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Susquehanna County Republicans joined other GOP voters in the 10th Congressional District who turned the other cheek last Tuesday while giving incumbent Congressman Don Sherwood a victory in the county over Kathy Scott, his strongest ever primary election competitor.
Unofficial results show Sherwood grabbing 61.57 percent of the vote in the county compared with 37.54 for Scott. In numbers, it translates to 2,618 for Sherwood and 1,596 for Scott. Sherwood had no opposition in the 2002 and 2004 primaries, but Scott proved to be a worthy opponent in grabbing 43 percent of the Republican vote in the district.
Sherwood’s spotless biography was scarred somewhat during his fourth term in office when Cynthia Ore alleged that, while she was involved in an affair with the congressman, he physically abused her. Ore filed a $5.5 million lawsuit against Sherwood that was settled out of court last November 8 for an undisclosed amount.
In November Sherwood goes after his fifth term when he faces Democrat Chris Carney, who garnered 1,828 votes from the county Democrats. While the final count was not certified by press time, the unofficial tally in the district shows Sherwood getting 30,934 votes; Scott, 23,954, and Carney 23,327.
In the US Senatorial race, incumbent Republican Rick Santorum, running unopposed, received 3,657 votes in the county. His Democrat opponent, Bob Casey, Jr. of the Scranton Caseys, picked up 1,823 votes in the county.
Democrat Governor Ed Rendell and his Republican challenger, football great, Lynn Swann breezed through their respective primaries without opposition. Rendell got 1,779 votes in the county and Swann received 3,582 GOP votes.
Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll continues to be one of the Democrat Party’s most popular candidates. Just as she did across the state, in Susquehanna County, Knoll ran away from her three challengers grabbing 76 percent of the county Democratic vote.
Lisa Baker’s alliance with retiring Republican State Senator Charles Lemmond, proved to be much too powerful for any of her three challengers to overcome as she cruised to victory in the 20th District and appears to be on her way to replacing Lemmond in the state senate.
Besides Senator Lemmond, she also had the endorsement of former governor, Tom Ridge. Baker picked up 49 percent of the Republican vote in Susquehanna County. Jim Haggerty, her closest competitor, had 19 percent of the county Republican vote. Baker will face Democrat Robert G. McNamara, superintendent of Blue Ridge School District who received 885 votes in the county.
Representative Tina Pickett of the 110th General Assembly District, picked up 684 votes in the eight municipalities she represents in the county, enroute to another term. Pickett won handily in the district over challenger Thomas M. Elliott, who received 143 votes in Susquehanna County.
Incumbent Representatives Sandy Major (R-111th District) and Jim Wansacz (D-114th District) had no opposition in the primary election and are assured of returning to the state General Assembly. Major, who represents 31 of the county’s 40 municipalities, received a total of 3,118 votes and Wansacz got 132 votes in Forest City, the only town he represents in the county.
Barney Wilkins will be the new Democratic State Committeeman, replacing Tom Hurley who did not file for reelection. Wilkins received 1,668 votes. On the Republican side, incumbent State Committeeman Bob E. Darrow, retained his seat without opposition by virtue of the 3,706 votes he received.
Several Harmony Road residents were present at the May 15 meeting of the Great Bend Township Board of Supervisors to discuss concerns with the possible siting of a cell tower in close proximity to their homes. The supervisors had received a letter, signed by six residents, outlining their concerns about the (possible) cell tower; it was said that their neighbor is in the process of leasing the site for construction of one, about fifty feet from his property line. The supervisors were asked to consider enacting an ordinance to prohibit such towers within 500 to 1,000 feet from neighboring property lines. The residents’ concerns were that the tower would impact neighboring property values by decreasing them, that it is an eyesore that would block the view of the otherwise scenic area, and that there could be a health hazard from electro magnetic waves. On resident pointed out that not enough is known about them, whether people would find out years down the road that they are a hazard. And, there was a more practical question; would the tower’s proximity to homes affect TV and phone reception? Supervisor Bob Squier noted that a tower would be a hazard if it were to be placed in such close proximity to residences; were it to fall, it could cause considerable damage. Another resident said that he had spoken with someone with the state Game Commission about having a tower sited on the game lands; the individual he spoke with expressed interest (property owners generally receive monthly “rent” for usage of their land for towers).
The supervisors pointed out that the plans are in the early stages; to their knowledge no permits have been issued or applied for. Any building within the township would require a permit, issued through COG, and would need to follow setback requirements. They agreed to gather any information relevant to the tower, first by contacting the township solicitor, checking on whether a permit was in progress, and checking on whether the Uniform Construction Code has any requirements regarding towers. The supervisors promised to provide updates on their findings.
Del Austin requested time on the agenda; his question had to do with the contest that had been held some time ago to rename the Route 11 bridge. Shouldn’t there be a plaque of some kind, he asked, to show the name of the bridge? Mrs. Guinan said that the process to get the name officially approved by Harrisburg had taken a year and a half. But, through an oversight signs had not been ordered. Two signs will be ordered, as well as four speed limit signs, as Mr. Squier felt there were several areas where not enough are posted.
Bids for fuel had been advertised to be opened at the May 1 meeting, by which time none had been received. One had been sent by Mirabito but was not received in time due to a delay in delivery. Mrs. Guinan contacted Mirabito to determine if the bid was still good; it was. After review of the various items it covered, a motion carried to accept.
At the last meeting, the supervisors had received the resignation of roadmaster Terry Mroz, but did not accept it. Since Mr. Mroz did, in fact leave, a motion reluctantly carried to accept it and to advertise for a new employee.
A motion carried to advertise an ordinance reestablishing membership in COG.
A subdivision plan for the Mervine Mobile Home Park on Old Route 11 was approved.
A land development plan from Jason and Amy Auckland was approved; the county planning commission has given a go-ahead, as the plan contains all required components.
And, a driveway permit was approved for David Bolles, Sr.
Mrs. Guinan asked if driveway permits could be issued after inspection, rather than waiting to approve them at a meeting. The supervisors agreed that they could, and carried a motion to approve issuing permits provided the site is properly marked and has been inspected and approved by a supervisor and/or a road worker.
Correspondence included information from DEP regarding a Wind Power Conference Exhibition in June, in Pittsburgh; annual reports from PLGIT and NTRPDC; an invitation to the final session and graduation of the Leadership 2020; notice of an application to DEP for a renewal of the existing Blending and Conveying Air Quality Permit by Envirocycle, Inc.
An updated map of the township for the county readdressing project was reviewed; with one small correction (spelling of Merrill Street) a motion carried to approve.
An inspection report on bridge number one on T842 spanning Salt Lick Creek was reviewed; it contained some recommendations for minor items that should be addressed, such as repair of guard rails, removing rust, washing the surface, and fixing potholes, which it was noted, Mr. Mroz had already taken care of.
Mr. Austin reported that a group of volunteers had collected eleven bags of garbage on cleanup day, May 6. He thanked the volunteers for their hard work; the supervisors added their thanks to all.
Mr. Squier noted that Joan Long has been cleaning up her property, but, he said, there is still more to be done. An eye will be kept on it, he said. Letters will be sent to her and to several other property owners who are in violation of the township’s nuisance ordinance.
The supervisors had discussed getting a dumpster for a spring cleanup project, where residents could dispose of bulk items. Mrs. Guinan had contacted several other municipalities to see how they conducted cleanups. All of the options proved to be quite expensive. Mrs. Guinan pointed out that Joe’s Disposal, located next to the township building, does offer bulk drop-off items at a flat rate for a hopper-full. After more discussion, it was agreed to contact Joe’s Disposal to see if they would offer a one-day deal for township residents, which the township would advertise. The supervisors will continue discussion at their June 5 meeting.
Public comment included a request that the supervisors look at the cell tower issue before it becomes a bigger one; favorable comment on an emergency management presentation that had been offered by PSAT; a question about how many current employees the township has (one; another is currently on compensation); whether any building is going on at a property on Airport Road (no permits have been requested); a roller that is being offered for sale (the supers agreed that it is not one that would suit the township’s needs); and, a water problem where the sluice pipe needs cleaning.
The next meeting will be on Monday, June 5, 7 p.m. in the township building.
The Harford Township office and meeting room is too small for elections. It's been too small for some time, but the Supervisors have had some difficulty convincing the County Board of Elections to move the polling place somewhere else. Now they have a little more ammunition.
Harford Election Judge Maureen Warren last month told the Supervisors that new computerized equipment for disabled voters just won't fit into the cramped township office. It's too late to change the location for this primary, but at their meeting on May 13, the Supervisors formally requested the Election Board to find another voting venue. They suggested the new Fire Hall, or perhaps the Congregational Church lecture hall in the village.
Ms. Warren said that the township was paid a fee of $50 for each election for the use of the office, but told Supervisor Terry VanGorden, who is also a member of the Fire Company Board of Directors, she didn't know the basis for the fee. Mr. VanGorden seemed to think the Fire Company Board would want to know that before deciding.
In the past, Harford had put on a spread for voters. If the polls moved to the new Fire Hall that tradition might be resurrected, since the Fire Hall has excellent facilities for feeding lots of people.
The Odd Fellows Hall wasn't on the official agenda for the meeting, but Rick Pisasik did report that all of the deed papers had been signed and the property is now owned by Bronson Pinchot. Once the deed has been recorded, demolition can presumably be expected shortly.
Bob Zupanovich attended the meeting to request the township's annual contribution in support of the Harford/Lenox Little League Baseball organization. The Supervisors awarded the baseballers $500 in return for agreeing to maintain the ball field throughout the cutting season.
Supervisor and Secretary Sue Furney presented a list of roads whose numbers will be changing to conform to the county 911 program for bringing more consistency and therefore better emergency service. In addition to some renumbering, two roads that never really had names will get them, and two others will change. A small lane in the Laurel Hill development will be known as Adams Street, and the short road across Martin's Creek at what used to be known as Oakley Crossing will become Charles Road. Empet Road will become Russell Road, and the north section of what was Appleman Ridge Road will henceforth be known as Forester Road.
Tingley Lake Road will keep its name, but will acquire a new stop sign. PENNDOT notified the township that a new sign will be placed for northbound traffic(?) at the hairpin turn by Sweet's Chapel, except for right-hand turns.
Civil, orderly and adjourned.
Harford Township Supervisors meet in public session on the second Saturday of the month beginning at 10:00 a.m., and on the fourth Tuesday of the month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are in the small office at the Township Building, which used to be the polling place.
Compiled By P. Jay Amadio
Robert C. Treible, Marjorie A. Treible to Anthony Oteri, RR2, Susquehanna, in Great Bend Township for $239,500.
Daniel S. Warner, Gretchen M. Warner to William H. Hazlett, Jr., Plymouth, in Bridgewater Township for $196,900.
Ernest E. Tyson (estate, aka) Ernest E. Tyson to Charles E. Vanerson, Dorothy L. Vanerson, RR2. Montrose, in Forest Lake Township for $40,000.
Lawrence T. O’Reilly, Christine M. O’Reilly, Thomas J. O’Reilly to Arthur E. Stephens, Stroudsburg, Theresa A. Delucia, in Apolacon Township for $90,000.
Peter Livingston Myer to Daniel J. Myer, RR2, Union Dale, Sharon E. Myer, in Herrick Township for $1,300.
Joseph F. Mayers, Sylvia Mayers to Joseph F. Mayers, Forest City, Sylvia Mayers, John Sisko, John Sisko, Martha Terry Sisko, Joseph Sisko, Mary Elizabeth Sisko, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Stephen W. Jones, Ann Maria Jones to Gregory T. Mayes, Jenkintown, Tonia O. Mayes, in Clifford Township for $285,000.
Robert M. Sorensen, Eleanora A. Sorensen to Patrick Welsch, Amy Welsch, Virginia Beach, VA in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Albert H. Stickney, Doris J. Stickney to Gary C. Davella, Terry Davella, Glen Gardner, NJ, in Choconut Township for $108,955.
Albert H. Stickney, Doris J. Stickney to Mark Davella, Mary Davella, Glen Gardner, NJ, in Choconut Township for $27,500.
Leon R. Warner, Pearl M. Warner to Rosalie A. Atkinson, RR1, Hallstead, James T. Atkinson, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Margaret Wojcik to Barbara Parraga, Gibson, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Kenneth R. Chiarito, Sr. to Kenneth R. Chiarito, Sr., Sharon Lee Chiarito, RR1, Thompson, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Donna M. Goff to R. Scott Goff, Michele Goff, Montrose, in Montrose for one dollar.
US Bank (by POA), Home Equity Asset Trust 2004-3 (by POA) Homes Equity Pass Through Certificates Series 2004-3 (by POA, FKA) to Jeanette Chaparro, Carbondale, in Hop Bottom for $70,000.
John T. Heuskin (by Sheriff), Patricia Heuskin (by Sheriff) to Federal National Mortgage Corporation, Philadelphia, PA, in Clifford Township for $2,449.
Mark L. Benedict, Teresa A. Benedict to Laura A. Pistoia, Hop Bottom, Jacob J. Allenbaugh, in Hop Bottom Borough for $80,000.
Stanley S. Bobowski, Patricia J. Bobowski to Michael Pope, Luzerne, Michael Jeschke, in Forest Lake Township for $27,500.
Marie Bartron to Marie Bartron, RR1, Montrose, Robert A. Bartron, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Marie Bartron to Marie Bartron, RR1, Montrose, Robert A. Bartron, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Kimberly L. Short to Scott T. Young, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $70,000.
Andrew Yakubik (estate) to John Yakubik, Forest City, Candice Yakubik, in Clifford Township for one dollar. (Corrective Deed).
Harold Jeffrey Smith to Thomas James Jester, Glenside, Lisa Bambino Jester, in Middletown Township for $52,000.
Raymond J. Specht to Kenneth L. Bennett, Harford, Betty Lou Bennett in Harford Township for one dollar.
Abraham Wolf to Abraham Wolf, (rev trust) , Rose Valley, in Auburn Township for zero dollars.
Steven C. Wilson to Steven C. Wilson, Dimock, in Dimock Township for one dollar (corrective deed).
Gerard Emmett Laude, Ella Mae Laude to Floyd C. Marvin, Jr., Hallstead, in Jackson Township for $7,500.
James Thomas Reese (estate, aka) James Reese, Jr. (aka) James T. Reese to James Tyler Reese, Oceanside, CA, Holly Ann Reese, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Rag Apple to James L. Castellano, Rosemary Castellano, Emmaus, in Jessup Township for $60,000.
Brian White to Elwood White, RR1, Hop Bottom, Beverly White, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Lawrence M. Grasso (living trust by trustee) to Robert P. Vesselli, Jr., Kenilworth, NJ, in Jackson Township for $55,000.
Joseph Pribula, Judith Ann Pribula to Joseph Verboys, Patricia A. Verboys, RR1, Union Dale, in Clifford Township for $60,000.
Carl Miller, Pauline Miller to Christopher T. Tracy, Cathleen A. Tracy, RR1, New Milford, in Ruth Township for one dollar (corrective deed).
Mario Fitzgerald, Dorothy A. Fitzgerald to Mario Fitzgerald, Dorothy A. Fitzgerald, RR2, Thompson, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
R. Marconi Co., Inc. to John R. Marconi, Friendsville, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Eugene E. Nuss, Ellen Nuss to Warren E. Nuss, RR1, Springville, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Betty Cavanaugh to Virginia D. Ayres, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Gladys Thompson to Arlin H. White, RR1, New Milford, Randy D. White, Cynthia Engel, in Montrose for one dollar.
Paul Palumbo, Tish Palumbo to Paul Palumbo, Langhorne, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Susan L. Nardone, Frank A. Nardone to Forest City Properties, Hackettstown, NJ, in Forest City for $250,000.
Richard P. Larnerd II, Nanci L. Larnerd to Richard P. Larnerd II, RR5, Montrose, Nanci L. Larnerd, in Rush and Forest Lake townships for one dollar.
Karen Rafferty, Karen Lee Whitmore (nka) to Karen Rafferty, RR3, Montrose, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
David A. Maginley, Diane Maginley to David A. Maginley, Montrose, in Montrose for one dollar.
Raymond A. Grant to Raymond A. Grant, RR2, Thompson, Dorotha E. Handelong, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Edward D. Conboy, Shirley Conboy to Francis J. Conboy, RR5, Montrose, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Harford Township to Bronson Pinchot, Harford, in Harford Township for $40,000.
Rural Investments, Clifford W. Tinklepaugh to Clifford W. Tinklepaugh in Ararat Township for $500.
Clifford W. Tinklepaugh, Rural Investments to Rural Investments, in Ararat Township for $500.
Michael C. Tugend, Kathleen Tugend to Arthur Barndt, Sr., Betty Barndt, in Lenox Township for $12,000.
David M. Washeleski, Simpson, and Katie Temsamrit, Scranton.
Jason James Burnett, Burghill, OH, and Jessica Lynn Albert, Hallstead.
Jason Michael Funk and Julie Ann French, both of RR3, Susquehanna.
Shelbourne R. Lyman and Michele M. Goff, both of Windsor, NY.
Mary Catherine Ulmer, Clarks Summit vs. Jeffrey Ulmer, Clarks Summit. Married in 1987.
Monique R. Abel, Thompson vs. Matthew P. Abel, Leighton. Married in 2001.
Stephen A. McCormack, Montrose vs. Aida McCormack, Johnson City, NY. Married in 1984.
After what was described at the May 17 meeting of the Susquehanna Community School Board as a difficult, stressful process, and the result of endless analysis, the proposed 2006-07 budget was presented for approval. The end result shows a one-mill increase for Susquehanna County, and a .26 mill increase for Wayne County. This reflects an increase of 1.42 over the last six years, far below what the state allows.
Increases that had to be dealt with include an increase of almost 16% in health insurance costs, 38% in retirement contributions, almost 19% in energy costs, 79% in fees for cyber charter students, 8% in student transportation, and 31% in Special Ed purchased services.
A tentative budget of $12,587,528 was approved, as well as reaffirming a $5.00 per capita tax under Act 511 and a $5.00 per capita tax under Act 679, setting district millage at 38.75 in Susquehanna County and 9.89 in Wayne County.
Still unknown is the allocation for Title I programs, as the state has not yet determined what districts will receive; other Title programs have already seen cuts in allocations.
A number of cost saving measures have been implemented. Two retiring teachers will not be replaced; with declining enrollment, class sizes will not be affected.
The board approved purchase of a $26,995 truck, to be used for snow removal. With allotments for snow removal at $10,000 per year, it would be more cost effective for maintenance personnel to see to snow plowing, as opposed to contracting out for those services. A substantial savings is expected over a two-to-three year period. The truck could also be used for transporting large supply shipments from one building to another.
A contract with Blended Schools.net was approved, at a cost of $10,500. Blended Schools.net is a consortium that offers a cyber curriculum to students, sponsored by the district and correlated with state academic standards, and it allows cyber students to earn a district diploma. The district currently pays anywhere from $9,000 to $18,000 per year per student for cyber charter fees. This action is expected to see a $20,000 savings to start, with four students so far willing to take part.
Also approved was purchase of a Transfinder Pro System, cost $7,495. This program will be used for an upgrade of the transportation system, not only ensuring that buses are running efficiently, but factoring in such variables as weather and road conditions. The district currently has a two-tier system, which by the 07-08 school year can be switched to a single tier system, not only saving in transportation costs, but allowing 40 more minutes per day of instructional time.
In other business, High School Principal Mike Lisowski described an “interesting, rewarding year,” with a focus on increased parental involvement, particularly with behavioral issues. He lauded the faculty for adapting to new ideas, with the result being a drop in incidents. Board president Terry Carpenter noted that this had been no small achievement; detentions dropped from 503 to 5, and in-school suspensions dropped from 244 to 9.
Every year, each county elementary principal chooses one student to receive a Scholar Citizen Award. A luncheon is held for the students chosen, hosted by the principals. At the luncheon, one student is received to receive a “top” prize, a $100 savings bond. This year, Principal Keyes’ choice for the award was Jeffrey Wayman, who was also chosen to receive the savings bond. Mr. Keyes also reported that 31 third graders had their poetry chosen to be published in an anthology, copies of which will be available in the school library. And, so far, 29 K-12 students are enrolled for summer programs, which are geared to prevent reading and math reduction.
The state is in the process of conducting an annual audit of the district’s accounts; business manager Gary Kiernan reported that it is going well.
During public comment, Matt Frailey, Post 86 SAL Commander made a presentation to the district’s music department. The SAL’s focus, he said is to help support the youth of the community and youth programs. When the SAL learned that a new piano was needed by the music department, they contacted the school with a proposition; if music department students would be willing to be servers at the SAL’s Friday fish dinners during Lent, the proceeds would be donated to the school, to be used towards a new piano. Mr. Frailey was pleased to present a check in the amount of $1,150 on behalf of the SAL.
Items approved for the 2006-07 school year were as follows:
Bids for supplies as submitted by the Business Office; the Business Office was given permission to order supplies.
Appointment of Treasurer Martha Stanford to another term at the same salary.
A contract with Tri-County Human Services Center, Inc. to provide School Outreach Services.
A program of studies for 7th-12th grades.
A letter of agreement with the Northeast Behavior Health Care Consortium; this is mandated, state sponsored support for behavioral health care.
Peoples National Bank as a depository for the district’s funds.
Appointment of Attorney James A. Kelly/Joseph Gaughn as the District Solicitors.
Appointment of Parente Randolph, PC Accountants as District Auditors.
Appointment of G.H. Harris Associates, Inc., Dallas, PA as the Delinquent Tax Collector for the district.
An agreement with Thomas P. Theobald, Government Software Services, Honesdale, PA for the printing of tax duplicates for Starrucca Boro (Wayne County).
An agreement with INFOCON Corporation, Ebensburg, PA for the printing of tax duplicates for the District.
An agreement with DeHey McAndrew Consultants, Scranton, PA for information services for the 2006/2007 School year.
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Susquehanna County to offer released time instruction for students K-6.
Other actions approved were as follows:
A proposal by Action Fire for a kitchen fire suppression system for the elementary building, cost $2,275.
An Assurance For the Operation of Special Education Services and Programs for school years 2005-2008.
The PSBA Policy Service, cost $6,300, to be paid over three years. With the need to continually update policy manuals, this service provides help creating flexible policies that can be modified to the district’s needs.
Permission for the district solicitor, to bid a Tax Anticipation Note in the amount of one million dollars.
The Title I Parent Involvement Policy.
A bus contract change, Bus #25, effective April 24; old rate – $138.56, new rate - $ 141.60.
Additions to the substitute list: Andrea Owens, Elementary/Special Ed.; Mike Marino, Maintenance.
Accepting the following resignations: Jean Carpenter, Health Office Aide, effective end of the 2005/2006 school year; John Dunn, Department Head, effective end of the 2005/2006 school year.
Hiring for Elementary Summer School, Elementary Summer School Learning Support, Extended School Year, Summer Special Education Reading Program, Summer School HS – Science, Summer School HS – Special Education.
Also approved was the Special Education Plan for 2006-07. It includes a reading program, the first year this is in effect, for high school students with special needs who require additional support in reading comprehension. And, the Extended School Year program, mandated for students who require IEPs. Students used to be sent out to other districts, but this year the program will be offered on-campus which will be more cost-effective. Special Ed Coordinator Joni Miller and the department faculty were given high praise for their hard work and innovation.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices.
The boro’s lease agreement with the Blue Ridge Little League for the ballfield on Route 11 was the first item discussed at the May 18 meeting of the Hallstead Boro Council. The little league has requested that two paragraphs be added to the agreement, that in the event the boro terminates the lease the organization be allowed to take the lights, the pole and the fence, which would, in effect, return the park to its original state. Council’s consensus was that they could not foresee any reason why the boro would terminate the lease, but they did understand the league’s position, that they were protecting their investment in the event that termination were to take place. After discussion, a motion carried to contact the boro solicitor to see if the provision could be added to the agreement.
Complaints discussed included a property on Old Route 11; a property owner is reportedly dumping bottles, cans, brush and dirt as fill with the (purported) intent to put in a modular home. The complainant was concerned that the non-organic items would attract rodents. It was agreed that council would check it out, and only request an inspection by the CEO if the complaint appeared to have merit.
The state Department of Health had been contacted regarding a complaint about a property on Main St., where stockpiling of household trash has been attracting rodents; their response was to send information that appeared to be contact information for a pest control concern. As that would be the property owner’s responsibility, council will send a letter, giving the property owner 30 days to clean up, after which legal action will be taken.
As a formality, a motion carried to approve hiring of Jim Brink as the boro’s full-time maintenance supervisor; a hiring committee had interviewed applicants on May 10 and had been authorized to hire the most qualified candidate.
A list of projects for Mr. Brink was compiled. A broken slide at the Franklin St. park will be replaced with one the boro has in storage. A broken baby swing will be replaced. And, there are bolts protruding where a piece of playground equipment had been removed. Another piece of equipment in storage will be re-placed there. New mulch will be placed under the swings at the park, as well as an area near the boro building. Mr. Brink was authorized to purchase a gate for the Route 11 park, a push mower, and a new lock for the boro garage. And, the nets will be put up at the tennis court.
The boro has received notice that the Occupation Assessment Workbook is ready to be picked up at the Assessment Office. The boro does not currently have an Occupational Tax Assessor; interested candidates should contact the boro office.
A motion carried to approve adopting an ordinance to reestablish the boro’s membership in COG.
FEMA has closed out all of the boro’s project worksheets for flood damage from Tropical Depression Ivan, and the boro has received an additional reimbursement of $319.21.
The Bridging Communities project is currently awaiting an inspection by Harrisburg, to determine that the sidewalk replacement project will “do no harm” to nearby creeks and the Susquehanna River. It is expected that the inspection will be favorable, after which the project can proceed with bidding out.
And, a motion carried to donate $200 to the newly formed watershed association, which was formed with neighboring municipalities to address problems with Salt Lick Creek and Trowbridge Creek. All of the affected municipalities will be asked to make donations, to be used to send out informational flyers, etc.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 15, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Elk Lake School District Board held two meetings this month. On Tuesday, May 9 the board held a special meeting to present the preliminary budget for the school and the career and technology center. Concern was expressed as to how much money was transferred to the home building project to assist with start-up. The cost was reported as unknown. Superintendent Bush did explain that the home will be sold, with revenues to be returned to the general budget to fund the next home. Another concern was expressed as to why the school district is developing real estate and using students for this, as opposed to students being placed in apprentice programs in the business sector. Bush explained the home building project gives students experience in a safe learning environment with the expectation that the students will be more employable. A parent present said that companies do have great apprentice programs for students such as the one in which her son is involved.
2 1/2" pic.
At the May 16 Elk Lake School Board meeting, Dr. Kenneth Cuomo and Mrs. Josie Coddington displayed the Key Club Honor Award she received earlier at a ceremony in Hershey, PA.
The board approved the advertising of a handicapped ramped van for the anticipated need of students in the district.
A teacher was hired retroactively. Cost for a FBLA State competition was also approved retroactively.
Mr. Montross, the guidance counselor has announced his resignation after 35-plus years of service to the students and district. This was approved with regrets by the board.
Several parents questioned the hiring practice of coaches and the evaluations involved. A suggestion was made to hold a public meeting specifically to address athletic issues. According to Mr. Mallery, he is aware of only one sport for one season which was completely cancelled due to lack of coaches. He did acknowledge it is difficult to get qualified coaches at the salaries the school is able to pay. Nonetheless, approval was given for numerous coaching positions for the next school year. The board showed interest in establishing a committee to discuss athletics. A show of hands of concerned public and students who were present established a list of willing participants for the committee. A date and time to be announced later. One board member and one representative from the administration will be on the committee.
The preliminary budget was discussed. The suggested increase was 1.5 mils, which is approximately 10%. Four areas were to blame for that, according to the board: salary, benefits, retirement and fuel. A decline in enrollment of approximately 10% has been observed as well, or 125 less students since the year 2001.
A three-year grant request was approved for $200,000. This simply shows board support for the application to be made. There is a “50/50" chance of obtaining the grant. The moneys, if obtained, are to be used for college and career counselors, an assistant and supplies.
The next meeting on Tuesday, May 16, was the regularly scheduled monthly board.
Prior to the official start of the meeting, the robotics club student members were present to display their robot.
An award was presented by Dr. Cuomo to Mrs. Josie Coddington for her longstanding, excellent service for the Key Club. Coddington has served for 16 years. As she received the Key of Honor, Coddington thanked her husband, David and the Board for their support. She is the only female to have received this, according to principal Cuomo.
Retroactive approval was given for one homebound instruction, with a second student being anticipated shortly.
Eleven students were approved for hiring in the Summer Workers program. Bush added that usually ten students get hired, but some students have prior commitments which necessitated hiring an extra. Three summer educational programs were approved.
A job description was presented for review for the Athletic Director and Transportation Coordinator positions.
The preliminary budget was approved, with one board member voting no. This is now available for public scrutiny prior to adoption June 20 at the board meeting. An 85% increase in the costs of salaries, benefits, retirement and fuel is the culprit, according to the board.
Two policies were approved. They are the Early Entrance and the Audio/Video Camera policies. Both the Athletic and Student handbooks were reviewed and will be approved at the June 20 meeting and mailed out immediately after. The student Assessment Policy was unavailable due to copying problems. This policy will attempt to standardize the methods by which teachers assess students and derive a grade. This came as a result of many concerns by parents and students as to how a grade was created.
The new Athletic Committee, open to the public will hold its first meeting in Dr. Bush’s office on Saturday, June 3, at 9:00 a.m. Mr. Tewksbury will represent the administration.
Regular Board meetings are held the third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the school library.
Mark Twain supposedly once said, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." Mr. Charles Martel is happy to announce that the report of his demise in the May 10 issue of the County Transcript was similarly exaggerated. Mr. Martel informs us that he was surprised to hear of his death, and in fact is very much alive. The County Transcript (and especially the writer, Ted Brewster) sincerely apologize for the error, and wish Mr. Martel many more years of health and prosperity.
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.
COG will be proceeding with adoption of the ordinance for member municipalities, reestablishing membership in COG. Office manager Karen Trynoski reported that all but four had sent in the required paperwork by the deadline that had been given. Franklin Township would have theirs in by the following day. Brooklyn Township and Friendsville Boro would be contacted the next day; if their paperwork was complete it could be faxed in. But, Lanesboro Boro did not act on the ordinance at their last meeting; it would have to be acted upon at their June meeting, for adoption at their July meeting. Should COG hold off any action, or continue as planned? After discussion, the consensus was that COG should proceed; it would be unfair to hold up the process. Any municipality that missed the deadline could advertise the ordinance on their own.
Mrs. Trynoski also asked if there was any word on a county ordinance that is in the works by the planning commission regulating cell towers; one of COG's members had made an inquiry. It is still pending.
New state regulations for road signs will go into effect in 2012; more highly reflective material will need to be used. Elliot Ross noted that COG currently has almost two rolls for lettering in stock. He is checking on what should be used now, as the material is quite expensive, about $530 per roll. He would not like to see COG go to the expense of buying new if the rolls can still be used. He will provide an update once more information is available.
At last month’s meeting, Mrs. Trynoski was authorized to seek bids for CPA audits of the Codes committee’s accounts. She reported receiving one, with possibly two more to come. Further investigation shows that a full CPA audit would not be necessary; a “review” would cost considerably less and would satisfy the bank’s requirements. It would also be less expensive, as a full CPA audit would cost anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000, and a review should cost $750 - $1,000. And, the bank would accept a review after April 15, in May or June, which would allow more time at a better rate than during tax season.
At present, the insurance committee was comprised of Secretary Cheryl Wellman; Harvey Rosenkrans and Ted Plevinsky agreed to serve. The committee’s responsibility is review the proposal for renewal of the present policy, which expires in September. A key issue is to ensure separate billing for each of COG’s three committees.
During public comment, a New Milford Boro resident had some questions about the fee he was charged for inspection of hookup to the sewer system, which was put in last year. He felt that the $112 he had to pay was excessive, and asked who determined what the rate should be. Mrs. Trynoski explained that the fee is determined by several components, one of which is the fee charged by COG’s third party inspectors, Building Inspection Underwriters. Other components include administration fees and state charges. Under the UCC, hookups must be inspected by certified inspectors. Whether the inspections were performed by COG or another entity, the fee would still need to be paid and would probably be about the same. The resident had other questions. Mrs. Trynoski suggested that the resident speak directly with the inspector, and would ask him to contact the resident to set up an appointment; the resident agreed.
Ted Plevinsky had some questions about a situation that had taken place where sewage was backing up into a trailer; would this be something for the municipality to deal with, or should DEP be called? SEO Duane Wood said that it would be up to the municipality to deal with it, to see if it is a matter of a simple repair. A malfunction is a municipality’s responsibility, he said, even those permitted by DEP.
COG Sewage is in the process of pursuing court action in a situation in Rush Township; otherwise, things were reported to be going well.
Ted Plevinsky had another question regarding a situation where he was contacted by a tenant; the home’s roof leaks, and the landlord won’t fix it. Is it, he asked, a landlord/tenant problem or is it the municipality’s? The consensus was, if the municipality has adopted an ordinance covering property maintenance, the landlord could be brought before the magistrate. Many municipalities have adopted or are in the process of adopting rental ordinances, which would cover a situation like this one. In a case where condemnation might be needed, a UCC certified inspector would have the knowledge to determine if the problem is fixable or if the structure should be condemned.
In a note of levity, Oakland Township representative Cy Cowperthwait related that his municipality had pursued a violation case in October, 2005. The township won the case, and had requested the maximum fine, which was imposed at $600. The township had just gotten the first installment last month, a grand total of $3.00. “But, we are getting paid,” he joked.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 20, 7 p.m. in the COG offices in New Milford Boro.
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