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Issue Home July 26, 2006 Site Home

Montrose Man Gets State Prison Term
Blue Ridge Defers Taxes
Road To Recovery

Courthouse Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Disaster Assistance Tops $10 Million
$360,000 Scholarship For Blue Ridge Graduates
Forest City Adds Teachers
Great Bend Township Tackles Restoration
Hallstead Dealing With Devastation
Private Roads Need Names
Commissioners Approve Growing Greener Grants
COG: Damage Procedures

Montrose Man Gets State Prison Term
By P. Jay Amadio

A 46-year-old Montrose man was sentenced to serve 18 months to 36 months in a state correctional facility for theft of services in Great Bend Township on September 8, 2005. Richard Bednarczyk was also fined $750 plus court costs and must pay restitution to his victim.

Bednarczyk also received 18 months to 36 months in a state correctional facility for theft by unlawful taking in Lanesboro on March 6, 2005, followed by four years of consecutive supervision. The second sentence will run concurrent with the first one. The defendant was fined an additional $750 and must make restitution to his victims.

Albert David Verboys, 56, of Union Dale was also remanded to a state correctional facility, where he will serve 18 to 36 months for driving under the influence in Clifford Township on November 17, 2005. He was also fined $2,500 and must attend a safe driving school program.

A 27-year-old Forest City man was sentenced to serve five months to 23 1/2 months in the Susquehanna County Jail followed by five years probation for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in Forest City on November 11, 2005. Stanley Meheltz was also fined $1,500 and must perform 100 hours of community service.

On November 11, 2005, armed with a search warrant State Police entered the Meheltz home at 603 Susquehanna Street, Forest City. During the search 87 bags of heroin were found along with $305 in cash and an assortment of pills and drug paraphernalia.

Meheltz’s girlfriend, Kimberly Joy Stani, 24, was fined $250 and must do 25 hours of community service, after she pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. She was also placed on probation for nine months.

Others sentences handed out by Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans are as follows:

Angelo Marino, 31, of Great Bend, 2 1/2 months to 12 months in the county jail (work release program) and $500 fine for criminal conspiracy/criminal trespass in Susquehanna on January 28, 2006. He was also ordered to do 25 hours of community service. On charges of criminal attempt/acquisition or obtaining of a controlled substance in Hallstead on July 25, 2005, Marino was placed on probation for 12 months.

Julia Pearson, 41, of Great Bend, two years probation, $350 fine and 50 hours of community service for theft by deception in Great Bend Borough on October 29, 2003.

Lynn Kimmell, f37, of New Milford, six months probation, $300 fine and 25 hours of community service for driving under the influence in New Milford Township on November 18, 2005.

Taronna Johnson, 43, of Susquehanna, five days to six months in the county jail with credit for time served, $300 fine, 25 hours of community service, for driving under the influence in Susquehanna on June 18, 2005. She will serve 18 months probation upon completion of her jail term, pay an additional fine of $300 and perform 25 hours of community service for recklessly endangering another person in Susquehanna on June 18, 2005.

Scott William Maxey, 19, of Charlotte, NC, six months probation, $300 fine, 25 hours of community service for driving under the influence in Silver Lake Township on April 24, 2005. Also $25 fine for driving on roadways laned for traffic in Silver Lake Township on April 24, 2005.

Larry Wayne Shockey, 31, of Friendsville, four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail, $250 fine, 25 hours community service for receiving stolen property in Forest Lake Township on April 8, 2006. Also 15 days to six months in the county jail to run concurrent with the first sentence, 25 hours of community service for driving under the influence in Forest Lake Township on April 8, 2006.

Robert H. Vohrer, 64, of Meshoppen, six months to 23 months in the county jail followed by three years probation, $750 fine for corruption of minors in Dimock Township on December 7, 2004. Also one month to 12 months to run concurrent with first sentence and a $500 fine for unlawful contact with a minor in Dimock Township on December 7, 2004.

John Zalusky, 60, of Binghamton, NY, six days to six months in county jail to be served on weekends, $300 fine for driving under the influence in New Milford Township on July 7, 2005.

Maura A. Jordan, 37, of Clarks Summit, five days to six months in county jail, $300 fine, for driving under the influence in Clifford on February 24, 2006.

William Eric Thurston, 31, of New Milford, 14 days to 18 months in county jail to be served on weekends, $1,000 fine, for cruelty to animals in Harford on August 21, 2005.

Robert Kevin Wiles, 38, of Laceyville, 90 days to two years minus one day in county jail, 90 days home confinement, work release, $1,500 fine for driving under the influence in Bridgewater Township on March 3, 2006.

Matthew Timothy Smith, 30, of Tunkhannock, 30 days in county jail, 60 days to 18 months home confinement, pay $1,500 fine for driving under the influence in Springville Twp. on October 29, 2005.

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Blue Ridge Defers Taxes
By Ted Brewster

The Blue Ridge School Board is truncating its schedule for the summer, meeting only once in July and once in August. The July meeting, on the 17th, took place, as usual, in the cafeteria in the Elementary School. The meeting space took up a small portion of what has become a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), and a host of other support agencies covering environmental issues, homeowner assistance and the like. Most of the room was laid out as a huge office, full of paper, telephones and computer equipment.

According to High School Principal John Manchester, the DRC has been a busy place since it opened a week before to help people affected by the massive flooding in late June. In fact, the Board took extraordinary action in response – perhaps the first in the state – to give property owners a little breathing room. Members passed a resolution "to delay the normal tax payment schedule."

Ordinarily school tax bills would have gone out shortly after July 1, the beginning of the district's fiscal year. However, in the words of the resolution, "after several days of unprecedented rains in late June, 2006," and "as a result of the flood, many residents have lost their homes or businesses," and because "the District wishes to provide temporary relief to taxpayers," the Board directed its tax collectors to hold off issuing tax bills until September 1, 2006. Deadlines for payment will be extended accordingly.

Just who those tax collectors might be, on the other hand, is still not quite clear. One of them attended the meeting to report as many as 25-50 telephone calls a day asking for information, most of them from out of the area. "I'm getting overwhelmed," she said. Since she had decided not to collect Blue Ridge taxes for the 60 cents per bill the district is offering, she requested that the school send letters to all taxpayers explaining the situation.

Board President Alan Hall would not commit to such a response, but said the district would take action to try to relieve the pressure on tax collectors who aren't collecting taxes. He said that statistics show that about a quarter of district tax bills are mailed to addresses outside the district.

According to Mr. Hall, the only impact to the district would be a loss of some interest revenue over the two-month hiatus. Some of the tax collectors have implied that the district may have delayed issuing the tax bills because they just couldn't handle it in the time allowed, suggesting that experienced, elected tax collectors are more qualified for the job. Nevertheless, Mr. Hall and Board member Priscinda Gaughan emphasized that the flood disaster was "the only reason" for deferring tax collections.

Business Manager Loren Small clarified the legal situation with the tax collectors somewhat. In response to the original action filed by some of the tax collectors against the district, the district requested more information about the intent of the litigation. When a reply to that inquiry was not forthcoming, the district's attorneys filed for a "writ of mandamus" to elicit a response from the tax collectors. So there is still only one suit in progress here.

Among other routine business items on the agenda, the Board hired Veronica Mattocks as a part-time pre-kindergarten aide for next year. Diane Wilmarth accepted in person the Board's decision to transfer her also to a part-time pre-kindergarten aide position.

In an addendum to the agenda, Amy Zakarauskas personally accepted the Board's warm welcome to run the High School and Middle School choral programs. And Dennis Lewis was hired as coordinator of campus activities and grounds.

Mr. Manchester reported that summer school was extended by one day to accommodate students affected by the flooding, but he said "we did not lose any students" due to the recent disaster.

Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski described the visit of a Blue Ridge alumnus who now works as a news anchor at Channel 9 in Syracuse. He said that advancement to such a "high-profile job" gives students an opportunity to see what can be accomplished with a Blue Ridge education. Mr. Nebzydoski also said that scheduling in progress now should help to reduce class sizes "a little bit."

The recent flooding throughout the district, however, was on the minds of everyone still. A representative of the Blue Ridge Education Association – the teachers' union – said they had already received many checks in a program to collect funds to buy school materials for students seriously affected by the flooding.

Mr. McNamara and Mr. Hall thanked everyone involved for the Blue Ridge response to the challenges posed by the catastrophe that has affected so many in district communities. Mr. McNamara thanked the Board for considering the "temporary tax abatement"; and the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars for recognizing the High School girls' state softball championship even when the Legion was so severely damaged by flooding. He expressed gratitude to the many staff who "really stepped in" when the need was greatest.

Mr. Hall thanked Maintenance Supervisor Ron Cranage (who quietly attended the meeting) for showing up the first day under very trying circumstances. And Technology Coordinator John Ketchur, whose own home was badly damaged, for coming to the school to help set up a computer lab and networking for the recovery effort. He thanked North-Eastern Pennsylvania Telephone Company for setting up the phone banks in the DRC. And everyone else for keeping all of the district's regular programs up and running throughout. An "exceptional job," he said.

Mr. Hall did say that the reassessment that has begun for properties affected by the flooding may be reflected in tax notices, and that consequently tax revenue will be lower than expected. However, he was "not overly concerned" for the district budget. The state budget was recently passed as well, with "favorable" news for Blue Ridge.

The Blue Ridge School District/FEMA/PEMA/DRC campus is alive and busy this summer. Come check out the progress at the next public meeting of the Board on Monday, August 14, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Road To Recovery
By Bill Liepinis

It’s been three weeks since the Flood of 2006 ravaged Susquehanna County, but on the road to recovery, one reopening brings new hope. This week construction crews are wrapping up work on Route 492 between New Milford and Lakeside, which is now open to traffic. The road was completely destroyed by the raging Salt Lick Creek, which took out fifty feet of roadway and guardrails.

For weeks, locals used either the marked detour or chose I-81, both costing more time and gas money. Although this major link to New Milford is now open to traffic, several other roadways in the county are still closed, including the Rt. 29 bridge at Franklin Forks, Rt. 1025, Rt. 2002/Greenwood St., Rt. 2029 between Rte. 2027 and 2023, Rt. 3006 from Springville to Rte. 3011, Rt. 3010 bridge, Rte. 3021 at Dimock Campground Rd. and the Rte. 3025 bridge. PENNDOT says that most of the bridges affected by the flood will be bid by September.

Although some businesses in the county have cleaned up and reopened, many are still closed, including the Dunkin’ Donuts in Great Bend. In fact, many of the businesses in Great Bend that were hit by flood waters still have their doors closed. Although some businesses are up-and-running, it will be months before Great Bend returns to what it once was.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled by P. Jay Amadio


Federal National Mortgage Association to Washington Mutual Bank, Milwaukee, WI, in Friendsville Borough for $10. (Corrective Deed).

Washington Mutual Bank to Daniel J. Bagnell, RR1, Friendsville, Sharon L. Bagnell, in Friendsville Borough for $85,000.

William E. Yeomans, Lois A. Yeomans to James Penedos, RD1, Hop Bottom, Susan Penedos, in Lathrop Township for $20,000.

Robert Mannion to David Swingle, Wilkes-Barre, in Forest City for $79,600.

Melissa Ray Hunsinger (nbm) Melissa R. Sherman, Reuben L. Sherman to Martin Cannella, Montrose, in Dimock Township for $34,000.

Daniel T. Clark, Cynthia M. Clark to Martin Cannella, Montrose, in Dimock Township for $34,000.

Mike Ainey (aka) Michael D. Ainey, Carol Ainey to Michael D. Ainey, Hop Bottom, Carol Ainey in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.

Mike Ainey (aka) Michael D. Ainey, Carol Ainey to Michael. D. Ainey, Hop Bottom, Carol Ainey, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.

Michael D. Ainey, Carol Ainey to Neal Ainey, Hop Bottom, Kathleen Ainey, in Hop Bottom Borough for $72,500.

Shirley B. Hibbard to Shirley B. Hibbard, Montrose, Donald S. Hibbard, in Montrose for one dollar.

Timothy S. Ryce, Jamie L. Ryce to Keith A. Wood, RR3, Meshoppen, Shirley E. Wood, in Auburn Township for $136,000.

Patricia A. Sheffler to Lawrence Norton, Montrose, Ellie M. Dunbar, in Montrose for $76,320.

Martin Honeychuck, Debra Johnson to Shawn R. Burns, RR2, Susquehanna, Julie D. Burns, in Susquehanna for $41,500.

Waldo M. Woods, Kathryn M. Woods to Waldo M. Woods, Ithaca, NY, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Robert J. Fields, David F. Bianco to Paul E. Smith, Vandling, Barbara Smith, in Forest City for $22,000.

Brian Baker, Lori A. Baker to Brian Baker, Montrose, in Montrose for one dollar.

Clifford W. Tinklepaugh to Rural Investments LLC, RR1, Union Dale, in Ararat Township for one dollar.

Ronald M. Walter, Aiko Walter (by poa) to Ronald M. Walter, RR1, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Kris A. Raymer, Catherine M. Raymer to Cendant Mobility Financial Corporation, Danbury, CT, in Forest Lake Township for $303,192.

Cendant Mobility Financial Corporation to Virginia Kemp, RR2, Montrose, in Forest Lake Township for $303,192.

Gerard E. Shinn, Jodi L. Shinn to Gerard E. Shinn, RR1, Union Dale, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Carrie Whitney to Jeffrey L. Whitney, Montrose, Sharon E. Whitney, in New Milford Township for $22,000.

Martin W. Fleming, Eileen G. Fleming to Tina M. Fleming, Newton, NJ, Christopher L. Fleming, in Springville Township for one dollar.

Marion S. Taylor (estate) to Allan C. Taylor, Dimock, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Lawrence Selenski Jr., Melissa Finagan (nbm) Melissa Selenski to Brian Kaszuba, Dickson City, Laurie Kaszuba, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Hugh F. Coombs, Margaret E. Coombs to Brian Kaszuba, Laurie Kaszuba, Dickson City, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Henry E. Taylor, Patricia J. Taylor to Ralph J. Nocella, Quakertown, Sandra Nocella, in Middletown Township for $82,500.

Edward J. Zipay Jr. and James B. Zipay (dba) Northeast Trading Company to Ernest J. Sebastianelli Dickson City, Grove Smilers, in Springville Township for $23,000.

Pamela A. Bembas (nka) Pamela Doto to Robert T. Lopatofsky, RR1, Union Dale, in Clifford Township for $65,000.

Mary Ryan Baker (by poa) to Richard Lane, Woodbridge, NJ, in Susquehanna for $35,000.

Seamus P. McHahon, Linda McHahon to David M. Rebello, Brackney, Calley R. Hunter, in Silver Lake Township for $101,900.

James D. Acker (by sheriff), Roseanna Acker (by sheriff) to Chase Home Finance, Columbus, OH, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, in Forest City for $3,717.


Donald Richard Haodsom III, Windsor, NY and Cheryl L. LaBarr, Hallstead.

Chad M. Stone and Lisa Marie Baykowski, both of New Milford.

Robert S. Montague and Michelle Marie Stiles, both of New Milford.

Andy Joseph Colwell and Lisa Y. Ortiz, both of Gibson.


Jessica Stine, Meshoppen vs. Ben Stine III, Hop Bottom. Married Nov. 20, 1991.

Monica L. Johnson, Hallstead, vs. James R. Johnson, Great Bend. Married August 25, 1997.

Stanley G. Ward, Nicholson, vs. Charity D. Ward, Factoryville. Married August 17, 1989.



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Gibson Barracks Report
Compiled by Bill Liepinis


Sometime overnight between July 17 and July 18, someone broke through a taped-up front window at the Family Farm Market in Susquehanna, stealing several packages of chewing tobacco.*


Allison Davis, 30, South Gibson was driving her 2004 Jeep Liberty on SR2067 in South Gibson July 6, when she swerved to miss a deer. Davis attempted to get back into the lane when she overcorrected and lost control of her SUV, rolling it four times. Davis was rushed to CMC in Scranton by the Clifford Twp. Ambulance with moderate injuries requiring hospitalization.


Between July 9 and July 10, someone stole several items from the Hair Zoo Salon in Great Bend, which were out on the front lawn while employees cleaned inside from the recent floods. Several hair styling stations, hair drying and styling chairs, shampoo and chemical chairs, a water dispensing cooler and a tanning bed were taken.*


Jon Klenk of Carbondale was driving his 2000 Jeep Wrangler on SR2027 in Elkdale July 10, when a silver truck carrying a green skid steer failed to stop, causing Klenk to strike an embankment and rollover onto its side. Klenk was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.*


Anthony Borosky of Clarks Summit was driving his 2001 Chevy Cavalier on SR371 near Herrick Center July 11, when he pulled out onto SR171 in front of Lee Hugaboom of Thompson. Hugaboom swerved to avoid Borosky, yet hit the Cavalier’s left-rear. Borosky was not wearing his seatbelt and was taken to Marion Hospital in Carbondale with head injuries by Pleasant Mt. EMS. Hugaboom was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.


William Kalenick, 29, Clarks Summit and David Morgan, 28, Scranton were driving on SR 106 in Lenox Twp. July 9, when Police say Kalenick lost control of his 1999 Ford Explorer, which slid sideways across the road and slammed into a guide rail, with the Explorer traveling backwards. David Morgan, the passenger, had his arm forced out of the window during the impact. The lower half of his arm was sheared off when it made contact with the guide rail. The vehicle continued moving out of control, flipping over the guide rail and landing on its roof. Kalenick crawled over Morgan and escaped out of the passenger window, fleeing on foot. Morgan was able to escape the vehicle and walked to a nearby home nearly 70 feet from the accident, where he summoned for help. Morgan was life-flighted to CMC in Scranton, both Harford and Clifford Fire Dept. responded to the accident. Despite a search by authorities, Kalenick could not be found. An investigation is ongoing, charges are pending.


Sometime between July 5 and July 11, someone stole two 6’x10’ utility trailers from Andre and Sons Powersports in Bridgewater Twp, worth $2,200. *


John Kane of Montrose was parked along SR2009 in Brooklyn Twp. July 13, when a passerby thought he needed medical assistance and called for help. Kane was subsequently taken into custody for being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. Kane is now behind bars in the Susquehanna County Jail awaiting future proceedings. Bail is set at $10,000.


Steven Kupscznk, 47, Springville was driving his 2006 Ford F-250 on SR3004 in Springville Twp. July 8, when he and an oncoming PENNDOT utility truck smashed mirrors. The 1999 Chevrolet PENNDOT utility truck was being driven by Leonard Aldrich, 38, Susquehanna. Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts and were uninjured in the accident; both vehicles only had damage to their mirrors. Both drivers claim that the other was in their lane of the road.


Gracious Living Estates of Montrose reported to State Police that their 2002 Chevy Impala was taken from the Snake Creek Marina in Franklin Twp. July 15. The vehicle was later recovered in Nicholson.*


Dario Bevilacqua of Montrose reported to police that sometime between July 19 and July 20, someone smashed out the rear window of his 2004 VW GTI Jetta.*

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

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Disaster Assistance Tops $10 Million

The following is the most recent information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) about the ongoing recovery efforts.

9,154 individuals have registered for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for speech and hearing impaired applicants. The lines are open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. Registration deadline is September 2.

$9.75 million has been disbursed to help disaster-affected homeowners and renters who need a place to live or who may need to make repairs for their homes to be safe, sanitary, and functional.

$1.07 million has been approved for Pennsylvanians in the form of grants to help cover eligible disaster needs under the Other Needs Assistance program funded by FEMA and the Commonwealth.

$299,000 has been approved in Small Business Administration (SBA) home disaster-loans.

Under a Presidential disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to individuals as well as businesses of all sizes. Homeowners may be eligible for loans up to $200,000 to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for loans up to $40,000 for personal property such as clothing or furniture. Businesses and nonprofits may be eligible for physical loss loans up to $1.5 million. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available to eligible small businesses.

26 FEMA Community Relations specialists are working in disaster-designated counties and getting disaster information to those who need it.

To date, 22 counties have been designated to receive Individual Assistance.

To date, 24 counties have been designated to receive Public Assistance. The disaster declaration makes federal aid available for debris removal, and emergency protective measures.

Statistics for Susquehanna County are as follows: number of registrations, 975; housing assistance funds, $1,205,168; other needs assistance, $191,013; Individual Assistance Program, $1,396,181.


$360,000 Scholarship For Blue Ridge Graduates

Attorney Michael Giangrieco, of Montrose, representing the Harry Donley estate, has recently established The Donley Family Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Blue Ridge School District Foundation, which is an Affiliate of The Community Foundation of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

Pictured (l-r) are: Earle Wootton, Chairman of the Community Foundation; Michael Giangrieco, Attorney; Peter Quigg, Director of Development of the Community Foundation; William Lewis, Vice-Chairman of the Community Foundation.

This new scholarship, established with a donation of $360,000, benefits Blue Ridge High School graduates who will matriculate at college, exhibit financial need, and who write a winning essay addressing the applicant’s commitment to higher education and why financial assistance will help realize those goals. Furthermore, if the recipient maintains a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 during college, financial assistance will be available for the four years of a college career. At any given time, four Blue Ridge graduates will receive funding from this scholarship up to a level of $5,000 per student, depending upon what additional support is already in place. This scholarship will act as a “last dollar” award to fulfill a student’s college financial obligation.

This scholarship addresses the wishes of siblings Harry, Josephine, Maurice, and Paul Donley, of New Milford, to assist Blue Ridge students. Harry, the remaining member of the family, passed away in September, 2004 and stipulated in his will that such a scholarship be established from the remainder of his family’s estate. Mr. Giangrieco was aware of The Community Foundation and felt that the financial expertise and community spirit of the Foundation’s Board of Directors would best serve the interests of future Blue Ridge students. He particularly acknowledges William Lewis of Montrose for his advice and guidance while establishing this fund. Additionally, the Foundation’s affiliation with the Blue Ridge School District Foundation, its experience in managing various philanthropic funds, and its low administrative expenses were also an incentive for establishing the fund. Peter Quigg, Director of Development for The Community Foundation states, “We are very pleased to be working with Attorney Giangrieco on this project. This is by far the most substantial fund we manage at this point and as the fund grows in value it will provide tremendous assistance to the students of Blue Ridge for many generations. Likewise, the Donley family is to be commended for their generosity and forethought.” Blue Ridge School District Superintendent, Robert McNamara points out, “We greatly appreciate the establishment of this scholarship because of its significant benefit to our students for decades to come.”

Applications for this scholarship will be on file in the Blue Ridge High School Guidance Office and on the web site for The Community Foundation at For more information, contact The Community Foundation at 278-3800 or

Those wishing to further enhance the value of this scholarship, or to honor the memory of the Donley family, may send tax-deductible donations to the Donley Scholarship at The Community Foundation, 36 Lake Avenue, Montrose, PA 18801. It is with a sense of pride and responsibility that The Community Foundation expresses its gratitude for being chosen to manage this scholarship.

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Forest City Adds Teachers
By P. Jay Amadio

The Forest City Regional Board of Education hired a couple more teachers and a school counselor at its regular meeting last week. The move added an additional $121,311 to the budget for the district’s professional staff.

In motions unanimously approved by the board, Melanie Zevan was hired as a secondary science teacher at a starting salary of $41,337; Natasha Heard joins the instructional staff as a Spanish teacher and will be paid $40,737; and, Sharon Loftus was appointed as a school counselor at $39,237.

The eleventh-hour additions to the professional staff comes on the heels of a similar move made at the tail end of last month’s regular meeting. At that session, the board caved in under public pressure and a recommendation from School Superintendent Robert Vadella and added Donna Potis as special education coordinator and Kristen Blancato as an additional art/gifted teacher.

In another matter, the board set the following school meal prices: breakfast, 80 cents; elementary lunch, $1.50; high school lunch, $1.75; salad bar, $1.75; adult lunch, $2.85.

Dr. Vadella also reported on the 2006 summer tutoring program now in progress. He said the reading portion of the program will run through July 28 while the math segment will continue until August 11.

Dr. Vadella noted that the state has approved the district’s Educational Assistance Program (EAP) grant application. The school will receive $48,000 in EAP funding for the 2006-2007 school year.

The board awarded contracts for art supplies totaling $2,511; science supplies, $4,326; industrial art supplies, $3,721; industrial arts lumber, $2,394; health supplies, $956; athletic supplies, $6,851.

Additional motions passed by the board are as follows:

Appointed Marianne Levandowski to the unexpired term of board secretary at a stipend of $4,000 per year, effective July 1 and continuing through June 30, 2009.

Approved the administrative internship of Kristin Nebzydoski for the period of June 26 through August 7.

Approved the use of the building and grounds for the UK Soccer Camp that will be held July 24-28.

Announced that the first day of school for students is Monday, August 28 and the first in-service day for teachers will be Thursday, August 24.

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Great Bend Township Tackles Restoration
By Barbara Whitehead

Evidence of recent flooding was quite apparent at the July 17 meeting of the Great Bend Township Supervisors. The drive there showed evidence of berms washed away, and piles of debris outside of homes. The township building did not escape the storm’s ravage, either. Most of its furnishings, including the carpets were ruined, and drywall and insulation had to be removed halfway up the interior walls.

Nevertheless, business went on as usual, with Secretary/Supervisor Sheila Guinan and Supervisor Bob Squier presiding and a number of residents and guests present.

Predictably, most of the business concerned the flooding and its damage.

An old diversion ditch on Emerson Road was said to have caused a mess further downhill. There was a complaint that someone had recently dug a ditch on private property in the same area, without permission. Mr. Squier said he would take a look at it. A resident said that some of the area homeowners would be willing to help with the expense to fix the problem, whether it be to buy sluice pipes or to get an engineering study.

One resident was somewhat disgruntled that McHugh Road had not been open to (public) traffic. The supervisors pointed out that it is a private road; opening it for public traffic could present a liability. And, it had been open for emergency vehicles.

The scarcity of dumpsters was discussed. Mr. Squier said that two had just been delivered that day to the trailer park. The supervisors were trying to get more.

Sandy Kazinetz showed photographs of her back yard, most of which had been washed away by Dubois Creek. PENNDOT did bring in some fill, but much more would be needed to restore its original dimensions. She asked that anyone who has fill they need to dispose of contact her.

Ms. Kazinetz, who is secretary/treasurer of the local watershed association, reported that a meeting had been scheduled for June 28, but will be rescheduled. They are, she said applying for smaller grants for some quick fixes, but are also in the process of a significant grant application to encompass the entire area. The rescheduled meeting will be public, and hopefully, representatives on the state and county levels will attend, including Soil & Conservation.

Someone asked if there was any news about the businesses in the plaza that had been damaged; rumor was that both Rob’s Market and Tedeschi’s Restaurant would be coming back.

Mr. Squier summed up the roadmaster’s report, “We’re doing everything we can with limited resources to get everything back in good condition.” He reported that he had recently met with the county commissioners, who are trying to get more FEMA funding for the area, to take care of problems that were not adequately taken care of after Ivan’s flooding as well as from this most recent flood.

Tim Stearns of NEP Telephone introduced himself; he has been visiting various municipal meetings to dispel concerns and answer questions about the cell towers NEP is putting in throughout the county, 30 in all.

A resident asked about a tower being sited on Harmony Road. Why, he asked, with a 27 acre parcel, was the tower being placed in front of others’ property? Is it necessary to site it there? Mr. Stearns responded that key sites are first identified, after which it could be moved somewhat, but once the site has been approved, no changes could be made. In this case, the property owner determined its site and at this stage in the process, it cannot be moved. “We try to take into consideration all aspects,” he said, “but it is what it is now.”

There was some discussion on whether a tower’s proximity to a residential property could decrease the property’s value. Mr. Stearns said that there is no study that shows that it would, but several in the audience disagreed.

Correspondence included an invitation to attend dedication of the memorial garden at the Great Bend Welcome Center on July 25. The garden honors Co. A, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry, and will have seven stones with the names of members who have recently died in Iraq.

During public comment, one resident reported that she had been amazed at peoples’ reactions to the floods. In the face of devastation, she saw people who remained friendly and helped each other. Instead of bemoaning the situation, they kept smiling and joking and pulled together. “It was just amazing,” she said.

Pat Derrick addressed rumors that had circulated just after the flood, that the pond dam above McHugh Road had broken. In fact, it had not broken, it had worked the way it was supposed to. “There was just so much water,” she said, “Its force takes it wherever it wants to go. It could have been much worse.” Her brothers had worked tirelessly to reopen the road, which had washed out in about five places. “They did what they were asked to do.”

Del Austin commended Emergency Management Coordinator Dixie Russell and her group of volunteers for all they did, especially dealing with all of the FEMA paperwork. Mr. Austin also requested that the water buffalo in Great Bend Boro be left there, as there were still many in the area who had contaminated wells. Without a source in Great Bend, they would have to go to New Milford to the Blue Ridge School District for water.

Several people thanked Mrs. Guinan for her efforts to help township residents, whether it was dealing with flood damage or checking on those who had been unable to get out of their homes.

The next meeting will be on Monday, August 7, 7 p.m. in the township building.

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Hallstead Dealing With Devastation
By Barbara Whitehead

Shortly before the June flooding, Hallstead Boro appointed a new Emergency Management Coordinator, Robert Thatcher, Jr. He and several residents were present at the July 20 council meeting to discuss the flood and its aftermath.

Gary Wilbur, whose home was adjacent to Salt Lick Creek, lost everything. He asked council if there was any news on cleaning the creek.

Ms. Giangrieco reported that a meeting was scheduled for the following Monday in Montrose, where information would be provided as to what aid is available.

The discussion turned to permits, needed to do any work on the creek. Because the permits would need to be issued to the individual property owners, the boro (or Great Bend Township) would be unable to obtain any for property other than their own. And, the permits would only cover a total length of 500 feet; if the homeowner’s property was less than that, the permit would only cover the length of the property.

Then, there is the cost involved in dredging the creek. Although FEMA would conceivably reimburse the cost, neither municipality has the kind of ready cash available to pay for it. And, neither has the equipment or manpower that would be required to perform the work.

Council members were able to suggest two contacts that Mr. Wilbur could try, who have the type of equipment needed.

John Bennici also came to talk about water problems. He said that some time ago, two collapsed storm drains near his home were to be fixed, but only one was. Council will have it taken care of.

Mr. Bennici felt that there was a communication breakdown during the flooding. He said that whatever information he was able to get, he got through the Great Bend fire company. President Giangrieco responded that, in an emergency, the Hallstead fire department would have help and information available, and had provided aid to Hallstead residents.

Mr. Bennici said that he had made several requests to have his basement pumped out, but no one had come to help. Ms. Giangrieco pointed out that there were many in dire need, with large areas of Main St. and Dubois St. severely affected. Some homes were completely destroyed, many people had to be evacuated, and phone service was not out for several days. Help and information had been available at the fire hall, as well as food and water.

Mr. Thatcher added that many emergency responders had worked for two days straight, without stop to help those that were in more immediate need. Possibly no one had responded to Mr. Bennici’s request because there were so many in dire need all at once, the request did not get passed on.

Mr. Bennici said that a more effective emergency plan needs to be put into effect. Ms. Giangrieco suggested that he could volunteer to see that it is; deputy EMCs would be needed in the boro. Mr. Bennici said that he would be interested in more information and agreed to contact Mr. Thatcher for more information.

Ms. Giangrieco commented briefly on an anonymous letter that had been circulated in the area, containing derogatory comments about council and how they had handled the emergency. She said that she applauded the writer for taking the time to sit down and write the letter, but he/she had obviously run out of either ink or a backbone, as there was no signature on it.

Ms. Giangrieco had words of appreciation for the many who had pitched in to help out during the disaster, whether it be cleaning, checking on elderly residents, filling out paperwork, attending meetings, running the backhoe, or making phone calls. She singled out Mr. Thatcher, who had done an outstanding job with very little time on the job before the disaster struck.

Mayor Canfield had contacted several municipalities just over the New York border, to see if they were in need of ice the boro had left over.

In other business, visitors include Brandy Pitcher from the End of Day program, an after school program for children in grades kindergarten through fifth, held each day at the Blue Ridge School. Her purpose was to bring information about the program, in response to a visitor at last month’s council meeting from the Community Fellowship Foundation, seeking to set up an after school program in the Hallstead-Great Bend area.

Jonathan Wilber had approached council some time ago about building a pavilion at the ballfield as his Eagle Scout project. He was present to update council on his progress. The intended site was not damaged by flooding, and he plans to construct the pavilion the first two weeks of August. The Blue Ridge School District will donate cement for the pad, and will clear the area. The Susquehanna Home Center has agreed to furnish the needed materials at cost, and he had, as of this date raised $595 of the projected $830 cost. Some donations had been pledged by organizations in New Milford; but with recent events it was not known whether those organizations would be able to follow through. After a very short discussion, a motion carried to donate $200 to the project.

A motion carried to purchase a new computer for the boro office, as the old one is not in good shape.

Mayor Canfield asked if council should reconsider selling or leasing the Route 11 ballfield property to Simmons-Rockwell. The field did have some flood damage, and one of the buildings had been condemned. Council’s consensus was that the building had been in bad shape before the flood, there were plans in place to replace it, and any damage to the fields themselves would be taken care of. John Giangrieco said that as far as he was concerned, the property had been donated to the boro for kids to use, and it was seeing a lot of use. And, there are lease agreements for use of the fields in place, he felt that the boro should honor those agreements. Mayor Canfield asked if tax money was going to be used to fix the field; Ms. Giangrieco said that it is not, work is being donated to repair any damage.

At the request of  Mary Evans, the county’s Recorder of Deeds, council will check with the boro solicitor to see if the boro’s ordinance concerning realty transfer tax needs to be updated.

A motion carried to adopt an ordinance reestablishing Hallstead’s membership in COG.

What to do about the Route 11 park was a big question. At present, it was still under water and council’s feeling was that it would not dry up until the creek was put back where it belongs. Council will apply for a permit to have it dredged, and get estimates for excavating. Debris will be addressed once the creek is taken care of.

Council will get prices for blacktop to take care of potholes.

And, the Bridging Communities committee had scheduled a meeting for July 11. With dealing with the flood damage, no one from council had been able to attend the meeting, if it had still been held. Council did receive a letter from the committee, stating that an additional $10,000 was needed to complete the project. At the meeting, options for raising the additional funding were to have been discussed.

The meeting adjourned to an executive session.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 17, 7 p.m. in the boro building.

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Private Roads Need Names
Submitted by Kevin Pietriyk, Susquehanna County 911

MONTROSE, PA – As part of our ongoing 911 Readdressing, we are asking that persons living on private roads, lake roads, and driveways that have three or more addressed structures on them contact us to submit name choices for those roads. This part of the project was delayed due to the recent floods, but names will only be accepted until August 16, 2006. After that date, any private roads without names may be assigned names. The road names must be submitted in writing, signed by all affected homeowners.

We are unable to verify whether a response card was mailed or received, due to the volume of cards. Also, we are not able to replace lost cards, as they have a serial number specific to the house they were placed on. We ask that residents stay tuned to their local media outlet for further directions on how to get your address if your card was lost or misplaced.

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in this very important project. Questions or concerns can be directed to our toll-free number at 1-800-395-6503 or to

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Commissioners Approve Growing Greener Grants

Susquehanna County has been allocated one million dollars through the Growing Greener legislation passed by the state of Pennsylvania for eligible capital improvements throughout the county. The Growing Greener County Environmental Initiative Committee met recently to review applications received from municipalities throughout the county for this grant assistance. The committee has found that ten projects are eligible for assistance. At least one request from each municipality that requested funding was approved. The County Commissioners have approved the recommendations of the committee, authorizing over $500,000 in grant funds for approved projects which include watershed, infrastructure and recreation projects. Any municipality that feels they have an eligible project can contact the County Commissioners about submitting a request for future funding rounds.

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COG: Damage Procedures
By Barbara Whitehead

COG Codes

With many of its member municipalities having sustained devastation from the floods of 2006, COG been dealing with inquiries as to the procedures that must be taken when a property is so damaged as to be uninhabitable. Homeowners needing an inspection should first contact their municipality, not  BUI, COG’s third-party inspector. In a case where BUI has found a property to be uninhabitable due to flood damage, the inspector could determine whether or not the structure could be repaired and returned to habitable condition. But there was some confusion as to the process that should be followed if FEMA is also involved; is an additional inspection needed if FEMA has condemned a property? At COG’s July 18 meeting, it was reported that BUI was in contact with FEMA to determine what the process is.

Some folks in Franklin Forks were said to be circulating petitions, asking FEMA to buy them out. Office Manager Karen Trynoski found information about buyouts through a PSATS discussion. In  Bradford County, in 1999, FEMA paid of 75% of the cost, PEMA paid 22%, and the municipality paid the remaining 3%. In 2004, FEMA paid 75%, and PEMA, 25%.

But, what happens to the buyout property? The municipality attains ownership and must maintain it. It can be used for recreational purposes, or it can be sold to a developer who needs open space for cluster homes, but it must remain an open space.


Correspondence reviewed included a notice that COG’s web page host will, as of July 1, be charging $10 per month for the service, which had been free except for a nominal service fee for changes. A bill had been received for the month of July; a motion carried to include it on the bill list. Members were asked to get information about what their municipalities with websites pay, to see if there is a better option than $120 per year.

Last year, Mrs. Trynoski attended the yearly PA COG meeting. She had learned a lot, she said, particularly how other COGs operate. This year’s meeting will be in September in Cranberry Township; after discussion, a motion carried to send a delegate this year, and to pay applicable expenses.

A total of 14 signs have been made for the recycling center, three for Rush Township, and an order was being processed from Montrose Borough.

The insurance committee had been scheduled to meet with a representative from DGK to discuss COG’s coverage, but due to the flooding it had been canceled. DGK will set up a meeting before the policy is renewed, to go over any concerns or changes that may be needed.

COG’s building did not sustain any flood damage,  even though there was a lot of damage in the immediate area.

The building committee reported that none of the sites they are  looking at for possible relocation of the COG offices sustained any flood damage.

Several members will be contacted, as they have not yet provided copies of their ordinances to reestablish membership.

The  Codes review (audit) should be ready in about three weeks.

NEP Telephone is in the process of obtaining building permits to erect cell towers in nine of COG’s member municipalities, with November as the target date to have the towers put up.

COG Sewage

The sewage committee has been busy, getting aggressive on malfunction complaints (from flood damage).

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, August 15, 7 p.m. in their offices in the New Milford Borough building.

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