30, 40 years and no mayor ever served on a committee,” Lowry replied. “I can never remember a mayor serving on a (council) committee.”
“I didn’t ask you that,” the mayor said. “I asked you why you removed me from the committee?”
“I thought we all gave him a vote of confidence at the last meeting,” Councilwoman Ruth Fitzsimmons said.
“So did I,” Councilman Paul J. Amadio injected.
“Hey, put him as president of the council if you want to,” Lowry said.
“I just want to know why you took me off the committee?” Mayor Cost asked again.
“Because you are the mayor,” Lowry answered. “There has never been a mayor on a committee as long as I can remember. If you can tell me of any mayor who served on a committee in this town since 1928, I may change my mind.”
“You are off there because you did a real good job,” Fitzsimmons told the mayor.
Earlier in the meeting Amadio and Lowry argued after Amadio learned that Lowry removed him as chair of the finance committee and replaced him with his son-in-law, Robert Trusky, who joined the council in January.
“I have been chairman for eight consecutive years,” Amadio said, “and I never heard one complaint from any council member.”
“I have nothing against you,” Lowry said, “but can you remember when it was hard to find you available for meetings at budget time. And I don’t like what you tried to do to me.”
“What did I try to do Mr. Lowry?” Amadio replied.
“Didn't you sit right here at a public meeting and try to stop me from signing checks?”
“Never,” Amadio replied. “By law the council president must sign the checks and the vice president in his absence. But when I was vice president you would not allow the borough treasurer to let me sign a bank card so I could sign checks.”
"And didn't you tell Mary Cicco when she was council president to remove me as street committee chairman?"
"I might have," Amadio said, "but that was years ago and has nothing to do with the issue at hand."
Not long ago, the Borough of Forest City dedicated its industrial park that is located off Route 247 near the Wayne County boundary line. At its last meeting, most council members were caught with mouths open and chins dropped when they learned that the land in the industrial park is actually located in a commercial zone.
Trusky brought the issue to council and concluded it with a motion that the borough change the ordinance and make the industrial park an industrial zone. The motion passed unanimously.
Police Chief Paul Lukus told the council that meter collections are down to about half what they used to be and that the business district is going downhill fast.
“On most days,” Chief Lukus said, “you can roll a bowling ball down Main Street and not hit anything. I really think you should do something to encourage business in this town.”
Amadio suggested that the council arrange a meeting with the Forest City Commercial Association and exchange ideas that might give the business district a shot in the arm. Trusky suggested that council ask the association if it is interested in meeting with council.
“When high school kids tell you the food is good,” said Dr. Robert Vadella, superintendent of Forest City Regional Schools, “it means we have done something remarkable.”
Dr. Vadella was referring to the food in the school cafeteria where Mary Lee Martines has done wonders with the lunch menus since she became acting cafeteria manager last September.
“We would like to recognize her for healthier and more attractive servings to our students,” Dr. Vadella added.
Mrs. Martines said she has introduced foods on the school menu that she makes from scratch including chicken soup, chicken salad sandwiches, and chicken fajitas. She said she is focusing on foods that do not contain much fat and has expanded the choices of fresh fruits. As a result of her changes, business at the cafeteria has been increasing.
“It makes me feel good when the students come in and are happy to buy,” Mrs. Martines said.
“We don’t hear anything, only good about the cafeteria,” Dr. Henry Nebzydoski, president of the Board of Education, said.
For her efforts, Dr. Vadella told the Board of Education at last week’s work session that it may be time to remove the acting cafeteria manager title and make Mrs. Martines’ position permanent.
Also on the agenda for the February 13 board meeting will be a request from the Penn State Cooperative Extension of Susquehanna County with Leadership 2020 which will be held on March 3 and 4.
“They are looking for assistance in the form of possible meeting facilities and for a representative from our school district to attend as a participant,” Dr. Vadella said.
Another item of interest that will be on the next regular meeting agenda will be approval of an agreement to use the facilities as a mass care center during disaster. The request comes from the Susquehanna County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency.
The board will also honor Carl Urbas, girls varsity basketball coach, for reaching a milestone with 400 wins and is expected to approve the Pupil Transportation Index for the 2006-2007 school year at a rate of 4.629.
About a dozen or so people – including supervisors Sheila Guinan and David Sienko but minus Bob Squier – attended the meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors on the evening of February 6.
Before going into agenda items, supervisors heard out two residents who were added to it at the meeting. One wondered if it were possible for the township to put some stone down on his road before spring, what with the winter turning into, he said a washboard that was getting greasy. The resident’s house is for sale, and he offered to contribute to any stone that could be put down. The problem, however, is that winter frosts and heaves present challenges to roads. Stone put on a thawed road will be plowed off when the road freezes and it snows. So, council will take a wait-and-see position and see what might be possible. A lot depends on the weather.
The second resident requested that the board look into a property in the township where there is a goodly amount of tires and what he described as “some other stuff that doesn’t look so good,” and the board will. Former supervisor George Haskins, who was in the audience, advised that the property owner be reminded as well that it is a violation of DEP regulations and the township’s nuisance ordinance to burn tires.
Supervisors had a few things to discuss or inform about roads and the crew that works on them. For starters, the township’s contract with PENNDOT to plow the welcome center parking area was finally signed. Employee reviews that took place in a recent executive session of the board resulted in making roadmaster Terry Mroz’s probationary status full time, with a pay increase to $14.50 an hour. Tony DiSalvo, the other member of the new road crew, will continue on another three-month probationary status, at his current hourly rate, when he will be reviewed again.
In reviewing bills payable, Sienko asked why one gross paycheck for Mroz was about $100 more than another. Guinan said it was for overtime. Because Guinan is also the township’s secretary-treasurer, Sienko requested that she speak with Mroz about bringing in an on-call employee, where appropriate, instead of putting in overtime because the hourly rate for on-call employees is less. Both supervisors also agreed to have roadmaster Mroz attend board meetings, with pay, to answer any questions from them or the public.
About on-call employees, Sienko said he would like to have another one available and suggested George Haskins; Guinan agreed. Because it was not unusual for Haskins, while a supervisor and roadmaster, to suit up and sit behind a snow plow on roads with which he’s familiar, he is a well qualified choice and will be paid the on-call rate of $12 an hour.
The roadmaster’s report on work accomplished over the three weeks prior to the meeting included plowing and applying anti-skid; various types of work on Haley Road, Locust Hill Road, Old Route 11; Tarzan Road and Parks Road; regular maintenance and repair on equipment; and installing a new toilet in the back restroom in the borough building.
There was news about the Bridging Communities project, and it wasn’t so good. The township, which is the lead municipality of the three on the project, received a letter from Hallstead borough, requesting the return of the $5,000 that each municipality put into the kitty when they signed a resolution to start the project. The reason was that it has not heard anything about the project moving forward.
Guinan reported that she received a letter from Debbie Dissinger, who is leading the beautification effort, requested that the township get back to the borough, letting them know that the project was in the hands of an engineer who is revising drawings for it, and asking them to keep the funds in the project. Dissinger said she would do the same. Guinan pointed out that Hallstead knows that they will be getting new sidewalks from, she thought, the H&R Block building opposite the post office down to the old Humbie’s building.
In permit and related issues, an assessment permit was issued to John Parks for an equipment storage building, and the township received the 2005 lists from COG of the permits it issued on behalf of the township for UCC purposes and for sewage tests performed and sewage permits issued.
A resident was in the audience who brought up an issue that Guinan received a complaint about on the morning of the meeting. The resident said that a commercial building is being constructed on a part of Dubois Street in a subdivision known as Pine Tree Terrace, by Nova Road. The owner of the building and property, he said, is putting in a driveway without a driveway permit. He explained that driveways into the properties on the subdivision are supposed to be from the cul-de-sac of Nova Road, except for one on a subdivision closest to town.
The resident reported that he spoke with a PENNDOT driveway permit representative who told him that he already spoke with the builder, refused a driveway permit, and told him the driveway had to be in the back. The rep instructed the resident, who would be meeting with the rep on the following morning, to attend the meeting and see what the supervisors had to say.
Guinan recalled an earlier conversation with the real estate agent who sold the property to the builder, and was told that PENNDOT would approve a driveway permit once the builder had the deed. The resident said this couldn’t be possible, not if PENNDOT abided by the ordinances governing the subdivision. Besides, he said, there appeared to be problems with sight lines for front driveways.
The resident wanted to have a supervisor at his meeting with PENNDOT, and one will be there. Guinan also thought that it made sense for the builder to be there, too, for everyone to be represented and hear what was said, first-hand. Depending on what comes out of the meeting, the supervisors will decide whether or not they will need to talk with the township’s solicitor.
Correspondence included a letter from Susquehanna County Leadership 2020, looking for donations, volunteers and/or a meeting facility. With a brand-new building, the supervisors decided to offer its brand-new meeting room at no cost, of course, if it can accommodate the group.
In the ongoing battle on the two New York Avenue eyesores, a resident pointed out that there is probably eight cars or so on one of them, and it’s highly doubtful they’re all registered. Guinan said that she went through several samples and more-stringent PSATs initiatives on problems such as this one that the township perpetually faces, and will ask the solicitor to review them. Sienko noted that the section of a property on Route 171 that has been fenced in looks good, and he is determined to seeing that the rest of the fencing is followed through when warmer weather arrives in the spring.
In new business, Guinan reported a phone conversation with Margot Merrit, the township’s elected tax collector. Merritt told Guinan about a conversation she just had with a DCED representative who told Merritt that the Blue Ridge School District’s decision to dramatically reduce the compensation of those who collect its taxes and take the function in-house is illegal and violates local tax-collector law. What’s more, the DCED rep told Merritt that the governor’s office stood behind the collectors. Guinan thought the township should assist Merrit to some degree, since Merritt collects its taxes. Sienko agreed, so Guinan will contact the DCED representative as well as PSATs to better determine what’s legal and what’s not, and then proceed accordingly.
Prior to adjourning every meeting, the board asks each member of the audience – which is generally tiny – if he or she has anything to say. At this meeting, a Bogart Street resident complained about the lack of any road maintenance in ten years, including Bogart Street which he said was just a mess. A former supervisor at the meeting observed that many roads in the township have indeed not been maintained in a long while, but Bogart Street wasn’t one of them. The resident said it was. The once-supervisor recalled potholes being filled and at least some tar and chipping done with excess agility materials in the past two years, as reported in the Transcript. The resident said no work was done on the street.
Another resident/another former supervisor asked how long Mr. Squier was going to be away, seeing as how he was not at the meeting that evening and the regular second meeting of the month was cancelled because both Squier and Sienko would be away. The supervisors didn’t know, but Guinan thought Squier would be back for a March meeting. When the resident said that this absence seems to happen every year, a fellow sitting next to him – and who voiced his opinions at meetings when the resident sat at the supervisors’ table – told him to shut his mouth, among other things.
So, an interesting end to a meeting, when some made a quick exit, others hung around to chat and the supervisors, as they always do, staying to address paperwork and other follow-up.
The next regular meeting of the township board is scheduled for March 6 at 7 p.m. in the township building.
Montrose Police Chief John Walker released an update on the hit and run vehicle accident that occurred Monday, February 6. An arrest was made following an investigation by the Montrose Police department with a concerted effort from the PA State Police; Silver Lake Twp. Police; Oakland Borough Police; Susquehanna County Sheriff Department and Susquehanna County Probation. The arrest occurred Tuesday afternoon around 3:00 pm of the driver who fled the scene of an accident which hospitalized a local Montrose man, Bob Barnett (Mr. Barnett’s vehicle is pictured above). The perpetrator’s vehicle was found locally Monday night and impounded for evidence. The assailant driver turned himself in and is currently being held at the Susquehanna County Jail on $50,000 bail. The victim is at CMC hospital in Scranton and is listed in stable condition. Arraignment is anticipated at the local magistrate office.
February 14 – First day to circulate and file nomination petitions.
March 7 – Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions.
March 27 – First day before General Primary on which official applications for absentee ballots may be received by the County Board of Elections.
April 17 – Last day to register to vote before the General Primary.
May 9 – Last day before the General Primary official applications for absentee ballots may be received.
May 12 – All absentee ballots must be received not later than 5:00 p.m.
May 16 – General Primary Election – polls to remain open continuously between the hours of 7:000 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Local petitions will be available in the voter registration office for persons interested in running for Committeeperson. If you need information on how to run for office, you may call the Voter Registration office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (570) 278–4600, extension 220.
Susquehanna County Commissioners and representatives of Lackawanna College recently met in Montrose for exploratory discussions on forming a new satellite center for college and continuing education programs in the region. The Commissioners also met with Lackawanna College and Susquehanna County school district superintendents to further explore the satellite center concept. Feasibility is ongoing and general input or comments should be direct to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictured above (l-r) are: seated – Commissioners Mary Ann Warren and Roberta Kelly; Bridget FitzPatrick, Lackawanna College; standing – Commissioner Jeff Loomis; Mark Volk, President Ray Angeli, and Chris Lavelle, all of Lackawanna College.
A very brief meeting was held Wednesday, February 8, by the full council of New Milford Township. The financial account balances were reported as follows: General Account $10, 948.21; State Money market $1196.44 and the State Checking $1721.91.
During public comment, Mr. John Clirehugh inquired as to the appropriateness of the road crew plowing shut driveways and mail boxes. Don Shibley had no resolution or suggestion but let Clirehugh know that ”you’re gonna have them,” meaning the ongoing problem.
One sub-division was reviewed and approved after resizing the lots. Another was reviewed and returned to SEO Fortner for review and authorization.
Several quarry permits were granted by DEP and notice was forwarded to the township.
The Fireworks business at Gibson Township received approval to put up two storage buildings.
SEO Fortner submitted a request to increase his rates. According to Shibley this is the first rate increase in six years. There was no indication of what the rates were, so several rates were approved but not stated in the proposal as to what they actually are.
A work session meeting is planned for Friday, March 10, at 7:00 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned within eight minutes.
Reporter’s note: due to inclement weather, the County Transcript was unable to provide coverage of the January 2 Thompson Boro Council meeting. According to the minutes of that meeting, new council members Gary Swartz and Linda Chesnick were sworn in, as was returning member Wayne Shontz who was appointed to council in November . Andy Gardner was reappointed president; a new vice president, Mr. Shontz was appointed. Also according to the minutes during that meeting, Mayor Delaney requested that the minutes from the September meeting be amended to omit the word “harassment” regarding an (alleged) incident involving him and two boro residents. The request indicated that the wording used was the secretary’s and not an actual recording of the conversation that took place.
(Reporter’s note: after the meeting, Mr. Delaney relayed that his request to have the minutes amended had been made at the recommendation of the Mayors’ Association.)
At the February 6 meeting, which took place with all members present, Mayor Delaney’s request and the subsequent action taken were discussed in depth.
The individual who had made the complaint to council at the September meeting asked how the minutes could be amended when “harassment” was the word he had used. Mr. Gardner noted that “harassment” was a descriptive adjective and that no charges had been filed with regard to the (alleged) incident. Another question was, how could the minutes be amended after they had been approved at the October meeting, especially as the board in January had several new members who had not even been present in September or October. Mr. Gardner responded that these objections would be recorded, but that would not change the substance of the minutes. The resident then questioned, wouldn’t deletion of the word “harassment” change the meaning of what had taken place?
Secretary Diane Sheldon stated that she felt she had been accused of wrongdoing by using descriptions not actually used at the September meeting, but she had only recorded what had actually happened. She relayed information she had obtained from the state Association of Boros, and from the boro’s solicitor, both of which indicated that the September minutes could not be amended; doing so would be illegal. And, a motion carried at the January meeting to amend the September minutes must be rescinded. “Once a motion carries (to approve minutes), you cannot change the minutes; it is illegal.” She strongly objected to any involvement in what could be an illegal action on council’s part. Mr. Gardner said that he had contacted PSAB, and had been told that the minutes could be amended.
Former council member Allen Lloyd was in the audience, and asked, “If something is written about me (in the minutes) that I don’t like, I can ask to have it taken out? ...if something happened, it’s recorded.”
Later in the meeting, the motion to amend the September minutes was rescinded.
In other business, a motion carried to appoint Cathy Sinnott as the boro’s occupation tax assessor. Former council member/president Dennis Price suggested that council draw up guidelines for this position, to avoid problems that had arisen with another individual who had held the post, such as acceptable hours to call on residents, and showing proper identification if requested. Council agreed that this suggestion was worthy of following up on. A motion also carried to appoint Teresa Sheldon to an auditor position.
Billing by the PA Water Company for sewage fees was discussed. PAWC was expected to begin separate water/sewage billing in February, at the new rate approved by council. Mr. Price questioned whether approval of the separate billing could be done by resolution rather than by amending the ordinance; changing of rates could be approved by resolution, as the original ordinance had been set up to allow that, but he has contended that a change of billing practice would require an ordinance. Mr. Gardner said that it had been his understanding that the change could be made by resolution; he had checked with the boro’s solicitor, who said that it could be done that way. The solicitor had been given a draft of the proposed changes and had reviewed them. But, in light of these questions he would double check, and in the event that an ordinance is needed to change the manner of billing, the appropriate steps would be taken.
At the November meeting, motions had carried to accept the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership’s (ESCP) Comprehensive Plan and to authorize ESCP to proceed with joint zoning ordinances. At the request of ESCP, a motion carried to add the phrase, “without partial mapping” to the zoning ordinance. Mr. Gardner was pleased to report that the estimated cost to Thompson for the comprehensive plan, which would be evenly distributed over a three-year period, will be less than the approximately $392/year that had been estimated.
Mr. Swartz gave a report on the highway committee’s findings. An ice problem on Water St. where water was flowing over the road into a basement will be addressed by cutting a shallow ditch to the sluice pipe. Mr. Swartz will contact PENNDOT to find out what the regulations are to place snow removal signs on state roads; several signs had been removed and never replaced. In several areas, sidewalk sections are lifting up or cracking; Mr. Swartz asked whose responsibility repair would be. Unfortunately, Mr. Gardner said, the warranty period has expired (they were put in as part of the sewer construction project) and they are the property owners’ responsibility.
Mr. Halesky has been researching information on driveway permits (on boro roads), including proposed fees to be added to the boro’s permit schedule, sample ordinances, and input from the CEO.
Mr. Halesky will serve on the UCC appeals board; another likely candidate has been found, with a third seat still open.
Council discussed what options might be available for building inspection once CEO Lewis is unable to do them; Mr. Lewis had been “grandfathered” under UCC regulations for a period of three years, with about one year left. One option council is exploring is to use COG for building permits and retaining Mr. Lewis as CEO. In answer to a question from the audience, Mr. Gardner stressed that no action has been taken and no fees have been paid, COG is just one avenue being looked into for the future.
Council will review two sample copies of a proposed open records policy, when requests are made for copies of official documents from the boro. Items include the cost of researching records and providing copies, a time frame for complying with requests, request forms to be filled out by those wishing the records, mailing costs, cost to provide records on CD’s/floppies, certification of copies of official documents, and the process to be followed if a request is denied.
Mr. Gardner also recommended that council adopt a policy to deal with anonymous complaints. The boro does have complaint forms available, but in some instances a decision would have to be made regarding anonymous complaints if they pertain to situations that involve public health and safety, such as malfunctioning sewer systems. He recommended that those situations be discussed at an executive session to determine if they have any merit, and then proceed with the appropriate action if necessary.
Mr. Shontz had nearly completed a bulletin board, which the owner of the old fire house on Main Street had given permission to place there. Mr. Price has another one that he is willing to donate to the boro; it was agreed to contact the fire company to see if it could be placed at the fire hall.
Mayor Delaney reported that he had received several complaints about burning, which had been passed on to Mr. Lewis to check into.
The boro phone already has contact information for building permits (Mr. Halesky’s phone number). Mr. Swartz’ (roads) and the mayor’s will be added.
Council discussed obtaining a small storage shed for such things as signs and shovels, that could be placed at the sewer plant site. A local individual has a used one for sale; it was agreed to find out what the cost would be.
And, a motion carried to change council’s meeting time to 7 p.m., as of March 6.
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