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The Blue Ridge School Board business meeting on March 13 was a fairly routine event as such things go. An unusual number of observers were present (about 13), many of them interested in the board's plans for transportation next year. Bus contractors had been given a preliminary rundown last month. There wasn't much discussion this time, but the board did approve "preliminary Micro Bus contracts" with Sally and Dennis Lewis, Dean Lewis and Sam Cosmello that will allow them to purchase the small buses – four of them – as Blue Ridge downsizes its transportation fleet to match declining enrollment.
The meeting actually opened with an executive session, which presumably led to tabling two personnel items on the agenda, with no further discussion. Then Technology Coordinator John Ketchur gave a brief presentation on changes in the network and computing environment in the schools. "Technology" consumes a lot of resources in the schools these days, and Mr. Ketchur is careful to keep his board up to date about what the money is being spent for.
Much of Mr. Ketchur's presentation concentrated on the integration he is trying to achieve between some of the software packages used in the schools, now that just about everyone has access to the network and e-mail. Integration hopes to shortcut some of the steps required to manage student records and grades, for example.
Some of the integration is directed at providing parents with more information on their children's progress. To that end, information on each student's classes and grades is uploaded to www.edline.net, associated with a Chicago company that provides hosting and portal solutions for schools. A link from the Blue Ridge web site (http://www.brsd.org/) will take authorized users to Edline, where the records can be viewed at any time. Parents will receive information in the mail about how to activate their accounts and how to use the system. Mr. Ketchur gave a demonstration with the help of Board member Denise Bloomer, whose account has already been activated. Barely more than four clicks were required to get to a grade report.
With Edline, the district hopes to eliminate the need to send progress reports through the mail. But Board member Priscinda Gaughan inquired of High School Principal John Manchester how this would actually work. For example, some families may not have Internet access. Or, indeed, some may have access, but choose not to use Edline, for whatever reason. Mr. Manchester suggested that parents who wished to receive a report on paper could request it through the office. This becomes a classic "opt-in" or "opt-out" question. Ms. Gaughan prefers that parents be notified of the change and be given the choice of using Edline or not.
Among other routine items, the Board
– Approved the budget of the Northeastern Intermediate Unit #19 (NEIU 19). The "IU" is a consortium of public schools that share services. The Board also approved the annual contract between Blue Ridge and the IU for special education services for next year.
– Approved the calendar for the 2006-2007 school year. The first day of classes will be on August 28. Graduation is scheduled for June 9, 2007.
– Hired Robin O'Reilly as a full-time kindergarten teacher for next year. Ms. O'Reilly was present to accept a welcome from the Board. Blue Ridge begins an expanded kindergarten program next year, including 4-year-olds. Elementary School Principal Robert Dietz told the Board that enrollments for kindergarten for next Fall are already ahead of last year.
– Approved a retirement incentive plan for the current school year. The plan offers faculty special inducements to retire; the schools can thereby get younger replacement teachers (at lower cost). The administration originally asked for approval for both 2005-2006 and for 2006-2007, but Board member Harold Empett asked that the motion cover only the current year. Superintendent Robert McNamara said that approving the plan well in advance would give teachers more opportunity to consider it carefully.
Mr. McNamara also presented large keystone plaques to each of the principals recognizing the schools' achievement in continuing "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) on the standardized PSSA testing that the schools conduct under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Each of the three Blue Ridge schools has been so recognized for the past three years.
Board President Alan Hall reported on a particularly useful conference in Hershey at which he had the opportunity to meet both Governor Rendell, and Lynn Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers player who is angling for his job. Mr. Hall also met with officials who were in tune with education issues in Harrisburg. "Tax reform" is progressing in the legislature, but probably won't see the light of day before summer. In any case, said Mr. Hall, "I'm not hopeful that it will be something we want." He also noted that federal funding for education is continuing to decline. On a hopeful note, however, he said it looked as if the state education budget will be the most positive for Blue Ridge in some time.
Finally, Board member Dawn Franks told her colleagues that she had received complaints of track team members running five abreast down the center of Old Route 11. A cross- country coach attending the meeting said that, with the number of students on the team, sometimes that happens, but that when a vehicle approaches, single-file is the rule. He said that safety always comes first in road work.
One hopes they have blood enough for that kind of exertion. Mr. Manchester said that High School students, faculty and staff beat their goal of 52 pints at the last blood drive, taking in 54 from some 70 volunteers, of which 20 were first-time donors. He said they could have done even better with more time and resources.
The hardly bloodless Blue Ridge School Board will meet again for a workshop on Monday, March 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
Hallstead Boro Council met on March 16 with a number of guests present. Mayor Canfield and council members Ted Loomis and James Gillespie were absent; all others were present, as was secretary Cindy Gillespie.
Most of the guests present were representatives of the Great Bend-Hallstead Ambulance. President Tony Conarton gave council copies of a booklet that had been prepared, listing the company’s accomplishments over the past year, and outlining some of their future goals. Paramount, as always, they are in need of volunteers. A First Responder class is scheduled to begin April 10 in Montrose; a minimum enrollment number is needed. Anyone who might be interested should call 879-2026 or 879-2709.
Overall, the company has done very well over the last year, with a response rate of 89.5%, with only three crews and an average of one call per day. They are actively pursuing grant funding to help meet some of their future goals, such as a building expansion of their headquarters. Members of the local municipalities and their residents were thanked for their continued support, as was the board of directors, who were thanked for working very well together to keep the company going.
One of those present was board member Del Austin, who was commended for fundraising efforts to put a veterans memorial at the rest stop in Great Bend. With donations coming in from as far away as Australia, enough funds have been raised to put in three benches, and plans include a memorial garden, a fountain and a wall.
In other business, a motion carried to purchase a new FAX machine for the boro office, as the present one is not working and is so old that it would be more cost efficient to buy a new one.
A representative of the owners of the foundry property have requested to set up a meeting with members of council to give an update on the cleanup. At least two council members plan to attend.
A letter was received from the county Planning Commission regarding subdivision of the Gary and Sue Wilbur property. The Planning Commission has approved the request, and asked for council’s approval; it was given.
A letter from Commissioner MaryAnn Warren, asking for help in what is hoped to be an annual cleanup effort was discussed; council will see that it is passed on to local civic groups who may be interested in participating.
At last month’s meeting, council had agreed to send a letter and a copy of the boro’s nuisance ordinance to a resident who has had unsightly trash on the property, giving thirty days’ notice to clean up. It was noted that some of the trash has been removed, but some, possibly more, remains. It was agreed to wait until the early part of the week to see if it was disposed of during trash pickup; it not, council will proceed with legal action.
The boro received notification from Commissioner Jeff Loomis that there are some items of concern in regards to the boro building meeting handicap accessibility requirements, especially since it is a polling place. The items listed were minor, such as a “handicap entrance” sign on the building door, a doorsill that is too high, and some spots in the parking lot where the blacktop needs to be filled in. A motion carried to proceed for the repairs, for which the boro will be reimbursed by the county through funding from the Help America Vote Act. Council also discussed the possibility of putting a roof over the entrance ramp to the building and will discuss it further after getting some idea of what that would cost.
Council also reviewed a letter from Susquehanna County CARES (Childcare, Agencies, Resources and Educational Services) which was scheduled to open a family resource center on March 20. The center will provide information and materials to promote quality care and education of young children, and will be hosting a Children’s Fair on Saturday, April 8 at the center at the First Presbyterian Church in Hallstead.
After review of the boro’s lease with the Blue Ridge Little League for the Route 11 ballpark, a meeting was requested to go over some changes the solicitor would like to discuss. Mr. Franks and Mr. Giangrieco agreed to meet with the solicitor to discuss the requested changes.
President Michele Giangrieco reported on a recent watershed meeting. They have submitted an application for Growing Greener grant funding to address flooding problems, and for a small grant for administration expenses. It may take a year or so for the project to get underway, but there are definite plans to address the flooding problems the area has seen, particularly in recent years.
A copy of the architect’s plan for the bridge beautification project was sent to council. Sidewalk replacement should extend from the H & R Block building to house number 229 on one side of Route 11. The committee will be applying for funding for new sidewalks on the Post Office side once this phase of the project is underway, which is expected to begin in the spring or summer of this year.
And, the new walks will not be raised above the road level as this would necessitate steps on either side; the present walks are below road level and remain so.
Council received an invitation to attend a Kid Safe Night at the Blue Ridge High School on March 30.
The last item discussed was a problem with “pocket rockets,” miniature motorcycles, or more particularly the kids who are riding them on the boro streets after school and on weekends, and not using lights so that they are virtually invisible to motorists. A number of complaints were received from drivers who had near-misses and were concerned about the hazards, especially to the riders. Council will contact the State Police and ask that officers keep an eye out whenever they may be in the boro.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
Joshua T. Astleford, Amber Astleford to Shaindy Meisels, Monwey, NY, in Forest City for $104,000.
William Buckland, Victoria Buckland, Richard VanGorder to Susan Ralston, RR3, Montrose, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Roger A. Weber, Marguerite C. Weber to Charles A. Castrogiovanni, RR2, Montrose, Kate E. Castrogiovanni, in Montrose for $129,500.
Schneider Family Associates to Shops Plaza, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for $1,100,000.
Donna Comer, Albert Osterhout to Albert Osterhout, RR2, Hallstead, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Southern Tier Plastics Inc. to INGY HJD Company, Beacan, NY, in New Milford Borough for $85,000.
Kevin Bryden to Grace R. Bryden, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Eugenia Boast to Kimberly Morrison, Forest City, in Clifford Township for $54,500.
Vincent Sellitto to Vincent Sellitto, Montrose, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Myles Jacques Jr., William Conrad, Lorraine Conrad to Maple Highlands, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for $35,000.
John J. Kane, Christina McCreary Kane to James A. Antinnes, Hattiesburg, MS, Jennie B. Antinnes, in Dimock Township for $420,000.
Thomas O'Brien, Diane O'Brien to Matthew G. Schell, Michele D. Schell, Lanesboro, in Lanesboro Borough for $53,000.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (by POA) to Kimberly Thompson, Inglis, FL, in Susquehanna for $3,500.
Fleet National Bank (sbm) Summit Bank, Bank of America (sbm) to Andrew J. Agler, Kingsley, Christine Agler, in Harford Township for $62,000.
Thaddeus J. Capwell (aka) Thaddueus Capwell to Wayne Rounds, RR1, Hallstead, Anne Rounds, in Silver Lake Township for $20,000.
Thaddeus J. Capwell (aka) Thaddueus Capwell to Joshua MacNamee, Endicott, NY, in Silver Lake Township for $20,000.
Dennis Wilson, Dolores Wilson to Christopher P. Clark, Joann Clark, RR6, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for $64,000.
Kay Butler, Donnie R. Butler to Dawn Tiffany Butler, Harford, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Andrew Shamro, RR2, Union Dale, Denise Shamro, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Andrew Shamro, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Jennie Ann Swartz, Gary Swartz, Scranton, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Andrew Shamro, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Richard A. Sadowski, Joann Sadowski to John Pizzileo, South Hampton, in Apolacon Township for $300,000.
Thomas J. Reilly, Anne A. Reilly, John J. Reilly (by pofa), Dorothy M. Reilly (by pofa), Theresa M. Reilly (by pofa) to Simon T. W. Greenshields (family trust) Wilson, CT, Julene M. Greenshields (family trust), in Harmony Township for $750,000.
Jeremy R. Consla, Shannon L. Martin to Shannon L. Martin, Susquehanna, in Oakland Borough for $8,000.
Frank D. Stankus, Margaret MacDonald, James W. MacDonald, Barbara Lavin, Richard Lavin, Robert Kralovic, Shirley Kralovic, Marie Lynch, Mark E. Lynch to James F. Stoklosa, Susan Stoklosa, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for $165,000.
Tom Andzulis, Clifford Township’s sewage enforcement officer, told the Susquehanna County Transcript last week that he is licensed by the state and that makes him qualified for his job.
Andzulis spoke with us on the heels of a township Board of Supervisors meeting where he quietly, but effectively, put down one of his critics and wished a couple of the others would have shown up at the meeting.
“People say I cost them time and money,” Andzulis said, “but the truth is I have applications for sewerage permits addressed, processed and completed well within the state allotted time limit.”
Then why is Andzulis accused by folks like Andrew Wyzykowski of so many wrongdoings by his critics?
“Because he wants to see me implode,” Andzulis said of Wyzykowski. “When he made his application, he tried to pay me cash on the site and I would not accept it. I informed him he had to make out a check to Clifford Township. Then he tried to offer me a position as inspector of the sewer system that is going to be installed in the township and he has no right to offer it to me.”
At a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Andzulis said Wyzykowski approached him and said, “When Andy doesn't get what Andy wants, heads will roll.” And on another occasion at a public meeting, he said Andy whispered to him, “mess with bulls and you will get the horn.”
Andzulis said Wyzykowski believes he is entitled to special treatment but he isn't. “He is no different than any other resident of Clifford Township,” Andzulis said. “The rules apply to everyone.”
In another matter, John Regan, chair of the Clifford Township Board of Supervisors, suggested that Gibson and Lenox townships consider paying a portion of the workman’s compensation premiums for the township’s fire department.
Regan pointed out that 40 percent of the calls received by the Clifford Twp. Fire Department are in the two neighboring townships. He further stated that the township’s insurance carrier said additional money could be saved if the township and the fire department merged their insurance needs into one portfolio.
“Our workman’s comp and liability insurance is astronomical,” Regan said. “If we combined the insurance with the fire department there is the possibility we may both save money.” He topped off his money-saving thoughts by suggesting that a number of area fire departments and townships look into the possibility of sharing insurance costs.
“See what the feelings are,” Regan told a member of the Clifford Fire Department. The fireman suggested that the township supervisors of the three communities discuss the subject but Regan said the fire companies work hand-in-hand and have a better rapport.
In another matter, Jack Tellep told the supervisors that the deadline is April 28 for purchasing bricks and having them engraved and placed in time for the July 2 dedication of the township’s new Veterans Memorial. The memorial will be built this spring in front of the Clifford Township Municipal Building and will be dedicated in conjunction with the township’s Bicentennial Celebration.
Tellep said the walkway leading to the memorial will be lined with bricks containing the names of loved ones who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. To subsidize the cost of the memorial, Tellep said the bricks are being sold for $50 each.
The bricks may be ordered by anyone, not just Clifford Township residents and may be purchased in honor of anyone, living or deceased, male or female , and should include a brief message. For more information, call Jack at 570-222-3309 or Chris at 570-222-3309.
The supervisors awarded two contracts to Barhite Excavating of Clifford Twp., for road maintenance at $27,500 and for pipe replacement on Tennessee Gas Road for $21,650. Barhite submitted the lowest bids on both projects.
The police report for the month of February shows 19 criminal incidents, 2 arrests for drunken driving, four traffic citations and one traffic accident.
With all members present and Tom Kelly presiding, the Susquehanna Boro Council met on March 14 for their regular meeting. Also present were mayor Denise Reddon, secretary Ann Stewart and several guests.
The Streets Committee has met again with PENNDOT to continue discussion about the Agility agreement; it was expected that word would come by the following Friday as to what projects PENNDOT would commit to. Once the agreement is finalized, the Streets Committee will prepare bids for paving projects not covered by Agility, to be approved at the next council meeting.
A motion made at the last meeting to purchase a police car was rescinded, and a motion carried to advertise for bids, to be submitted by the next meeting. Specifications have been prepared for a 2004 or newer, fully equipped Crown Victoria with less than 50,000 miles on it.
Author Mark S. Sherman will be hosting a book signing on April 7 at the Susquehanna Branch Library, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the library. The book, “The Manuscript” is a biography of his great-uncle, Robert J. Sherman, a Susquehanna native who was a well known playwright. A debut of “The Manuscript” will be held on April 8 at Bill’s Hilltop, which used to be the Sherman Lodge.
Interviews for a CEO for property maintenance were conducted prior to the meeting; a motion carried to hire one of the applicants.
A motion carried to advertise again for part-time police officers and for a UCC certified inspector (for rental inspections) as Mr. Lewis said that a certified inspector would be needed for those inspections.
During public comment, a member of the audience asked if a permit was required; he will be setting up a temporary location in the spring and does have permission (from a private property owner) to use a specific site. Council said that a peddler’s permit would be required, at a nominal fee, and only needs an application submitted. Mayor Reddon, who would issue the permit, would see that he gets the application.
Council was contacted by Penelec, which requires an agreement with municipalities for billing (for streetlights) regarding the lights on Main Street. The boro would need to choose from two plan options; after discussion it was agreed to go with an off-peak plan, covering the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. A motion carried to approve.
For some time, the boro has benefited from the services of Dave Sexton, who came to them through the Experience Works program. As his term (through Experience Works) has expired, a motion carried to retain him, at 18-20 hours per week, at minimum wage.
It was noted that a countywide burn ban is in effect, from March 17 through April 15. Mr. Lewis pointed out that burning is already illegal within the boro. He added that if anyone were to be caught burning anything other than organic material, they would also face a fine from DEP, of up to $10,000.
Lastly, Mayor Reddon reported that there is a group of school students, including two seniors who need to complete a thirty-hour graduation project, who would like to participate in work projects for the boro. It was agreed that a worthwhile project would be helping with a cleanup of the riverfront boat launch site. The volunteers will be coordinated through the Parks and Rec. Committee.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 28, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Following is the Silver Lake Township Police Report for February, as submitted.
ANIMAL COMPLAINT (Theft)
On February 10 Silver Lake Township Police received a call that someone had possibly stolen a one-year old pure white Labrador dog from the Thomas Hanna property in Silver Lake Twp. Numerous people had seen the dog at the residence area up to that time. The dog has been missing for several weeks. This incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information may call the Silver Lake Twp. Police at the numbers listed below.
On February 20 Joseph Nagy, Jr. reported that, unknown to him, someone was cutting and preparing to transport timber from his property. An investigation showed that confusion over boundary lines with adjacent property owners was the root of the problem. This situation was resolved without incident by all parties involved.
On February 21 it was reported to Silver Lake Police that a vehicle had crashed at the intersection of Patton and Lower Rhiney Creek Roads. Investigation showed that a 1987 Ford Thunderbird was traveling west on Lower Rhiney Creek Road and slid approximately 100 feet before going directly over the steep bank on Patton Road and crashing into the trees below. Every attempt had been made to remove the identity of the vehicle and owners. The vehicle was towed and sold for salvage. The owner was subsequently contacted and this incident is still under investigation.
On February 28, at approximately 3:45 p.m. , Edward H. Williams of Binghamton, NY was traveling south on SR167 in his 1994 Isuzu Trooper when he lost control after hitting black ice near the 90D curve near Murphy’s Corner. The vehicle sustained extensive wheel damage and was towed from the scene. Mr. Williams was not injured.
Any information or questions for the Silver Lake Township Police, please call 278-6818 or 663-2760, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
All information will be held strictly confidential.
The Susquehanna Community School Board met on March 15; president Terry Carpenter presided with all members present with the exception of Steven Stanford.
The Strategic Plan monthly meeting had just taken place, with topics covered including a six-year plan and a focus on PSSA testing. Allotments for Title I program last year had declined from the previous year. Superintendent Bronson Stone expressed the hope that that trend does not continue, as it would put a strain on what is expected of school districts for the No Child Left Behind mandates.
With the district gearing up for PSSA the following week, testing was the main topic of discussion. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 were scheduled for testing in reading and math on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Students in tenth grade would be taking Terranova testing through a new on-line system which will save the district $20 per test, per student and would allow immediate results to be available. Second grade will also be taking the Terranova tests, but the old fashioned, pencil-and-paper way. The faculty has expended a lot of time and effort into preparations for PSSA. The Students for Standards of Success aided elementary students in need of extra help, with an average of 25 attending each session. The amount of testing students are required to undergo and how much time and effort must go towards ensuring success, and how the results impact districts was on everyone’s mind; PSSA results will determine the district’s AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) status. “Too much testing, not enough education,” said one. “Seven days on state assessment testing out of a 180-day school year,” said another. “That is too much.”
As are all districts, the results of next year’s proposed budget are being eagerly awaited. It is hoped that the governor’s proposal for an increase in block accountability grant funding and entitlement funding will be approved.
SCCTC student Zack Pannepacker (who was not present) was congratulated for his induction into the National Honor Society.
Principal Lisowski commended advisor Diana Hurlburt for her work on the school newspaper, The Cutting Edge. He compared a recent issue with one from 1970, when it was called The Witness; the headline in that issue, ironically, was a story about the school’s new librarian, Diana Hurlburt.
With the library seeing increased usage, an old portable library is now being used to take magazines and other reading materials to students in study halls.
The school newscast, SNN may soon be broadcast out to the community via the Internet.
The district is in the process of entering into a state implemented program to provide a secure ID number to all students.
About 61 students are expected to be enrolled in next fall’s Pre-K program, and, so far, about 70 are registered for kindergarten with the possibility of more.
The elementary Wellness Committee met for the third time and are in the process of developing a policy which will be submitted to the board for approval at their next meeting. A mandated plan must be in place by July 1.
The education association is busy preparing for their annual car show, and the retirement dinner, which has been rescheduled to May 19.
The board approved modifying the Behind The Wheel Driver Education Program, to be conducted during the summer months as opposed to being conducted during the regular school year, effective at the end of the 2005-2006 school year. This change would be beneficial in that there would be better road conditions in the summer; it would result in a more efficient school year, with uninterrupted class schedules; and it would be more cost efficient as a car would only need to be leased for three months rather than nine. The classroom component will still be offered, and students can take their driving test on campus.
Other items approved by the board included:
- Exoneration of the District Tax Collectors from the collection of unpaid school taxes for the year 2005.
- The 2006/2007 proposed NEIU #19 budget of $ 3,090,192 with a District Contribution of $ 8,638.12 and Projected increase of $411.34.
- The school calendar for the 2006/2007 school year.
- Modifying the cost containment – bonus payment referenced in the Professional, Management Team, and Non-Professional contracts to change the health insurance buyout amount from $1,000.00 to $4,500.00 annually. The district will save from $30,000 to $35,000 in health insurance premiums.
- A leave of absence for RoseAnn Escandel from March 17, 2006 to the end of the 2005-2006 school year.
- A resolution to participate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of General Services, Co-operative Purchasing Program (LP3). This is a “piggyback” program, which would allow purchases through a state contract without bidding. Better prices would be available as well as a saving on (bid) advertising costs.
- The following employees intent to retire at the end of the 2005/2006 school year: RoseAnn Escandel – Family and Consumer Science; Thomas Escandel – Elementary; Mary Mazikewich – Elementary; Richard Mazikewich – Social Studies; William Rice – Elementary.
- Additions to the substitute list: April Berger – Elementary Education; Rachel Hobbs Elementary Education; Nathan Newhard – Elementary Education; Richard Thomas – Reading Specialist.
- Volunteer Kyle Cook –Baseball.
- Accepting the following resignations: Hannah Barnes – Assistant Drama; William Jenkins – Maintenance.
- Hiring the following: Financial Assistant – Robin Carmody; Junior High Baseball – Mark Martino; Junior High Softball – Tiffany Newberry; Assistant Drama – William Moser.
- Revising the 2005/2006 school calendar. Parent-Teacher Conferences were changed from March 30 and March 31 to April 6 and 7.
- The customary requests for activities, workshops, use of the campus facilities.
- A proposal from the Carpet Catalog, Thompson for carpeting for the elementary building, which was the lowest proposal received.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 19, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
Mountain View School Board met on March 13 for its regular monthly meeting at 8:00 p.m.
Jane Mack, a parent, had some suggestions for the board to consider. The first was to ensure a plan in the emergency operations plan to consider the medical needs of diabetics. Snacks should be available in the classrooms to level the blood sugar of any one needing assistance if the building is ever in a real emergency lock down. Mack further explained that the recent lock-down at the school “may not have been held properly” describing how a teacher held 20 students in a closet for one hour. Mack’s second suggestion was that the lock-downs should be color coded so the staff knows the level of security needed.
Jennifer Hilkert, Business Manager explained a few budget issues to the public when questioned. The NEIU proposed budget for the 2006-2007 year is $3, 090,192.00. Miscellaneous services totaling $3,000 ,which was later approved, was for the consulting services for the man who prepared the contracts. J. P Morgan is paid a semi-annual fee of $2,120 for debt service.
Another parent brought concerns to the board regarding the school calendar. Having two days off in a week such as parent/teacher conferences and in-service days is not good. Her concerns were noted and the calendar is under review.
While discussing budget transfers, a board member inquired if “we are over budget on conferences?” The answer was no. However Mr. Price, board member, stated he personally wants to see trips reduced and wants the teachers in the classroom. Mr. Tompkins concurred “that there’s a reason for calling it a budget... they have to work within that budget.”
The next agenda item that received much attention was the Dress Code & Grooming Policy #221. The motion did not pass with a vote of 4 yes and 5 no without prior discussion.
Price commented, “What is the issue?...Slogans? We look like a bunch of fools!” Tompkins noted that the policy is too subjective and what we have is not enforced. Further the consequences have “no teeth.” Parents complained the policy is not enforced consistently. It was decided that a public session will be held March 30, at 7:45 p.m. Price confidently voted no to holding the meeting, apparently just to keep business good spirited.
Three policies received their fist readings. They were: Title 1 Parent Involvement #918; Student Records # 216; Confidential Communications of Students #207 and Behavior Support Program #1132. The Emergency Operations Plan was unanimously approved as presented. This is what Jane Mack referred to at the outset of the meeting.
Conferences and field trips were approved. The final issue voted upon was the calendar for next year. All items were unanimously approved.
Joanne Voda, Gifted Education teacher, gave an in-depth presentation on the programs offered to the students to enhance their learning experience. Robert Housel, parent of a gifted student, implored the board to consider expanding Voda from part time to full-time status. Housel offered that even better things could be done and more children served.
Closing public comments involved improving the cafeteria lunch menu. This is being addressed. There was a concern as to why the Scranton Times newspaper is not posting information on Mountain View in their “School News” section. The board has tried to address this issue but it really is beyond their control.
Tompkins spoke out with a serious concern regarding the behavior exhibited at a recent basketball game which he considered poor sportsmanship by the fans. He suggested a letter of apology to the other school. Others disagreed offering the conduct of the PIAA officials was reprehensible requiring a letter of discontent to their supervisors. Superintendent Chambers informed the public and board that he had previously received compliments regarding Mountain Views fans. After much discussion by the board and public the issue was put to rest. No official action was voted upon. The board adjourned at ten o’clock.
Following are the Lanesboro Council meeting minutes for February, 2006 as submitted.
Roll Call - Ray Barnes, Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Bob Mireider, Bill Roberts, Stan Rockwell, Colleen Wilkes. Also Present – Gail Hanrahan, Mayor Chris Maby. Visitors – Jeanine Keefer, Shane Lewis, Dennis Martel, John Foote.
Action on minutes of previous meeting to accept minutes as presented carried.
John Foote asked if the problem with the soft spots on Jefferson St was being addressed. Maby replied that B&S Quarries made repairs before Lanesboro even had a chance to see what the problem was. John noted there was a second spot that had developed. Maby would look into it and have repairs made if needed.
Dennis Martel is still concerned about the threat to his property from storm water runoff from the plugged and/or overflowing ditches along the Rails-Trails bed. He is also concerned about speeding along Viaduct St. Maby informed him that the matter would be discussed during the police report later in the meeting and gave his word it would be addressed. Mr. Martel also asked if it were possible to place recyclables in the dumpster behind the Community Center. Boughton stated that as long they were rinsed, separated, and placed into the proper containers, it was acceptable.
Correspondence and resolutions
Resignation letter from Ray Barnes was read. The council meetings conflict with his work schedule. Motion to accept.
Maby noted a police schedule is now in place. The schedule has patrols ranging from early morning to late evenings, with varying times and days throughout the month. Officer Robert Bastek has been hired, bringing the total number of officers to four.
Maby explained the Jnet computer system and what it allows the police department to do regarding file access, training, etc. He also stated that having a Chief, Assistant Chief, etc. would be a good idea, and asked for council’s approval in naming Jon Record Chief, Jerry Gow Assistant Chief, with the title of Officers for Robert Bastek and Ellis Lair.
Three badges are needed – approximate cost is $55 each.
Shotgun needed – currently using a personal shotgun of one of the officers. Purchase of shotgun tabled for now – Mireider and Roberts will investigate pricing for next meeting.
Secure area needed at the police office for holding detained individuals. Chief Record investigating cost of railing type mechanism to which handcuffs can be secured.
Schedule set every month, month end meetings between police and mayor. Summary reports will be provided to the council at all future council meetings.
Motion to sell pistol formerly used by retired Officer VanFleet to Stan Rockwell for $300. Motion also authorizes Roberts to represent Lanesboro at the sale, which will occur at an authorized firearms dealer for legal reasons.
The Police PC grant application approved. Grant will reimburse 75% of purchase price, up to $500. Maby has quote from Dell for $1,175, including a laser jet printer. With grant and sale of the pistol, the final cost to borough is only $375.
Maby stated he had been approached by Susquehanna Mayor Reddon regarding a possible formation of a regional police department, and asked the council for opinions on how to proceed. After discussion, council’s consensus was that it should be tabled for discussion until January 2007.
Code Enforcement Report
Shane stated there is a hearing regarding the Gelineau property the week of 2/13. A family member is interesting in purchasing the property. The purchaser’s lawyer has been in contact asking if a written agreement would satisfy Lanesboro regarding demolition so as not to slow the purchase. Council discussed – decision to continue on with hearing, but is in agreement that an agreement for demolition by the May to June timeframe was acceptable. Shane will provide update at next month’s meeting.
Eric Hamby (Susquehanna County Recycling Center) contacted Lanesboro about hosting a regional tire-recycling day, with coordination by Susquehanna County Recycling Center. County will bring a contractor in – anyone can drop tires off. Tentative location is Susquehanna Community School District parking lot near the tennis courts, with date of May 13.
Internet service is set up at the borough building. The second phone line is now installed and permanently connected to the fax machine. The phone number is (570) 853–4756.
Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission is hosting an Unpaved and Gravel Roads seminar in April. Location and date have yet to be determined. Maby is planning on attending, and has offered the Community Center as a potential training location for this and/or other classes to NTRPDC.
The new tractor was delivered on January 28. A grant application was forwarded to DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development), in hopes of recouping some of the purchase price. The portable sewer pump was moved from the pump house to the Tri Boro Municipal Garage for storage. This will allow quick access by Larry and Joe if they need it, in addition to providing a secure location to store the tractor. An ad will be placed in the classifieds for a minimum wage part-time position. Boughton, Mireider, and Maby volunteered to alternate snow removal duties until the March meeting at which time a decision will be made on hiring someone.
The street light project is nearly complete, with poles being added or relocated in such a way to provide a light on every other pole throughout the populated portions of Lanesboro.
Mayor met with Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority to discuss grant application. Received e-mail 2/6/06 stating application was approved by the county, state still has to sign off on it. Construction will be in the early summer, coordinated by the county.
All codebooks Lanesboro has are outdated - new borough codebooks will be ordered by Maby from PSAB.
As discussed at the last meeting, the budget will be presented monthly to provide a snapshot of where Lanesboro stands financially. Individual bills do not need to be approved unless they are not included in the budget. If they are not, they would be discussed and approved prior to purchase. In addition to the budget summary, major bills (truck repairs, road repairs, snow removal, etc.) for the month will also be provided. Through February, all accounts are in good standing.
The Lanesboro Church has a new financial officer. After brief discussion, motion by Mireider, second by Roberts to exonerate the Church from sewer billing (garbage still must be paid). Unanimous excepting Wilkes abstaining from vote (she is a member of the church).
Community Center Report
Recycling - $43
Rentals - $580, including four non-residents, one commercial, and one resident. In addition, several school or child related organizations used the building free of charge. Wilkes asked if it would be possible for the Boy Scouts Pack 81 to use it for their monthly meetings. Council thought it was a good idea, Wilkes will coordinate schedule with Regina.
Hearing on Community Park vandalism – hearing held. Juveniles involved ordered to pay restitution and perform 20 hours each of community service. Probation officer will be in touch with Maby regarding community service.
Gruen/Landry property driveway – Letter mailed by Dewitt, hearing date requested from the County Court.
Depot St. posting/bonding – Discussion of how to handle future development on any of the weight restricted local roads. Maby offered that he had spoken with PENNDOT, several other municipalities and the solicitor regarding this matter. The consensus opinion from these discussions was that the road should be brought up to a standard that correlates with the expected type of vehicle use from the proposed development. Fixing the road after the development was in place would be difficult at best and generally be very hard to handle from a traffic maintenance standpoint. After brief discussion, motion to authorize Maby to contact Solicitor Dewitt on amending or revising the ordinance enacted in 1990 carried.
Billboard ordinance needed for byway designation – Maby and Jeanine Keefer attended a meeting in Shadowbrook regarding the byway designation. One of the items needed for inclusion in the byway is an ordinance banning billboards. Maby explained that existing billboards, and billboards placed immediately adjacent to the property, such as the Kaiser’s Farm and Mireider’s Store would be grandfathered in by default and acceptable as part of the byway. Additionally, billboards such as the ones at the Main St./Belmont St. intersection would also be grandfathered in, but only the existing ones. If they fell down or collapsed, they could not be replaced. Motion to authorize Maby to coordinate with Solicitor Dewitt regarding development and advertisement of an ordinance carried.
Maby would like to set up an account with a local garage for routine maintenance on the garbage truck, with the larger chassis/engine/transmission problems still going to Stadium or Hacker’s, whichever is appropriate. Council agreed, and asked Maby to provide an update at the next meeting.
Conversion of Greg and Carmen Maby house from multi-family to single-family dwelling. The house was verified by Lewis to have been converted on January 20. Motion to change garbage and sewer billing from two-family to single family carried.
Boughton suggested that an extra fluorescent coat be purchased for the DPW. The jacket would be for individuals subbing on the garbage truck or assisting in other DPW activities. Motion to authorize purchase carried.
Boughton stated that he used the insulation rebates to purchase two new lights for the parking lot side of the Community Center. He is planning to meet with Frank Hobbs (the electrician) and have them installed in the next few days.
Gail asked if anyone wanted the Borough News magazine, as a bill had come for renewal. Consensus was to get one copy and route through all council.
The Forest City Regional School District has decided to return its traffic pattern back to its original setup when the school was first built at the end of Susquehanna Street in Forest City. The decision was reached at a meeting between school administrators and borough officials and will take place as soon as new signs arrive and are installed.
The new/old setup will advise motorists to enter the K-12 school from Susquehanna Street which will be designated as one-way south and exit on Hudson Street that is frequently referred to as the Richmondale Road. The one-way traffic into the school grounds will apply between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Motorists using the Hudson Street access to the school grounds can continue without interruption.
“In an effort to make the school grounds safer for students,” Dr. Robert Vadella, school superintendent, told the Board of Education, “we will also restrict traffic in the lane immediately in front of the high school main entrance to school buses and school vans. All other traffic will move across the front parking lot. We are widening the traffic lane in the parking lot to accommodate vehicle flow in both directions.”
In a related move, borough officials are considering making Susquehanna Street one-way south from Dundaff Street to Maxey Street. The change would only affect the 300 block since Susquehanna Street is already one-way south in the 400, 500 and 600 blocks.
In his report to the Board of Education, Dr. Vadella also praised Mrs. Debra Branning who was selected as the area WalMart Teacher of the Year. She will be formally recognized by the school board at its April meeting.
Dr. Vadella also congratulated the elementary school that was recently recognized for having achieved adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years. A keystone plaque was awarded to the school for the honor and presented to Kenneth Swartz, elementary principal.
Tutoring service for high school students will be offered through the remainder of the school year. The program is being funded with grant money received by the district.
Dr. Vadella also reported the district’s school lunch program is now serving over 700 lunches per day and more families are participating in the federally subsidized school meal program. He said the district’s federal programs subsidy will increase in the 2007-2008 year.
Kindergarten registration for the 2006-2007 school year will be held on Wednesday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-kindergarten registration will be held on Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28 also from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Board of Education honored Amber Sauls who was chosen as the student of the month by the Student Council.
Motions approved by the Board of Education completed the following business-
-Approved the general fund operating budget for the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 fiscal year from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007. The total increase is $196,069 and the increase to the Forest City Regional School District is $705.73.
-Accepted with sincere appreciation the bequest of $425 from the estate of Mary Agnes Julius.
-Approved Anne Marie Cicci as the senior project advisor for the 2005-2006 school year with a stipend as per the negotiated contract.
-Accepted the resignation of Stephen Fonash as coach for varsity softball and named Michael Heck to the position effective immediately.
-Approved Michael Dyno as a volunteer assistant to the baseball coaching staff effective immediately and named Lori Walsh as a part-time nurse assistant.
-And, appointed Bruce Smallcombe as a substitute teacher for the 2005-2005 school year and accepted the resignation of Kelley Twilley as coach for the junior varsity softball team.
Motions to allow the use of school facilities were given to the seventh and eighth grade basketball team, the Browndale Fire Company, the Forest City Educational Foundation, Palette Pals, and the Union Dale Fire Company.
Following is the list of names drawn to serve as Petit and Traverse jurors for April to appear in the Court of Common Pleas, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, PA, on the third day of April, 9:00 a.m.
Auburn Twp.: Herb Cornelius.
Bridgewater Twp.: Michael Blaisure, Paul T. Canfield, Jr., David W. Kosik, Valerie A. Voige.
Brooklyn Twp.: Sandra A. Babuka, Andrea M. Poff.
Choconut Twp.: William A. Tennant.
Clifford Twp.: Erin E. Weldon.
Dimock Twp.: Deborah E. Baker, Victoria Hubert.
Forest City Boro 1W: David Homisak, Jr.
Forest Lake Twp.: Rebecca J. Hollister.
Gibson Twp.: Daniel Doan.
Great Bend Boro: Rebecca Abbott, Lynda J. Davis.
Great Bend Twp.: David Calla, Naomi Luce, Tammy L. Scott, Andrea Wood.
Hallstead Boro: Donald R. Davis, Christina Dorunda, Lorilynn A. Musselwhite.
Harford Twp.: Daniel J. Bennett, Sarah Button.
Herrick Twp.: Anthony J. Critelli, Jr., Kurt Schultz, Kelly Stackun.
Jackson Twp.: Melissa Chichester, Martin H. Fela, George T. Moore, Cindy L. Page.
Lathrop Twp.: Janet L. Karhnak, Dianna D. Wilkins.
Lenox Twp.: Joseph A. Bixby, Kathy J. Marquez, Daniel S. Phillips.
Liberty Twp.: Gail L. Aldrich, Jody Luce, Jill Mock, Pamela Smith.
Montrose Boro 2W: Elaine Petrzala, Michael Zub.
New Milford Boro: Leroy A. Wolfe, Jr.
New Milford Twp.: Susie Aronowitz, Kevin D. Mack, Matt Taylor, Timothy L. Welch.
Oakland Boro: Tara Pickering, Amy Tyler.
Oakland Twp.: John C. McKinney, Ella R. Stark.
Rush Twp.: Alice J. Carr, Connie L. Kopatz, Thomas Irvin Moore.
Silver Lake Twp.: Greg Luce, Eileen L. Wright.
Springville Twp.: Stephen Ensmenger.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: Wayne A. Merritt.
Susquehanna Boro 2W: Mark S. Carvin.
Thompson Twp.: Mary Bieloski.
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