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Susquehanna County’s reputation as a haven for drug peddlers and users should make a U-turn now that District Attorney Jason Legg has created a county Drug/DUI Task Force.
Last week, the county commissioners approved Legg’s request to create 10 part-time county detectives who will be paid $13 an hour when they work. Legg said the money to pay the detectives will come from grants and he doesn't expect to ask the county for funds.
Besides focusing attention on drug abuse, the new task force is expected to establish periodic checkpoints for driving under the influence. The county has also been given a dog that is being trained to find stashed drugs. Legg said he intends to talk to boards of education and school administrators about having the dog visit the schools periodically.
The DA is confident that the new task force will cut into the drug business and cut down on drunk drivers. He said he expects to have the new patrol car on the road in early February.
Finding a site to dump debris from Dubois Creek has held up the project. The contractor has been told he must find one appropriate place for the debris and it cannot be on private property. Commissioner Roberta Kelly said a site has been found in New Milford Township about 10 miles from where the dredging is located. She said the county expects to adjust the contract to provide for mileage when the trucks head for the dumping grounds. She added she expects the county will be reimbursed for any money for any increase in the clean-up contract.
“The ultimate goal,” Mrs. Kelly said, “is to get the creek cleaned up and then to educate local elected officials about maintaining creeks and streams.” She pointed out that Pennsylvania has 83,000 miles of creeks and streams – second only to Alaska.
The Flanders Group that has been making great progress in restoring the county’s retirement fund was given the green light to make some changes in its investment program. As a part of its plan, a spokesman for the Group said a hedge fund will be created. Steven Flanders said hedge funds are favored by institutional investors because of their potential to provide attractive, risk-adjusted returns even in down markets.
“We are impressed,” Flanders said “that the members of the Retirement Board were willing to spend the time to learn about new concepts and familiarize themselves with the various opportunities available in today’s capital markets.”
“I have full confidence in this group,” Commissioner Kelly said. “They have done wonderful things for the county.”
Motions passed by the commissioners and the Salary Board accomplished the following:
Provided a two percent pay increase for all non-union and non-elected county employees.
Agreed to a request from the jail warden for three part-time correction officers with rates and benefits as per union contract.
Passed a motion authorizing Sheriff Lance Benedict to add a fourth full-time deputy sheriff. The move is aimed at providing a security guard at the county office building on Public Avenue in Montrose.
Set the rate of interest at four percent for member contributions to the county’s employment retirement plan.
With recent state legislation – Act 72 a few years ago, and Act 1 of 2006 last summer – school districts around Pennsylvania will need to consider their budgets a lot earlier this year, well before the governor and legislature have determined the level of subsidy for the next school year. Blue Ridge School Board President Alan Hall told his colleagues at their first meeting of 2007 that he will expect administrators to present austere requests as they begin to develop a budget later this month.
The county commissioners recently decided to drop the occupation tax, and the per-capita tax will probably also be eliminated. Neither of these "nuisance taxes" bring in substantial revenue, but, together with the loss of real estate tax income from properties affected by last summer's flooding, Blue Ridge will be squeezed as never before. Calling the occupation and per-capita taxes "unfair," because they are levied only on those who can be identified, Mr. Hall said, however, that the district will have to operate next year under a "bare bones" budget.
Blue Ridge voters will have an opportunity this coming May to decide if they want to offset part of the property tax in favor of an "earned income tax" (or possibly a "personal income tax"). The new taxes will especially favor senior citizens who own their own homes. For a variety of reasons, the recently disbanded Tax Study Commission recommended against the new taxes for Blue Ridge, but voters will have the final say.
Whatever happens at the referendum, Mr. Hall and his board do not intend to increase tax rates this cycle. Under Act 1 of 2006, they could boost rates by as much as 5% without going to the voters, but this board is determined to hold the line. In fact, board members adopted a resolution that declares their intention not to increase any tax that exceeds the index of 5%.
Mr. Hall distributed a preliminary budget for activities and sports to get things rolling, and he noted that it was some $5,000 lower than last year. He has said that, with declining enrollments, he expects to be able to lower taxes within five to seven years anyway, once some of the bonds are paid off.
Much of the rest of the meeting's agenda was routine. The Board approved a recommendation to create a ski club for Elementary School students. The club would be run by volunteers, with transportation provided at no charge to the schools. According to administrators, each of the younger participants would have to be accompanied by a responsible adult. The club would enjoy six trips to Elk Mountain ("if it ever snows") under a discount package. Mr. Hall presented it as another program that encourages participation between parents and children. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski, a long-time skier originally from the Forest City area, lamented the lack of snow for his own school's ski club.
School Nurse Barbara McNamara was granted some unpaid leave. As the only school-certified registered nurse on the staff, her duties will be covered by her assistant, Ms. Ferenczi, a registered nurse who is in training for her school certification. Pennsylvania schools are required to employ at least one school-certified registered nurse for each 1,500 students.
Elementary School Principal Robert Dietz reported that students who cannot document required immunizations would not be allowed to attend school, and would be reported to county children and youth services and the district justice. This is standard policy, but one student has already been affected this year, and Mr. Dietz wants to be sure parents are aware of it in good time to have their children receive the required shots.
Mr. Dietz also announced that he will be requesting some new text books for next year. He showed a new history book that will replace one in use in his school since 1988.
Mr. Nebzydoski reported that students in the Middle School will be collecting paperback books for shipment to troops abroad.
High School Principal John Manchester reported that the Hallstead McDonald's is helping to sponsor an "athlete of the week." Jocelyn Dearborn and Kody Kuiper have been honored so far.
January is School Director Recognition Month. Superintendent Robert McNamara distributed certificates to each board member with recognition and thanks for their service to the Blue Ridge School District. The three principals also received large keystone plaques each recognizing two consecutive years of "adequate yearly performance" (AYP) under the state's standardized assessment program. (Mr. Nebzydoski wondered if hanging the large blue signs would attract motorists looking to have their vehicles inspected.)
With visions of budgets dancing in their heads, board members adjourned for coffee and a large cake provided by the food service staff, the only pay they will receive for trying to make the money go further.
They'll start doing that at the next meeting, a workshop, on Monday, January 22, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
Is there a test to determine if I have been exposed to mold?
Some physicians have recommended testing for mold-specific antibodies. The presence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a substance at some time. It does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposure took place, or how much of the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive test for mold-specific antibodies alone is generally considered insufficient to prove that health effects reported by individuals in moisture-damaged buildings are caused by exposure to mold.
What medical tests are available to determine if I am allergic to mold?
There are medical tests to determine if you are allergic to a particular substance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood. Skin tests are considered more reliable than blood tests to determine allergic reaction to a substance. Skin tests yield results more quickly, are less expensive than blood tests and are generally considered more sensitive. If an individual has symptoms year-round, which may indicate an indoor allergy, skin testing may be recommended.
Blood testing, called RAST (radioallergosorbent) test is expensive to perform and results are usually not available for about two weeks.
Note: when my doctor was unsure of the cause of my illness, he sent me to an allergist. He read the X-rays Dr. Dana sent, plus other tests and chose to give me the skin tests. The results came back from Guthrie Clinic Laboratories that I tested positive to the mold Aspergillus fumigatus on 8/3/2001.
My husband did not take any tests. He suffered the runny nose and coughing. He did have problems breathing and was rushed to the hospital early one morning.
He fainted twice, in two separate restaurants and the second time Dr. Roe, heart specialist, inserted a pacemaker. Harry had never had any type of heart problems. He had regular checkups all of his adult life, with never any indication of this kind.
After reading the Newsweek article on Toxic Mold, we refused to enter this old house and attempted to have a professional remediator clean it up. The board members refused to believe that toxic mold was hazardous to the health of any who entered.
An industrial cleaner took five samples from that house. Two toxic mold species were found in all five of the samples. Tests were performed by Focus Technologies, Inc., Cypress, California. (Penicillium, Asperigillus, Paecilomyces, Ulocladium and the most dangerous of all, Stachybotrys were found.)
These test results were disbelieved and the only alternative was to have the Borough Council close the house to the public. Needless to say, there was an uproar and I was accused and treated with disdain.
Dr. Dana sent me to two other specialists. The years passed and the medication that he prescribed helped me to function. And because of the suffering that Harry and I went through, I decided, with the help of Dorothy to continue on this mission – not to change minds but to educate any who would listen.
If I were driving and saw a bridge was out, how could I leave without a warning of some kind, or an accident on a lonely country road, or a young child alone on the highway? No! I cried when I saw a young mother and her baby coming out of that house with gifts from the art show. That was basically when my decision was made.
People who know they have been exposed to mold and have symptoms that persist should consult their physician for possible treatment and testing. And, if you have any knowledge of the hazard to health of toxic mold, at least let them know. Almost every article or report we have in our file states that most doctors do not know that toxic mold is dangerous to your health.
My health problems started in June of 2000, and there was not a soul who could give me information on cleaning up the mold – or my husband’s and my health. I called the EPA, the Department of Health, the clinic, a mold remediator who refused to come to Montrose because he “didn’t do houses.” He did take some time to educate me to the danger. His wife’s house had to be destroyed and she left everything behind. But he was busy with the Tunkhannock school that was closed because of toxic mold.
No person can imagine what these people go through, who had no place to turn until they read stories like Melinda Ballard’s and Erin Brockovich’s and others who had made the news.
The jury in the Ballard trial awarded them $32 million in their fight against Farmers Insurance Group. They argued that the insurance company mishandled their claim for mold damage to their house. (It was the copper plumbing that sprung a series of leaks that started their problem.) Note: these stories are in the file in the Library, and on-line.
Dr. David Sherris of the Mayo Clinic stated, “The prevailing medical opinion has been that mold accounts for six to seven percent of all chronic sinusitis. We have found that it was 93 percent – the exact reverse.”
Toxins do not go after humans, we get in their way. Their targets are plants and other fungi that compete with them for water and food. They are doing what nature programmed them to do.
Frances Marion Bell to Frances Marion Bell, Red Hill, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Gwen Canfield (estate) to Mark Jennings, South Gibson, in Gibson Township for $65,000.
Chester E. Kilmer to Glen J. Whitney, New Milford, Christina M. Whitney, in New Milford Township for $5,000.
Anthony C. Lukasik, Jr., Stacey A. Lukasik to Phillip C. Hodges, Clifford Township, in Forest City for $47,500.
Stella M. Chappell to Gerald Santoriello, Seaford, NY, Deborah Santoriello, in Forest Lake Township for $100,000.
Helen A. Randall, Richard E. Randall, Alan L. Randall to Dennis C. Randall, RR1, New Milford, Aimee J. Randall, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Rory Maginley, Sr. to Ruth Morris, Binghamton, NY, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Robert C. Boonen, Marion G. Boonen to Dennis A. Magargal, RR3, Montrose, Rachel R. Magargal, in Liberty Township for $290,000.
Albert F. Cooper, Jr. (trust by trustee) to Albert F. Cooper, Jr., Brea, CA, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Bonnie Antoine, Lamont Antoine to David Hunsinger, RR1, Laceyville, Terry Hunsinger, Charles Hunsinger, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Andrew Bowes, Debra A. Bowes to Nicole L. Stook, Forest City, in Forest City for $90,500.
John Swierczek, Geraldine Swierczek to Eric Craparo, Forest City, in Forest City for $53,600.
Michael H. Kearns, Betty J. Kearns to Michael H. Kearns, RR1, Laceyville, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Rag Apple LLC to Rag Apple LLC, RR2, Brackney, in Jessup Township for one dollar (corrective deed).
Ursula H. Roma, Gianpaolo Roma, Arlene Sanders, Emilio M. Roma IV, Alexander L. Roma, Nicholas J. Stashko to Alexandra L. Roma, RR1, Friendsville, Nicholas J. Stashko, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Ursula H. Roma, Gianpaolo Roma, Arlene Sanders, Emilio M. Roma IV, Alexander L. Roma, Nicholas J. Stashko to Ursula H. Roma, Cincinnati, OH, Emilio M. Roma, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Ginny Rober to Jeffrey Herel, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for $17,500.
David J. Fisher to David J. Fisher, RR2, New Milford. in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Alan Ford, Keith Dean Wandel, Jr. to Jacob C. Sheppart, Hop Bottom, in Hop Bottom Borough for $80,000.
Joyce Lawrence to Joyce Lawrence, Whitehouse Station, NJ, Thomas J. Lawrence, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Asher P. Nase, Terry L. Nase, Dana L. Nase, Tara D. Stuber to Terry L. Nase, Harleysville, Dana L. Nase, Tara D. Stuber, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Martin Cannella to Brad E. Lawrence, RR1, Springville, Jenelle M. Lawrence, in Dimock Township for $65,000.
Donald William Garis (estate) to Kevin Bryden, New Milford, in Great Bend Borough for $45,000.
J. Randall Houser, Cheri M. Houser to Gilbert P. Sifers, RR2, Montrose, Donnalynn Degroat, in Forest Lake Township for $70,000.
Joseph Organisciak to Darroll L. Hall, RR2, Montrose, Janet Hall, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Blanche Spielman, Arthur Alan Gresen, Dorinda Gresen to Thomas O. Corson, Pottstown, Maureen S. Corson, in Ararat Township for $10,000.
At the December 28 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council, Peter Seman had addressed council with information about ethanol and bio-diesel fuels and told how producing it would be good for our area and the local environment. At the January 9 meeting Mr. Seman was back, this time accompanied by two individuals with varying types of expertise in the field. John Kukowski of Harmony Township brought information from the Governor’s Energy Council and Andy Pressman of Lanesboro, who is a bio-fuel specialist, brought information as well, and commented that he could see the potential in the idea of local production.
President Tom Kelly said that Commissioner Kelly is very interested in the idea, as it is a viable one that would be good for local economic development, and that she would be very interested in speaking with people who are knowledgeable on the subject.
Mr. Pressman said that there is congressional funding available to help with technical support, and he brought information on what was involved to apply for it. He said that ethanol would not only be good for the local economy, but could help reduce dependence on foreign oil and would be good for the environment. Mr. Kukowski added that there are also funds available through the state. Mr. Kelly said that council would be interested in promoting the idea if it is the right thing for the community. Mr. Kelly introduced the trio to resident Margaret Biegert, who, he said, is also very interested in learning more about ethanol and whether its production is a viable idea for our area. Mrs. Biegert said that there are appropriate sites in the area, and she knows of some non-profit groups who are interested in learning more about ethanol production. Mr. Kelly offered use of the secretary’s office so that the group could exchange information. As they left, Mr. Seman stressed that he would not be personally involved if anything were to come of the discussion, but would dearly like to see it happen. He asked Mr. Kelly, “Do you think it will be possible?” Mr. Kelly said that there has been lot of local interest, and there is a good possibility that something may come of it. “I’d like to see this happen,” Mr. Seman said.
In other business, Mayor Reddon gave council an update of the police department’s activities during the prior month. New (bulletproof) vests have been ordered, at a cost of $930, $300 of which will be paid for through grant money. The remainder will be paid by the boro. 40 warnings were issued for vehicles parked on sidewalks or curbs. The mayor stressed the boro ordinances state that a clear passage must be provided for pedestrians, and that such parking causes damage to the curbs and walks. And, she reminded that all sidewalks must be cleared of snow within 24 hours of its fall.
During the Streets committee report, Mr. Matis wished to clarify that a water problem on Franklin Ave. discussed at the last meeting was from a broken pipe in the street, not on private property.
Also regarding Franklin Ave., an on-site meeting had been held with several PennDOT representatives, as well as Rep. Sandra Major and a representative from Senator Lisa Baker’s office. Mr. Matis relayed that PennDOT said that an engineering study would be needed, which the boro would have to provide. At this time, PennDOT is still dealing with flood recovery, which has taken precedence over other work.
PennDOT did clean some ditches on upper Franklin Ave., Mr. Matis said, but boros are not eligible for certain types of maintenance of state roads, such as repair of storm drains, even though such work is done for townships. He said that other municipalities are in the same situation, and that a subcommittee has been formed to look into the legislation that dictates what can and cannot be done, with an interest to revamp it.
Mayor Reddon added that while the group was in town, they did take a look at the Main St. bridge, which is also in need of repair, and Rep. Major did promise to see what could be done to get it repaired sooner than 2008. The turning lane onto Exchange St. is still closed off, with barriers on the corner of Main St.
Secretary Ann Stewart reported that the boro has received contracts from the from the Fish and Boat Commission for the Boating Facility Grant Program (grant funding for the boat launch at the riverfront park property), and the 2007 Act 205 Validation Report for the police pension account, and is in the process of completing all yearend DCED reports and liquid fuels filing requirements.
At the December 28 meeting, council had briefly discussed correspondence received from the Chemung Valley Railway Historical Society, questioning the boro’s ownership of two of the three railroad cars that had been donated to the boro. Mr. Matis recommended that the rail car committee discuss the matter in detail, as a decision has to be made about how to approach the situation. Another matter needs to be discussed; the cars are currently at the siding at the Starrucca House, which is up for sale. Mr. Matis commented that not enough volunteers are available to participate in renovating the cars, and that a lack of funds has also stalled the project.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss a personnel issue.
When the meeting reconvened, Police Officer Laura Watson addressed council on several items. She recommended that the department look into buying a program that would allow the video discs used by the surveillance camera to be re-used. It would be more economical than just buying more discs, as they are a special type, more expensive than ordinary discs.
Ms. Watson is in the process of getting prices to have the officers’ badges re-engraved, also less expensive than buying new ones. The department is also looking into getting cell phones, and are checking to see if discount packages are available for entities such as police departments/municipalities. And, Ms. Watson will be meeting with a representative of NTRPDC, to discuss applications for grant funding.
Two minor problems with the police cars were discussed.
Mayor Reddon recommended to council that Ms. Watson be appointed to the rank of sergeant, as she has been doing a tremendous amount of work for the department. It was agreed that Ms. Watson is doing a great job, but council’s feeling was that no action should be taken until her review after her six-month probationary period is up (Ms. Watson was hired as a police officer in August of 2006).
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 23, 6 p.m. in the boro building.
Following are the December, 2006 Starrucca Borough Council meeting minutes, as submitted.
The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular monthly meeting on December 6 at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President Rhone, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, Robert Buck, Anthony Palonis, Donald Haynes and Mayor Jack Downton were present. Fred Rhone was absent.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read; a motion carried to approve.
The treasurer’s report was given and a motion carried to approve.
Bills were presented for payment. The bill for Thompson Borough ($660.19) will again be held until next meeting. Mayor Downton questioned the bill for Stephen Knash. A motion carried to approve. Mr. Gurske stated he was opposed to paying the “Schaefer Ent.” bill.
Correspondence was read.
A motion carried to send a sample ordinance for the collection of the delinquent Realty Transfer Tax to the boro solicitor for review and opinion. Mr. Downton expressed concern over his appointment as mayor. President Rhone clarified, “You’re the mayor.”
A letter from “concerned citizens” was read.
A copy of a petition was presented to the board.
Darl Haynes, FEMA agent, reported the boro received some of the money for the June work that was done. He has received no other updates. The meeting to be held concerning the Community Hall floor had to be canceled due to a flash flood. Mrs. Haynes to set the new meeting date.
A motion carried to rescind a former motion to set the term of the $15,000 loan at ten years. Mr. Gurske was opposed and questioned if a special meeting had been held without his knowledge. The answer was, no.
A motion carried to set the term on the $15,000 loan to a five-year term. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
A motion carried to advertise an ordinance to borrow the $70,000 to repair Buck’s bridge. Mr. Gurske was opposed and stated, “This boro does not have the funds nor the ability to pay it back.”
Mr. Gurske, with Mr. Palonis present, again asked for his resignation. He stated Mr. Palonis has shown little interest.
Mayor Downton stated he had contacted Chris Koolich of the DEP and the boro is “still in violation.” He explained that the office has been very busy and unable to send a letter at this time. Mr. Downton stated the “T” wall should be removed and the violation will be lifted. Darl Haynes stated the boro solicitor contacted the DEP and has had no return correspondence and neither has the boro. Mr. Gurske stated the boro had been given its orders already, another letter is not needed. Mr. Downton said, “Let’s get the job done.” The council instructed the secretary to contact the solicitor for a follow-up.
The proposed budget was discussed. Mr. Gurske stated, “It is an erroneous budget.” It was announced that due to an oversight the $70,000 loan figures were shown in the State column and should have been reflected in the General column. Mr. Everett, Mr. Weldy and Mrs. Glover expressed concern about the $70,000 loan for the bridge repairs. A motion carried to adopt the budget with the changes. Mr. Gurske opposed, stating it was an “irresponsible motion. The budget should be changed and re-advertised.”
Mr. Weldy questioned if changing the term on the loan, will require it to be re-advertised. The council will check with the attorney.
Mr. (Bob) Martin questioned the bill for the US Treasury. It represented payroll tax for the year 2003. The records have been reviewed and, “Nothing could be found,” President Rhone stated.
Mr. Martin asked about the status of “The Wall.” The council has heard nothing.
There was a discussion of the roads damaged in the flood, and a bill presented for a portion of that work. Darl Haynes listed the roads that received repairs. When Mrs. Everett demanded a better “breakdown,” Mr. Haynes replied he has already reported this information to the board, at previous meetings, and did not bring the paperwork with him.
There was a question of Darl Haynes serving as FEMA agent and also auditor of the boro.
There was a discussion of the engineering for the Stephano Bridge repairs.
Mr. Martin asked of the status of the survey and the “need” for it. President Rhone stated it was to establish the boro’s boundaries, to which Mr. Weldy replied, “Who cares where they are?” President Rhone spoke of a meeting he attended in Hancock, NY, during the recent “flash flooding.” He said it was hosted by many agencies concerned about all the recent flooding. The purpose of the meeting was to aid the communities in creating a “plan” to work together. They also suggested the municipalities review and increase standards of construction in the “floodplain.” When asked why the boro will not be receiving money for this storm, President Rhone replied there was no declaration.
Ms. Pat Schneyer questioned a return letter she received after sending a request for copies for the boro. It was explained that the overwhelming size of the request prompted the board to request that she look through the information first. She refused, stating she “doesn’t have time” to do that. She demanded that her original request be honored and the copies be furnished to her. The board will honor her request.
No further business to come before the board, a motion carried to adjourn.
Oakland Boro Council began their January 11 meeting with their customary moment of silence in recognition of our military troops, and in memory of former council member Leon Dubanowitz, who had passed away the previous week.
Oakland is still in need of a site for a boro garage, with several possibilities still under discussion. One site is at the building at the hydro electric plant along the Susquehanna River. It was said that the individual who has contracted to operate the plant plans on some alterations to the building. He will be taking down part of the building, which was said to be in very bad shape, which would allow space for a garage. Another possibility is an informal proposal from the Tri Boro Municipal Authority. The authority is considering putting up a new garage near their present site, and Oakland could possibly use the old one. Since both proposals were in the discussion stage and exact details needed to be determined, at Gary Boughton’s suggestion it was agreed to put together a committee to get more concrete information. All interested parties will be invited to a work session to go over particulars and make a recommendation to council.
A list of codes violations was discussed. Most were said to be either in progress or completed with the exception of one, which will be heading to court. And, a letter of violation will be sent to the owner of a River St. property, although it was noted that the “junk” on the property was put there by another party.
Council discussed a complaint by a resident, about the smoke resulting from a neighbor’s outdoor wood stove. The owner of the stove had been approached about the complaint and had agreed to put in a higher smoke stack, but as of the date of the meeting had not yet done so.
Mayor Dudley reported that the boro’s two police officers had recently completed their firearms certifications. She gave council a rundown of the citations issued during the previous month, and said that the department was currently working on a theft investigation. Officer Devries had worked two shifts, and Lanesboro’s police department had covered the rest. During one of those shifts, Lanesboro’s police vehicle had been damaged while on call in Oakland. During the time their vehicle was out of commission, Oakland had loaned the use of theirs, so Lanesboro only billed Oakland for two hours of coverage in return. Because the month’s expenditures for coverage were less than had been anticipated, the savings would be applied towards coverage by Lanesboro for the month of January. The mayor also reported that there had been more incidents of vandalism at the boro park; a new railing and some fencing had been damaged. And, a resolution was passed to accept an updated procedure policy and code of conduct manual for boro police officers.
Jack Agler relayed that he had been asked by a resident why the boro needs a police department; when incidents happen, they were usually when the boro did not have an officer on duty. Mayor Dudley said that many people seemed to be unaware of the proper procedure when there was a problem, they usually call her or a council member. Emergency incidents should be handled by calling 911; if there is not an officer on duty, the State Police or an officer from a neighboring municipality would respond. In non-emergency matters, residents should call 853-2911. She suggested that a notice be drafted, to be sent to residents to inform them of the procedures that should be followed.
The monthly financial statements for the Parks and Rec. committee were reviewed, and it was said that all are in excellent shape. A separate savings account has been opened for moneys pledged in matching funding for the DCNR grant that has been approved for improvements to the park, as well as a separate account for the grant funding itself, and the boro has received signed contracts relating to the grant from DCNR.
Lanesboro Council President Dan Boughton attended the meeting, and asked if Oakland would consider a cooperative agreement for storing salt and cinders, as Lanesboro currently has no place to keep them. In exchange for storage and use of Oakland’s equipment to load Lanesboro’s spreader, Lanesboro would supply material for Oakland’s use. It was agreed that this is something that could be done, and council agreed that an equitable arrangement could be worked out.
Cynthia Beavan reported the results of the Christmas decorating contest; first prize went to the Rhones; other prizes went to the Stanek, Cavanaugh, Gall, Todd and McDonald homes. Winners received certificates as well as cash prizes.
Ron Beavan reported that, through diligence and hard work by Jeff Wayman, who has completed the licensing process for the water company, the system has seen a significant decrease in the amount of water pumped over a year’s time. Periodic leakage checks have been conducted, and Mr. Wayman has done a lot of work fixing and repairing leaks in the system, which has resulted in a significant savings in the system’s operating costs.
A motion carried to retain Myron DeWitt as the boro’s solicitor for the year 2007.
Council’s meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of the month. As the Lanesboro Community Hall will be unavailable on that date in February, it was agreed to meet next on February 15 at 7 p.m.
Following is the Silver Lake Township Police report, as submitted.
On November 22, William T. McNeice reported that his Pequea, 10,000 GVWR utility trailer was taken by Donald M. Overfield, Jr. The trailer was identified approximately two months prior at the Overfield property in Silver Lake Township. Subsequent search has not uncovered the trailer. This investigation continues.
On November 29 at approximately 9:45 a.m., Christina Rieselman lost control of her Ford Windstar Van on SR4006 Hawleyton Road, and crashed into a tree after traveling on the soft brim just out of a deep culvert. She and her two small children escaped the mishap without any injuries. The vehicle was severely damaged.
On December 1, it was reported to the Township by residents on Brinton Road, that several of the brand new speed limit signs had been removed. Investigation showed that five or more had been cut off with a saw and taken.
On December 9 at approximately 12:15 a.m., a Honda CRV driven by Christopher Sims of Binghamton, NY, went off of the roadway on Brinton Road and struck a utility pole, snapping it off and shutting down power to several residences in the area. The vehicle left the area with an injured passenger, Christopher Mills, also of Binghamton, NY. The vehicle and occupants were located at General Hospital in Binghamton, NY.
On or about December 18, two adult bicycles were taken from the garage at the Ivan Payne residence on Hawleyton Road, Silver Lake Twp.
On December 18, a Chevy P/U truck driven by Chevus Turner was hit from behind by a Hyundai car driven by Jenna Rajnes. Investigation showed that a deer crossing the roadway had started a string of vehicles attempting to stop on the slippery roadway. The Rajnes vehicle struck the rear of the P/U, causing extensive damage to the car. No injuries resulted and the vehicle was removed.
On December 19, a dual axel vehicle ran off of the roadway and into the ditch at the Robert Bundy residence. The vehicle ran over Mr. Bundy’s mailbox and left the scene.
Any information or questions for the Silver Lake Township Police, call (570) 278-6818 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. All information will be held strictly confidential.
An irate mother sparked a heated debate at the January 8 Montrose school board meeting. Her anger centered around the district's overdraft policy. Recently, she declared, her 12-year old son had his tray taken away from him at the end of the lunch line. The food was thrown away and he was denied lunch, already possessing a $1.50 overdraft which she herself was unaware of.
District policy dictates that a child, grades 7-12, be warned verbally once their account reaches a positive balance of only three dollars. After a certain point they are provided with a paper slip to take home to their parents. If the deficit reaches the point that buying a lunch will push them to a negative balance of $2.50 or greater, they are denied lunch and sent to the office, where they may be advised to go borrow money from a friend, etc. Children below grade 7 are not denied lunch, regardless. The older children, however, are felt to be old enough to be responsible for notifying their parents. This has been the policy since 1997, and, some present at the meeting asserted, it has proven effective. The mother argued that a 12-year old cannot be expected to always remember. She felt that there should be changes made in the policy so that every student has some recourse to food regardless of overdraft (even if just a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich), and to alert parents directly.
Those present who supported Montrose's current system defended it by citing how few students reach this level of deficit (estimated at less than five out of around 700 lunches during a four-period time frame). Those who do get denied lunch can normally find someone to borrow money from. In fact, the principal and assistant principal at the high school stated that they have been known to lend money to students themselves, or to otherwise ensure that the kids are able to eat. Nevertheless, there is at least one parent very upset about the policy, and whether or not her protest is enough to prompt policy reconsideration remains to be seen.
On a more positive note, multifarious student and staff contributions to charity over the holidays were mentioned. At the high school level, 30 needy families were taken care of through the Angel Basket program. In addition to this, students took part in Hats On Day. On the Wednesday before Christmas students could wear a hat in school and give a donation. The money was used to help a person suffering from cancer, and in need of money for medical expenses, etc. At least $1,000 was raised through this initiative. At the elementary level, Lathrop Street raised over $2,000 for charity, in part through a Pie in the Face contest. One class in particular was commended for their generosity, as they alone raised over $400 by agreeing to bring in money instead of giving gifts to each other. Even the building served a charitable purpose this holiday season, as it was used for a charity concert.
The administrator's reports provided more encouraging news. Tutoring programs are on track and receiving positive feedback in the two elementary schools. At the secondary level the student of the month program has been revamped to provide for a greater representation of the student body. Within the realm of food services, the district was again awarded a grant for Lathrop Street under a fresh fruit and vegetable program.
It is not only the education of area students which was considered at the meeting, but that of area adults as well. A proposal for an adult education program was pitched, a program which could be used to serve the elderly, people wanting technical skills, parents, etc. An already established program in New Jersey has demonstrated that the act of parents learning can spill over to benefit their children. One board member proposed that perhaps the program could even be used to educate adults in the PSSA and tutoring skills, to better equip them to assist their children academically. Presenters stated that thus far community response to the idea has been positive and enthusiastic. The program is still in the planning stage, but the district has offered its building for use towards this end as needed.
In 1983, the Iron Curtain was still standing, global warming hardly a blip on the horizon, and Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. None of the current students at Mountain View were even born, and some of the teachers were in their childhoods. In 1983, James Zick, current School Board president, started his first term. Since that time he has served continuously for twenty-four years. At the January 8 meeting, he was honored for his long and dedicated service to the school district. Fred Betterbusch, school board member in the Dallastown area, and first vice-president of Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA), presented Mr. Zick the Distinguished Service Award from the PSBA with a plaque commemorating the twenty-four years Mr. Zick has worked on the Mountain View School Board. Mr. Betterbusch spoke briefly, stating that the school board he is on also has a member of long standing, and that both school boards are well served by having persons of such experience and dedication.
Ms. Margaret Foster, Elementary School Principal, spoke briefly on the sign for which the PTO is raising funds. The sign will be in front of the elementary school, and will be similar in appearance to the sign by the senior high school. Ms. Foster asked for the Board's suggestions, and stated that the sign as planned right now will be covered to protect against weather, lit to be seen at night, and secured to prevent vandalism and unauthorized usage. She anticipates construction to start this summer.
Ms. Foster and Ms. Eliza Vagni, Acting High School Principal, both voiced support of the strict attendance policy the Board has instituted. Student attendance has been good, and Ms. Foster said that part of the reason is that a flu mitigation policy and precautions have been started. Information has been sent to parents, and the administration follows these same precautions.
Changes in the 2007 – 2008 curriculum for both the Junior and Senior High School grades were the focus of Ms. Vagni's presentation. She stated by changing one course from Family and Consumer Sciences, and putting it in the Health curriculum, many more options for both students and teachers will be available, adding flexibility to student requirements, and teachers' schedules.
Other major features include advanced placement courses that students will be able to take at various local colleges, and which will be paid for by the school district. Dr. Andrew Chichura, Acting Superintendent, has been working on establishing such a program. Latin will be offered again, with the anticipation that requests for the language will grow in the coming years.
The crowded hallway of parents and students before the Mountain View School Board meeting resulted in a crowded boardroom. Approximately 40 to 50 people waited patiently for the School Board to complete its business. Most were there in support of Corey Gesford, a teacher, and at least one petition in support of Mr. Gesford had circulated before the start of the meeting. At the second Hearing of Visitors, where the public has an opportunity to speak, Mr. Zick and the School Board listened to questions by the audience as to the situation with Mr. Gesford. Mr. Zick stated that he and the other School Board members were not allowed to discuss the matter in any manner as it was a legal issue. Some audience members wanted general questions answered on the situation, but Mr. Zick politely repeated that he and the Board members could not discuss any aspect of the case. He said he understood the frustration the public felt, but the Board could not clarify nor expand on anything related to the matter. Many were not satisfied that the Board could not explain what was going on. Most in attendance left after hearing Mr. Zick's remarks. The Board went into executive session soon afterwards to discuss a personnel matter.
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