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Issue Home July 12, 2006 Site Home

Great Bend Boro Overcomes
Landlords Might Need Licenses
County Damage Report

Courthouse Report
Gibson Barracks Report
ARC Continues To Provide Aid
Blue Ridge Sues Two Collectors
Disaster Recovery Center Opened
Newmans Get Animals Back
Fraud Alert
FEMA Aid Available
Contact Information For Flood Victims

Great Bend Boro Overcomes

It was the scheduled meeting – the first Thursday of the month – but it was anything but ordinary. Barely a week after the greatest disaster to befall Susquehanna County in anyone's memory, the Great Bend Borough Council met on July 6 to review, regroup and reconsider the Great Flood of 2006.

Incredibly, Council made its orderly way through a normal agenda when everything but "normal" was on the minds of everyone in the room. The room in the Borough building itself, in fact, is still being used as a temporary clinic by Barnes-Kasson Hospital, which lost its Mountain View Plaza clinic under four feet of water.

Following approval of the agenda, last month's minutes, and the treasurer's report, Council Chair Bea Alesky recognized Tim Sevison and Martyn Nevil of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). Mr. Sevison and Mr. Nevil gave a comprehensive review of what PEMA (and FEMA, at the county level) has done, is doing, and will continue to do to help the area recover.

PEMA has delivered large pre-paid dumpsters to flooded communities. So far there is one in Great Bend Borough, on Franklin Street at Memorial Park. It has been filled and replaced at least three times already, and may be moved to another convenient location as the borough cleans up. Any and all flood-damaged household materials can be put in the dumpsters. Borough employee Alan Grannis was directed to use the borough's tractor and bucket to help residents move larger items to the dumpster as needed.

Ms. Alesky also announced that North East Waste Services of Shippensburg will be providing about 25 trucks to remove damaged household items free of charge. Dave Florance, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, a former resident of Great Bend, made the generous offer, which was gratefully accepted.

Residents need to be aware that some dumpsters in the area were privately acquired, mostly by businesses. Homeowners are directed to use the PEMA dumpsters (or the North East trucks, when they arrive) to get rid of flood- damaged goods.

The dumpsters are part of the phase of recovery called Category A, designated for debris removal. Mr. Sevison told Council that the county commissioners have decided to allow debris removal to be managed by individual municipalities. Later phases involve remediation, and then mitigation, that is, repairing damaged structures, and then repairing infrastructure to try to keep similar damage from happening again.

PEMA has been using the Great Bend Hose Company firehouse as a base of operations. "They did a fabulous job," said Mr. Sevison of local first responders. PEMA will be returning the firehouse to the local fire company shortly, but will continue to supply both the Great Bend and the Hallstead firehouses with bottled drinking water and ice until the "boil-water" advisory is lifted. Residents may also continue to see emergency response vehicles (ERV) circulating in the hardest-hit areas. The water "buffaloes" provided by the National Guard have been withdrawn; they were not used. Residents are advised not to drink tap water without first boiling it until notified that the water supply is safe.

As recovery settles down, PEMA will consolidate all operations at the Blue Ridge School District campus, where a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will be established. It was to open officially on Monday, July 10, at 1:00 p.m. The DRC will be the focal point for all services for affected residents, municipalities and businesses. Anyone needing assistance should be directed to the DRC at Blue Ridge. The only exception will be families who need clothing or other small items. PEMA has designated Interfaith Ministries in Montrose as the coordinator for that type of service.

Residents are warned to beware of people soliciting repair business or even credit card and other identifying information that they may claim will be used to help them apply for assistance. Residents should apply for relief only at the Disaster Recovery Center at the Blue Ridge school.

Mr. Sevison and Mr. Nevil said that virtually all borough and fire company expenses related to the flood are reimbursable from authorized federal and state funds, even down to coffee served to volunteers and the many newsletters distributed to borough residents. PEMA will require detailed documentation for such expenses, but the DRC will help to work through the bureaucratic procedures. Well water may be brought to the DRC for testing.

The DRC will remain open as long as necessary. The PEMA representatives said that for the longer term, municipal officials and emergency personnel should watch for latent problems that may begin to surface later, such as public health issues related to mold in residential structures, sickness caused by drinking tap water before it is declared safe, and depression. They said that the DRC will have counselors available to residents experiencing unusual stress.

Some Council members were concerned about a storm sewer in the town that seemed to have backed up, and wondered if disaster relief money could be used to fix that. Mr. Sevison and Mr. Nevil were careful to caution borough officials to document everything related to the flooding carefully. Such mitigation projects may be allowed up to about 10% of the total money available, but the problems would have to be a consequence of the recent flooding or the work might not be reimbursable at all.

Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan announced that Catholic Services would be setting up shop at the Trinity Center at the Catholic church on July 10 from 4 until 7 p.m. to accept applications for financial assistance. Residents need not be Catholic to apply.

Mike VanGorden, the borough's Emergency Management Coordinator, made good use of his experience and planning through long hours on the streets during the worst of the flooding. He sat quietly through most of the meeting, and just as quietly accepted Council's thanks for the many sleepless nights.

The local fire company, under the leadership of Chief Dave Derrick, was warmly appreciated by everyone for the long hours and difficult job they handled professionally and expertly throughout. The fire company has already decided to cancel the parade and fireworks display scheduled for July 15, figuring that the money could be better spent otherwise right now.

The memorial ceremony that was to be held at Memorial Park in August in honor of Lee Wiegand, a local National Guardsman killed in Iraq in September 2005 will also be postponed until later in the year at the request of sponsors to give the town a chance to recover. A plaque honoring Spc. Wiegand will be affixed to the flagpole in the park this week.

In other business, Council formally adopted the "Nuisance Ordinance" proposed last month. The new measure hopes to improve the health and appearance of the town by giving the borough government more tools to combat accumulations of trash and junk. The action seemed especially ironic under the circumstances.

Council also heard about a plan that would reroute a new high-tension electrical distribution line from upstate New York through Susquehanna County, perhaps along the Erie railroad line, part of which passes through Great Bend Borough. The proposed line has aroused significant opposition in rural New York. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is petitioning for a say in the plan.

Former local police chief Charles Martel has asked the borough to support a revision in his pension plan to give his wife survivor benefits. Borough solicitor Francis O'Connor reviewed the plan as written under state law at the time, and Council decided to respond by declaring their intention to honor the original terms of the plan.

But of course all minds were focused on the lingering effects of the devastating flood, and even more on the many people who are working so hard to help. Council thanked the Susquehanna and Lanesboro Police Department for patrolling through one of the worst nights.

One resident especially thanked Council itself for members' own efforts to direct at lot of the work, and especially to keep residents informed throughout the worst of the catastrophe. Council met daily and issued frequent newsletters, hand-delivering them to homes in the borough, to keep everyone informed of progress and available services. "I have never seen a better Council," said one resident. Attorney O'Connor, who offered his office's front window as a community bulletin board, told Council, "You did a great job."

Mayor Jim Riecke, always one of the more positive voices at these meetings, declared, "Everybody worked as a great team." Ms. Alesky closed the meeting with credit all around: "We can be proud of everyone in Great Bend."

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Landlords Might Need Licenses

The Forest City Borough Council is considering legislation that will provide for the regulation of residential rental units.

Council is looking at sample ordinances including one passed in May by the Honesdale Borough Council. The measure establishes rights and obligations of owners and occupants of rental units and is designed to maintain and improve the quality of rental housing in the borough.

Mayor Nick Cost, who has been on a clean-up campaign since he took his oath of office in January, has been pressing council to pass an ordinance that would require tenants and landlords to keep buildings in decent repair. He also wants the legislation to provide for removal of excessive debris in backyards and groomed lawns.

If the borough enacts an ordinance, it will probably require owners of rental units to register them with the borough and may provide for an annual license. Absentee landlords could be required to designate an agent to serve as sort of a caretaker/rental agent and must make certain the rental units conform with provisions of the ordinance and other borough codes. Repeated failure of a landlord to comply with borough rules and regulations could result in revocation of the rental license. If the new ordinance requires a borough license, a landlord could be fined $100 a day for operating a residential rental unit without it.

Besides conforming to building codes and appearance, landlords and tenants could be cited for such violations as loud, offense and riotous noise or any disruptive conduct. However, if Forest City’s ordinance is patterned after Honesdale’s, no charges will be filed without a police officer’s investigation to determine if, in fact, a violation did occur.

In another clean-up move, Council passed a new pooper-scooper law that requires pet owners to keep their property free of any feces that might cause an odor in the neighborhood. The new measure also provides for pet owners to stop their dogs from barking, crying or making noise that creates a nuisance or deprives the peace, quiet, rest or sleep of any person within the borough.

The ordinance also requires pet owners who walk their dogs to carry a pooper scooper or a bag and clean up after their pets. Fines for violating any provisions of the ordinance can range from $25 for first offenders, $35 for a second offense, and $50 for third offenders.

Council President James Lowry reported that barricades placed on Upper North Main Street where flood waters caused landslides that washed away portions of the berm of the street, cost the borough $2,500. He expressed confidence that most of the money will be returned to the borough from state or federal sources.

Lowry said the cost of installing a retaining wall on Upper Main Street has been estimated between $317,000 and $424,000. Again he expressed hope that state and federal money will pay for the project.

“I don’t know when that road will be fixed,” Lowry said.

Mayor Nick Cost praised the borough firemen, policemen and ambulance crews for the work they did during the June 27-28 flooding.

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County Damage Report

Susquehanna County emergency officials have identified at least 73 homes in the county that were destroyed by the June flooding. About half of them were mobile homes, with most in the Hallstead-Great Bend-Great Bend Township area and several in Liberty Township. Also, 43 businesses were destroyed, most of them in Great Bend Township.

Another 88 homes in Susquehanna County sustained major damage. More than half of them are mobile homes, and most of them are in the New Milford, Lanesboro and Great Bend areas.

About 20 businesses sustained major damage, with about a third of them in the New Milford area. An additional 285 homes and businesses received minor damage.

County-wide, seven bridges and culverts were destroyed, and seven more were damaged. Seven roads were destroyed, and about 125 more were damaged.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled by P. Jay Amadio


Patrick J. Moran, Jr., Tammy M. Oday (nbm) Tammy M. Moran to Michael A. Geron, Jr., Moosic, Lisa H. Geron, in Lenox Township for $30,000.

Keith Atkinson, Danielle Atkinson to Robert H. Panek, Forest City, Julie M. Panek, in Forest City.

Doris M. Wilbur to John Keenan, Philadelphia, Carol Keenan, in Lenox Township for $60,000.

Chester S. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), Lucille E. Grzankowski (trust by trustees) to Chester S. Grzankowski, Edison, NJ, Lucille E. Grzankowski, in Oakland Township for one dollar.

Chester S. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), Lucille E. Grzankowski (trust by trustees) to Chester S. Grzankowski, Edison, NJ , Lucille E. Grzankowski, in Oakland Township for one dollar.

Chester S. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), Lucille E. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), to Chester S. Grzankowski, Edison, NJ, Lucille E. Grzankowski, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Chester S. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), Lucille E. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), to Chester S. Grzankowski, Edison, NJ, Lucille E. Grzankowski, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Chester S. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), Lucille E. Grzankowski (trust by trustees), to Chester S. Grzankowski, Edison, NJ, Lucille E. Grzankowski, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Robert Mead, Janet Mead, Nicholas G. Serafini, Mary A. Serafini to Mary A. Serafini, Vestal, NY, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Kurt R. Kuechler to Joseph C. Tometchko, RR1, Montrose, Pamela B. Tometchko, in Bridgewater Township for $173,500.

Chari E. Moore to Matthew D. Greenley, RR1, Hallstead, Deborah A. Greenley in Silver Lake Township for $32,000.

Douglas G. Kilmer to Daniel E. Jonson, Towanda, Donald E. Johnson Jr., in Franklin Township for $10,000.

Trehab Associates Inc. to Dale Howell Enterprises Inc., Springville, in Great Bend Borough for $248,000.

Seymour Barget, Roberta Barget to John E. Clarke, Clarksburg, NJ, Diane Clarke, in Herrick Township for $125,000.

Sandra L. Sanderson to Kenneth R. Lambert, Parsippany, NJ, Linda L. Lambert, in Herrick Township for $102,000.

Patricia Shelanskey, Thomas Shelanskey, Patricia Shelanskey (aka) to Patricia Shelanskey, Great Bend, Thomas Shelanskey, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Jeffery M. Holgate to Jeffery M. Holgate, Hallstead, Mary Holgate, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Barbara Jo Rieck, Donald Kalina to Gregg Hitchcock, Springville, Casey Hitchcock, in Dimock Township for $3,000.

June U. Fortnum to Charlotte S. Myrick, Littleton, CO, in Dimock Township for $120,000.

Karen Werdann (aka) Karen D. Werdann to Karen D. Werdann (trust), Halifax, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Eric Wilson, Susan Wilson to Neil Vitale, Milford, Marilyn Vitale, in Montrose for $115,000.

Joseph F. McGuigan, Joan McGuigan to Donald Swartz, Windsor, NY, Stacy Swartz, in Silver Lake Township for $115,000.

Richard Estabrook, Kathy Estabrook to Robert Wallace, Sr., Nicholson, Lila M. Wallace, in Lenox Township for $90,000.


Justin Joseph Dunn, Meshoppen and Sara Beth Johnson, Springville.

Philip Tyler Maynard, Brackney and Lindsey J. Bonnice, Montrose.

Jerome Allen Benedict, Susquehanna and Nadine Olivia Washburn, Susquehanna.


Laurino-Terri Ann Heguy, Binghamton, NY vs. Hector Heguy, RR3, Montrose. Married October 2, 2005.

Joseph F. Nusbaum, Jr., RR3, New Milford vs. Bobbi Jo Nusbaum, RR3, New Milford. Married March 14,1993.

Heather McKay, Hallstead vs. Derek McKay, Philadelphia. Married May 20, 2000.

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Gibson Barracks Report


Jessica Canfield, 20, Hallstead, is now facing a misdemeanor charge of theft after State Police say that the former Smokin’ Joe’s of Montrose employee was documenting false refunds to customers and keeping the money for herself this past month.


Two ambulances were responding to an emergency on SR11 near Airport Rd. in Great Bend Twp July 6, when the first ambulance suddenly stopped, the second swerved, struck a mailbox and sideswiped a pole. The driver, Stacy Kent of Troy was wearing her seatbelt and was uninjured. The other EMT, Janna Shepard of Troy, was also wearing her seatbelt and was hurt in the accident, and taken to EMHS in Montrose with minor injuries by a private vehicle. The 2000 Ford E350 Western Alliance Emergency Services ambulance from Troy received minor damage.


State Police report that both Randall’s Ice Cream Ranch and Katie’s Clothes Bin in New Milford were broken into sometime overnight between June 25 and June 26. At Randall’s, one of the front serving windows was pried open, and $40 was taken from inside. Inside Katie’s Clothes Bin, police say the side window was forced open. Several CDs were placed in a bag, but were left inside. No one is sure what exactly is missing, clothes were sorted through and hangers were left empty.*


A 15-year old boy was driving a motorcycle on SR0267 in Choconut Twp. June 18, when he lost control and crashed. The juvenile from Brackney was wearing his helmet during the accident and received minor injuries. The 1974 Yamaha motorcycle involved in the accident now has major damage.


Dr. Gary Latimer of Union Dale was forced to report his own nanny to authorities after several acts of theft and taking his vehicle. Police say Shannon Sefiane, North Wales, PA stole money from the Clifford Twp. home, took Dr. Latimer’s ATM card and forged his name on a bill. On June 22, Sefiane took Dr. Latimer’s vehicle and refused to return it until late the next day.


Jesse J. Yachymiak, 21, Browndale was driving his 3-wheeler on Oak Hill Rd. in Oakland Twp. June 17, when he lost control on a curve and crashed into trees. He was not wearing a helmet in the accident and received moderate injuries. His Yamaha 224DX ATV received moderate damage.


Coleen Walsh and Cody Layton of Brackney were driving their 2005 Chevy Silverado on SR0167 in Silver Lake Twp. June 16, when a car pulled out of a driveway and caused an accident. The 17-year old driver received minor injuries in the crash, and had major damage done to his 1990 Acura. Walsh’s Silverado received moderate damage in the accident; no one inside the truck was hurt.


Charged have been filed after Christina Sparks, New Milford reported to State Police that someone had punched the side of her 1996 Chevy truck June 24 on SR11 in New Milford. Whoever is responsible is known by Sparks, no name has been released.


State Police say fast moving flood waters is responsible for the death of Scott Barnes of Springville. Barnes was driving his 1991 Chevy Lumina on SR3004 near Whites Creek June 27, when his car was apparently swept away by fast moving flood waters. After an extensive search by the Springville Fire Dept, Barnes was found nearly a mile downstream the next day.


Sometime between June 26 and June 27, someone damaged a “Port-A-Potty” at the Thompson Fire Hall.*


Jack and Sharon Johnson of Hallstead were not injured after police say a silver Chevy Corsica rear ended them three times while driving on SR492 in New Milford June 20. The Corsica then fled the scene, passing other vehicles while heading towards Montrose.*


Larry Cobb of New Milford has been cited after he reportedly started screaming profanities and verbally harassed Douglas Deboer of New Milford, while Deboer was standing on Cobb St. in New Milford July 1. Cobb has been cited with both harassment and disorderly conduct.


Anthony M. Pedro, 19, Hallstead told police that his 1992 Mazda MX3 was damaged June 28 after Joseph Canfield, 25 and George Wayman, 19, both of Hallstead were throwing smoke balls on it. An investigation is ongoing.


Jeanette Coleman, 43, Montrose was driving her 1996 Ford Ranger on SR0029 in Dimock Twp. July 2, when she lost control. Coleman swerved the truck trying to avoid a raccoon in the road, struck a fallen tree and rolled the truck twice before it came to a rest on its roof. Coleman was taken to EMHS in Montrose with minor injuries.


Samuel Cicon, 29, Gibson was driving his 1996 Toyota Tacoma on SR848 in Harford Twp. July 3, when he left the road and crashed into a utility pole. State Police say the accident happened when Cicon was trying to remove a wallet from his pocket. An NEP Telephone Co. utility pole and phone box were damaged in the accident, as well as Sally Ann Conklin’s lawn. Two hundred homes in the area lost telephone service after the accident. Cicon has been cited.


Barbra Kenny, 37, Hop Bottom reported to police that she and Douglas Gumaer, 35, Hop Bottom were involved in an argument at her home July 2, when Gumaer grabbed her throat and threw her against a table. Kenny has decided not to pursue charges.

*Anyone with information is asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police in Gibson at 1-570-465-3154.

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ARC Continues To Provide Aid

The American Red Cross continues to operate an emergency shelter to provide meals and overnight accommodations for flood victims at the Montrose Area High School. The shelter will remain open as long as people need a place to stay. The Red Cross also continues to prepare hot meals in a mobile kitchen at the high school and distribute them to flood victims and clean-up workers, using seven emergency response vehicles that travel through the flooded areas.

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Blue Ridge Sues Two Collectors

The Blue Ridge School District has filed suit against tax collectors from two of its sending municipalities who refuse to collect the district’s 2006 taxes at the district’s reduced commission rate.

Papers filed in the Susquehanna County Courthouse last week by Attorney Jonathan P. Riba of the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Tucker & Katz ask the court to compel tax collectors Vicki L. Drake of New Milford Township and Miriam Page of Jackson Township to collect the taxes at the board of education’s approved tax compensation rate of 60 cents per tax bill.

The move comes on the heels of a school board move last year that cut the commission rate for the six tax collectors in the school district by 80 percent. Prior to the board’s action, the collectors were paid $2.75 for every per capita tax bill, and $3.75 per bill for collecting the real estate tax.

The school district’s suit alleges that the defendants, Drake and Page, are seeking to prohibit the school district from collecting taxes by any other means other than the defendants themselves. And yet, the suit continues, “despite repeated requests by the plaintiff, both by way of telephone and letter to defendants‚ counsel to have the defendants perform their statutory elected duties, the defendants have continued to refuse to collect the school taxes.”

“By failing to comply with their statutory requirement of collecting school taxes,” the suit alleges, “the interest of the plaintiff is severely effected in that the plaintiff will be deprived of necessary and needed school tax revenue.” The complaint against Drake and Page concludes by asking the court to compel them to collect the school taxes at the board of education’s compensation rate of 60 cents per bill for their elected terms of office (2006-2009).

The six tax collectors in the school district countered with an offer to collect the per capita tax at $3 per bill with an increase of 25 cents for each ensuing year of their present terms of office and $4 for the real estate tax for the balance of their terms in office. The board of education rejected the offer.

Ironically, Mrs. Drake and Mrs. Page were the only two tax collectors named in the suit despite the fact that all six of them initially signed a letter advising the board that they would not collect the taxes at an 80 percent cut in pay. Mr. Riba told this writer that Mrs. Drake and Mrs. Page were the only tax collectors in the district who signed the letter refusing to collect the taxes.

“The other four are doing are doing their jobs,” Mr. Riba said. But this writer learned that only one tax collector, Margo Merritt of Great Bend Township is collecting the school tax at the reduced rate. Mrs. Merritt’s husband recently suffered a stroke and is unable to work. Her family depends on her income. And recently the school board added tax collecting to the duties of one of its employees.

Michael Giangrieco, attorney for the tax collectors, didn't say much when he was contacted concerning the school district’s counter suit. He did say he will answer the allegations in the suit within the 20 day time limit prescribed by law.

In April, Giangrieco filed a lawsuit against the school district in behalf of Mrs. Drake, Mrs. Page and Mrs. Merritt. That suit asks the court to declare the board of education’s resolution lowering the tax collectors compensation by 80 percent as null and void and asks the court to reinstate the rate paid to the tax collectors before the school board reduced it.

When he filed the suit against the school board, Giangrieco predicted that the proposed reduction of the commission paid to the district tax collectors will be overturned. He said the commission was “grossly inadequate” for the duties and responsibilities involved in the collection of school taxes.

Besides Drake, Page and Merritt, the other tax collectors in the school district include Lori Conarton, Great Bend Borough; Roberta Gulick, Milford Township; and, Peggy Woosman, Hallstead.

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Disaster Recovery Center Opened

A disaster recovery center (DRC) to assist residents, businesses and property owners who sustained losses in last week’s flooding opened Monday, July 10, at the Blue Ridge Elementary School cafeteria. The school is located just off Route 11 between New Milford and Hallstead.

The center will be open Wednesday through Friday, July 12-14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The following agencies will have representatives at the DRC: Pennsylvania Attorney General; Department of Public Welfare; Area Agency on Aging; Department of Environmental Protection; Insurance; Department of Agriculture; Small Business Administration; Internal Revenue Service; Social Security Administration; American Red Cross.

A DRC is a readily accessible facility where applicants can go for information about disaster assistance programs or for answers to questions about their case.

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Newmans Get Animals Back

Back in January, Kevin Newman and Linda Jones-Newman of Thompson were cited with 27 animal abuse violations and were responsible for what was considered one of the worst animal abuse cases in Susquehanna County history. Thursday, they were found guilty of only one of the violations.

Shortly after leaving the courtroom in New Milford, the Newmans drove to the Susquehanna County Humane Society in Montrose, where more than 60 of the 73 animals that were taken from their farm were returned.

“It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow,” says Chad Weaver of the County Humane Society. “It’s tough on the volunteers, it’s hard on everyone involved.” Weaver tells The Susquehanna County Transcript that many of the volunteers are outraged with District Justice Peter Janicelli’s decision. He says that the Humane Society presented the case as best possible. “I don’t understand the ruling, but we have to live with it.”

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Fraud Alert

The Susquehanna County Emergency Operations Center is advising residents in flooded areas that official representatives of FEMA, PEMA and the Red Cross wear identification badges that include their photograph and the agency they represent. Anyone who visits your home representing FEMA, PEMA or the Red Cross will be wearing a photo ID. Residents are advised not to allow anyone who does not have proper identification into their home, and to be on the alert for possible fraudulent recovery workers and construction crews. Recovery workers representing these agencies do not charge for their services or ask for donations.

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FEMA Aid Available

HARRISBURG, PA – Homeowners, renters, and business owners in Susquehanna County can apply for disaster aid by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). Those who are hearing and speech impaired may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Phone lines are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. EDT. Flood victims may also register for disaster assistance online at

Callers are advised to have the following information available to help speed up the application process: current phone number; address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying; Social Security number, if available; a general list of damage and losses you suffered; good directions to the property that was damaged; if insured, your insurance policy number, or the agent's and company’s name; general financial information.

Individual and household assistance may include: temporary housing – homeowners and renters may receive rental assistance to help with housing costs while displaced from their own homes or apartments or while looking for new, permanent housing; repair – many homeowners will qualify for grants to repair disaster damage not covered by insurance. These funds are intended to make their homes safe and habitable, but not necessarily to return them to their pre-disaster condition. Other needs assistance (ONA) – applicants also may receive grants for serious disaster-related needs not met by insurance, volunteer agencies or other sources. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage and other eligible expenses.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) makes low-interest disaster loans available to residents of the counties included in the disaster declaration. The SBA provides three types of disaster loans: home disaster loans to homeowners and renters to repair or replace storm-damaged homes and to replace lost personal property; business physical disaster loans to business owners to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including inventory and supplies and economic injury disaster loans, which provide capital to businesses and agricultural cooperatives to help them through the recovery period.

Taxpayers may deduct their disaster-related damage and losses on their tax returns for 2006 or amended returns for 2005. Disaster assistance is not considered taxable income.

More disaster information is available on the Internet at or

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Contact Information For Flood Victims

Susquehanna County has been declared for federal individual assistance. If you have not already done so, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or online at

Do not delay in beginning your cleanup. Document your damages,and inventory and photograph everything.

Information on dealing with mold and mildew can be found at

If you need fuel oil pumped from your residence, call the local line for DEP, 278-4892.*

If you need the Department of Health, call (570) 278-4831.*

For information on Family Services Assistance, which includes crisis teams, call the Red Cross at 278-1427 (County Office) or 278-4650* (Emergency Operations Center).

*Numbers with asterisks are in effect for this flood crisis only.

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