Please visit our kind sponsors
A motion at last week’s county Board of Commissioners meeting on appointments of county representatives to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission touched off a lengthy debate because Commissioner Roberta Kelly’s name was removed from Northern Tier’s Transportation Committee by fellow commissioners, Jeff Loomis and Mary Ann Warren.
Mrs. Kelly brought the issue to the public when a motion was made to appoint and/or reappoint county individuals who serve on various committees of Northern Tier. After much discussion that included support for Mrs. Kelly’s work on the Transportation Committee, the motion was tabled until the end of the year and all present members will continue at least until then.
“Jeff (Loomis) took it (the list of appointments),” Mrs. Kelly said, “and whited out my name, initialed it and put his name in my place. It is very disturbing because I did so much work on the Transportation Committee.
“I am here to tell you the facts. After three and one-half years of working toward clean government, I find this is not clean government and I am very upset by it.”
Mrs. Kelly said she, Tom Swan and Bill Ord, other county representatives on the Transportation Committee worked hard on a number of projects in the county, including impending road work on Routes 706, 167 and 11.
“I would like to continue to work on these projects despite what Jeff told me to do, which was go away,” Mrs. Kelly said.
Mrs. Warren said the list of appointments/reappointments presented to her already had names in all the areas where members were needed, including Mrs. Kelly’s reappointment to the Transportation Committee. She said the list was signed by Mrs. Kelly and that Mrs. Kelly was the only commissioner that signed off on the list in 2006.
“I never saw the list last year,” Mrs. Warren said. “I said we may have some changes,” referring to herself and Mr. Loomis. “We made changes and I am not going to say we didn't. We did do it.” One of the changes had Mr. Loomis whiting out Mrs. Kelly’s name from the Transportation Committee and replacing it with his name.
“What Mary Ann said is exactly true,” Mr. Loomis said. “I was there. Roberta was the only one that signed it last year. We contacted our solicitor and another county attorney and we were told it was improper to do it that way. It was also invalid because it was not done at a public meeting.
“I was on the Transportation Committee when I served a previous term as commissioner,” Mr. Loomis said. “We had exemplary service. I think I can do a better job than Roberta. I feel Roberta has been on for three years and it is time for a change.”
Mrs. Warren suggested that both Kelly and Loomis be named to the Transportation Committee.
“I do not have a problem with Roberta being on the committee,” Mrs. Warren said. “Jeff wants to be on the committee. I feel that this is a political thing going on and I am in the middle. Why can’t we have two commissioners on that committee?”
However, Mrs. Kelly said the bylaws specify the number of representatives from each county and any change would have to be approved by all participating counties. She said there are three members from each county on the Transportation Committee and Susquehanna County could not arbitrarily add a fourth member.
“As far as Jeff saying he accomplished a lot,” said Mr. Swan, who serves as chair of the Northern Tier Coalition, “he did not. We inherited 49 jobs that were open (during Mr. Loomis’ first term at Northern Tier) and no action was taken. So I do not think Jeff was that involved.”
“I did not have any problems with you Jeff,” Bill Ord said. “You did well, you know a lot about the construction business.” Earlier in the meeting Mr. Ord expressed his disappointment in Mr. Loomis and Mrs. Warren. He said the least they could have done was to discuss it with him before they removed Mrs. Kelly from the Transportation Committee.
“I concur with what you are saying,” Jim Jennings of Brooklyn Township, said. “I am disappointed in MaryAnn. I am not surprised at Jeff. Common sense said you should have discussed it with Roberta.”
About Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Ord said when the state wanted to make changes on the Route 706 project, she would not let it happen. He said when county representatives on the Transportation Committee went to Scranton to plead their cause Mrs. Kelly went with them to support the existing Route 706 plans.
“I have seen her diligence,” Mr. Ord concluded.
In another matter, the county’s 911 emergency communications system continues to have personnel problems. Two more dispatchers, Ryan Tator and Eric Leigh, resigned and two replacements, Ann Zosh and Jeremy Bogdanovitch, were hired. The new employees will receive $8.50 an hour as per union contract.
The commissioners also accepted the resignation of Danielle Dalton, Domestic Relations Intake Clerk.
A resolution adopted by the commissioners renews the county’s contract with the Mental Health/Mental Retardation program.
The June 23 Mountain View School Board meeting contained elements of the good and the bad, of praise and censure. Praise was given to the district in general, and the high school's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) program in particular. The topic of transportation, however, sparked a debate which resulted in incensed visitors and an apparently frustrated board.
Three boys from the school's FBLA chapter were chosen to attend a recent conference in Chicago. Andrew Nichols, Adam Oakley, and Ben Garrison represented Mountain View very well at the event, which was attended by over 7,000 people. The chapter received the Gold Seal Chapter Award, which is only given to the top 15% of chapters in the state (out of 400). The organization's advisors and helpers: Mr. Donnelly, Mrs. McHenry, Mrs. Ihlefeldt, and Mrs. Voda, were also commended for their hard work.
The district as a whole received recognition as well, in the form of an Academic Achievement award. It was received because both schools met the Annual Yearly Progress standards. The money, $4,000, is slated for use at the elementary school as the secondary school lacks a Title 1 program.
Two new hirings were approved at the meeting. Sarah Wilkins will be filling a part-time elementary cafeteria position. Susan Pipitone, of New Milford, was appointed to the elementary principal position. When asked, the board assured those present that Ms. Pipitone has education experience and principal certification. The board anticipates filling additional positions prior to the start of the school year, and will be advertising for more in the near future.
The asbestos removal at the secondary school has been completed. The process was reported to have gone well.
Various transportation changes, both those which have been made and those which others want made, were the topic of debate during the second hearing of visitors. One change which was questioned involved the policy of waiting at bus stops for children. It is now only required that a contractor wait one minute at the bus stop for a child before continuing on with the route. When questioned about this, and the ability of most people to be running 60 seconds late at a given time, a board member replied that children are supposed to be at the bus stop already by the appointed time.
One mother from Kingsley broached another area of concern. The district has eliminated some transportation contracts, requiring students who have been picked up at their house in the past to travel to a bus stop. This woman's children have been picked up for four years, and she expressed her concern that the change requires them to walk a few tenths of a mile through a secluded wooded area to meet the bus. She stated that the district had originally deemed this route unsafe, which is why they had been picked up before. What, she queried, would the district do to keep her children safe? Would it be more cost effective, she asked, for the district to pay to pick her children up at their house, or to pay transportation and tuition to Fell Charter school, as this decision was causing her family to consider alternate schooling.
It was answered that while the former option would be more cost effective, the board did not base its decisions on cost effectiveness. The decision that the route was unsafe had been made by a prior administration, without the board's involvement. Currently the majority of the board felt that the route was safe. Transportation contracts are reviewed and renewed each year, and the decision as to whether or not a route is safe is generally made by the superintendent and the business manager. Hers was not the only contract eliminated; some of the others required students to travel farther distances. It was the parents' decision, it was stated, whether the children walked to the bus route or they were driven there (by someone other than the school). In the end, the parents were told that they could request in writing that a study of the student walking route be conducted, and were asked to provide documentation that the route was unsafe.
Another contested policy change dealt with mileage reimbursement for drivers. Under the new agreement, car contractors receive an additional 2 cents per mile than in the past. However, van contractors receive a two cent per mile reduction in compensation. Reimbursement for layovers has increased by 15 cents, but it was still questioned as to whether these alterations benefit the majority of contractors, or not.
A 19-year-old Susquehanna County man could serve a total of 13 years in a state correctional facility on a number of charges including homicide by motor vehicle. In addition, President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined Jesse L. Walton of Union Dale a total of $5,550, ordered him to make restitution to the victim’s family, and tacked on 100 hours of community service.
Walton received jail terms of three to eight years for homicide by motor vehicle; 12 months to 36 months for burglary in Clifford Township on April 4; and, one month to two years for possession with intent to deliver in Clifford Township on April 9.
Judge Seamans also fined Walton $2,500 on the homicide by motor vehicle charge and ordered him to make restitution to the victim’s family; $2,000 on the possession charge; $1,000 for burglary in Clifford Township on April 4; $25 on the DUI charge in Clifford Township on September 3, 2005; $25 for driving at a safe speed in Clifford on September 3, 2005; and, $25 for careless driving in Clifford Township on September 3, 2005. Walton will also be on probation for eight years after he is released from prison.
On September 3, 2005, State Police responded to a motor vehicle accident on Township Road 387 in Clifford Township. According to an affidavit of probable cause, the vehicle left the road and slammed into a large rock, then rolled over and came to rest on its roof. The front passenger, later identified as Victoria Webster, was deceased and the driver, Jesse Walton was taken to Mercy Hospital in Scranton along with an unidentified passenger in the back seat of the vehicle. A blood/alcohol test at the hospital revealed that Walton was driving under the influence.
In other sentences last week, Judge Seamans:
-remanded Dustin Godfrey, 23, of Meshoppen to a state correctional facility for possession of a controlled substance by an inmate in Bridgewater Township on September 29, 2006, and five years probation to run consecutive to his jail term for corruption of minors in Dimock Township on July 19, 2005.
-fined Scott Allen Ackley, 37, of Canton $750 and placed him on probation for 15 months for indecent exposure in Lenox Township on June 4, 2006.
James Wickkiser (estate), Carolyn Bator-Minkler, David Minkler, Elizabeth A. Geddes, Bud Geddes, Donna Fricke to Gary W. Wickkiser, RR1, Laceyville, Pamela Wickkiser, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Gary W. Wickkiser, Pamela Wickkiser to Gary Carpenter, RR1, Laceyville, in Auburn Township for $27,000.
Rebecca Davies, Kevin Davies to Mary C. Cosgrove, RR2, New Milford, Cynthia H. Cicon, in New Milford Township for $102,000.
Linda L. Hibbard to Max Lawson, Montrose, Gidget A. Edsell, in Montrose for $75,000.
Michael A. Hornick to Millicent R. Freeman, Denville, NJ, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Kenneth E. Soules, Holly A. Soules to Kenneth E. Soules, Susquehanna, Holly A. Soules, in Susquehanna for one dollar
Marie A. Gesford (estate) aka Marie Gesford (estate), Carol Mahoncak to Helena Arbosheski, RR2, Montrose, Jean Grassman, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Netbank (succ to) RBMG Inc. to Federal National Mortgage Assn., Dallas, TX, in Montrose for one dollar.
Federal National Mortgage Assn. (aka) Fanniemae to Francine Geertgens, Montrose, Crystal Geertgens, in Montrose for $75,000.
Norman E. Welch, Ralph L. Welch to Norman E. Welch, RR2, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Richard H. Bennett, Sandra Bennett to Richard H. Bennett, Rushville, Sandra Bennett, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Ralph Fruehan, Millicent J. Fruehan to Richard H. Harder, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for $10,000.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Michael Stirna (by TCB) to David E. Morrison, Tunkhannock, Dennis L. Montross in Auburn Township for $90,500.
Augusto M. Ferrara to Augusto M. Ferrara, Harford, George Lotter, in Harford Township for $78,000.
Joseph J. Svecz Jr., Judith A. Svecz to Joseph J. Svecz, RR2, Union Dale, Kelly Svecz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Paul L. Daugevelo, Alan Daugevelo to Patricia L. Raulerson, Honesdale, Lin Strasser, in Forest City for $22,000.
Ernest G. Benninger Jr. to Michael S. Dolaway, Montrose, Robyn R. Dolaway, in Montrose for $119,000.
Arthur L. Stinson, Sharon Stinson to Dennis J. O’Reilly, RR1, Friendsville, Joanne S. O’Reilly, in Bridgewater Township for $400,000.
Laura Ann Brownell (dba), Ronald Brownell (dba), John R. Brooking (dba), Kristy Brooking (dba), B&B Enterprises to Laura Ann Brownell, Starrucca, in Susquehanna for $137,500.
Lawrence Allan Bloom, Carl David Bloom to Lynne Bloom, Elkins Park, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
William M. Cole (estate) to Laurie Hess, RR1, Forest City, in Clifford Township for $52,000.
Philip T. Stevick, Abigail S. Stevick to Joseph L. Hickey Jr., RR2, Union Dale, Roxanne Marie Hickey, in Gibson Township for $130,000.
John J. Burris to Theodore W. Burris, Sellersville, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Stephen W. Sceranka (by sheriff), Margaret M. Sceranka (by sheriff) to Nationstar Mortgage LLC, Lewisville, TX, in Lanesboro Borough for $5,642.
Eugene B. Hitchcock Jr. to Gary M. Hitchcock, Louisburg, NC, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Kenneth Kublo, Angel Kublo to Joann Wiser, RR1, Brackney, Douglas Wiser, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Kenneth Kublo, Angel Kublo to Kenneth Kublo, RR1, Brackney, Jessyca Kublo, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Eric Flesher, Sylvia Flesher to John M. Dougherty, Kings Park, NY, Dawan A. Dougherty, in Lenox Township for $24,000.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to John A. Bosco, RR3, Meshoppen, Lana S. Bosco, in Auburn Township for $87,500.
Manzek Land Co. Inc. to Robert K. McCarthy, Catasauqua, Carol L. McCarthy, in Auburn Township for $54,900.
Helen J. Roe to Robert E. Carvin, Susquehanna, Tina D. Carvin, in Oakland Borough for $61,960.
Harold F. Gardner (estate) to Daniel S. Hadaway, RD1, Friendsville, in Choconut Township for $79,900.
Evelyn A. Clowes to Lauretta Clowes, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Sheila Petrochko (by US Marshal), Theodore Petrochko (by US Marshal) to Statewide 985 LLC, Lancaster, in Harford Township for $42,000.
The Internal Revenue Service has filed federal tax liens against the following:
Gerard E. Shinn, Union Dale, income tax, 2004, 2005, 2006, total amount of lien, $72,401.
Patrick L. Burke, RR5, Montrose, total amount of lien, $1,945.
Andrews J. and Margaret A. Zosh, Montrose, total amount of lien, $5,578.
Jesse Benedict, New Milford, total amount of lien, $24,919.
Cory G. Doubrava and Kristi L. Russell, both of Hallstead.
Clint Jerod Long of Friendsville and Hillary Beth Gesford of Montrose.
Robert D. Conrad, Jr. and Ronda Marie Shoemaker, both of Hop Bottom.
Jacob Edward Fletcher and Taylor Rae Hallock, both of Meshoppen.
Christopher M. Carver and Daphne S. Cowperthwait, both of RR2, Susquehanna.
Jeremy L. Dunn and Meredith Kathryn Wilson, both of Syracuse, NY.
Alberto Cardenas and Mary Rose Stewart, both of RR2, Montrose.
Michael D. Rosin and Robin Annette Bunnell, both of Montrose.
Casey S. Pickett and Anna D. Ruth, both of Brooklyn, NY.
Lori Groover of Harford Township vs. Donald L. Groover of New Milford. Married in 1988.
Emery F. Thorn of Hallstead vs. Laura Mae Thorn of Breinigsville.
Clifford Bassett of RR4, Montrose vs. Carlene Jo Bassett of Meshoppen.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded $3,493,308.00 in Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) to local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations in the state of Pennsylvania. Nationally, the fiscal year (FY) 2007 AFG awards, which will be distributed in phases, will ultimately provide over $490 million to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations throughout the country.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program includes grant funding to the Clifford Township Volunteer Company, for Operations and Safety, in the amount of $56,739.00.
Virtually the entire meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors on July 24 was devoted to disaster in one way or another. They might as well have been discussing disasters as anything else: the meeting was so brief that there wasn't even a printed agenda.
Charlene Moser, Operations & Training Officer for the county Emergency Management Agency, has sent a letter to each municipality asking for the appointment of a NIMS coordinator in each location. NIMS (National Incident Management System) is a relatively new program that hopes to coordinate response nationwide to large-scale incidents, be they terroristic or naturalistic. The new NIMS coordinator would probably be distinct from the municipal emergency management coordinator. In Harford, the latter is currently Ted Batzel.
Ms. Moser would like to have the names of all of the municipal NIMS coordinators by about October 15, so that training can be scheduled. Apparently the type and length of training has not yet been determined. This, like the local emergency management coordinator, is a volunteer position. The township is soliciting nominations.
Supervisor Sue Furney suggested that Rick Pisasik might consider the job, since he will be relinquishing his seat as a Harford Supervisor at the end of this year.
The Supervisors received an estimated bill of particulars for the reconstruction of the bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road from Hawk Engineering. Including contingencies, administration, etc., they expect the cost to replace the bridge at about $422,124. Since this is more than the $300,000 or so that FEMA and PEMA has already allowed, the township must file for the additional funds to complete the project through PEMA (the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency).
Considering the sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake, the Supervisors would like to cut the engineers' estimated cost of over $200,000, perhaps by doing some of the work with township labor. "If we could potentially lay that pipe ourselves," said Mr. Pisasik, the township could save a lot of money. The Stearns Road project so far is not reimbursable from either state or federal funds.
Both of these projects are a consequence of the flooding of June, 2006. The township has acquired a half- million-dollar line of credit to help get the projects under way.
The township has also received a package outlining the county's action plan for dealing with a failure of the dam at Alford Pond. Ms. Furney said she had not yet reviewed the plan in detail, but said she thought it provided for the possible destruction of buildings along U.S. Route 11 at the edge of Kingsley, should the Alford dam give way.
Ms. Furney said that Harford Township hosts two "high-hazard" dams: the one holding back Alford Pond (which is owned by the county), and the one that forms Lindy Lake on Route 547 southwest of Harford village (privately owned).
No one need be alarmed by the planning process. These are contingency plans only. They do not anticipate any imminent failure.
It was hard to imagine disaster, looking over the green hills on a delightful, mild evening in mid-July. If you can imagine it, however, you might be just the person needed to coordinate Harford's disasters. You may nominate yourself by calling the office at (570) 434-2401.
Otherwise, you can attend the next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors on Saturday, August 11, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Township Building on Route 547, a half mile southwest of the Interstate.
Pennsylvania American Water announced the recipients for its 2007 Environmental Grant Program. The grantees include Hallstead Borough. Five grantees will receive a share of grant funds totaling $31,615.
The American Water Environmental Grant Program supports projects that protect or restore drinking water sources and surrounding watersheds. Recipients were chosen based on criteria ranging from need to community involvement to sustainability.
The Hallstead Park bank stabilization project was created to restore Hallstead Park following the devastating floods in June, 2006. Flooding of Salt Lick Creek washed away much of the park, including a pavilion, swings, basketball court, and green areas. The grant will be used to create an effective riparian buffer while stabilizing the creek bank, helping to prevent the park from being affected by future floods. The riparian buffer will consist of native wildflowers and plants, mature trees and shrubs along the creek bank and onto the park property.
Jim Davis of DGK Insurance was present at the July 24 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council to discuss the boro’s insurance coverage, which was up for renewal. Overall, the premium is slightly less than last year even though the state has increased what must be paid for workmen’s comp.
One question that council had was in regard to the historic water tower that the boro is in the process of obtaining; would ownership increase the boro’s premium? As it will not be used for water, it will not. Council is pursuing grant funding to refurbish it.
Council members were given a list of equipment the boro owns to review and amend as necessary.
Mr. Davis commented that with the cost of services, particularly police, many municipalities are considering consolidating those services with other municipalities. If the boro should find themselves considering forming a regional department or providing coverage to neighboring municipalities, Mr. Davis said that insurance coverage (and its cost) is something that should be considered. President Tom Kelly said that the subjects had been discussed from time to time, but are not something that he could foresee happening at this point in time.
Bill Kuiper questioned whether the amount of the secretary/treasurer’s bond was too low; it is currently at $100,000. After some discussion about the amount of funds that are regularly in the boro’s combined accounts, as well as grant funding that could be coming to the boro, it was agreed that it might be worthwhile to raise it to $200,000, which would mean a premium increase of about $400. Council will continue discussion at the next meeting.
Correspondence included a letter of thanks from the county library for the boro’s annual donation.
Mr. Kuiper asked that an area of East St. be checked; the ditch appears to be in need of cleaning and might need a sluice pipe. Water is not draining properly and is washing away the edge of the road. Streets Commissioner Steve Glover will be asked to look at it.
And, a motion carried to get three cell phones for the police department, with whichever carrier offers the best plan and service.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 14, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe