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In what could be construed an upset, incumbent Republican County Commissioner Jeff Loomis captured one of two GOP nominations for county commissioner in last week’s Primary Election.
Loomis finished second in a field of six to edge another Republican incumbent, Roberta Kelly, by 28 votes. The results are unofficial pending certification by the Board of Elections. Loomis picked up 1,816 votes compared with 1,788 for Kelly.
Candidates for row offices in the county were unopposed. The list includes Mary Evans, register and recorder who was the top vote getter in the county with 5,130 votes, followed by District Attorney Jason Legg, 5,065, Treasurer Cathy Benedict, 5,055, and Coroner Tony Conarton, 4,893.
In his first attempt to join the Board of Commissioners, Attorney Mike Giangrieco lead the list of GOP candidates with a total of 2,360 votes. Also rans included Raymond Telnock, who made a good showing in his initial try for a county office with 1,647 votes; Fred Baker, 1,368; and, David Darrow, 772.
On the Democrat side of the ballot, incumbent Commissioner Mary Ann Warren and Leon Allen were unopposed and will square off against Giangrieco and Loomis in the Fall. Political insiders say candidates on both sides of the political fence will run independently of each other. The other Democrat on the ballot, Susan Jennings of Brooklyn Township, was unopposed in her bid to replace retiring Clara Jane Brown as minority auditor. Jennings lead all Democrat candidates with 2,022 votes. Incumbent Republican auditors. George P. Starzec and Holly H. Bialy ran unopposed.
Despite having six Republican candidates vying for two party nominations, the election failed to generate any excitement. Most of the candidates offered the usual political rhetoric that has become a hallmark in Susquehanna County politics. The lackluster campaign may have contributed to the dismal turnout. A shade over 31 percent of the county’s 25,552 voters went to the polls.
In a four-way race for Magisterial District Justice, Southern District, Suzanne Brainard coasted to a Republican win over Attorney Jim Sposito of Clifford Township, Lori Eshelman and James R. Lynch. Brainard, who is tax collector in Lenox Township, ran away with the Republican nomination, getting 823 votes compared with 403 for her nearest competitor. Sposito gained the dubious distinction of finishing last, with 188 votes compared with 187 for Lynch.
On the Democrat side, Brainard appears to have won the nomination by a scant 14 voters of Eshleman, 357-343. Sposito again brought up the rear with 126 votes. Lynch did not cross file.
The district takes in the townships of Brooklyn, Clifford, Gibson, Harford, Herrick, Lathrop and Lenox, and the boroughs of Forest City and Hop Bottom.
Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act (Act 1) failed to pass in the county’s six school districts. The question on the primary ballot asked voters whether the earned income tax or personal income tax should be increased for the purpose of reducing real estate taxes on qualified residential properties. The unofficial count shows 683 against and 205 for the tax reform measure.
Police On Duty At FCR
A police officer will be on duty during hours when classes are in session for the remainder of the 2006-07 school year in Forest City Regional’s sprawling K-12 educational complex.
School Superintendent Robert J. Vadella said the move was made after some walls in lavatories were damaged by offensive writings. He also some nasty things were written on papers left in conspicuous places.
“We would like to find out who is responsible for these incidents of vandalism,” Dr. Vadella said. “A police officer can help us with the investigation.”
The Forest City Police Department is providing the school district with a police officer from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and the borough set the cost at $35 an hour.
In another matter involving students, a school bus driver told the Board of Education last week that controlling unruly students on the bus is not her job.
“I get paid,” said Barbara Kreutz of Pleasant Mount said, “to transport the students safely to and from school. It is not my job to discipline the students on the bus.”
Mrs. Kreutz described an incident where a female student riding her bus uttered extremely foul language at her.
“I don’t think any board member would appreciate that,” she said.
“We will take action on that one,” Board President Al Dyno said.
Among the many motions approved by the board, one of the more noticeable ones denied a grievance filed by the Forest City Regional Education Association. The association, which is the teachers’ union, has the option of appealing the board’s decision.
At the core of the grievance is a belief by the association that teachers who are absent on school days that have an early dismissal for one reason or another, should not be docked a full day’s pay for being absent.
The board adopted and agreed to advertise a 2007-08 school year budget in the amount of $10,964,165. President Al Dyno said final action on the budget will take place next month and the board does have the right to make changes between now and the final adoption date.
If the budget is approved as presented, the real estate taxes would be as follows: Forest City, Union Dale and Herrick Township (Susquehanna County municipalities), 34.58 mills; Pleasant Mount and Clinton Township II (Wayne County), 12.58 mills; and, Vandling Borough (Lackawanna County), 84.6 mills.
Additional local income to support the budget would come from per capita tax (Section 679, School Code), five dollars; per capita tax (Act 511), five dollars; wage tax. 1/2 of 1 percent; and, real estate transfer tax, 1/2 of 1 percent;
Some of the motions approved by the board completed the following business:
-To accept proposals for a school solicitor for the 20070-08 school year.
-To solicit bids for a driver’s education car for the 2007-08 school year.
-To approve Community Bank and Trust as the bank depository for the 2007-08 school year. A separate motion approved the Honesdale National Bank as the alternate depository.
-To make Pre-K a full-day program beginning with the 2007-08 school year.
- Accepting the resignation of Methanee Magai-Rosario as a support staff person in the cafeteria.
-To approve, with regret and congratulations for a job well done, the retirement of Catherine R. Walker as a longtime teacher at Forest City.
- To reimburse Patmar Realty Inc., a total of $9,025 in real estate paid on its property at 518 Main Street, Forest City. The taxes for 2004 and 2006 are being refunded because the building was approved as a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone.
- To increase the compensation for real estate tax collectors from three dollars to four dollars for each bill on the duplicate.
- Appointed G. H. Harris Agency as the earned income tax collector for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
The board honored Dominick Sparks for being selected as student of the month for March; and, Kate Eschler, student of the month for April
Following are the (unofficial) results of the May 15 primary election, with total votes for county offices and percentages captured.
Registered voters - Total 27,552
Ballots cast - Total 8,853
Ballots cast - Democratic 2,762 31.20
Ballots cast - Republican 5,843 66.00
Ballots cast - Nonpartisan 248 2.80
Voter Turnout - Total 32.13
Write-in 202 100.00
MaryAnn Warren 1,812 48.97
Leon Allen 1,533 41.43
Write-in 355 9.59
Write-in 112 100.00
Register & Recorder
Write-in 192 100.00
Susan M. Jennings 2,022 97.35
Write-in 55 2.65
Write-in 120 100.00
Magisterial District Judge 34-3-03
Suzanne Brainard 357 41.75
James A. Sposito 126 14.74
Lori S. Eshelman 343 40.12
Write-in 29 3.39
Jason J. Legg 5,065 99.00
Write-in 51 1.00
Jeffrey Irving Loomis 1,816 18.28
Raymond Telnock 1,647 16.58
Roberta Kelly 1,788 18.00
Fred Baker 1,368 13.77
David Darrow 772 7.77
Michael J. (Mike) Giangrieco 2,360 23.76
Write-in 183 1.84
Catherine (Cathy) R. Benedict 5,055 99.37
Write-in 32 .63
Register & Recorder
Mary F. Evans 5,130 99.84
Write-in 8 .16
George P. Starzec 4,103 54.25
Holly H. Bialy 3,422 45.25
Write-in 38 .50
Anthony J. Conarton 4,893 99.63
Write-in 18 .37
Magisterial District Judge 34-3-03
James R. "Jay" Lynch 188 11.72
Suzanne Brainard 823 51.31
James A. Sposito 187 11.66
Lori S. Eshelman 403 25.12
Write-in 3 .19
John J. Nagy, John Nagy, Lois Nagy to John Nagy, RR1, Brackney, Lois Nagy, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Anthony Conigliaro, Deborah Conigliaro, Peter Conigliaro, Carol Conigliaro, Joseph G. Conigliaro, Diane Conigliaro to Joseph E. Stanton, RR2, New Milford, Karen L. Stanton, in New Milford Township for $80,000.
John P. Biondo, Alyssa A. Biondo to John P. Biondo, South Gibson, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Mary L. Knapp to Eugene C. Scott, RR3, Montrose, Sandra L. Muskavitch, in Silver Lake Township for $45,000.
Nationstar Mortgage LLC (fka) Centex Home Equity Company LLC to Stephanie Tiongco, RR3, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $58,900.
George Meyers, Jean Meyers to Bryan C. Witbeck, Great Bend, Jennifer Witbeck, in Great Bend Township for $89,900.
Francis P. Boyle, Sheryl L. Boyle to Christian Capotosto, RR1, Brackney, Valerie Capotosto, in Silver Lake Township for $160,000.
Margaret Staskiel to William L. Hall, RR2, Meshoppen, Elizabeth Ann Hall, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
David J. Pitti, Joseph Alongis to Mark Quattrone, Marlton, NJ, Cathy Quattrone, in Susquehanna for $1,000.
Juanita Simcox (aka) Juanita Walker to Sharon L. Glath, Sarver, PA, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Juanita Simcox (aka) Juanita Walker to Sharen L. Glath, RR1, Susquehanna, Juanita Walker (aka) Juanita Simcox, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Robert Coe to Henry Tanner, Susquehanna, in New Milford Township for $5,000.
Nancy Provinzono to David Wells, Lenoxville, PA, Ami E. Wells, in Lenox Township for $180,000.
Mary Beth Freitag to John Freitag, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Mary E. Freitag to John E. Freitag, Susquehanna, PA, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Ada L. Kramer to Joyce M. Carroll (aka) Joyce Marie Carroll (by sheriff), Joyce Marie Neer (aka) Dewey F. Carroll (aka) Dewey Floyd Carroll (by sheriff) to Federal Home Mortgage Corporation, Vienna, VA, in New Milford Borough for $3,055.
William J. Simons (by sheriff) to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Vienna, VA, in Forest City for $1,995.
Curtis L. Rudock and Joann Parkinson, both of RR3, Hallstead.
Donald James Mayo, Jr. and Betty J. Rick, both of RR2, Montrose.
Raymond Arthur Coolbaugh and Amy Lynn Engelman, both of RR1, Springville.
Amy Barton, Great Bend vs. Lucas Wayne Barton, Johnson City, NY. Wed in 2004.
Randy J. Fekette, RR2, New Milford vs. Rebecca J. Fekette, New Milford. Wed in 1991.
Russell F. May, RR2, Thompson vs. Gwendolyn M. May, Spring Hill, FL. Wed in 1999.
Janice A. Hall, RR2, Hallstead vs. Ronald A. Hall, RR2, Hallstead. Wed in 2001.
Susan E. Edwards, RR1, Kingsley vs. Philip T. Edwards, RR1, Kingsley. Wed in 1985.
Tracey A. Coleman, RR2, Thompson vs. Orville D. Coleman, Carbondale. Wed in 1991.
Kimberly F. Lafferty, Union Dale vs. Ryan G. Lafferty, Union Dale. Wed in 2005
Contractor Gets Jail Time
A Susquehanna County contractor will serve nine months to 23 1/2 months in the Susquehanna County Jail, followed by five years’ probation for two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.
President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined 58-year-old Robert Scepaniak of Susquehanna Depot a total of $2,000 and ordered him to make restitution to his victims. In addition, Scepaniak must do a total of 200 hours of community service.
Affidavits of Probable Cause (APC) filed by Susquehanna County Chief Detective Deborah Strong reveal that on two separate occasions, Scepaniak accepted deposits on modular homes and failed to deliver and erect them.
In an APC, Strong said the first incident occurred on September 3, 2004 when Scepaniak received a deposit of $25,000 from a Thompson couple for a down payment on a modular home. On October, 2004, the couple gave Scepaniak an additional $9,000 to construct the foundation for the modular home. In a second APC, Strong said that on September 23, 2004, a Herrick Township couple gave Scepaniak a check for $27,225, representing a deposit on a modular home and on October 15, 2004, they gave him another check for $7,000 for delivery of driveway and foundation stone.
In criminal complaints signed by Strong, she alleged that Scepaniak failed to produce any records of accountings showing the disposition of the funds he received from both couples. The APC in both incidents further note that Scepaniak failed to return any money to them.
Other sentences meted out by Judge Seamans included:
Jamie Fredette, 31, of South Montrose, six months to 23 1/2 months in the Susquehanna County Jail with credit for time served for aggravated harassment by prisoner, in Montrose on November 17, 2006. Fredette was also fined $500 and must do 25 hours of community service. He was also fined $250 and court cost for harassment in Montrose, also on November 17, 2006.
Darin Franklin Sink, 25, of Montrose, nine months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail, $750 fine, two years probation and 50 hours of community service for criminal trespass in Rush Township on November 28, 2006.
Adam J. Manning, 33, of Binghamton, NY, one and one-half years to ten years to run concurrently with a New York sentence, $1,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service for criminal attempt/robbery in Great Bend Township on April 19, 2006. He also received five years to ten years to run concurrent with the New York sentence, plus $1,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service for robbery in Great Bend Township on March 24, 2006.
Austin Stephenson, 26, of Moosic, four months to 12 months home confinement, 100 hours of community service, $750 fine for unlawful contact with a minor in Forest City on November 16, 2005.
Jerry Massey, 33, of Syracuse, NY, 54 days to one year in the county jail, $500 fine, restitution and court costs for theft by unlawful taking in Harford on October 15, 2000.
Michael Mancuso, 27, of Carbondale, 15 days to 30 days in the county jail with credit for time served, $200 fine and cost of prosecution for possession of a small amount of a controlled substance in Forest City on May 14, 2006. He also received nine months to 23 1/2 months in jail to run concurrent with the above sentence, $750 fine and 50 hours of community service for simple assault in Forest City on May 21, 2006 and an additional concurrent jail term plus a $500 fine for possession of an instrument of crime in Forest City on May 21, 2006.
Christopher George Mirra, 31, of New Milford, 90 days probation, consecutive to any current supervision, and $300 fine for harassment in Montrose on November 17, 2006.
Following is the April, 2007 Susquehanna Borough Police Report, as submitted by Sgt. Laura Watson.
On April 2, someone kicked in the front door at 510 E. Church St. No one was home at the time of the incident.
On April 7, someone smashed windows out at the Corner Shop Store, 105 Erie Ave. Investigation is ongoing at this time.
On April 21, Albert Bishop of Susquehanna Boro became disruptive and verbally violent at Bill’s Hilltop Bar. Charges were filed for violations of PACC.
On April 22, someone slashed tires on Erie Ave., in the parking lot next to the Corner Shop Store. This incident is under investigation.
Sgt. Laura Watson states there will be no warnings given to those who continue to race their four-wheelers on borough and state roads. ATVs will be impounded and citations will be issued. On April 28, Sgt. Watson filed 20 citations on ATV riders and states this is just the beginning.
Policy And Practice At MASD
At the May 14 Montrose School Board meeting, one middle school girl became a McDonald's stock holder. Shortly after the opening exercises, eighth-grader Erin Fahy was presented with the Ray Kroc Achievement Award. This award is given by McDonald's to a student who is persistent, honest, self-motivated, and has made real contributions to the school and community. Ms. Fahy received a silver medallion, a certificate, one share of stock, and a handshake from the assembled board members and administration. A plaque will also be hung at the school with her name on it.
Aside from this honor, the meeting was fraught with talk of policy, policy changes, and policy clarifications. These discussions ran from tax matters and athletic decorum, to health curriculum and bus contracting. Proposed policy changes (first readings, etc.) should be on the website. The meeting, much shorter than some of its recent predecessors, was still quite comprehensive.
When a resolution was passed to authorize the collection of installment payments on school property taxes, qualifications regarding this matter were provided. The due dates under the installment plan, which is offered as part of Act 1, are August 10, September 20, and October 31. Only those who have a homestead exclusion are eligible for this plan. If they choose to pursue it, however, they are not eligible to receive discounts. Those eligible will, when they receive their bill for the taxes, also receive three coupons. They may signal intention to accept the payment plan simply by submitting the first coupon for the first due date.
First readings of two alterations to the district's athletic manual were mentioned. As first readings, no changes were actually made. They are made available for public reading and discussion. One change involves sportsmanlike behavior. In the current manual the fundamentals of sportsmanship and appropriate behavior are addressed for students, coaches, cheerleaders, board members, etc. Parental behavior, however, is not mentioned, and this is something which some feel needs to be included. The second proposed change applies specifically to coaches. As it stands it is recommended that no person fill more than one head coach position, or more than two assistant coach positions, within a year. As times have changed, however, and there are more people eager to coach, it has been recommended that this language be strengthened. It would then be a mandate that a person could only coach a maximum of two seasons per year, unless the district was in a pinch, at which time the regulation could be broken only with board approval. It was also proposed, though this is not one of the official changes being considered at this time, that it might be a good idea to reopen varsity coaching positions to applicants every two years. It was felt that this might alleviate problems with the varsity coaches having power over assistant coaches.
Other first readings involved policies intended to further safeguard children. Policy No. 806 increases repercussions should an employee not report suspected child abuse. Various other policies deal with increased employment requirements brought about by Act 1. Anyone applying for work in the district will have to have a federal fingerprint check, in addition to the current mandated clearances. This check must be recorded in a staff member's personnel file. The intermediate unit in Peckville is the only location within an hour's distance or so which provides these checks. Additionally, bus contractors will have to turn in an affidavit yearly which states that none of their drivers have committed known crimes. Policy No. 805 more directly links the district with the Emergency Management Agency, a move made due to the pandemic policies. When a situation arises, the district consults the agency for information and recommendations. For instance, during the recent severe weather watch, the district was advised by county emergency preparedness to place the children on the bus; the storm would not excessively endanger them.
One mother at the meeting expressed her displeasure with this decision. Other schools delayed putting their children on the bus; Montrose boarded buses at the normal time. She said that some children hadn't been told they were under a warning until the bus had to pull over for hail. Mr. Ognosky reiterated that the Emergency Management Agency had advised him to proceed as he did, and stated that Elk Lake held back their dismissal due to information more pertinent to that area. He felt that with the information he had, he had made the best decision.
Changes to the Student/Parent Handbooks were approved regarding corporal punishment. Hitherto it has been an option, though one not used in the last four or five years, for parents to request that their child be paddled in lieu of a detention. This is now not allowed in Pennsylvania public schools.
The controversial eighth grade AIDS curriculum, as well as the high school health curriculum, is also being reworked. A letter will now be sent home to the parents, informing them about the impending subject matter instruction and alerting them that their child may opt out for reasons of personal or familial religion or morals. Parents are expected to sign this paper, affirming that they have read it, and to check a box if they wish their child to be excluded. These two things, the signature and the checked box, must be present in order for a child to be excused from the instruction. The child will then be provided with an alternate means of education; the information must be presented.
Finally, the replacement of bus contractors might become more complicated. In the past, contractors were able to find their own replacement and present him or her to the board. The PSBA, as well as legal counsel, have expressed the opinion that this is a conflict of interest, however. It is felt that contractor positions should be hired in the same manner that other positions are filled or other contracts granted. Bids might opened and accepted, based not only on cost but on qualification. Prior experience would be taken into consideration. This policy has not entirely met with the approval of the contractors themselves. Despite this discussion, the contractors were commended at the meeting for the quality service they provide.
COG Shops For New Home
COG’s building committee has been actively scouting a new location for COG’s offices. They reported at the May 15 meeting that they had heard about a parcel in Bridgewater Township and met with the owner to discuss particulars. They also met with one appraiser and were attempting to meet with a second, for a second appraisal if time allows. After discussion, the committee was authorized to make a verbal offer on the property, which was said to have a good, central location. The committee is also looking at a second property; more would be known about this one by the end of the week.
Correspondence included information on the annual COG association meeting August 24-26 in the Poconos, which office manager Karen Trynoski may attend, and an invitation to the League of Cities and Municipalities annual convention in Scranton, June 20-22.
Elliot Ross updated members on sign orders, those that are pending and those that COG is not equipped to make; he is getting price quotes on those so that members can get the best deal.
COG’s employee health insurance policy requires that 75% of staff members be enrolled. As COG does not meet that requirement, it may be necessary to look at an alternate plan. COG’s liability insurance policy will be expiring soon. It was agreed to stay with DGK unless there are drastic increases in coverage.
It was announced that Randy Decker will be retiring from PennDOT as of June 29. There was no word on who his replacement would be.
The newly implemented employee policies and procedures do contain a provision for a drug and alcohol policy, but there were no specifics. After discussion, it was agreed to accept a sample policy provided by Chris Reynolds, who would provide pre-employment testing and training for supervisors on how to determine if there is a suspicion of drug use. It was felt that random drug testing would not be needed. Mr. Reynolds will come to the office to conduct tests, where in the past employees had been sent to Susquehanna to obtain them.
Friendsville Boro’s membership in COG has still not been established. There are apparently some communication problems, and Friendsville’s intentions are not clear. COG did receive a copy of proof that an advertisement had been placed, giving notice that the boro would be enacting an ordinance establishing membership in COG. But, the advertised notice included Mrs. Trynoski’s name, rather than the boro secretary’s; one member questioned whether this would make the notice legal. COG did send a letter with an explanation of the procedure that must be followed to join COG, which included details on the requirements for advertising and enacting the necessary ordinance, and explaining that a separate ordinance would be needed if the boro also wished to join the COG Sewage or Codes committees. Friendsville’s secretary was invited to attend a COG meeting, so that any of the boro’s questions could be answered. And, until the necessary ordinances are enacted in a proper manner, the boro cannot be considered a member of COG, and COG cannot handle any codes or sewage permits/activities for the boro.
Five applications were received for the open sewage enforcement officer position. Of those, three applicants were asked to interview, after which Tom Milewski was hired. He will begin May 29.
Codes chair Ted Plevinsky was asked about the status of one of the building inspectors used by COG; there were rumors that he had quit. He said that one did quit, but there are still two more that serve the area.
Mr. Plevinsky had been made aware that there was some concern that one of the inspectors was not responding to calls in a timely manner. He spoke with him and the situation was taken care of. Mr. Plevinsky asked that if any members have a problem regarding the inspectors, they contact him. The inspectors are contracted to COG, and COG does have some recourse if there are problems.
Continuing a discussion from last month’s meeting, the group debated whether or not permit fees should be doubled if someone intentionally starts erecting a building without first obtaining the proper permits. There is no penalty imposed at this time, but it does seem appropriate to address the situation this way, rather than imposing a surcharge or penalty. A resolution will be drafted for members to review at the next meeting, and once it is adopted a notice will be advertised for general information purposes, to make people aware that there will be some consequence to building without first securing the proper permits. The information will also be included in the information packets that COG sends out when an inquiry is made about obtaining permits. The landowner is responsible for obtaining the permit(s); contractors can obtain them if they have an agreement with the property owner to do so, that is okay, but it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure one is obtained.
There was some difference of opinion as to whether the fines should be for the cost of the initial permit, or if it should include the fees for other inspections (electrical, plumbing, etc.) if work has progressed to that stage. After discussion, it was agreed that the fine should be a doubling of any permit that had not been obtained when necessary, adding the fee for electrical and plumbing permits as well as building permits where applicable.
And, discussion continued regarding an ongoing court case, involving a situation where a municipality had a building inspector, but was being sued by someone who wanted the right to obtain the services of an independent inspector. As of the date of this meeting, the case was not resolved, but its relevance to COG’s situation was of concern to some in the audience. A property owner can hire their own inspector, but there would be a problem with getting a certificate of occupancy. That can only be issued by COG’s building inspector, who is not going to sign off on work he has not (personally) done. He would still require that he conduct an inspection before the certificate is issued. It would, in effect, be a double charge to the owner, one for a private inspector and one for COG’s, to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
The meeting closed with a demonstration by Patrick Hunter of Certified Laboratories. Mr. Hunter first spoke about diesel fuel additives his company makes that are designed to decrease the corrosive qualities caused by the regulated reduction of sulfur in diesel fuel. Mr. Hunter also spoke about spill absorbents, which are required to be kept on hand for fuel spills. He demonstrated a water-based product, which all agreed was very impressive. His company also makes fuel-based absorbents that can be used even when fuel is spilled in water. It will absorb the oil, and will float on the water’s surface where it can be skimmed off.
Before the meeting adjourned, Oakland Township’s Cy Cowperthwait informed the group that, some time in June or July, Oakland Township will be withdrawing from COG.
Hallstead Addresses Complaints
Hallstead Boro Council had a number of concerns/complaints from residents to discuss at their May 17 meeting.
A large truck has been parking in the area in front of the Emerson Apartments. In addition to causing traffic problems, it has also made ruts in the road, which have been causing water runoff. Modified will be used to try and fill in the ruts, and “No Parking” signs will be put up at several spots in the area.
A manhole cover in the same area needs to be raised, there is a large hole around it. The Sewer Authority will be contacted to let hem know about it.
The flag outside the boro building was in need of replacement, it would be taken care of the next day.
The swing areas at the park next to the boro building and the one at Chase Ave. would get new mulch, as it does every year.
The Chase Ave. park has been the subject of several complaints; someone has been “displaying” some offensive artwork on the sliding board. Several well-meaning residents have painted over it, but it keeps reappearing. Council agreed that it should be painted again in its entirety, with a dark color that would discourage the “artist.”
Last year, the State Police conducted patrols in the boro, at the boro’s request. It was agreed to contact them again, and ask them to resume the patrols, especially the parks and some other areas where there is suspected drug activity, and in light of continuing and increased complaints about four-wheelers on the roads.
There was some discussion about a storm drain that is apparently plugged and some possible options to unplug it were discussed.
A motion carried to adopt a resolution approving the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Senator Madigan sent council a letter extending an invitation to attend a flood summit at Keystone College on June 8. The boro’s Emergency Management Coordinator will be sent the information so that he can attend if possible.
And, council is looking into prices for a portable scoreboard for use at the larger of the two baseball fields, which is primarily used by the Blue Ridge High School girls’ baseball team.
Harford Joins Mitigation Plan
At their meeting on Saturday morning, May 12, the Harford Township Supervisors adopted a resolution signing on to a draft of a Susquehanna County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Supervisor Rick Pisasik reported that he had attended a county-wide meeting on the plan at which local officials were told that such planning would become a requirement for any municipality applying for federal or state funds to support disaster mitigation efforts. The county's emergency management office, under director Mark Wood, is developing a master plan coordinating the work covering all of the county's diverse municipalities and encouraging all to sign on.
In the county-wide plan, Harford has identified 11 areas of particular interest, including such trouble spots as the creek along Podunk Road, the outlet of Tingley Lake, and Butler Creek in the area of the damaged bridge at Pennay Hill Road.
The latter two are still under study by Hawk Engineering. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that although work was progressing, there was nothing further to report on either project. While disaster relief funding has already been identified for the replacement of the Pennay Hill Road bridge, it is hoped that the hazard mitigation planning process may lead to some financial support for the Stearns Road project at the outlet of Tingley Lake.
There probably won't be much outside help for work to mitigate the ravages of beavers. Roadmaster Terry VanGorden announced the closure of about 400 feet around the intersection of Orphan School Road and Bartholomew Road for parts of two weeks in mid-June while his crews raise the road surface between two and four feet and try to reconfigure the ends of the sluice in the beaver pond. They hope they won't have to replace the pipe under the road, which would require a DEP permit, which would require an engineering study, which would cost more money.
The township will renew its contract with Graf Lawn Care to cut the grass at the township building at $35 a pop, and at the sewer plant at $45 per cutting, as needed. It was noted that the only other property the township owns that has grass that needs cutting is the ball field, and that the Little League usually takes care of that. But hey, the Little League hasn't been around asking for their annual donation, have they?
If anyone has seen the Little League recently, have them send someone to the next township meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m.