Please visit our kind sponsors
Photo by Chuck Burdick
Earlier in the week, there had been reports of a large hole in the dam that spans the Susquehanna River between the boros of Oakland and Susquehanna Depot. At the July 12 meeting of the Oakland Boro Council, the boro’s representative to the board of River Bounty, Cynthia Beavan, put council’s minds at ease and explained the situation. Yes, there is a hole in the dam; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had conducted an inspection of the dam a short time ago and had been aware that there was a hole. After a complaint had been made earlier in the week about the hole and the amount of water that was running through it, FERC and an engineer familiar with the dam conducted another inspection. The dam itself was not meant for flood control, Mrs. Beavan said. It had been built some time in the late 1800’s to power a mill. In 1928, concrete had been poured over the original timber dam, and the hydro-electric plant at the site had been built in the mid-1960’s. FERC would like the hole fixed, she said, but there would be no danger to anyone if the dam were to collapse. The situation looks worse than it is; where water normally flows more calmly over the dam, most of it is presently flowing through the hole. Mrs. Beavan said that the hydro-electric plant operator is working with FERC to get the hole fixed; he would like to get the smaller turbine up and running first so that some of the water would be diverted, making it easier to fix the hole. Plans for the repairs have been submitted to FERC.
When contacted directly, a representative of FERC verified that they are working with the plant operator to develop a repair plan, and there are no safety concerns at this time. A Susquehanna Boro Council member who had been present at the (second) FERC inspection said that the hole had existed for many years, and that no one thought that there was any imminent danger to anyone.
In other business, Doug Arthur asked that the minutes of the June meeting be amended to add that he had voiced some concerns about a drain pipe on High St.; the contractor hired to do the work had put the new pipe in about six feet further than it originally had been, and water was not draining as it should. Mr. Arthur wanted it included in the official minutes that he had pointed this out to the contractor in the event that there is a problem.
Mayor Dudley gave the monthly police report; four shifts had been covered and incidents dealt with included a domestic dispute, traffic citations, and a call to Susquehanna Boro in response to a report of a possible vicious dog. As of this date, the boro had not yet received the $8,000 in grant funding that has been approved for the police department. And, the mayor reported receiving a complaint about minors out on the streets after 10 p.m.
A motion carried to adopt the 2006 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code, the International Building Code, ICC Electrical Code-Administrative Provisions, International Mechanical Code, International Plumbing Code, International Residential Code, International Existing Building Code. It had been duly advertised and had been reviewed by the boro’s solicitor.
President Ron Beavan reported that damage to the water system, caused by an electrical storm, would be turned in to the insurance carrier; he expected that the boro would be covered for repairs to the alarm system and pump.
There had been a good response by residents applying for home improvement funding through the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Mr. Beavan said. The sidewalk project was to go out to bid on August 7, and the Housing Authority will most likely be putting up modular homes on the old boro building site. More definite information should be available by the next council meeting.
In response to some questions from Mr. Arthur, Mr. Beavan said that he would look into why a contractor used by the boro hires flaggers at $25/hour; Mr. Arthur asked if the boro couldn’t hire them directly, at considerably less. Secretary Flo Brush said that the contractor preferred to hire his own flaggers, rather than let the boro do it, because it was his experience that untrained, untried workers caused delays in getting the work done, and that he preferred using workers he knew to be competent so that the road crews could attend to their business without worrying about traffic. Mr. Beavan said that he would ask about the flaggers’ wages.
During public comment, a complaint was heard about ditch work on High St. that had been done by the sewer authority after new pipes were put in. The ditches in that area had been lined with stone, but after the work was complete, cold patch was used. Mr. Beavan said that the authority will be doing more work in that area and he did not expect that the cold patch was meant to be permanent, but he would check into it.
Discussion continued from last month’s meeting regarding a parking problem on State St. A resident had complained that neighbors were parking on the sidewalk adjacent to her home. There was a dead tree she wanted to have removed, but the vehicles were an impediment to doing so safely, and there is also a school bus stop at that spot; the parked cars could be a concern to the children’s safety. Mr. Beavan said that he would contact the school to see about “bus stop” signs, and he and Mayor Dudley are in the process of researching what the boro can (and cannot) do about enforcing parking regulations on a state road.
The boro planning committee is just about set, five members have been found to serve. Details, such as term lengths and committee members’ names, will be presented to council at their next meeting.
Penelec will be contacted to see if they have any immediate plans to trim trees, as there are some in the boro that are blocking street lights.
A letter from Penelec is not clear about their intentions toward outdoor area lighting. The letter says that they will no longer repair or replace mercury lights, and sodium lights will only be repaired or replaced until 2012, after which ownership will be offered to municipalities. Those that municipalities choose not to take responsibility for will be removed. There was some confusion as to what Penelec considers “outdoor area lighting.” Does this include street lights, or does it only apply to lighting at sites like the (old) boro building or the ballfield? Council did contact Penelec and is awaiting the answer to that question.
And, some time ago, when an application for grant funding was submitted for improvements to the boro park, a number of residents pledged donations for the boro’s contribution towards the work, which was required for the grant application to be approved. However, a number of those residents who pledged donations have failed to do so, in spite of numerous requests from the Parks and Rec. committee. Because the grant hinges on those matching funds, the committee will have to find a way to make up the difference between what was pledged and what money was actually received, about $1,500. Mayor Dudley said that the committee will be contacting area organizations to see if any would be willing to help with fundraising to make up the shortfall. “You can only have so many bake sales,” she said.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 9, 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.
For the second meeting in a row, residents of the New Milford area where a huge mining operation is being developed, have urged the county Board of Commissioners to get involved in the project.
Fred Ehmann and Bill Burchell, who brought the issue to the attention of the commissioners in June, updated the concern they have about the well-being of residents residing in New Milford Borough and New Milford Township.
“The dust and the noise are bad,” Ehmann said, “and a number of residents are getting huge amounts of sediment water, all of which is continuing our concern.” He also notified the commissioners that the Borough of New Milford has requested a hearing on the matter.
The commissioners listened intently and offered encouragement for their efforts but it is a municipal problem and they can only ask the New Milford Township Supervisors to intercede in behalf of its residents.
Concerning approvals for the project, Ehmann said three mining permits have been issued but he could not find any record showing what the permits will or will not allow.
In another matter, on a motion by Commissioner Jeff Loomis, the commissioners agreed to wait a bit longer before hiring a replacement for retiring veterans representative, John Bronchella. Loomis said he wanted to make certain that area veterans that might be interested in the position are given time to secure and file employment applications.
Other motions approved by the commissioners included-
-Adopting a proclamation naming July 26 as “Go Joe Day” in honor of Joe Snedeker, Channel 16 weatherman who will bicycle his way through 16’s coverage area in an attempt to conclude his 10th year of fundraising for St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton by topping the $1 million mark.
-Accepted the resignation of Rachel Carrico from the Occupation Tax Clerk position and hired her to the open, fulltime position of clerk/typist for the 911 and EMA departments. Ms. Carrico will be paid $8.20 an hour in accordance with the residual bargaining unit contract, plus benefits.
-Ratified the termination of Laura Watson, deputy sheriff, by Sheriff Lance Benedict effective July 5.
The Salary Board eliminated the fulltime job of Occupation Tax Clerk effective July 5 as per recommendation of Chief Assessor Ellen O’Malley.
The July 11 New Milford Township meeting had unusually high attendance, with most seats filled and several residents standing along the back and side walls. Most appeared to be there due to a quarry quandary.
The supervisors decided to deal with the usual meeting business prior to opening up the floor for visitor comments. Various decisions and announcements were made during this segment of the meeting. A resolution was made for attorney Mike Brickle to continue serving as the township attorney regarding the camp/sewer matter. It was also announced that Mr. Brickle would remain at the meeting in lieu of attorney Mike Giangrieco, who could not attend. It was announced that two problems regarding which the township had received complaints, illegal building on Page's Lake and a particular spot of erosion due to building, had been taken care of or were being addressed.
A request has been made to lower the speed limit on Rte. 492 near Page's Lake, which has been complied with. The speed limit has been dropped from 40 mph to 35 mph in the area starting near Stump Pond Wood, continuing around the corner, and ending about 100 feet from Watson Hill Road.
The township received an e-mail from Mark Woods from Emergency Management which the supervisors requested the press share with the general public. This is the last chance to submit eligible properties for acquisition and demotion. An August 31 cut-off has been set for the submission of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications.
It was not until normal business was completed, and the floor opened to visitor input, that discussions became heated and raised voices at times filled the normally quiet township building for the second month in a row. The debate centered around a request to enlarge a current small mining operation to a large-scale mining operation. Frank Ehmann, a retired attorney who presented many concerns and carried much of the discussion on the visitors' side, cited the permit application as encompassing at least 400 acres of land. The application includes plans to crush 350,000 tons of stone a year, use 45,000 gallons of water a day, and involve 35 to 50,000 truck movements. It would also involve the movement of stone from outside the site into the site, which is located on top of a hill.
Mark Jones, who lives on Sutton Road, opened the discussion by asking what the township had planned in order to deal with the increased traffic resulting from the quarry. It was answered that 848 is a state road and thus not the township's concern, and that Sutton Road is probably in the best condition it has ever been. He debated the latter point, saying that at one point it is one lane with a water crossing. The township said that they could talk to DEP about the matter.
This became the established answer to various questions, that DEP was responsible it. The supervisors stated that they knew DEP to be strict in handling such issues. They were responsible for handling issues of run-off, the effects of truck traffic, blasting materials, etc. One person contested this, however, saying that DEP is not being strict with this mine.
With all of the referencing of DEP, the supervisors were questioned as to how much they knew about they matter. It was answered that they only receive the information pertinent to the permit from DEP, and generally do not look into the matter much beyond that.
Throughout the meeting many more worries were brought forth. A large one involved the potential for flooding, and how water used in the site or released from the site would be managed. A woman cited the fact that every acre of wetland holds back a million and a half gallons of water. There were also concerns about property values of residences near the mine, the condition of the road leading to it, the noise and lights, which at times continue through the night, and whether or not the operation might cause area wells to dry up. The matter of compliance was raised as well, with an accusation that the site is already non-compliant in two areas and a fear that this trend would continue. Mrs. Goff, another principal speaker at the meeting, reported additional water on her property, and the damage it does to her pond. She asked that this matter be addressed, even aside from the mining issue as a whole. There was much discussion regarding how far the township owned the road. Mr. Ehmann asserted that they had evidence that the road belonged to the township up to the sawmill, but the supervisors claimed that they only deal with the road up to the hedgerow. This was an important distinction, as it involves not only the condition of the road but whether or not public citizens are trespassing if they walk on it.
The Lyncott landfill was also referenced. The effects of the mine (one hill over) on the landfill was brought up. It is known that there is hazardous waste on that hill, and that there are migrating contaminants in the groundwater. It is not known, Mr. Ehmann said, how far this reaches. DEP checks this area regularly, and has found elevated levels of three substances, including Arsenic. There was some debate as to whether elevated levels of all three substances were found in the most recent report, or just this one. The concern which Mr. Ehmann voiced, however, dealt with what nearby blasting might do to this situation.
What the more vocal townspeople in opposition of this project wanted basically boiled down to a few requests. Mrs. Goff stated that they were not asking the supervisors to take sides, just to be concerned. Others backed up the desire for township concern and awareness. It was also repeatedly asserted that they were not necessarily trying to shut down the mining project, just to address its potential impact. They wanted a public meeting held with the township supervisors, DEP, and other municipalities to consider the matter. They also wanted the supervisors to concur that studies should be done, and to push for DEP to do them. These might include studies on flooding, traffic, etc. Two of the supervisors agreed to help in these ways, the third not voting due to a conflict of interest. They also agreed to look into the road ownership matter, and to assist Mrs. Goff with her property problem if DEP did not.
The other side of the debate was present as well, with a few people arguing against those arguing against the mine. These included a man who worked for the mine. Many others remained silent, leaving it to speculation which side they were on. It remains to be seen what develops regarding this matter.
Martin J. Gallagher, Ruth Hazel Gallagher to Eric S. Page, Rebecca L. Page, in Oakland Borough for $3,324.
Laura Lou Wescott to Brian Lee Fitzsimons, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Wells Fargo Bank (by trustee) to Tina Woodruff, in Hallstead Borough for $48,000.
Ralph Rutkowski, Jr., Mary Ann Rutkowski, Tessie Mechock, Edward J. Pearsall, Brenda L. Pearsall, Franceski Lumberyard (by trustee) to Frank J. Shema (estate) in Forest City for $100.
Mary Ann Shema, Frank J. Shema (estate) to Mary Ann Shema, in Forest City for one dollar.
Theodore C. Place, Rebecca S. Place to Theodore C. Place, Rebecca S. Place, Gerald Ruhf, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Carl F. Pevec, Nancy H. Pevec to Damien Z. Knowlton, Amy M. Zeiler, in Clifford Township for $22,500.
Rag Apple LLC to Thomas P. Smith, Barbara C. Smith, in Jessup Township for $75,000.
Mountain Valley Longhunters to Milo David Douglas, Carol J. Douglas, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Cindy Gundling to Cindy Gundling in Springville Township for one dollar.
Habitat for Humanity of Susquehanna County PA Inc. to Anthony MacCazan, Danielle MacCazan, in Susquehanna for $51,936.
Charles A. Vitale (estate) aka Charles Anthony Vitale to Stanley David Seiber, Nancy Lee Seiber, in Lathrop Township for $25,000.
Charles Yaskulski, Susan Yaskulski to Jean M. Williams, in Clifford Township for $138,000.
Peoples National Bank to Earl Carpenter, Rebecca DeGraw, in Oakland Borough for $12,000.
Gregory H. Selke, Joyce Selke to Robert W. Lehr, in Lanesboro for $74,900.
Tasmas LLC to Marlene J. Snitchler, Ruth J. Snell, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Thomas P. Strelecki (estate) aka Thomas P. Strelecki, Jr. (estate) to Timothy P. Lowrie, Nicole M. Lowrie, in Lathrop Township for $90,100.
Katharine C. Watrous (trust by trustee), Peter S. Watrous (trust by trustee) to Peter S.. Watrous, in Franklin and Great Bend townships for one dollar.
Katharine C. Watrous (trust by trustee), Peter S. Watrous (trust by trustee) to Peter S. Watrous (trust), in Franklin and Great Bend townships for one dollar.
Katharine C. Watrous (trust by trustee), Peter S. Watrous (trust by trustee) to James Monteforte, Diane Monteforte, in Franklin, Great Bend and New Milford townships for one dollar.
Erica G. O'Brien, Dorothy V. Yates to Donna Fekette, Thomas J. Lopatofsky, Jr., in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Frank J. Gliha, Mary Anne Gliha to Terry Joanne Zigon, Mary Ann Striefsky, Susan Stalker, Joseph F. Gliha, in Forest City for one dollar.
Joseph P. Gentile (aka) Joseph Gentile, Aida Gentile to Joseph P. Gentile, Aida Gentile, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Darren Boysha, Sandy Boysha to Philip A. Gullone, in Harford Township for $130,000.
Eileen Gunderman to Thomas Gunderman, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Joan Shirley Muss, Al Muss, Mary Louise Drost, Gary Drost, Julian Helen Mohney, John Mohney to JMJ Post LLC in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Aurora Loan Services LLC to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in Choconut Township for ten dollars.
Eastern Overhawk LLC to Joseph S. Zavadoski, Mary Ann Zavadoski, in Gibson Township for $14,000.
William A. Curry, Jr. to Daniel Strohl, Kann Strohl, in Auburn Township for $115,000.
First Liberty Bank & Trust Co, a Division of Community Bank to Kevin F. Ives, Grace M. Ives, in Choconut Township for $46,000.
Peter T. Bauman, Mary A. Butler to Joseph A. Applegate, Annette A. Applegate, in Susquehanna for $52,500.
Barbara D. Carey to William Visinski, Susan E. Visinski, in Springville Township for $69,900.
Lawrence L. Travis, Jr. and Amy L. Tyler, both of Susquehanna.
John A. Onuska and Michelle L. Spencer, both of Windsor, NY.
Brandon D. Sanders and Andrea M. Owens, both of Carbondale.
Wayne S. Wayman and Nicola A. Allard, both of Great Bend.
David Eugene Rumage, Jr. and Brandy Lea Squire, both of Springville.
Raymond J. Hinkley and Clair Virginia Steele, both of Meshoppen.
Brandon G. Steinworth and Christina M. Monahan, both of Ithaca, NY.
Allen J. Ostram, Brackney, vs. Carmen L. Ostrom, Binghamton, NY.
Brent Glover, Susquehanna vs. Yvette M. Glover, Great Bend.
Lackawanna College’s New Milford Center has announced the first schedule of courses to be offered beginning this fall. Lackawanna will conduct degree courses in four areas of study starting September 4: Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Education, and Early Childhood Education. These majors were decided upon after discussions with area school officials, guidance counselors and community leaders. Selected core curriculum courses required to earn an associate degree will also be offered.
The college’s initial classes will be held in Blue Ridge High School, located off Route 11 in New Milford. Classes in degree subjects will run from 6 to 8:45 p.m. on weekdays. Currently scheduled are: in Business – Principles of Management on Mondays, Principles of Accounting I on Tuesdays and Business Law on Thursdays; in Criminal Justice – Introduction to Criminal Justice on Tuesdays; in Education – Foundation of Education on Tuesdays; in Early Childhood Education – Introduction to Early Childhood Education on Thursdays; in the core curriculum – College Writing on Mondays, Introduction to Psychology on Tuesdays; World History on Wednesdays; College Algebra on Wednesdays and Math Reasoning on Thursdays.
In addition, Lackawanna will be offering improvement courses for those who need to upgrade their fundamental skills. Basic Writing Skills and Basic Math Skills will both meet on Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., and Reading for College will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m.
According to Ryan Stalker who serves as Director of the New Milford Center, “Lackawanna College believes that these four majors fit the existing needs within the local academic community as well as providing new opportunities for area students. Our New Milford Center now makes it possible for individuals to earn college credits or undertake programs for career and professional growth right in their own backyard.”
Lackawanna is in the process of designing a permanent facility for Susquehanna County. In the meantime, the institution has an office in New Milford at 266 Main Street. It can be reached by phone at (570) 465-2344 or by e-mail at email@example.com. The facility is open daily to provide college information, discuss courses, degrees and programs, explain financial aid options, arrange college admission as well as assist with registration for courses in New Milford or at the main campus in Scranton.
Lackawanna College began exploring the feasibility of a facility in Susquehanna County early in 2006. Members of the college’s administration met with the county commissioners and with representatives of the local school systems to exchange ideas and to gauge the potential interest in a college center. Lackawanna also held a series of evening Open Houses in county high schools to hear from area residents, students and parents. Determining that there was a need for a Susquehanna facility, the College chose New Milford as its permanent location and is currently working on building plans.
The New Milford Center will offer degree and certificate programs, professional and career education, on-site business and industry training, continuing education courses, BA/BS transfer arrangements and up-to-date computer facilities.
In a letter dated July 3, 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency that the county’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan has been approved. In 2000, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Disaster Mitigation Assistance Act of 2000, requiring all tribes, states, and local units of government to develop, implement, and maintain a plan to reduce or eliminate the hazards that threaten a particular jurisdiction. Without an approved plan, by law, FEMA has the right to withhold most forms of federal disaster assistance.
Following the June, 2006 flood, the county submitted an application for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds, but the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) put the county’s application on hold until a hazard mitigation plan was submitted and approved. Thirteen homeowners around the county are hoping for HMGP funds for their flood-damaged or destroyed homes. If the county’s HMGP application is approved, funds will be made available to acquire and demolish the thirteen homes, giving homeowners much needed financial assistance towards replacement housing. The county’s HMGP application was recently forwarded to FEMA by PEMA for review and approval.
The approved hazard mitigation plan also allows the county and all the townships and boroughs that have adopted the plan – all but Lathrop Township and Friendsville, Oakland, Thompson, and Uniondale boroughs have adopted the plan – are eligible to apply for annually appropriated hazard mitigation funds made available outside the disaster declaration process for projects vital to the county and the municipalities. Since 2000, FEMA has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary program funds that neither the county nor any municipality applied for. Hopefully all that will change with the adoption and approval of the plan.
“Where do we stand on the sewer project?” a gentleman asked the Clifford Township supervisors last week. The question lead to a one-hour discussion that ended as do all talks of sewers in the township lately, with no answers and no indication what the three supervisors will finally decide.
Spearheaded by Jack Williams of Crystal Lake, the subject dragged on and on taking the meeting well beyond its normal 35 to 45 minutes. However, Williams wasn't the only one on the soap box, as one by one proponents of the plan to install sewers in the Dundaff/Crystal Lake areas came forward with questions, answers and demands.
“We have been doing this for five years,” one woman told the supervisors. “Please tell me what it is you need to know before you act. You sit there with no questions and no answers. Why?”
Chairman John Regan repeated what he has been alluding to over the years: concern about where some township residents are going to get the required $6,500 hookup fees that Greenfield Township wants and then face the possibility of paying $77 a month for 40 years. In addition, both sides of the issue pointed out that only those who are tied in to the sewer system will be paying for the service and any additional work, including an expansion program at the Greenfield sewage treatment plant off Route 247.
“My own personal opinion,” said Regan, “is that a $6,500 hookup fee is astronomical. It should be in the $3,500 range. That is one of the problems I have with the project.”
Williams noted that by continuing to procrastinate, the supervisors are risking the loss of a sizeable federal grant for the project. “If we lose it now,” he said about the money, “we may never see it again. Don’t let that happen.”
Further discussions about grant money lead to a report that the township has until July 21 to make up its mind on whether to proceed with the project.
Williams challenged a remark made last month by Attorney Ben Schnessel of Crystal Lake. At the June supervisors meeting, Schnessel said the lake is clean and pure.
“Why does this man say things like that?” Williams asked. “The lake is polluted.”
Supervisor Dennis Knowlton said Fell Township has a sewage problem in its portion of Crystal Lake, and the lake will still be polluted after the Clifford project is completed.
“You are right,” Williams told Knowlton. Williams said there is a bad relationship between Fell and Greenfield supervisors.
“But,” Williams continued, “when you cannot win the project you outlive them. Sooner or later those people over there are going to die off or not get elected.” He added that there are more sewer problems in the Clifford area of the lake than in Fell Township.
Regan said he would still prefer that Clifford do its own sewer project. He said people tied into the Greenfield system face additional charges if there are any expansion programs in Greenfield’s sewer system.
“I want to make sure we are not going to do anything that will hang us,” Regan said.
“I don’t care what you do,” Williams said, “just don’t lose this (grant) money. We may never get it again.”
Williams said he was told by a Greenfield Township supervisor that “if you guys ever get a sewer plant, we will close the valve and you can process the sewage and start collecting revenue.”
Another man in the audience said the $6,500 hookup fee is a once in a lifetime charge. He said Greenfield will replace or repair parts, including pumps, for as long as the user is tied into Greenfield’s system.
Regan assured the audience that he would call a special meeting before the deadline on the township grant, and that a vote will be taken at that time.
The township police department had another busy month including 22 criminal incidents, three arrests, and a total of 37 incidents in June.
It was an unusually short meeting of the Montrose School Board on July 9. Having dispensed with the work session for the evening, the regular meeting was conducted quickly and adjourned before seven-thirty. A few matters of interest were conducted during this time, however, and several hirings approved.
The meeting did not open with its customary prayer and pledge. It began, instead, with a solemn moment of silence in memory of Jackie Vitterito, a district student whose tragic death affected many.
After the meeting officially began, the board accepted three resignations and approved the hiring of five new staff members. Doug Cook resigned as a high-school custodian, Bridgid Petorak resigned from a business-education position, and Elizabeth Melton from a Learning Support position at Choconut Valley Elementary School. At Lathrop Street Elementary, Amy Goff was hired as a part-time Personal Care Aide and Andrew Axworthy to a fifth-grade position. At Choconut Valley Elementary, Darlene McGinniss was appointed to a full-time Title 1 Mathematics Instructional Aide and Sarah Birchard to an elementary general music position. Finally, a high school student, Melissa Millen, was hired as a clerical aide for the Athletic director as part of the district's Cooperative Occupational Experience Program.
The district hopes to improve security and become more American Disability Act Compliant with an initiative to change all the classroom locks at the three schools. Currently the doors can only be locked from the outside, presenting a potential risk factor as staff must go into the hallways to lock the doors in a lock-down situation. There has been some concern in the past regarding internal lock doors, however, for fear that students will lock themselves in classrooms – and lock staff out. The new locks will assuage both concerns, being able to be locked and unlocked from both sides.
Near the end of the meeting Mr. Plauny brought E-School Mall to the board for approval, and was given permission to purchase the software. This program, which has been marketed to PA schools, will allow the district to search prices and place orders electronically. It will also allow staff to electronically put in budgetary requests to administrators, who will then be able to more easily consider requests in relation to the budget.
The district is looking forward to computer camp, which is slated to be held July 26-23. At meeting time, there were around 40 students registered.
Dr. Robert J. Vadella, superintendent of Forest City Regional School District, said district taxpayers should not become alarmed when and if the Board of Education reopens its 2007-2008 budget.
“It doesn't necessarily mean we are going to increase taxes,” Dr. Vadella said. He said some financial figures relevant to state aid may need reviewing and/or revising depending on whether the Commonwealth cuts the state Department of Education’s budget.
“We cannot spend more than our budget, but we must show income equivalent to our proposed spending,” Dr. Vadella said. “We anticipated some state grants and if they are eliminated or reduced because of the revised state budget, we will have to make adjustments accordingly.”
This is not just a concern of the Forest City Regional School District. Educators across the state are waiting for word from Harrisburg on appropriations and grants.
“We just want the public to know that reopening the budget is a possibility,” Dr. Vadella concluded. “It doesn't mean an automatic tax increase. But we must revise the budget to show the amount of money coming from the state so that our income equals our expenses.”
In another financial matter, the school board approved pay raises for additional administration and support administration personnel as follows: Joni Kopa, school psychologist, from $58,500 to $59,450; and, Mary Lee Martines, cafeteria supervisor, from $20,472 to $21,496.
Still to be reviewed by the board are the salaries of Dr. Vadella and Anthony Rusnak, high school principal. And, in a related matter, the board agreed to hold a special meeting on July 30 for the purpose of hiring additional needed personnel.
In issues regarding students, Board President Al Dyno said the district is looking into matters involving discipline and dress codes. He said the board intends to seek input from teachers and administrators and he further emphasized that the district is not considering uniforms.
“This does not mean uniforms,” Dyno emphasized. “We just want to look at some dress codes.”
The board approved revisions to the wage tax ordinance originally passed in 1965. Dyno described the changes as an upgrading and said there are no significant changes from the existing wage tax.
In other business, the board-
-Approved an increase of ten cents in meal prices for the 2007-2008 school year.
-Rehired the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams of New Britain, as the district’s legal counsel at a cost of $120 an hour for routine matters and $165 an hour on extra duties. The board kept the door open for use of a local attorney and said they would hope to find one within the area that would accept a lower hourly rate.
-Approved the following department heads: Social Studies, Robert Smith; Health and Science, Bernadette Twilley; and, Fine Arts, Marilyn Hackman.
-Approved the use of the building and grounds for the Forest City Roman Catholic Community’s annual quilt bingo to be held September 9.
Following is the Sliver Lake Township Police report for June, 2007, as submitted.
On June 6, Peter C. Austin of Brackney reported that someone had just recently broken into his cottage on Quaker Lake and removed items from his refrigerator and pantry. Investigation showed that forced entry was made by damaging his screen and sliding door and gaining entry through the waterway entrance. This incident is still under investigation.
On June 6, Jackie MacBlane, owner of the Brackney Inn, reported that someone had been setting off fireworks in her establishment the previous night. Upon opening the next day they discovered that severe damage had been done to the bathroom plumbing and components. An individual out of N.Y. State has been identified as a suspect; however, this incident is still under investigation.
On June 15, Tiffany Smith of Binghamton, N.Y. and another female youth, were charged with underage drinking while traveling in Silver Lake Township. Both individuals were released to a responsible adult after their parents were notified.
On June 17, Christopher Monticello of Binghamton, N.Y. had a 2005 VW Pasatt, along with his wallet and other personal belongings in the vehicle, taken from his mother’s cottage driveway on Quaker Lake during the early hours. Several days later the vehicle was recovered abandoned in Endwell, N.Y. by the N.Y. State Police.
On June 17, Anthony M. Donohoe of Johnson City, N.Y. was charged with underage drinking in Silver Lake Township and later released to his mother.
On June 21, Stephen Pete of Montrose reported that he was being harassed by his former girlfriend, Heather Blaisure. Investigation showed that both parties were involved with harassment. Arrangements were made to distribute belongings prior to pending charges being filed.
On June 22, Mike Demis, on Laurel Lake at 14 Lower Woodside Drive, reported that his silver 14’ canoe valued at $300.00, was taken from his cottage over the winter months. Anyone with information please call Silver Lake Police.
ACT 64 VIOLATION
On June 30, Brian D. Pierson of Brackney was charged with vehicle code and alcohol possession violations. Possession of drug and paraphernalia charges are pending.
The Susquehanna Boro Council took care of business in short order at their July 10 meeting.
During review of the bill list, Bill Kuiper asked about the $480 the boro had paid for rental of a walk-behind pavement cutter; wouldn’t it be more efficient to just buy one? Bill Perry answered that it would not necessarily be more cost efficient, as they required a lot of maintenance. Roy Williams concurred, and said that there were not enough occasions for the boro to need one to justify buying one.
Secretary Ann Stewart reported that Jim Davis from DGK Insurance will be attending the July 24 meeting to review the boro’s insurance policy, and the boro has received grant funds from DCED for the Garden Club Beautification Project in the amount of $34,700.
Council members are reviewing an ordinance that deals with vacant homes that they expect to enact. It will be discussed at the next meeting after all have had time to review it and make note of any changes/concerns they may have, after which it will be sent to the solicitor for review.
A motion carried to hire Sean Murphy part-time to the streets department at $8/hour, with a two-month probationary period. The streets department budget has the funds available to cover his salary until October.
Joe Snedeker will be taking his annual “Go Joe” ride to raise money for the St. Joseph Center in Scranton. This year, his ride will take him through towns throughout the WNEP viewing area, with a stop scheduled in Montrose on July 26. Council received a letter from Montrose Boro encouraging area residents to take up collections, make signs to line his route, and pack the streets with people in support of his ride. Montrose area youth plan to go door-to-door to collect donations, and municipalities are urged to encourage their youth to do so, too. Montrose Boro Secretary Annette Rogers can be contacted for information at 278-2442, ext. 3.
And, council member John Bronchella had recently undergone surgery and was said to be doing well. Council unanimously wished him a speedy recovery.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 24, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe