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Issue Home February 14, 2007 Site Home

Forest City Has Sewer Problems
Progress, Personnel In Montrose
Toxic Mold

Courthouse Report

Forest City Has Sewer Problems

For years most residents of Forest City suspected that a number of homes and businesses in the borough were discharging raw sewage into storm drains, rather than sewer lines that empty into a treatment plant off Route 247 in Clinton Township.

A lawsuit brought against the borough by Scott Linde has confirmed the suspicion and a federal judge has ordered the borough to take corrective action. Subsequent dye tests of a number of homes in the borough also have shown that raw sewage is going into storm drains.

“We are under the gun to fix this problem,” said Paul Smith, borough solicitor. Homeowners where the problems exist will be responsible for correcting things, but Smith emphasized that the borough did not set out to intentionally hurt anyone.

“It’s a problem that probably has been going on since the 1800’s,” Smith said, “but now we have been ordered by federal regulations to do something about it.” He said enforcement of the federal court order will be ongoing and will be strictly enforced.

Borough employees and a representative from the borough’s engineering firm will be conducting dye tests in borough homes. Smith also appealed to any borough residents who might know of an existing problem to please contact the borough at 785-3326.

In another housing matter, the borough’s new landlord ordinance appears to be accepted by apartment owners. Mayor Nick Cost said 75 landlords have registered with the new law. He further stated that 16 inspections of multi-family units completed to date were in compliance with the new law.

However there were some sections of the law questioned by a borough resident at last week’s council meeting.

Of concern is a provision in the ordinance that provides for eviction of any tenants who cause three disruptive conduct incidents in a 12-month period. One borough resident, Christine Boyd, intimated it would be difficult to enforce because it could be one spouse initiating the problem one time and the other spouse the next time. She also said it might be a victim of violence calling the authorities.

“The ordinance mirrors every similar ordinance in the area,” said Smith, “but I will discuss it with the police and give a report at the next meeting.”

Mayor Cost said landlords were supposed to have registered by February 1. He said letters will be sent to those who have not registered and if the letters are ignored, legal action could follow.

The annual fire department report shows 155 calls answered in 2006. Eighty-six alarms were answered in Forest City. Other responses included: Browndale, 19; Fell Township, 18; Vandling, 12; Clifford Township, 12; Greenfield Township, 4; and, Pleasant Mount, 4.

Police responded to 304 calls in January and eight assists to other departments. The officers made 13 arrests and issued four warnings to motorists.

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Progress, Personnel In Montrose
By Melinda Darrow

The February 5 Montrose Borough meeting was filled with issues of progress and personnel. The Renter's Ordinance finally found tentative resolution, the Youth Curfew Ordinance was revived, and one borough member, two hitherto probationary police officers, a member of the planning commission, and a new zoning officer found a warm welcome.

Of the four applicants for the council seat vacated last month, Alice Walsh was selected as the best fit. The council officially welcomed her at Monday's meeting, and expressed their pleasure at having her as part of the team. The seat comes with a lot to learn, but everyone expressed a cheerful willingness to assist in this endeavor.

In regards to this appointment, the council acknowledged a mistake it made in ignorance. They had received notification from a taxpayer that their means of filling the vacancy violated the Sunshine Law. At the continuation of last month's meeting in which the appointment was made, the council went into executive session in order to consider the four candidates. It is appropriate to go into executive session when dealing with personnel issues, but not when appointing a member to a governing body. The violation, it was stated Monday, was not purposeful – they had simply not realized the error. The council apologized, and will know better in the future.

Personnel and committee appointments were made in other areas as well. Motivated in part by the lack of a Zoning Officer when he needed one, Frank Spickerman accepted the position himself. His responsibilities will be different from those of the last person to hold the job – code enforcement is now handled by COG. The position was set at 10 hours per week, flexible to Mr. Spickerman's schedule. This arrangement was set for six months, after which it will be evaluated. In addition to this, Sean Granahan was appointed to the Planning Commission. At the end of the meeting two part-time police members were also taken off of probation. They will receive a fifty-cent wage increase and be reimbursed for their uniforms.

Annette Rogers, the Borough secretary, proposed that she had found a possible solution to the difficulties involved in solidifying the Renter's Ordinance. This ordinance has been under consideration for months, as its purpose was debated and difficulties discussed. Annette reported having contacted three of the most prominent landlords in the area and told them that the Borough was working on an ordinance which would cost them time and money. She asked if they would be willing to turn over a list of their renters within the borough every month voluntarily, and they had begun to do so. As this appears to be working, it was decided to continue it on a trial basis and do away with the ordinance entirely. The secretary will continue to look up landlords within the borough and contact them. If they are willing to voluntarily turn over occupancy lists once a month than there may be no need for the ordinance, as its main purpose was to provide knowledge of who was living in the borough at any given time.

The Curfew Ordinance was once again revamped, and presented at the meeting. Taken out was the idea of placing the youth in a holding facility, as there is no local holding facility available. The youth would be taken to a parent, guardian, or caregiver if one was available, or another recourse pursued if none was. The borough solicitor will review the new proposed ordinance and bring it back for further discussion next month.

Signs were once again a topic of discussion. A complaint had been lodged that a car parked on the corner of Cliff Street, leading onto Cedar Street, makes it very difficult for a bus to turn at this location. A “No Parking” sign will be erected there for a 90 day probationary period. A request had also been made that a “No Loitering” sign be removed from its location in front of two local stores, as it may discourage shoppers. This request led to a discussion of the meaning of the word “loiter.” Loitering can be defined as standing around without a purpose. Shopping is not loitering, and people could shop freely without fearing they were violating a rule. It was decided that in light of prior vandalism at that location, and the fact that the loitering prohibition extends all across the borough, the sign will remain.

Another serious complaint had nothing to do with signs. It was reported that the Montrose Fitness Gym has been dumping its pool water and filter water into the parking lot used by residents of an apartment at 9 Mill Street. These residents, who described themselves as all older or elderly, were subsequently having to deal with mud and ice (depending on the season), as well as the presence of polluted water and a strong chlorine smell. They wrote a letter to the Borough, claiming that they had unsuccessfully asked the Gym repeatedly to find another means of disposal, and asking the Borough to intervene. DEP was contacted, and upon investigation told the Gym that this practice had to cease. The residents were told of this development, and instructed to contact the Borough should it occur again.

The matter of the money given in lieu of taxes on what is now the Community Foundation building, discussed at a previous meeting, appears to have also found resolution. There had been some controversy over where exactly it was to be used. The council reported having received this money in a check, earmarked for “beautification and improvement of the Borough.” Some ideas were already mentioned regarding how best it could be used for this purpose.

Dealing more with the preventive side of action, Council members and/or borough employees will be attending three upcoming meetings dealing with EMA and flood plains. It was stated that perhaps little more than 1/100th of the Borough is in the flood plain. There are no developments in the flood plain.

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Toxic Mold
By Virginia Hauser

If your water heater is a great distance from your bedroom, you may get impatient or annoyed waiting for hot water to arrive. But imagine how long you would have to wait in a large hotel, hospital, or apartment building where the water heater is many floors away if those buildings used the same kind of system used in a home.

In a typical, single pipe residential system, you have to wait because the water cools down. To avoid the delay, in large homes and in larger buildings, they have a two-pipe system for the hot water. In this system, the hot water is pumped continually, circulating the hot water through a long “loop” of piping that runs throughout the building.

Each fixture is attached to the “loop.” As soon as you open the hot water faucet, water from the loop exits the spout. This two-pipe system solves one problem, but may create another.

The bacteria, called Legionella,  that caused Legionnaires’ Disease grows best in constantly warm water, optimally about 105 degrees F. In residential hot water pipes, the temperature fluctuates from hot to room temperature with usage, but in large buildings, with the two-pipe system, the temperature in the pipes remains relatively constant, allowing Legionella to proliferate in the biofilms that adhere to interior surfaces of pipes and fixtures.

People with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to all diseases, and some people may have contracted Legionnaires’ Disease while showering when they were guests in a hotel, or a patient in a hospital. Owners of these buildings should periodically have their hot water tested for Legionella.

I recently read a mystery wherein one sentence caught my eye, although I have forgotten the author.

“Even proof will convince only those who wish to be convinced. It will follow a long path before it reaches the ears of the common man.”

Think about it.

Dr. Bowan, the allergist who treated me, said basically the same thing when he examined me and found I was infected with one of the most dangerous toxic molds (Aspergillus fumigatus). “This office could be filled wall-to-wall and top to bottom and there will be those who will disbelieve the truth. Only when the skeptics themselves become ill, will they become believers,” he said.

And I added, “And then, hopefully, they will become advocates.”

Although I haven’t heard them say it, I’m sure that Melinda Ballard and Erin Brockovich didn’t dream that the main purpose in their lives is to be advocates to protect the health, home and the future of people like them who wanted to live a normal, healthy life.

The word is out – however, not enough of the news media are investigating the hazards of toxic mold. Most states already have toxic mold taskforces. The real estate and insurance companies are awake; builders and homeowners, as well as attorneys, and all are now dealing with mold claims.

As I said before, I thank God for all of those people who have been advocates and are not afraid to speak out – to be called names and disbelieved – and those who helped me. Dorothy McPherson is an angel, the nurses at Barnes-Kasson Hospital and Hospice who took care of both Harry and me, my family and friends who called and visited and of course, my doctor, Dr. Dana and the other doctors he sent me to.

The files we sent out several years ago have not been updated, however, I do have information at my home and as much information as you could possibly need is available at the Montrose Library.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By P. Jay Amadio


Paul J. Himka, Marie Himka (aka) Marie L. Himka to Stephen M. Himka, Factoryville, Lisa E. Himka, in Lathrop Township for one dollar. David A. Bock to David A. Bock, Elizabeth A. Bock, Hop Bottom, in Lathrop Township for zero dollars.

Stephen Kaminsky, Stanley Kaminsky to William T. Hugelmeyer, RR1, Susquehanna, Christine McLaurin, William C. Hugelmeyer, Richard G. Hugelmeyer, in Jackson Township for $50,000.

Stephen Kaminsky, Stanley Kaminsky to Stephen Kaminsky, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.

Fowler Oil Co. Inc. to Mario Capitummino, RR2, New Milford, in Thompson Township for $60,000.

Peter A. Brozonis to James W. Donahue, RR2, Susquehanna, Jonathan Gary Weaver, in Rush Township for $117,000.

Margaret Z. Silver to Carl Silver, RR1, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Leon O. Lane, Mildred G. Lane to Eileen E. Folk, Hallstead, Gary L. Folk Sr., in Great Bend Borough for $59,999.

John McGavin, Reia M. McGavin to George David, Meshoppen, Sharon Davis, in Auburn Township for $15,330.

Agnes M. Kriskowski (by poa) to Anthony Bisogno, Monroe Township, NJ, in Jackson Township for $95,000.

B. Dale Kelly to James E. Shultz, RR1, Brackney, Eleanor C. Shultz, in Silver Lake Township for $150,000.

Wade Kelley to Susan E. Kelley, RR4, Montrose, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Daniel W. Seamans to Kevin Nagle (estate), Jackson, in Jackson Township for one dollar.

Melvin G. Hart, Elizabeth A. Hart to Thomas F. Brewer, RR2, Hallstead, Clare S. Brewer, in Franklin Township for $25,000.

Sophie Malishewsky to JT Spano LLC, Hillsborough, N. J. in Forest City for $91,000.

Robert D. Pierce Jr. to Noelle F. Glenn, RR2, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $71,000.

Keneth E. Smith, Linda Smith to Marcella Ransom, RR1, Hop Bottom, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Daniel Vinsko Jr. to Daniel Vinsko Jr., Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.

Dane Howell, Tammie Howell to Mark J. Murphy, Brackney in Silver Lake Township for $100,000.

Ernest R. Gerfin to Dale M. Gerfin, RR1, Kingsley, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Carol A. Nickles, Gary Thomas Nickles, Brian Nickles, Lori Nickles, Kristy Campbell, James Campbell, Corey Nickles, Brooke Nickles to James Buongiorne, Green Cove Springs, FL, in Harford Township for $155,000.

George E. Mowry, Patricia M. Mowry to Lenny G. Traver, RR2, Meshoppen, Alicia Traver, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

William Matichak Sr. to Joy Matichak Bognatz, Clifford, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Warren D. Long to Kenneth A. Tingley, Hallstead, Sandra J. Tingley, in Great Bend Township for $90,000.

Shirley A. Osborne (nbm) Shirley A. Smith, William E. J. Smith to Shirley A. Smith, William E. J. Smith, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

William L. Ditmar to Thomas J. Shields, RD1, Hallstead, Jennie P. Shields, James E. Shields, Pamela G. Shields, in Liberty Township for $25,000.

Robert J. Walker, Ann Marie Walker to Gregory David, Brewster, NY, in Susquehanna for $39,000.

Ronald A. Sondesky, Betty J. Sondesky to Ronald A. Sondesky, Betty J. Sondesky, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Corrine Igoe to Timothy J. Hadlick, Susquehanna, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.

John B. Gauger (by sheriff) to Wells Fargo Bank, Fort Mill, SC, Wells Fargo Minnesota, in Bridgewater Township for $1,285.

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