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Commissioners Impede Dubois Creek Dredging
There weren’t any “happy campers” at the November 20 meeting of the Great Bend Township Supervisors. Efforts to get Dubois Creek dredged after the June flooding have been put to a halt, reportedly by two of the county’s three commissioners.
Supervisor Bob Squier said that machinery had been at the site to start cleaning, but orders came from the county level to cease, with the orders to do some coming from Commissioner Jeff Loomis. Mr. Squier said that Mr. Loomis had halted the dredging because the job had to be bid out, even though it should have been covered as an emergency situation. Mr. Squier said that Mr. Loomis would not help at all, and even refused to take phone calls regarding the project.
Mr. Squier offered a personal opinion on Mr. Loomis; he said that he had voted for him in the last election because he is a good accountant, but given the present situation, regrets doing so. He offered further opinion, using rather strong language, for which he was chided by a resident, “You are out of order for using language like that.” Mr. Squier responded, “I am mad.” He said that FEMA had approved $111,120 for the project, it was to have been started, “and now we don’t know what the status is.” FEMA had approved dredging of an area 1500 feet long, 20 feet wide, and five feet deep. DEP did ask the supervisors for places who need fill, to dispose of what would be removed, and FEMA will conduct another site inspection with an engineer once the dredging has been done, to make further recommendations. But, when would the dredging be done?
“Can Loomis stop it?” one resident asked. The supervisors concurred that any questions regarding the bidding process, or the need for bidding, could be better answered by the commissioners.
A resident in the audience said that Commissioners Loomis and Warren had put a halt to the project because it had to go out to bid. “If that were so, why wasn’t it done in July? How do they classify an emergency? What is the criteria? We can’t be doing this every time there is a storm. Someone has to be accountable.” He said that he would be happy to contact people, to “keep the pressure on” to have the dredging done as soon as possible.
In other flood-related news, teams of tree cutters have been clearing the upper end of Dubois Creek.
Several more residents have asked to be added to the “buy-out” list. Mrs. Guinan said that the county has to write a plan for the buy-outs; she was not sure of the current status of those plans.
All FEMA project worksheets have been submitted to Harrisburg, and the township is waiting for reimbursement to begin.
The township received a bill from Green Valley Mobile Home Park for two dumpsters, but since all of the paperwork had been submitted to FEMA some time ago, if the township were to accept responsibility for them, the township itself would have to pay. The owner will be sent a letter, apprising him of the situation.
In other business, Peoples National Bank has changed the interest rate on all the township’ accounts; they will now realize an interest rate of 3 1/2 to 4 %, up from 1/4 of 1%.
All audit findings for the pension fund have been paid, and the 2006 Minimum Municipal Obligation minus the state reimbursement amount has been paid. A separate savings account that had been thought to be for the purpose of paying the MMO, was actually part of the pension fund, and is now closed.
Motions carried to hire Jerry Hallisey full-time to the township’s road crew, and to hire Jason Auckland part-time, on an on-call basis for plowing. Both have CDL licenses.
Roadmaster Dave Sienko gave a rundown of the status of the township’s equipment. The new plow for the Volvo should be in within the month, the trucks have been repaired and maintenance done, and the boxes painted. He also gave a detailed report on what road work has been completed, and what is scheduled next.
An area below Parks Valley Road on Old Rte. 11, had been the site of some dumping, with more trash recently left there. Once it can be determined who the current owner of the property is, a letter will be sent to have it cleaned up.
Two loads of salt will be ordered for the coming winter season; the township already has enough anti-skid on hand for the time being.
The supervisors approved and signed an agreement for the Bridging Communities project, for the provision of professional services for ES Beautz Architects to finish the project.
During the past month, an assessment permit was issued to Joseph Frye; Robert Heed II received a GP-8 temporary road crossing permit from DEP; and Herb Kilmer was awarded a waiver for non-coal exploration by DEP.
At the request of COG, the supervisors reviewed and carried a motion for the advertisement of three ordinances, providing for the permitting of on-lot sewage disposal systems, creation of maintenance agreements for sewage treatment systems (COG will advertise this one), and an updated assessment permit ordinance with a revised fee schedule. The most significant aspect of this one is to remove mobile home permits from the fee schedule, as they are now covered under UCC regulations and owners would have been paying double for permits. A fourth ordinance, concerning retaining tanks will not need to be enacted, as the township already has one, and will send COG a copy of it.
Correspondence included the following items:
-A request from the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library to again make a $100 membership drive donation; a motion carried to approve.
-The pension plan audit for the years ending December 31, 2005, 2004 and 2003.
-A copy of the order on waiver motion and directing the filing of supplemental information for New York Regional Interconnect.
-Information on nominating an outstanding township leader for the 18th annual President’s Leadership Award, who must be a supervisor, secretary or manager. Mr. Squier said that if she had met the criteria, he would have liked to nominate Dixie Russell for the honor.
-A copy of the petition for confirmation of distribution from the Tax Claim Bureau regarding the Leo and Jane F. Schreiber property. There should be $773.64 in tax revenue coming to township, as the property was sold at auction.
-A request from an individual who fell while walking on Orchard Road and had to have surgery to put pins in her wrist; she would like the township to cover what her insurance won’t, plus the cost of medication. The consensus was that complying with this request would set a precedent and that it should be treated as an FYI.
Reviewing codes violations cases, it was noted that cleanup of the Ralph Reynolds property has been going along well; this item will be removed from future agendas.
The supervisors are proceeding with taking Joan Long to court.
The 2007 budget has been prepared, and a motion carried to advertise it.
The township is in need of an auditor; Mrs. Guinan said that the position mostly requires attendance at one meeting in January. As the township’s audit is conducted by an outside firm, auditors’ main duties are to decide salaries for township officials, and to verify the township’s solicitor; pay is $10/hour, interested parties should contact the township office.
During public comment, an array of questions were asked and answered.
The supervisors agreed to furnish copies of employees’ timesheets for John Franks, for a period of several months (at the prevailing cost for copies). Mr. Franks asked if the supervisors receive a yearly statement from the fire company, showing how monies were spent during the prior year; they said that they do not. Mr. Franks replied that they are required to do so, “it’s in the code.” Mr. Franks commented about COG, and said that the organization’s original intent was to pool resources for purchase of materials, etc., He was not pleased with the way they operate, because, “They are not elected.” The supervisors responded that COG is made up of elected officials, representatives of their respective municipalities. COG also has trained inspectors, who issue permits, and the township is furnished with copies of those permits. Mr. Franks then commented on the fact that the supervisors are now meeting once a month instead of twice. He thought the public would be kept more up-to-date with two meetings, and did not think the supervisors should get paid at the same rate if they were only meeting once a month. Mrs. Guinan pointed out that meeting time is not the only time the supervisors work. Mr. Franks asked how Mrs. Guinan’s salary is set, as she is also the township’s secretary; it is determined by the township auditors.
Those who leave their vehicles parked overnight in the area were cautioned to leave them locked, as there has been a rash of break-ins. It appears that it is kids who are doing it, as only change has been stolen.
Two resident volunteers will dig the hole to re-place the flagpole that was removed during construction, if the supervisors will mark the spot where they would like it placed.
And, Joan Long remarked that she has been doing what she can to clean up her property, but has not been able to do much due to ill health and a lack of funds. “I have worked on things some, and will do more.”
The next meeting will be on Monday, December 18, 7:00 p.m. in the township building.
Commissioners Not Ready For Reassessment
Susquehanna County has not been reassessed since the mid-1990’s and real estate values have increased dramatically since then. Homes that sold for $25,000 back then have doubled in price, and undeveloped land that averaged in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $2,500 an acre is now in the five-figure range.
Most of the county farmland for sale is being scooped up by investors and retirees from other states, primarily New York and New Jersey. They are getting astronomical prices for their holdings in those states and coming here with sizeable bankrolls and making purchase offers Don Corleone couldn't refuse.
Unlike some states, including neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania has no law compelling municipalities to reassess periodically. The decision is left with the counties, and most county commissioners are reluctant to proceed with a reassessment because more often than not, it is political suicide. When it was done here in the mid-1990’s first-term commissioners Warren Williams and John Blachek lost reelection bids. And yet, the reassessment was needed because it had not been done in many years and the county was losing tax revenue.
At last week’s meeting of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, Fred Baker II of South Montrose asked the commissioners if they are “actively seeking a reassessment.”
Roberta Kelly, chair of the board, said she has a number of priorities that need attention and, for that reason, “it isn't a priority with me.” She said she might consider it during a second term. The three commissioners are expected to seek reelection in 2007 and be joined by challengers from both major political parties in the county.
Commissioner Jeff Loomis also said he is not considering a reassessment program at the present time. He added that if and when it does happen, he would prefer that it be done by employees in the county assessment office. He said it may take longer to complete, but it would also save the county a bundle of money.
In another financial matter, Leif Winter of Franklin Township told the commissioners he was not happy when they gave themselves a pay raise. He said he would have preferred a freeze on their wages for a couple of years.
Loomis said the commissioners gave themselves a 3.1 percent increase, which is the same raise they awarded to all elected department heads in the county. And he said the commissioners were compelled by law to grant themselves the same pay raise as they gave the department heads.
Motions approved by the commissioners completed the following business:
Ratified the hiring of Holly Balmer of Thompson by Mary Evans, Register and Recorder as a part time clerk/typist at 6.5 hours per day, three days a week. The Salary Board set her hourly rate at $7.33.
Appointed/reappointed the following county residents to the Conservation District’s Board of Directors: George Hayes of Friendsville, Robert Warriner of Montrose (replacing a vacant seat left by the resignation of Dewey Lyon), and Commissioner Mary Ann Warren.
Adopting a resolution allowing Friends of Salt Springs Park to file a grant application through the county that will continue the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps Program. The program appropriates $5,000 as a matching grant to be used to provide the park with a working crew.
15 Sentenced In County Court
A 29-year-old Susquehanna County man was sentenced to a term of one to five years in the Susquehanna County Jail for driving under the influence in Montrose on June 15.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also added additional jail time for other violations but said it could run concurrent with the initial sentence. Besides being jailed, Judge Seamans fined Paul Barlow of Montrose a total of $5,600. He further assessed Barlow an additional $1,010 in related costs, then ordered the defendant to pay court costs and to make restitution to his victim in a criminal mischief charge lodged in Bridgewater Township on July 1.
Besides the above mentioned charges, Barlow was charged with a second count of driving under the influence in Bridgewater Township on July 1. Other violations included disorderly conduct in Bridgewater Township on July 2 and harassment, also in Bridgewater Township on June 9.
Other sentences handed down by Judge Seamans included:
Joey R. Benjamin, 19, of Laceyville, three to eight years in a state correctional facility, with credit for time served, for homicide by a motor vehicle in Auburn Township on April 4. Benjamin was also fined $1,500 on the homicide charge and $750 for driving under the influence, also on April 4 in Auburn Twp.
William J. Kalenick, 29, of Clarks Summit, 14 months to five years in a state correctional facility for accidents involving death or personal injury in Lenox Township on July 9. He was also fined $1,500, will do 100 hours of community service, and pay the cost of prosecution. On a charge of recklessly endangering another person, also in Lenox Township on July 9, Kalenick was sentenced to serve six months to two years in jail that will run concurrent with his initial sentence and fined $300.
Michael Bransky, 20, of Susquehanna, 15 months probation, $300 fine, 50 hours of community service on a charge of liability for conduct of another/delivery of a controlled substance, in Susquehanna on February 18.
Douglas William Gumaer, 34, of Kingsley, 30 days to six months in Susquehanna County Jail, credit for time served, $750 fine and $200 in related costs for driving under the influence in Lathrop Township on July 6.
Brent Victor Birtch, 18, of Montrose, three months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, 150 hours community service, and a $200 fine for criminal trespass in New Milford Borough on June 10; one month to 12 months in the county jail, $100 fine and cost of prosecution for theft by unlawful taking in New Milford Borough on July 24; 11 months to 23 1/2 months in county jail, $200 fine, pay restitution and cost of prosecution for burglary in New Milford Borough on July 8; one month to 12 months in the county jail, $100 fine, cost of prosecution and restitution, for receiving stolen property in Great Bend Township on July 13; one month to 12 months in county jail, $100 fine, cost of prosecution and restitution for receiving stolen property in New Milford Borough on July 24; 11 months to 23 1/2 months in county jail, five years probation to run consecutive of all other sentences, $200 fine, for burglary in New Milford on July 20. All jail sentences are to run concurrent with the initial jail sentence.
Richard Bryan Allen, 42, of Montrose, one year probation, $350 fine, cost of prosecution, compliance with Megan’s Law, for failure to comply with registration of sexual offenders requirements in New Milford on May 14.
John Michael Picard, 42, of Montrose, 23 1/2 months probation, $500 fine, cost of prosecution, and 25 hours community service for recklessly endangering another person in Silver Lake Township on December 14, 2005.
Jeffrey Allen Craig, 29, of Montrose, 15 months probation , $200 fine, cost of prosecution and restitution, 25 hours of community service for unauthorized use of an automobile in Susquehanna on November 12, 2005; 15 months probation concurrent with the initial sentence, $200 fine, cost of prosecution, 25 hours of community service, for unauthorized use of an automobile in Susquehanna on November 12, 2005; one year probation concurrent with first jail term, $300 fine, cost of prosecution, for possession of drug paraphernalia in Susquehanna on April 2; one year probation concurrent with above, 25 hours community service, $250 fine, for disorderly conduct in Susquehanna on April 2.
Michael John Murphy, 39, of Union Dale, 90 days to 15 months in county jail, three years probation, $1,500 fine, $500 in related costs; for driving under the influence in Ararat Township on June 6.
Jason Martin Boyd, 19, of New Milford, $700 fine, 15 months probation, cost of prosecution, for fleeing or eluding a police officer in Great Bend Township on April 1; three days to six months in county jail, $1,000 fine, cost of prosecution, $110 related costs, for driving under the influence in Great Bend Township on April 1; one year probation, $300 fine, cost of prosecution, $100 related costs for possession of drug paraphernalia in Lenox Township on February 16.
Jason David Westbrook, 24, of South Montrose, 30 days to six months in county jail, $750 fine, cost of prosecution, $210 related costs, for driving under the influence in Bridgewater Township on May 19; $25 fine and court costs for driving on roadways laned for traffic; $75 fine and costs for unauthorized transfer or use of motor vehicle registration.
Richard P. Antol, 50, of South Montrose $1,500 fine, $410 related costs, 90 days to 15 months incarceration to be served as follows, 45 days in county jail, 45 days home confinement, 25 hours of community service, for driving under the influence in Montrose on March 13.
Arnold Charles Casselbury, 78, of Conklin, NY, 72 hours to six months home confinement, $1,000 fine, $360 in related costs, attend safe driving school, for driving under the influence in Hallstead on April 1.
Frank S. Esgro, 19, of Carbondale, two days to six months in county jail, $750 fine, cost of prosecution, $100 related costs, 50 hours of community service for driving under the influence in Clifford Township on May 20, 2006.
Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Andrew Shamro, RR2, Union Dale, Martin Shamro, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Evelyn G. Brush (estate) to John A. Tracz, RR1, Friendsville, in Susquehanna for $74,900.
Paul Skasko, June Skasko to Scott A. Adams, RR2, Kingsley, Chad H. Hollenbeck, in Harmony Township for $43,000.
Lyle G. Place (by sheriff) to Peoples State Bank of Wyalusing, in Auburn Township for one dollar (Corrective deed).
Kenneth S. Ronai to Thomas K. Ronai, Chandler, AZ, Julie A. Ronai, in Thompson Township for $145,000.
George F. Humbert, Katherine S. Humbert to Franklin G. P. Humbert, Jr., Christine, PA, James J. Humbert, Thomas S. Humbert, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Paul J. Kurosky to Paul J. Kurosky, Montrose, Audrey J. Kurosky, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Helen Oakley to Mark F. Oakley, RR1, New Milford, Terrie A. Oakley, in New Milford and Harford townships for $175,000.
Lisa Lynne Majeski to Brian C. Hinkley, RR2, Hallstead, David A. Hinkley, in Oakland Township for $139,000.
Patricia A. Holden (fka) Patricia A. Survilla to Laurie A. Klenchik, Hallstead, Dominick Klenchik, in Hallstead Borough for $90,100.
Dorothy B. McPherson to Peter J. Loiacono, RR4, Pittston, Maureen C. Loiacono, in Lenox Township for $75,000.
Craig Towner (by power of attorney) to Fawn I. Rosevear, RR1, Friendsville, in Forest Lake Township for $84,900.
Harris B. Savin, Lucy McDiarmid to Harris B. Savin, RR2, Thompson, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Elaine E. Vargason to Andrew Ferrara, Lindenwood, NJ, Leigh Erica Ferrara, in Apolacon Township for $23,000.
Thomas E. Burkert, Erica Zilles Burkert to Thomas G. Czachor, RR2, Thompson, in Thompson Township for $8,500.
Thomas E. Burke, Erica Zilles Burke to Thomas G. Czachor, RR2, Thompson, in Thompson Township for $321,500.
Gary L. Lupole, RR1, Friendsville, Darlene M. Lupole, to Mary Nye, RR1, Friendsville, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Samuel F. Little, Ethel G. Little to Brad Deeley, Philadelphia, Robert Deeley, Jr., in Franklin Township for $55,000.
Ronald Whitiak, Rose Whitiak to Eric Burns, Forest City, Kelly A. Burns, in Forest City for $150,000.
Renee Penelope Smith, Penelope R. Hoover, James E. Hoover III, to Joyce A. Mallery-Finch, Oakland, in Oakland Borough for $60,420.
Rural Investments LLC to Daniel E. Diskin, West Chester, Margaret B. Diskin, in Ararat Township for $20,000.
Rural Investments LLC to Daniel E. Diskin, West Chester, Margaret B. Diskin, in Ararat Township for $105,000.
Rural Investments LLC to William Coppola, Santa Fe, NM, in Ararat Township for $12,000.
Rural Investments LLC to Daniel E. Diskin, West Chester, Margaret B. Diskin, in Ararat Township for $175,000.
Dorothy B. McPherson to William Abruzzi, Quakertown, Amy Abruzzi, in Lenox Township for $180,000.
Paul F. Kameen (estate, aka) Paul Kameen (estate) to Roger F. Sullivan, Forest City, Loretta Sullivan, in Forest City for $52,000.
Stephen P. MacConnell, Amy L. MacConnell to Christopher D. Feret, Berwyn, Diane Feret, in New Milford Township for $110,000.
Mary E. Snyder to Thomas A. Kapcsandi, Edison, N J, Lori J. Kapcsandi, in Thompson Township for $30,000.
Ruth Geist to Gail Powers, RR1, Hop Bottom, Thomas Powers, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Tina Toussaint to Tina Haggett, Poughkeepsie, NY, Peter Toussaint, Andrew B. Toussaint, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
William D. Harding, Donna M. Harding to William D. Harding. Donna M. Harding, Mark Rosler, Mary M. McDermott, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
John J. Poniatowski (estate, aka) John Poniatowski, to Loretta Sheffler, RR5, Montrose, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Durland D. Drake, Julia L. Drake to Dale J. Baker, Susquehanna, Marian E. Baker, in Oakland Borough and Oakland Township for $20,000.
Dennis W. Hayes, Pamela J. Hayes (nbm) Pamela J. Land, Roger Land to Pamela J. Land, Dallas, NC, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Robert K. Fisher, Wendy L. Fisher to Robert K. Fisher, Springville, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Douglas L. Steen, Jr. to Jody M. Steen, Little Meadows, in Apolacon Township for $30,000.
Norman E. Turner, Dorothy Turner to Darrin Derose, Binghamton, NY, in Liberty Township for $30,000.
Norman E. Turner, Dorothy Turner to Darrin Derose, Binghamton, NJ, in Liberty Township for $30,000.
Michael Dorunda, Jr. (by sheriff), Christine Dorunda (by sheriff) to Wells Fargo Bank, Fort Mill, SC, in Hallstead Borough for $2,459.
Gregory A. Kizziah, Sabrina C. Kizziah to Cartus Relocation Corporation, Forest City, PA, in Clifford Township for $131,750.
Cartus Relocation Corporation to Christine Kleinbauer, Forest City, Jeff Baka, in Clifford Township for $135,400.
Thomas A. Page to Frank T. Perera, RR1, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for $104,940.
Josephine A. Darling to Kathleen A. Pisaneschi, RR3, Meshoppen, in Rush Township for $88,000.
Scott J. Quigg to Melinda Quigg, Montrose, in Montrose for one dollar.
Frank L. Moister III, Susan D. Moister to Frank L. Moister III, Sellersville, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Rural Investments to John F. Stapleton, Wyndmoor, Patricia S. Stapleton, in Ararat Township for $14,000.
David Cucura, Mary DeGroff to Mary DeGroff, RR1, Nicholson, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Daniel R. Brink, Susan L. Mariani to Jennie Brink, Endicott, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Helen R. Meyers (estate) to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet Barger, Frederick C. Renich II, Jacqueline Newbrander, in Montrose for one dollar.
Frederick C. Renich II, Janet R. Barger, Rosalie Oates, Jacqueline Newbrander to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet R. Barger, Frederick C. Reinchoates II, Jacqueline Newbrander, in Borough of Montrose and Bridgewater Township for one dollar (Corrective deed).
Frederick C. Renich, Susan Allen Renich, to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet R. Barger, Jacqueline Newbrander, in Montrose for one dollar.
Frederick C. Renich II, Susan Helen Renich to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet R. Barger, Jacqueline Newbrander in Montrose Borough, Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Susan Helen Renich, Frederick C. Renich II, to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet R. Barter, Jacqueline Newbrander, in Montrose for one dollar.
Jane Gray Torrey to Rosalie R. Oates, Brookhaven, MS, Janet R. Barger, Jacqueline Newbrander in Montrose for one dollar.
Summit Financial Corporation to Charles Kritch, Farmingdale, NJ, Nancy Kritch, in Auburn Township for $130,000.
Paul J. McAndrew, Kristin L. McAndrew to Michael Zuk, RR1, Forest City, Susan Zuk, in Lenox Township for $3,000.
Liborio Maniscalco, Maria Maniscalco to Peter Bragaw, Wilmington, DE, Sheryl Bragaw, in Herrick Township for $230,000.
Michael S. Canfield (by sheriff), Mindy Horn (by sheriff) to SFJV 2005 LLC, Fort Mill, SC, in Gibson Township for $1,521.
Peter J. Loiacono, Maureen C. Loiacono to Peter J. Loiacono, Pittston, Maureen C. Loiacono, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Getaway Land Co. LLC to William Volk, Brick, NJ, in Auburn Township for $138,000.
Richard F. Reaume (by sheriff) Kathleen Reaume (by sheriff) to CFSB Mortgage, Mendota Heights, MN, in New Milford Township for $2,295.
Gray C. Creighton, Barbara M. Creighton to Edward G. Creighton, Media, in Jackson and Thompson townships for one dollar.
Kenneth G. Miller to Fiserv ISS & Co Trustee fbo Karen Van De Griek IRA, Denver, CO, in Great Bend Borough for $65,000.
Harry M. McQuillan, Lillian J. McQuillan to David T. Soltis, Jessup, in Ararat Township for $44,000.
Seth D. Silow aka Silow Pasternak (by sheriff), Laurie D. Silow aka Laurie D. Schneyer (by sheriff) to Deutsche Bank National Trust co., Salt Lake City, UT, in Liberty Township for $5,459.
Stephen W. Kielceski, Loraine L. Kielceski to Weldon Flewelling, New Milford, Ruth Flewelling, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Weldon Flewelling, Ruth Flewelling, to Stephen W. Kielceski, Montrose, Loraine L. Kielceski, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
David Bolles, Lynette Bolles to Joshua L. Taylor, Hallstead, Allene N. Taylor, in New Milford Township for $135,000.
Getaway Land Co. LLC to Kelly Grimes, Avoca, in Auburn Township for $45,000.
William J. McCormick, John P. McCormick to JT Spano LLC, Hillsborough, NJ, in Forest City for $70,000.
Sherry Kelso to David J. Pitti, Amityville, NY, Joseph Alongis, in Thompson Borough for $100.
Jeffrey Streznetcky (by power of attorney), Rose Ann Streznetcky (by power of attorney) to Aaron T. Rider, RR1, Susquehanna, PA, April Rider in Gibson Township for $75,000.
John A. Tracz to Judd E. Holbrook, Montrose, Deborah J. Holbrook, in Montrose for $15,000.
Ernest Gordon, Bonnie E. Gordon to Ernest Gordon, New Milford, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Ernest Gordon, Bonnie E. Gordon to Bonnie E. Gordon, RR2, Hallstead, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Michael H. Helm, Jr. to Meredith Sutter McGraw, Pittsburgh, in Herrick Township for $28,000.
Rodney N. Church, Merle M. Church to Thomas L. Hummel, Sr., Mehoopany, Rachael E. Hummel, in Forest Lake Township for $30,250.
Federal National Mortgage Assn. to David Hansen, RR1, Friendsville, Wendy Hansen, in Forest Lake Township for $23,000.
John F. Dougherty to John L. Kerrick, Dallas, PA, Richard Powell, in Middletown Township for $20,000.
David Eugene King and Gail O’Connell, both of Little Meadows.
Michael W. Bell and Jennifer D. Rickert, both of East Syracuse, NY.
Dale Berton Harrison and Peggy Ann Watts, both of Binghamton, NY.
Chad H. Kriner and Lauren E. Winn, both of Binghamton, NY.
Todd Bradley Wilcox and Shereen C. Alininghian, both of Hallstead.
Ernest Gordon of Hallstead vs. Bonnie E. Gordon of Hallstead. Married Nov. 17, 1979.
Holly Fields-Scott, North Hampton vs. Joseph J. Scott, Susquehanna. Married February 29, 1996.
Dane Howell, Brackney vs. Tammie Howell, Endicott. NY. Married August 27, 1997.
Tracy L. Gumaer, New Milford vs. Kenneth J. Gumaer, New Milford. Married May 18, 1996.
Jody Steen, Little Meadows vs. Douglas L. Steen, Jr., Apalachin, NY. Married June 30, 1990.
Amy Bean, Vandling vs. David Bean, Jr., Forest City. Married September 8, 2001.
Terry Zigon, Forest City vs. Thomas C. Zigon, Union Dale. Married April 25, 1981.
Lisa K. Kochmer, Clifford vs. Scott a. Kochmer, Clifford. Married September 2, 1995.
On November 26, at approximately five o’clock p.m., Robert Knapp II of Montrose had an accident on State Route 167 in Silver Lake Township. He was traveling east at dusk when he encountered a horse in the roadway. Unable to avoid a collision, he struck the horse which was killed. While his vehicle sustained major damage, he was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
On November 17 in Auburn Township, a 16 year old male threw a container containing urine at a seven year old female. The container was thrown with the intention of hitting another student.
LOST & FOUND PROPERTY
On November 11, at mile marker 217 on Interstate 81 (Harford Township) a bicycle was discovered alongside the highway.
On November 2, at around 2:20 p.m., David Heller of Laceyville was backing a dump truck with a trailer out of a private driveway onto State Route 706. At that time Brian Short, Sr. of New Albany was traveling eastbound in a pick-up truck towing a trailer load of pallets, driving near the crest of a hill. Heller had posted someone in the area of the crest to warn upcoming traffic of the backing hazard. Apparently, however, this person had no flag or other warning device and Short did not see him, resulting in a collision. Both parties were wearing seatbelts and no serious injuries were reported. Both men face at least one charge regarding the vehicle code.
On State Route 267, approximately two miles north of the Susquehanna County line, a theft occurred. The perpetrator(s) took a red wooden cross, which had been erected at the site of a vehicle crash killing Jacob Hemmingway. The cross had his name, birth date, and date of death on it. The perpetrator(s) then fled the scene.
On November 9 Dawn Franks lost her purse in the Dollar Store parking lot on Grow Avenue in Montrose. Upon returning to the location she found her purse, but the cash inside of it had been stolen.
The Starrucca Inn was burglarized sometime between November 17 and 18. After one or more people forcibly gained entry into the building, it is estimated that six to ten cases of various brands of beer were taken.
Sometime between November 15 and 16, an outside vehicle was used to push a 2007 Chevy Colorado over the bank near the Jackson Hewitt building on Tom Kerr’s property in Montrose. Two other 2007 vehicles had their fronts pushed upon before the perpetrator(s) fled the scene. All damage done was minor.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Between September 22 and November 11, an employee at the New Milford Exxon station stole $2,400 in scratch-off lottery tickets. It is known who committed the crime and charges are pending.
In Springville Township, on State Route 2004, a 17 year old male from Meshoppen was traveling on an uphill curve when he lost control of his vehicle. It traveled across the opposing lane of traffic before impacting with a tree in the area of the driver’s side door. He was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by the Montrose and Springville fire departments. He was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered major injuries. He was subsequently transported to Wilson Hospital in New York.
Between November 16 and 17, unknown actor(s) illegally entered multiple vehicles parked in front of residences in the Hallstead/Great Bend area. Small items such as CDs, money, purses, and back packs were taken.
***If you have information regarding any of these incidents please contact the Gibson police barracks at (570) 465-3514.
Student Success At ELSD And SCCTC
The November 21 meetings of the ELSD and SCCTC school board spotlighted student success. After opening exercises several students were brought before the board in order to provide it with a better understanding of school programs and how students are thriving within them.
Present at the meeting were several members of the girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams, and one of their coaches explained why they deserved recognition. This year the girls’ team finished undefeated in the Lackawanna League, won the district championship, and continued on to place fifth at states. The boys’ team finished the season with a 20-3 record and placed sixth at districts. They thanked the board for its support, and expressed optimism about continuing or increasing success next year.
Within the realm of academics, two students were called upon to show the board projects which they completed. The first, sixth grader Vivian Mills, read aloud her essay about Veterans’ Day. The Elk Lake sixth graders had written essays for submission to a Veterans’ Day essay contest. For hers, Vivian received a $100 savings bond from the veterans. She was able to read it at the school’s two assemblies in honor of that day, and will have it printed in the next newsletter. The second, Travis Fasset was a student who finished his graduation project early, and presented to the board a PowerPoint presentation regarding this. As a volunteer fire fighter for Meshoppen, he organized a presentation for the school’s fifth graders regarding firefighting and fire safety. The younger students were able to see a fire truck and fireman’s gear, and were quizzed on such important issues as smoke detectors and escape plans. Travis later went back to review with them what they learned. It was also announced that at the recent Veteran’s Day assemblies the National Guard gave out two awards. In part due to his involvement with the fire company, Travis received one of these for service.
The last students to speak were SCCTC students, who represented their school at a recent three-day school board conference. At this conference they were able to listen to speakers, discuss issues of importance to students today, and participate in a mock school board meeting. The girls said that it allowed them to appreciate school staff and the school board more, and to better understand what they do.
Even after the students left, discussions on progress and positive programs continued. The elementary school recently held mock elections in grades 3-6, coinciding with the recent elections in the adult world. A section of ground in the playground has recently been blacktopped in order to make school evacuation, etc. easier for handicapped students. New playground equipment is also on the horizon.
Mrs. Staats spoke of the district’s desire to increase transition services and to create more student jobs on campus. She talked about one program already in place, in which special needs students run a coffee and pastries service for staff on Friday mornings. This gives them practice at delivering orders and making change. Prompted by a board member’s question as to what was currently being done for gifted students, the school’s program for that subgroup was briefly outlined as well. Aside from the advanced placement courses offered, secondary gifted students are allowed to request extra gifted instruction in music, computers, or art. There is a gifted program at the elementary level as well, but it is structured differently.
All grade levels attended assemblies for Veteran’s day. In the middle and high schools these assemblies included speeches from staff with current or prior military involvement. These assemblies were proclaimed a success in both buildings.
The new house project is underway, and the first house is moving toward being sold. The district originally received three bids which were lower than they had hoped. Under advice of a solicitor, these were refused. The district now will either accept an offer higher than these three without further advertisement, or re-advertise and open bidding again, depending on further information and counsel from a lawyer.
Also within the course of the meeting one change in policy was approved and another proposed for future consideration. The former involved the dress code. Currently students are required to dress up, boys in shirts and ties and girls in dress clothes, on the day of an event and while traveling to one. One of the board members proposed altering this to allow for matching wind-suits, polo shirts, etc. The board approved this proposal, though any real change in apparel will be optional by sport and at the discretion of the administration. The latter policy involved the establishment of a required minimum grade for admittance into summer school. This would mean that students receiving below a 58 in a course would have to retake the entire class the following year, being ineligible for summer school. Elk Lake is the only area school not to have this policy, which aims to combat the trend of students slacking off all year on purpose knowing they can get the credit from summer school. It will be further considered for the December meeting.
COG Reviews Ordinances
By Barbara Whitehead
Vice president Charles Fahringer presided at the November 21 COG meeting due to the absence of president Elliot Ross.
All member municipalities’ ordinances have been reviewed, and letters were sent to notify them which need to be updated. Primary among them, ordinances dealing with assessment permits and maintenance agreements for sewage treatment systems.
When the UCC regulations were put into effect, manufactured homes were originally excluded from the permit process. But, the UCC subsequently changed those regulations in July, 2004 to include manufactured homes. With the assessment permit ordinances now having provisions for fees for those homes, owners would be paying the fees twice, once to the municipality and again to COG. The ordinances would need to be changed if the municipality removes the fee, but would not need to be changed if the municipality elects to keep it.
DEP requires an ordinance for maintenance agreements for small flow systems; in situations where a large system is proposed, municipalities may need a specific ordinance to regulate it.
A motion carried for COG to proceed with advertising the ordinances, providing at least five member municipalities vote to enact them.
There were some questions from members, particularly about sewage permits being issued prior to building permits being issued. If the municipality does not have an ordinance requiring sewage planning prior to issuance of a building permit, the building permit must be issued.
Other discussion ensued about ten-acre exemptions; PA currently allows ten-acre parcels one unregulated system to be put in provided the property was owned prior to January 10, 1987. But, there have been situations where there has been a turnover or there have been subdivisions, where unregulated and sometimes substandard systems were put in. COG has encountered problems with owners not recording when and where such systems are. COG is working with the county assessor’s office to find a way to ensure that such systems are recorded, whether it be on a survey map, on the deed itself, or through an ordinance disallowing non-permitted systems.
Members were asked to consider any other ordinances they would like to see enacted, to be discussed at the December meeting.
Randy Decker of PennDOT was present; he said he would be working in Susquehanna County and asked members if there were any areas of concern that needed to be checked after more recent flooding. Several had sites that needed to be checked for damage. There was no news as to whether the November flood damage would result in emergency funding; one member said that Commissioner Warren had told him that there was not enough damage for Susquehanna County to qualify. If that is the case, Mr. Decker said that PennDOT has information about low interest infrastructure loans that may be available. But, he cautioned, it may take considerable time to obtain such funding, depending on the amount applied for.
The committee working on employee policies and procedures will be meeting with the executive committee to go over what has been drawn up before it is presented to the membership for adoption.
COG was contacted by the Governor’s Center for Local Government, to ascertain whether COG was interested in continuing gathering information on municipal police services. After discussion, it was agreed to proceed, as a decision could not be made until the final analysis was available.
The 2007 budgets have been prepared and are ready for review; COG’s budget reflects no change in membership dues.
At last month’s meeting, Kenneth Ralston had requested that COG withdraw a sewage permit issued for a property neighboring his. After a lengthy discussion with Mr. Ralston and the Costellos, owners of the property in question, COG had determined that proper procedures had been followed, and the permit would stand. This evening, members learned that Mr. Ralston has subsequently notified COG that he is going to pursue the matter. He sent a letter listing discrepancies he had found, and sent copies of his letter to a number of other agencies, including the attorney general and DEP.
Mr. Ralston requested that COG supply him with the name and home address of all of its members. COG’s solicitor, Marian O’Malley was contacted; she advised that any correspondence from Mr. Ralston should be sent in care of COG, or sent to each individual municipality. Ms. O’Malley has also reviewed documentation relevant to the case. COG’s insurance carrier has also been notified of the possible litigation, and will work with Ms. O’Malley if it should occur.
Codes chair Ted Plevinsky related an interesting situation he had become aware of. Some years ago, there had been a garbage dump in Middletown Township, which has been closed for some 10 or 15 years. The property, 500 acres, was posted for sale on eBay. A big selling point touted that there is no zoning in that area, and the buyer could start their own town and do whatever they like. “Ask opponents of zoning what kind of town they’d like to see in their area,” Mr. Plevinsky said. Also listed as selling points for the property were the availability of bluestone and “natural gas.” Another COG member said that the property had been sold, for $631,000.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 19, 7 p.m. in the COG offices in New Milford.
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