Please visit our kind sponsors
At the tail end of a meeting on May 8, the Blue Ridge School Board, in an addendum to the original agenda, voted to award contracts totaling over $360,000 for renovations to some of the school entrances, and other miscellaneous work. Dalton Mechanical was the low bidder on a project to rebuild the front entrance to the High School, for $49,750. The next lowest bid was apparently $175,000 from a firm that, according to Board President Alan Hall, really "didn't want to do it."
The other award, $312,279, to Unique Builders of Springville, will replace large sections of concrete around several entrances, add another parking area behind the Elementary School, and refurbish the loading dock at the cafeteria. A major part of the work will involve installing a "hydronics" system in the concrete to help keep the areas free of ice in the winter.
All of the work is expected to be completed by the first week of August. Business Manager Loren Small said he hopes the contractors can begin immediately following a three- day basketball camp that will be held shortly after the schools close for the summer. At least two of the school entrances will be blocked during construction, but at least two others will remain open most of the time.
As the school year begins to wind down, a number of personnel actions filled the agenda. Holly Snitzer, Kathy Ofsharick and Nancy Bellucci announced their intentions to retire. And Robert Dibble was present to accept the Board's welcome as a full-time kindergarten teacher for next year.
As usual, the Elementary School is offering two sessions this summer. Margaret Glezen, Dominica Skal, Brandy Pitcher and Sarah Sienko will teach during the first, from June 19 through June 30. They, and Kathy Roe, will lead the second session, from July 30 through August 11. Board member Lon Fisher noted that he was glad to see some new hires signing on for the summer programs.
In other routine business:
* The Board renewed its agreement with the Susquehanna County Probation and Parole Department for a "school-based juvenile probation officer" for the next school year. Superintendent Robert McNamara said there were currently three Middle and/or High School students involved with the probation office; they are generally on campus at least two days a week.
* The Board voted to renew Harold Empett's tenure as Board Treasurer for next year, at a salary of $1,500.
* Depositories were designated: Peoples National Bank, PennStar Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, PA Invest, the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust (PLGIT), and Community Bank and Trust. Mr. Small told members that the district does not always use all of these firms, but needs the flexibility to move funds around to get the best rates.
* The district's current solicitors, Sweet Stevens Tucker Katz, were renewed. The district does not pay a retainer for legal services, but pays an hourly rate.
* Barnes-Kasson Hospital was re-approved as the school "physician" at the existing rate of $90 per hour. The administration said that, considering the number students served, the rate is quite reasonable.
* Dr. Alan Hinkley will continue providing dental services at the same rate of $7.50 per examination.
* The Board approved continuing the pilot summer food program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Food Service Manager Linda Cole-Koloski gave the board an impressive briefing on the program in April. Board member Joel Whitehead said of Ms. Cole-Kolosky, "This gal's right on the ball."
* The Board approved the purchase of a new Kubota tractor through a GSA program for $11,298. The district will offer two older John Deere tractors for sale.
Both the High School and Middle School Principals reported outstanding success in Spring sports, with most teams boasting winning records, some "near or at the top of their leagues," said High School Principal John Manchester. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski noted that a list of honor students and a list of the district’s top athletes would look very similar. One of his charges, Alex Stanton, recently won a national wrestling title in Maryland.
Mr. Manchester told the Board that Luzerne County Community College next year will offer college-level government and economics courses at Blue Ridge. He said that there would be additional cost for the programs, and a lot more work, but some students may receive advance college credit from the offerings. He said that political science might also be offered as an evening course.
The Board saved the best for last. Tom Chamberlain and Alan Wilmarth, members of the board of C.A.F.E., the local organization that sponsors the annual sixth-grade trip to Washington, DC, thanked the Board and administration for their support over the years and vowed to continue to improve the program. They announced that next year the trip would be scheduled from Wednesday through Saturday, April 25 – 28, 2007. Mr. Chamberlain remarked on the high level of local support they receive, particularly from the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who have been "extremely generous." He said the trip overall costs about $30,000, much of which comes from local fundraisers, but that no student who wanted to go was left behind because she/he couldn't afford it.
Mr. Wilmarth described this year's trip for the Board, several times repeating remarks from park police and others in Washington about how well-behaved the students were. He said that at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial the chaperones simply asked the students to "act appropriately," and they did, viewing the long wall of names in silence and with respect. He said that during their visit to Arlington National Cemetery they witnessed several funerals in progress, and "[the students] paid attention."
Since 9/11/2001, said Mr. Wilmarth, it has been difficult to get the students into the Capitol building in Washington. He thanked the efforts of Representative Sandra Major for making possible a tour of the State Capitol in Harrisburg. He also thanked Senator Arlen Spector for arranging a tour of the White House, an event that has also been rare since 9/11.
Both told the Board that they should be proud of their students as representatives of Blue Ridge and their communities.
The Blue Ridge Board of School Directors usually meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
The Forest City Regional Board of Education tabled action on its tentative 2006-2007 school budget last week after some board members indicated they would like more time to review it. Board President Henry Nebzydoski has scheduled a special meeting for May 22 for further discussion and more than likely some cuts in the $10.7 million spending plan.
Early budget talks revealed a sizeable tax increase that had taxpayers in the six sending districts buzzing. Increases projected during the unveiling of the initial budget showed increases as follows: Forest City, Herrick Township and Union Dale, 33.1 mills, an increase of 3.6 mills; Clinton II and Pleasant Mount, 12.3 mills, up 1.4 mills; and, Vandling, 82.5 mills, up 11.6 mills.
Starting high with tax increases appears to be a standard approach with the Board of Education. When the 2005-2006 budget was introduced a year ago, the anticipated tax rate was 30.1 mills in Forest City, Herrick Township and Uniondale; 11.1 mills in Clinton II and Pleasant Mount, and, 72.4 mills in Vandling. When the final budget was adopted, the figures in the same order as above, were 29.5, 10.9, and 70.9. When they see the board lower the rate compared to the first budget introduction, taxpayers generally are satisfied even though the bottom line is still an increase.
Carolyn Price, who earlier in the meeting was given a personal services contract effective May 1 through October 31 at $30 an hour, said the budget will be difficult to cut. However, when she presented the budget for the first time she said it contained everything that was requested from teachers and administrative staff. But she also pointed out that a lot of necessary funds in the budget are not reimbursable.
Director Al Dyno said he never heard of a budget being passed with every financial request incorporated in it. Dyno indicated a potential savings by combining the assistant principal’s duties with the special education coordinator and thereby cutting one administrative salary and benefit package. He pointed out that the district has not used an assistant principal in two years.
Director Fred Garm said he believes a savings will be realized by retirement of teachers who have been there for years and the employment of new teachers who will begin at a lower contract rate. Most school boards give financial rewards to teachers who take an early retirement.
In keeping with a pattern started this year by the board president, the opening portion of the meeting was devoted to student accomplishments beginning with Joseph Driscoll, the Student Council’s Student of the Month.
Elementary Principal Ken Swartz announced a new program, Lunch with the Principal. The first recipient of the honor was Teddy Carpenter.
Swartz also recognized the following sixth grade students who participated in the NEIU Reading Competition at Scranton High School. Team members were Jennifer Natishak, Jenna Luchessi, Nicole Reider, Phyllicia Galvin, Rose Campbell, Chris Rieman, Anthony Hiller, Taylor Ray Tammaro, Courtney Andrews, Katie DeMark, Dana Statkun, Kristine Kuriger, R.J. Kresock, and Anthony Vadella.
Also singled out by Swartz were four students who took part in an Oral Reading contest. The participants and their placements included: Katie O’Neill, first place; Nick Lowry, first place; Julia Bailey second place; and Phyllicia Galvin, honorable mention.
Secondary Principal Anthony Rusnak announced the participants in the FBLA state competition. The list included Ashley Fitzsimmons, Lindsay Coleman, Kristin Majdic, Mark Melvin, Randi Schwartz, Andrew Seaman, Matt Silfee and Mike Zack.
American Legion School Awards were: Boys, Lyle Foster, winner; Nick Lowry, runner-up; Girls, Rachel Gulbin, winner; Bethany Hofer, runner-up.
First place winner in safe driving competition at Lackawanna County Stadium was Tiffany Butler. Other winners were Amy Branning and Amanda Zembrzycki.
National Technical Honor Society winners were: Tracy Lipko, graphic communications; Laurel Evans, electronics; and, Toni Ravnikar, health occupation.
Motions approved by the board completed the following business:
Awarding bids for the replacement of lockers in the high school boys’ locker room.
Submitting the Department of Education self-certification application for non-reimbursable physics lab renovations in the amount of $48,000.
Granted tenure status to Joan Borosky, retroactive to January 20.
Approved a medical leave request for Pam Green effective April 25 and continuing through the remainder of the 2005-2006 school year.
Added Gary Phillips to the substitute teacher list effective May 9.
Approved the use-of-facilities request for Next-Level Hoops to use the elementary gym for basketball clinics on July 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on July 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
School Superintendent Robert Vadella paid tribute to the teachers in recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week. He noted that teachers spend an average of 50 hours per week on all teaching duties. He also pointed out that elementary teachers spend an average of $498 of their own money on classroom materials and high school teachers spend an average of $394, also for classroom materials.
Clifford Township residents whose homes are in the proposed sewer zone were advised of another cost factor last week and they weren't too happy over the news.
Dave Klepadlo of David Klepadlo & Associates, the engineering firm for the project, told a large but not unruly audience at the Board of Supervisors meeting, that the hookup fee to tie into the sewer system will be $6,500. Originally, it had been estimated at $6,000. He said the fee includes a required grinder pump to take the sewage from the homes to the main trunk line where it will eventually be routed to the Greenfield Township sewage treatment plant.
“Tell the people what they will get for $6,500,” John White told Klepadlo. “They are getting the grinder pump but not installed. They have to pay for the installation.” White, who is affiliated with White’s Mobile Home Park in the township, has been a proponent of a township-owned sewer system rather than the current proposal to tie into neighboring Greenfield Township’s system.
Under further questioning, Klepadlo said the installation cost is extra. He also estimated the cost of needed piping from the pump to the main trunk line at about $10 a foot.
“And where am I supposed to get this money?” asked Lillian Bamba whose home is in the mandated tie-in area. “Can I get a loan?”
“If you qualify and have the need, you will get the loan,” Klepadlo said.
Klepadlo urged the supervisors to bid the project so that the township will have some cost ideas and can make up its mind what direction it will take. He said the advertising will be paid by the Department of Agriculture and his firm will prepare the ad. He further advised the supervisors that it will need to spend some money for appraisals on property needed for the project. He did not elaborate but presumably sites will be needed for pumping stations. He also said letters of condemnation may be needed to acquire some property.
Klepadlo reminded the audience that the township will be receiving a $1.1 million grant to be applied toward the project. He said it is the largest grant ever awarded to a community for a sewer project and that he does not expect to ever see another one that large. ?
“That’s free money,” he said.
Klepadlo said the advertisement will appear in a Scranton newspaper and he added there are more bidders now than ever on sewer projects.
In another matter, Police Chief Tom Munley, who has been on leave since he suffered a leg injury while on duty, presented the supervisors with a petition from the police for a bargaining committee to negotiate a contract.
John Regan, chair of the Board of Supervisors, said the township may combine with another municipality for joint police service.
Regan also expressed confidence that the township may receive money from Susquehanna County for the construction of a storage shed for street cinders.
The supervisors also approved a resolution that will lead to the adoption of an ordinance for the county’s readdressing program.
The Clifford Twp. Police report for the month of April is as follows: total incidents, 63; criminal incidents, 36; traffic citations, 10; non-traffic, 3; written warnings, 11; traffic accidents, 1; and, assist to other departments, 2.
Dana W. Young, Janet J. Young to Stanley T. Tartas, Jr., Budd Lake, NJ, Cedita L. Graves-Tartas, in Jackson Township for $170,000.
Mary Kanna to Kathleen Ruspantini, Johnson City, NY, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Mary B. Kanna to Mark Kanna, RR3, Montrose, Bernadette Kanna, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Gregory A. Strawn to Paul J. Leeming, Stacy Leeming, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for $85,000.
Edmund Mendillo to Squier Family Trust, Little Meadows, Donald Squier, Carolyn Squier, in Apolacon Township for $60,000.
Harold J. Provo, Belva S. Provo to Religious Science Church of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA., in Herrick Township for zero dollars.
Joseph Marsh, Bernadine March, Lois Pegg (by POA) to Timothy E. Rogers, Jeannette M. Rogers, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for $65,000.
Barbara A. Rudolf to Francis X. Connors, Dolores M. Connors, Glenn Mills, in Springville Township for $53,000.
Katharine C. Watrous (trust by trustee) to Katharine C. Watrous, RR2, Hallstead, Peter S. Watrous, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Loretta I. Parker to Ronald W. Gill, Montrose, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar (corrective deed).
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to Luke W. Zebrowski, RR2, Thompson, Terry Zebrowski, in Thompson Township for $62,900.
Nelson E. Carter, Veronica M. Carter to Wendy Baker, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for $1,000.
United States Secretary of Housing & Urban Development to Rexford P. Bowman, Jr., Butler, NJ, Mildred Bowman, in Lathrop Township for $140,000.
Federal National Mortgage Association (aka) Fannie Mae to Shawn R. Burns, RR2, Susquehanna, Julie D. Burns, in Great Bend Borough for $50,000.
Kenneth C. Underwood, Doris A. Underwood to Gerald D. Burke, Gail M. Burke, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
William A. Marvin to William A. Marvin, RR2, Hallstead, Kathia Arenas, in Great Bend Township and Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Anne H. Scarlett to Jess S. Hyde, Vestal, NY, Jeffrey K. Hyde, in Silver Lake Township for $13,000.
Carl J. Greco to Carlton F. Schweder, Jr., Fairless Hills, Shirley G. Schweder, in Silver Lake Township for $30,000.
Vincent J. Novak, Rosemarie A. Novak to Debbie Condello, Longwood, TX, in Forest City for one dollar.
Carolina E. Bennett (nbm) Carolina E. Wilbur, Wesley Wilbur, Lillian Phillips (aka) Lillian B. Phillips, Lillian C. Lockwood, Samuel Bennett, Beverly Bennett, Thomas Bennett (aka) Thomas M. Bennett, Christine Bennett, George Bennett to John C. Foose, Jr., Wilkes-Barre, in Lenox Township for $137,000.
John Stopka, Stephanie Stopka to Bryce R. Williams, RD 3, Meshoppen, in Bridgewater Township for $50,000.
Gerald F. Verboys, Patricia Verboys to Robert Toolan, Karen Bernhardt Toolan, Blairstown, NJ, in Clifford Township for $205,000.
David B. Haviland, Melissa J. Haviland to Michael Parente, Forest City, in Forest City for $63,800.
Robert J. Hodges, Carol A. Hodges to Jonathan Davis, Arlington, VA, Jill Rathbun, in Herrick Township for $39,000.
Joseph Turchi, Leslie Turchi to John S. Munns, Collingwood, NJ, Jose L. Cordero, in Apolacon Township for $41,000.
Michael P. Hanyon (by sheriff) to Fannie Mae, Philadelphia, in Auburn Township for $1,382.
Catherine S. Larue, Eldon C. Larue to Catherine S. Larue, Springville, Eldon C. Larue, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Mark W. Konold, Helen W. Konold to Stephen J. Konold, North East, MD, in Oakland Township for $35,000.
Andrew R. Novajosky, Shirleymae O. Novajosky to Andrew R. Novajosky, Nicholson, Shirleymae O. Novajosky, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Pasquale P. Pannullo, Sabino Pannullo to Richard D. Butler, Sara Jane M. Butler, Bristol, in Rush Township for $76,500.
Rodney D. Stone, Jr., Anne E. Stone to Gary M. Erbe, Karen Erbe, Quakertown, in Dimock Township for $41,000.
Gary L. Mackey, Prefidigna Mackey to Richard W. Mackey, Lori A. Mackey, Nicholson, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Charles A. Rosecrans, Christine M. Rosecrans to Jacqueline Havriliak, RR6, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for $290,000.
Mark McCain to Donald L. Tiffany, Springville, Joyce E. Tiffany, in Springville Township for $60,000.
Allan Warner, Gretchen M. Warner to Daniel S. Warner, RR6, Montrose, Gretchen M. Warner, in Jessup Township for $10,000.
Allan Warner, Gwendolyn Warner to Daniel S. Warner, RR6, Montrose, Gretchen M. Warner, in Jessup Township for $240,000.
Silvia Battista (nbm) Silvia Osucha to Pasquale P. Pannullo, Bloomfield, NJ, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Roy Edward Grover, Waymart, and Lorraine C. Rogers, Waymart.
Jennifer L. Phillipe, Springville, vs. David L. Phillipe, Factoryville. Wed in 1993.
Cheryl K. Singer, RR7, Montrose, vs. Mark Singer, RR7, Montrose.
The Susquehanna County Sheriff’s Dept. was searching for several people with warrants at David Tucker’s residence inside The Montrose Terrace Park on May 4. Officers found Tucker inside, growing marijuana in his bedroom. After obtaining a search warrant, several drug paraphernalia items were also found inside his residence. Tucker is now in the Susquehanna County Jail with bail set at $50,000.
Sindy and Randy Yuskowitz of Thompson were traveling on SR0171 in Thompson Twp. May 8, when Sindy failed to make a left curve and hit a culvert. Their 1986 Ford Mustang LX convertible rolled onto its roof. Both Sindy and Randy were not wearing their seatbelts during the accident and were life-flighted from the scene.
A State Trooper was patrolling T545 in Brooklyn Twp. May 7, when he noticed a minivan stopped in the middle of the road with its engine and lights on. The trooper discovered Richard Seymour of Montrose asleep in the driver’s seat. When Seymour woke up he had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath. After failing a field sobriety test, Seymour was arrested for suspicion of DUI and was taken to EMHS in Montrose, where he consented to a blood test. Charges are pending on the results of the test.
A 17-year old from Friendsville was traveling on Irish Hill Rd. in Middletown Twp. May 7, when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a utility pole. His vehicle rolled over and landed on its wheels in a wooded area next to the road. The teenager was wearing his seatbelt and was not seriously injured. He now faces a vehicle code charge of careless driving.
Michael Fisher of Hallstead was driving on SR1081 in New Milford Twp. May 5, when he drove off the road and rolled his vehicle. Charges are now pending.
Bradly Swartz, 51, Meshoppen is accused of hitting Susan Davidson, 43, Meshoppen May 10 at a residence on Wilcox Rd. in Auburn Twp. Swartz also brandished a firearm at Adam Davidson, 19, Meshoppen. Swartz was arrested on several violations of the PA Crimes Code.
TWO CAR CRASH
A 17-year old was driving a 2004 Suzuki Aerio on SR2011 in Bridgewater Twp. May 6, when she lost control of her car and rear-ended John DeWitt’s 1992 Saturn SL1. After hitting DeWitt, the teen’s car rolled onto its roof. Both involved were wearing seatbelts and were not injured. Police say the girl lost control by speeding over loose gravel.
Brandi Perry, 30, Little Meadows was assaulted by Roxann Williams, 42, Friendsville at Roxann’s home on SR267 in Forest Lake Twp. May 3. Roxann is accused of choking Brandi after an argument turned physical. A summary charge of assault-harassment has been filed against Williams.
Nathan Taylor, 19, Springville was driving on SR4015 in Middleton Twp. May 6, when he lost control, drove off the road and flipped his vehicle. Charges are pending.
James Early of Thompson left his home April 29 with his terrier-mix on a leash outside of his residence in Herrick Twp. He left his home around 8 a.m., and upon returning around 10 p.m., he found his dog had passed away. There was some type of small hole in the dog’s belly. No one is sure what it is or who is responsible.*
Donald Norton, 18, South Gibson was driving near the intersection of SR92 and SR347 in Lenox Twp. May 6, when he lost control of his car and hit an International dump truck head-on. After hitting Brian White’s dump truck, Norton’s car spun out of control and crashed into the guardrail. Norton has been arrested for suspicion of DUI. Charges are pending the results of an alcohol test.
Sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 9, someone tried to break into Paul Canfield’s home in New Milford. An aluminum screen door and a storm window were both damaged while the person(s) attempted to break into Canfield’s home.*
Between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. May 7, someone caused property damage at Roy Gordon’s residence on Old Rte. 11 near Maloney’s in Hallstead. Whoever is responsible damaged Gordon’s swimming pool and vehicle.*
Kevin Johnson of Rome, PA was pulling his 2001 Ford F-150 out of a parked position on SR858 in Little Meadows Borough on April 23 when his truck was hit by an ATV, driven by Scott Russell of Little Meadows. Charges are still pending against Russell.
Sometime between May 6 and 7, someone dumped a chalky, white substance onto George Holohan’s vehicle parked at The Hinkley Apartments in Great Bend. The substance was able to be washed off, leaving the vehicle undamaged.*
*Anyone with information is asked to call Pennsylvania State Police in Gibson at (570) 465-3154
While Clifford Township’s bicentennial observance in July is expected to be celebrated with fun and laughter, there will also be some added attractions that will prove to be enjoyable and educational.
The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) has awarded the township two grants that will focus on music and nostalgia. Virginia Fahey, grants administrative officer for the council, said Clifford will receive $2,775 for “Old Barns,” a program that will focus on the architecture and construction of township barns that have survived some of Mother Nature’s worst temper tantrums and $972 for a program of traditional music.
Lead by Alison Armstrong, humanities scholar, and John Watkins, an architect, those attending the “Old Barns” program will be treated to a video tape production of some of the barns as well as a number of photographs taken by local photographers, Jan and Phil Price. Local residents who participated in building some of the barns or remember stories about them will also be available for comment and some reminiscing.
The music workshop will be conducted by Ed and Geraldine Berbaum and will feature a program on the legacy of traditional American music. The presentation is entitled “Berbaum Old-Time Music Workshop.”
Both programs will be held during the township’s bicentennial that takes place July 1 and 2 at the Firemen’s Fairgrounds on Route 106 in the township.
The Pennsylvania Humanities Council was founded in 1973 and has been instrumental in making the humanities accessible to Pennsylvanians. With its help, hundred of organizations have been able to offer high quality public programs that affect the every day lives of people in their communities. Each year, the PHC provides over one million people in the state with opportunities to discover and discuss ideas.
Besides history and literature, humanities fields include philosophy, the history and criticism of the arts, comparative religion, the study of languages and linguistics, cultural anthropology, jurisprudence, and studies within the social sciences concerned with humankind’s search for meaning and value.
Following are the Lanesboro Borough Council meeting minutes for May, 2006 as submitted.
Roll Call: Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Myles Limbert, Bob Mireider, Bill Roberts, Colleen Wilkes. Absent: Stan Rockwell. Also Present: Gail Hanrahan, Mayor Chris Maby. Visitors: Robert Templeton, Oakland Mayor Wendy Dudley, Susquehanna Mayor Denise Reddon, Susquehanna Councilman Mike Matis, Cora Cameron, Jeannine Keefer, Sandy and Jerry Benson, Dennis Martel, Robert Templeton, Susquehanna County Planning Commission.
Maby invited Mr. Templeton, Mayors Dudley and Reddon, and council representation from Oakland and Susquehanna to attend the meeting to hear the zoning presentation by Mr. Templeton. Mr. Templeton provided an overview of zoning and comprehensive planning. He noted that some grant money is available for multi-municipality zoning/comprehensive plans if they are studied together. Each municipality would have its own zoning and plan, but would make reference to the plans formulated for the neighboring municipalities. After discussion, Lanesboro council is in favor of pursuing further. The next step is for Mayor Dudley, Mayor Reddon, and Councilman Matis to discuss the subject with their respective councils. Assuming there is interest, Mr. Templeton would then make a more detailed presentation to the full councils of Oakland, Lanesboro, and Susquehanna. Also in attendance would be a representative from DCED, and possibly a comprehensive planning consultant.
Dennis Martel asked for an update on the Rails-to-Trails path. Maby stated that he and Councilmen Boughton, Roberts, Rockwell, Limbert and Dilello attended a meeting with Rails-to-Trails, B&S Quarries’ Professional Engineer Todd Schmidt, and DEP Mining Representative Mike O’Donnel. B&S hired a contractor to clean all of the culverts crossing the rail bed along Viaduct Street, and lined a majority of the upstream ditches with stone to eliminate future erosion. The only culvert that wasn’t cleaned by B&S was behind the Martel property. Rails-to-Trails representatives Lynn Conrad, Jeff Fleming, and Bob P. stated that the ditch would be graded and culvert cleaned out by Memorial Day. Council acknowledged that the work performed by B&S and their contractor was well beyond what could or should be expected of anyone who doesn’t own the property and was doing it simply as a good neighbor. Maby stated that a water problem still exists below the rail bed in the raceway, and that further discussions will be needed with DEP regarding who is responsible for enforcement and cleanup.
Correspondence and resolutions: Gail read letter from Penn State regarding a gravel roads seminar. Maby noted he has attended a similar seminar for his place of employment and encouraged attendance by anyone who is available. Flyer distributed amongst council.
Motion carried to pass EMA resolution, as supplied to Maby by Susquehanna County after Boughton and EMC Deputy Will Potter attended meeting on subject.
Police Report: Hours - 65 patrol, 1 callout, 2 painting lines, 4 at school. Incidents – 8. Arrests – 2. Citations – 1. JNET contract completed with Susquehanna County. Assisted State Police on drug search. Monthly meeting with District Attorney and Sergeant Farrell from State Police. Indexed alarm system for all businesses located within Lanesboro for secure radio transmissions.
Code Enforcement Report: multiple inspections, permits and investigations.
Mayor Report: Meeting with PENNDOT and SCHRA representatives regarding Jail Hill – project on target for 2007 letting. Awaiting historical report on Jail and ROW process. Both have an 18-24 month timeframe.
Meeting with SCHRA representative and PENNDOT regarding sidewalk grant – CDBG money Lanesboro is receiving will be used toward the Engineering for a PENNDOT streetscape grant, with council’s approval (granted Tuesday, May 2). If approved, the Streetscape grant will provide sidewalks, curbing, period lighting and greenscape along both sides of North Main Street and Viaduct Street. North Main Street sidewalk will extend to at least Germantown Road and possibly the Perry residence, while Viaduct Street will extend to the Rails-to-Trails bed (formerly the D&H).
Ongoing positive discussions with DEP & B&S Quarry regarding the large mine permit awaiting submittal. A public meeting will be scheduled as part of the permit process, most likely sometime during the summer months.
The motor blew on the garbage truck, and needs to be replaced. Estimated cost is around $10,000. DPW crew picking up by pickup truck and dump truck loaned to Lanesboro by BK Hospital. Garbage being placed in 30 cubic yard dumpsters and hauled to landfill by Joe’s Disposal.
Budget: all accounts in the black.
Community Center Report: Rentals – (5) resident.
Sidewalk repairs: tabled until June meeting, due to lack of information on bids. Rockwell on vacation and did not forward estimates to anyone. Maby will follow up and solicit bids in time for next meeting if needed.
Tree grant application : tabled until next year, dependent upon streetscape grant application.
Posting of minutes: Boughton would like to have “unofficial” minutes posted in the newspapers within a week of the meetings to keep some relevancy to them. Official minutes will be approved as usual at the regular meetings and recorded at the borough building. Council agreed, motion not needed.
Motion to adjourn carried.
All members except Gary Boughton were present at the May 11 meeting of the Oakland Boro Council. The first topic discussed was codes violations.
A meeting was scheduled for the following day at the Washburn property on Wilson Ave. with some members of council, the CEO and several interested parties.
14 State St. has been the object of concern for quite some time. After discussion it was agreed to proceed with further legal action, specifically bringing charges in county court.
In some cases of prior violations at other properties, the codes committee will be checking on their current status to ensure that they are being taken care of.
25 Prospect St. was one of those properties that had prior violations. Although some cleanup had been done, apparently all of the trash had not been disposed of, and there have been recent complaints that household garbage was being dumped on the property. The CEO will be asked to check into it, and authorized to pursue court action if necessary.
Yet another State St. property will be checked by the CEO in response to complaints about garbage being dumped in an empty foundation, presumably to be burned once the countywide burn ban is lifted. On this subject, president Ron Beavan remarked that too many people were abusing the burning privilege by disposing of household trash and other items by burning; he was of the opinion that burning should be banned altogether.
Dave Dibble said that he had been approached by a resident who had asked why trailers in Oakland must be installed on concrete pads, according to UCC regulations, when other municipalities allowed installation on stone and concrete block bases. Shouldn’t the UCC apply to all municipalities? CEO Shane Lewis will be contacted for more information.
The monthly Parks and Rec. report was read. In April, receipts from fund-raisers totaled $819.89; expenses amounted to $1,116.11, leaving an account balance of $1,526.92.
Mayor Wendy Dudley reported that the boro saw no police coverage this month. The police car has, in Mr. Beavan’s words, “died a peaceful death.” Mrs. Dudley has been pursuing grant funding to help with the purchase of a car, but word on the status of the application was not expected for several more weeks. And, the officer the boro hired as primary officer never began work for the boro; shortly after he was hired, he was offered other employment and was unable to do both. So, the boro will be looking for another candidate.
In the meantime, Mrs. Dudley has looked into other options to fill the boro’s immediate needs. Lanesboro would be willing to contract on a short-term basis for an officer and a vehicle at $22/per hour, with a set schedule. Did council think this would be a viable option? After discussion it was agreed to contract for the remainder of the month of May, and possibly for June if necessary.
Council also approved Mr. Beavan to purchase a car that is available locally if it is in good condition and the price is within the agreed upon range.
At the invitation of Lanesboro’s mayor, Mrs. Dudley had attended an information session on zoning, along with Susquehanna’ mayor. The invitation had been extended because the process for zoning could be quite expensive and with three municipalities joining forces, the costs could be divided. Her first question, she said, was why is zoning important? It would regulate land usage, to ensure that certain businesses/activities are relegated to certain areas, which could also be addressed through ordinances. Another meeting is planned to discuss it further.
Council has been working with the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority to pursue grant funding for demolition of the boro building. The authority requested that a resolution be adopted to authorize the authority to proceed with an application; a motion carried to adopt the resolution. Mr. Beavan stressed that this in no way involved a decision on what to do with the property once the building is demolished. A public meeting is planned to get input from boro residents as to its future use; some options to consider are low-income senior housing or ranch style homes.
Some time ago, council had adopted a resolution to participate in the county readdressing project. However, the accompanying ordinance was not passed because council had some concerns about a clause that gives the county control over choosing names for streets/roads that need to be changed, for example those that have the same names as roads in Susquehanna Boro. While the resolution stated that the boro specifically reserves the right to determine names for those roads whose names need to be changed, the ordinance states that the county would make those determinations. The boro’s solicitor had been contacted by the county solicitor, and was asked to point out that the boro would be liable if, through their failure to adopt the ordinance an emergency responder was unable to find a specific residence. After discussion it was agreed to adopt the ordinance; if necessary, another could be passed to rescind it. And, a letter will accompany the signed ordinance, stating that the boro feels strongly about retaining the right to determine the new name for any road that needs to be changed.
Resident Tom Gallagher was present, and asked council to look into a water problem that has existed for quite some time. Mr. Beavan agreed to meet with him and see what could be done.
Mr. Gallagher also had some questions about a recent incident where the CEO had issued a citation, but a police officer had not been sent to follow up. It was his understanding that a police officer should follow up in such cases, to see that codes are being enforced and to ensure that the case is presented properly if the case goes before the magistrate.
Mrs. Dudley said that she had made the decision not to send an officer; she felt that the reason he was asked to was wrong. She did try to get clarification, but it took some time to get the needed information, which indicates that the CEO does have the authority to issue a citation for violations. As long as she has been in office, she said, no violations cases have been turned down by the district magistrate. She said that she would not decline to send an officer in any situation where it was thought that there might be violence. And, she feels that council should only address this further when and if it becomes an issue.
A committee of Mrs. Dudley, Mr. Gallagher and councilman Doug Arthur will begin the painstaking process of going through the boro’s ordinances, to see which of them need to be updated and what new ones may be needed. It was agreed that it will take some time to go through all of them.
The road committee will look into a runoff problem on Boyden St., to determine whether or not it is a boro problem or the property owners’.
Council is still trying to find out if the backhoe can be repaired, and if it is, what it will cost. It was thought that the cost of a new one would be considerably higher.
A motion carried to pay a bill for legal services from the solicitor, in the amount of $212.75.
Councilman Jack Agler asked that council consider purchasing a smaller vehicle for road use, for smaller jobs. With gas prices being what they are, a more gas-efficient vehicle might be something to look into.
Council agreed that the dump truck would have to be replaced some time in the near future.
And, Mr. Arthur asked if an accumulation of winter debris could be removed from the intersection of Chestnut and State Streets.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 8, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
Railroad buffs have been saying it for years but no one that counted seemed ready to accept their beliefs. However, in more recent times, the American public has been echoing the same theme, “Bring back the railroads.”
It is not any different in Pennsylvania where it was heard quite a number of times at the 2006 Joint Rail Freight Seminar in Canonsburg May 3-5. The annual seminar, sponsored by the Keystone State Railroad Association and the Pennsylvania Rail Freight Advisory Committee, attracted 200 participants.
Roland Sharp, chair of the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority, attended the seminar and at last week’s authority meeting his report on it included results of a Harris Poll that showed 63 percent of those surveyed believe that a greater portion of freight should move by rail.
Sharp said the poll also revealed that Americans would like more passenger trains. And he said US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) expressed an opinion that progress on returning more railroad service is not moving as quickly as he would like.
In its report on the rail survey, Harris said the poll confirms that the public is aware that moving freight by rail will be “good for the environment, will help the economy, and will reduce highway congestion.” And, of course, with gasoline prices on the rise, commuter trains will draw many passengers resulting in employment opportunities.
The report of the Harris Poll concludes by noting that “with our current transportation infrastructure already under stress, all modes of transportation will have to grow to meet the needs of an expanding economy, but because of the public benefits associated with moving freight by rail, it is important that the nation adopt transportation policies that encourage more investment in rail.”
In another matter, Sharp said there will be a joint meeting on May 17 at 1 p.m. with the Railroad Authority, the Board of County Commissioners, and Craig Shuey, executive director of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee.
At the May 9 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council, Secretary Ann Stewart’s report included notice that the Parks and Rec. committee will be rescheduling their meetings to the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. Through a grant from NTRPDC, the boro has been reimbursed $299 for an update of the Quickbooks accounting program. PEMA has sent notification that the boro will be reimbursed $26,048 for work completed on damage caused by the Ivan disaster. The Liquid Fuels audit for 2002-2004 is complete, and the 2006 allocation of $37,086.90 has been received. The 2005 audit of the boro accounts has been completed, with all accounts in good standing. And, residents are reminded that a cleanup effort is underway, and all are asked do their part to help beautify the community.
Mayor Reddon reported that she has received an application from Dominic Andidora of Carbondale, who is interested in joining the boro’s police department. As he comes with high recommendations and 12 years experience, he would be contacted to arrange an interview. Another applicant was set to take his certification test, but missed it due to extenuating circumstances. Council will discuss hiring at the next meeting.
A letter from former officer DeVries, stating that he would be interested in being reinstated was discussed. Mr. Whitehead felt that, since he did resign and has not spoken with the mayor, he should submit an application to be considered. Mr. Matis said that he was a (former) officer, he did well when he was with the department. Mr. Williams noted that he had resigned due to a job conflict, and asked if it still exists? He felt that council would need to know that before entertaining the thought of bringing him back. Mayor Reddon agreed. Mr. Kelly added that council never had any contact from him, except for a letter to the mayor, the contents of which he was unhappy with. No action was taken.
Mr. Whitehead reported on the Elm St. project, which, he said, is coming together. A community development plan is being drawn up, using ideas that come directly from residents’ input. The plan’s focus is on building on the community’s strengths while addressing constraints; it is based on a five–point approach to renewal, and covers improvements in neighborhoods and economy, such as promotional events. The goal is for safe, clean and green neighborhoods and organization. All volunteer organizations can be networked and work together, with each focusing on specific areas of interest. The committee hopes to have an application for designation and funding submitted soon, and along with the SCDA will be scheduling a public meeting in June where ideas from residents will be welcome.
Mr. Williams said that one of the biggest issues that residents discussed at the Elm St. meeting was that codes needed to be addressed if there is to be any kind of neighborhood renewal. Although Shawn Burns is new at the job of CEO, Mr. Williams said, he is making remarkable progress and has been revamping procedures and taking an educational approach to the job, which has been working well.
Mr. Williams also had a question; in some instances, Mr. Burns’ responsibilities required somewhat more than the hours that had been allocated for codes. Should he cut back, and only use the hours allocated, or occasionally use extra time if the situation warrants it. Since there are some unused hours accumulated from the time when there was no CEO it was agreed to use extra time if need be, but to keep an eye on how much is used.
Mr. Williams added that Mr. Burns has been focusing on inspections and complaints, and that Mr. Sexton is assisting with paperwork.
Mr. Matis reported that at the police committee meeting on the prior Monday, scheduling had been discussed. During winter, patrol hours had been cut back, but with spring and the coming summer they would be increased.
Mayor Reddon has met with Chief Golka and discussed increasing hours, and alternating hours with Lanesboro’s police, to provide backup when necessary.
The new police car is due to arrive any day. The dealer was to be contacted with specifics for the radio
Mr. Bronchella had been contacted by a business owner whose alarm went off at a time when there was no officer on duty, and he had been afraid to go into the store. Mr. Kelly said that 911 should have been called, they would have relayed the call to the State Police. And, with new officers being hired, the boro’s coverage should be back to what it was.
Another concern from residents was increasing activity with youths on skateboards, especially some who are riding them in the streets. It was agreed that a skateboard park would be a nice thing for the boro to have, but all should be aware that there is an ordinance in place to regulate such activity.
Correspondence included information on Growing Greener grants. Funding available for eligible projects for watershed protection, infrastructure, or recreation. Mr. Matis suggested forming a committee to brainstorm, to pursue funding for improvements to the riverfront property.
PENNDOT was scheduled to be in town the following Thursday, to do a walking inspection of the area being discussed for drainage through the Agility program; final figures were expected soon.
Mr. Kuiper relayed several complaints he had received about emergency responders speeding on Main St. In one instance, there were cars stopped for a red light at the Exchange St. intersection, alongside the barriers that have closed off the turning lane. A vehicle came down Main St. and did not slow down. Had there been any traffic coming out of Exchange St., drivers would not have been able to see the vehicle and there could have been an accident. Could council send the department a letter, asking that responders slow down, and be more observant? “I know they are doing a good job,” he said, “but legally, they have to stop at the light.” Mayor Reddon said that the complaints had been discussed with Chief Golka.
It was noted that many drivers do not move over as they should when there is an emergency responder approaching. Mayor Reddon urged citizens to be aware that they do need to pull over for emergency vehicles.
After discussion, it was agreed to send a letter stating that there have been complaints, and requesting that more caution be used.
During public comment, a Prospect St. resident complained about increasing four-wheeler traffic on the street. Mr. Kelly said that the police would keep an eye out for them.
Mr. Matis and Mayor Reddon had attended a zoning workshop hosted by Lanesboro’s Mayor, Chris Maby. Presenter Bob Templeton gave the group a lot of useful information. Mr. Matis noted that, although Susquehanna does have zoning, Lanesboro and Oakland do not. Mayor Reddon added that Susquehanna does have a comprehensive plan, but council should consider updating it.
Flyers have been distributed to residents with information about the Spring Cleanup, including the street cleaning schedule during which residents are asked to keep their vehicles off the street.
There will be a scrap metal pickup June 5 – 7. Items should be placed on the curb. Items that are not intended for pickup should be kept away from the curb so there are no unintended items taken.
A resident asked if the boro could get a roll-off for recycling. Mr. Matis said that he has been in contact with the recycling center, to see if the boro could get containers. It was noted that the refuse haulers who service the boro do offer recycling, some for a fee, some for free. The resident said that if the boro were to offer recycling, the boro could benefit from the revenue. Mr. Matis said that was something worth looking into.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 23, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe