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Dick Button achieved his first milestone as a Great Bend Borough employee – and without pay: he sat through an entire Borough Council meeting on August 2. He was welcomed by Council members, but by none more so than Ron Cranage, who has also been filling in since Alan Grannis had to "retire" for health reasons. Mr. Button will begin earning his pay on Monday, August 6. By then someone should be able to find keys for him.
Mr. Cranage, who is also the Borough's Code Enforcement Officer, has been doing triple duty for some time, and has had to let code enforcement slide while he tries to keep up with mowing grass in the town's three parks, and otherwise maintaining borough properties. Council voted to retain the two temporary workers Mr. Cranage has been supervising in Recreation Park. Work to restore that park to its pre-flood condition must be completed by the end of the year.
Mr. Cranage was also given authority to purchase and install a new light for Greenwood Park. For something less than $600, the light is hoped will minimize the depredations of vandals in that corner along the river.
Greenwood Park itself may eventually get a little bigger. The owner of a property adjacent to Greenwood and in the river floodplain has apparently accepted a buyout offer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The property is expected to be turned over to the borough when the acquisition is complete.
Disasters seem to be on many minds these days. A letter from Charlene Moser, of the county Emergency Management Agency, requests the borough to appoint a NIMS Coordinator. NIMS – the National Incident Management System – is an effort to ensure a consistent response to national emergencies by governments at all levels. Ms. Moser is planning training sessions for municipal NIMS coordinators sometime this Fall. Council suggested that Mike VanGorden, the borough's Emergency Management Coordinator, be asked to serve in this new position as well.
Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan reported that the county's "Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan" has been accepted by FEMA. The county emergency management office developed the plan in cooperation with most county municipalities, to identify infrastructure that might be vulnerable to problems like last year's flooding. The FEMA approval was accompanied by suggestions for improving the plan. Ms. Guinan suggested that someone develop a map of the borough showing the extent of the flooding last year so that vulnerable properties can be more readily identified.
Ms. Guinan also reported that a stack of petitions, with cover letters, was sent to each of a long list of politicians and other officials supporting a plea to the U.S. Postal Service to restore full service to the town's post office. She said there were something less than 300 names on the petitions, in a town of barely 600 residents.
Disasters, a shrinking post office, whatever, never seems to diminish Mayor Jim Riecke's optimistic pride in his town. He commended the fire company for a very successful "Sidewalk Days" last month, noting the number of people simply walking around town, enjoying the day. He also commended Mr. Cranage's work to spruce up Greenwood Park in preparation for the annual Fancher footrace, which this year attracted some 169 runners. Mr. Cranage himself noted that "people are taking ownership of the parks," by keeping an eye on loiterers. He has even formed something like an informal "junior crimewatch" of youngsters who report on things happening in the town's three parks.
The meeting came to a close with a cascade of requests that Ms. Guinan send thank-you letters to people who have helped to make life in Great Bend Borough just a little better, like the resident who trimmed a tree hanging over a sidewalk.
If you want to contribute, consider attending next month's meeting, which will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, 2007, at the borough building at Elizabeth and Franklin Streets.
The regularly scheduled meeting of the New Milford Borough Council was called to order by Vice President, Jim Carr, at 7:00 p.m. at the borough building on August 2. Members present were: Amy Hines, Teri Gulick, Rick Ainey, Chris Allen and Chris Phillips. Commissioner, MaryAnn Warren was also present.
Pictured are this month’s winners of New Milford Boro Council’s Good Neighbor award.
Rick Ainey accepted the minutes of last month's meeting and the Treasurer's Report. Commissioner, Mary Ann Warren, commented about DEP and storm-water management, and that there was a county meeting on July 25 with DEP. A more comprehensive and effective plan is needed, and that the commissioners need to agree for effective implementation. The Borough is working on their own plan, which is a major problem in the area.
The main, passionate topic was again brought forth by Fred Ehmann, retired attorney, of New Milford Township, on behalf of a group of local, concerned citizens, "Wayne-Susquehanna Rescue." He spoke of the B & S Quarry on Sutton Road in New Milford. He said the truck traffic on SR 848 and Sutton Road has made life unbearable for the residents. This is a 400-plus acre site, which makes it a major operation in our county.
Concerns about the traffic, noise, dust were addressed by Mr. Ehmann, besides other concerns. He had a video study of the passing trucks conducted on July 31 and August 1, and recorded from 136 to 187 passing trucks on SR 848 from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This makes life for the residents unbearable.
A DEP public meeting is scheduled on August 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at New Milford High School to address the concerns of the citizens of New Milford and the county. Anyone interested in the local citizens action group about this matter, can access the internet site of www.rescue-nepa.org or can contact Fred Ehmann at 465-3811 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Local residents, Bill and Margo Burchell, who live on SR 848, also voiced their deep concerns. Bill Burchell said, "We want the B & S Quarry to have some concern about the community they are destroying." Bill can be contacted at 465-7554.
Rick Ainey presented this month's good neighbor certificates to twelve borough children. The Good Neighbor Award recognized these children as good citizens in their work in Midtown Park, spreading mulch and planting flowers. They learned bicycle and helmet safety, attended a flag-raising ceremony, visited the local fire department, and the State Police where they met Cash, the county drug task force police dog and his trainer. The children wore blue shirts they painted with the good neighbor logo.
Other resident parents were present to voice their concerns about a disruptive and damaging element of young teens and pre-teens that frequent Midtown Park in the evening hours. The park closes at dusk and these young people are there disrupting the peace of the area until the early a.m. hours. One mother asked the council if anyone can enforce the curfew.
Terry Gulick, Council member, will organize a public meeting to explore the options of dealing with disruptive and unsupervised children. Some options discussed were having a "Neighborhood Watch" program, hiring of a security officer to patrol the area, and even installing the Borough's own police force. Parents who drop their children off in the park at night can be reported to the Children and Youth County Office for child neglect.
Other issues included citing owner, Herman Ebhardt on Peck Hill for unstable material near a stream and giving him 60 days to remove it. Chris Allen reported about street repairs and requested that Johnson St. and Depot St. have their potholes repaired. The absentee landlord ordinance, no. 184, which requires a local person to contact, was approved by council. The sex-offender ordinance, no. 183, where no sex offender can reside within 1500 feet of any public place having children, which is basically the whole borough, was approved.
Under Homeland Security guidelines, a phone system was discussed, to be installed to notify residents of an emergency. Five attempts would be made by the system to notify residents. The cost would be approximately $1500 annually plus phone charges to the 800 residents.
The Council discussed FEMA and the appeals to FEMA for local, flood-damaged streets and bridges. FEMA has not approved any street bids. Maple Street bridge is considered a big project and comes under another guideline. Adams Enterprises was awarded the bid to clean up debris along Moss Creek and Smith Creek. The bid was $5,499.84. An 18" by 24" deep and 50 feet long ditch is to be dug by the town pool for approximately $800.
Council will write a letter of support for a grant application for the New Milford Market. Rick Ainey will be the spokesperson for the Borough Council at this upcoming meeting.
Council approved, with Chris Phillips abstaining, who works for a quarry, to attend the DEP meeting on August 14. Citizens are urged to call the Pottsville office of the DEP to ask them to have more staff people attend. The number to call is 621-3118.
The Council offered appreciation and thanks to the local businesses that donated raffle items and money to the St. Joseph's fundraiser that was publicized by WNEP and the popular and well-known weatherman and bicyclist, Joe Snedeker. Hundreds of thousands have been raised for St. Joseph's Center in Scranton for emotionally and physically-handicapped people.
On July 31, at around 8 p.m., an accident occurred in Great Bend near the on-ramp to I81. The incident occurred as Jeana Soper of South New Berlin, NY was traveling Northbound on SR171. She struck a vehicle, driven by Timothy Clapper of Hallstead, while attempting to make a right turn onto the on-ramp. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts; there were no injuries. Soper was cited for One-Way violation, and Careless Driving.
On July 31 someone threw rocks from the Randolph Road overpass of I81 in Great Bend, Twp. The rocks did damage to vehicles driven by James Degroff and Patrick Brooks, both of NY, as they drove Southbound beneath this spot. The day before another vehicle was damaged in the same manner.
On July 27 a UPS truck, driven by Craig Robbins of Waymart, was backing along SR1005 when it accidentally struck a pedestrian. The pedestrian, Robin Leonard of Thompson, sustained moderate injuries.
SELLING OR FURNISHING LIQUOR OR MALT OR BREWED BEVERAGES TO MINORS
Between the 9th and 10th of July, Rusty McConnell is accused of purchasing two cases of Budweiser beer for juveniles, aged 16 and 14. A charge was filed against the accused at the office of District Justice Peter Janicelli.
On July 26, at 5 a.m., unknown person(s) obtained forcible entry into the Moose #794 in Susquehanna by prying open a cooler door. Once inside the cooler the perpetrator(s) removed beer from within. The investigation is ongoing at this time.
Between the 20th and 23rd of July, $150 worth of lottery tickets were taken from the Lenox Pump-N-Pantry. This included seven $10 tickets and four $20 tickets.
1 CAR CRASH
An unknown driver caused an accident on July 20 without making actual contact with another vehicle. The incident occurred as the unknown car was traveling East on SR 4002, in the Westbound travel lane. Bonnie O'Rourke of New Milford was traveling westbound at the time and was run off the road, though the two vehicles never touched. The offending vehicle is believed to have been a blue Pontiac Grand Am.
HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT
On August 2 an unknown person operating a light blue sedan backed up in the parking lot of Chamberlain Insurance in New Milford, and struck a parked Toyota Corolla belonging to Corinne Stasko of Johnson City, NY. The sedan driver then drove from the scene, without attempting to contact Stasko as is required.
There have been various items stolen from area vehicles recently. On July 31 Phillis Patchen of Conklin, NY reported the theft of her wallet, while her vehicle was parked on the McNeil property in Forest Lake Twp. A cellular telephone was stolen the day before from the vehicle of Barbara Grisafi of Montrose, while it was parked at Mastroserios Motel in Montrose. Sometime overnight on July 22, someone entered the vehicle of Angelo Petriello of Thompson, while it was parked in his driveway. The thief stole a large sum of cash and some medication from a briefcase that was on the front seat passenger floor.
On July 28, S.L. Clugstone of Conklin, NY had a C.V. joint break in her car, causing her to lose control of the vehicle. Clugstone struck a bridge abutment on SR 1033 in Great Bend, was wearing her seatbelt, and was not injured.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently awarded $2,187,762 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 Grants program has been instrumental in building capacity and providing needed resources for our nation’s firefighters,” said FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison. “From the purchase of equipment to first responder training, the AFG program has helped improve response capabilities and saved lives and property in communities throughout the United States.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program includes grants for Operations and Safety to the Elk Lake Volunteer Fire Co., $28,975.00, and the Nicholson Fire Co., $87,742.00.
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