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The August 27 public meeting of the Mt. View School Board contained, as seems somewhat typical this summer, good news for the district as well as a fair dose of conflict. Topics covered included grants and awards, appointments and legalities, and car contract compromises (or lack thereof).
In between executive sessions early in the meeting, Mr. Ty Yost presented a short introduction to the Classroom of the Future Grant. Mt. View formally voted to accept this grant at the meeting. Mr. Yost, who was later appointed as “Grant Coach” for the project, began his presentation with a video encouraging educators to utilize the technology already used by students to engage them in learning. He then proceeded to explain the grant, and what it might mean for Mt. View in particular. The program was designed through the Rendell administration to assist in the implementation of technology in core subject instruction. Unlike past grants, which provided money to buy equipment which then sat unused by staff, this program hires a tech coach to foster proper implementation. It also requires participating educators to undergo a certain number of hours of training, provided by PDE. Susan Pipitone, elementary principal, spoke of how the grant would not only benefit the high school, where it is implemented, but the elementary school as well, as some of the replaced secondary equipment could be passed down. The grant money would be used to put laptops in certain classrooms for student and educator use, which would increase computer accessibility. Currently the secondary school has only one computer lab open during the day, with three other labs in existence but attached to classes. The grant could also allow for an electronic portfolio of student work to be created and stored in a network, provide more interactive white boards, etc. It has not yet been released how much money the district will be receiving, but what money is received is slated to go to good use.
Curriculum Coordinator Karen Voigt spoke about another grant which the district recently received, providing an update on the academic achievement award announced at a previous meeting. The district had received $21,000 to go toward the Title 1 programs at both schools. As the secondary school does not have a Title 1 program, the district was originally led to believe that the whole amount could revert to the elementary program. She recently found out that this was not true; the money is given to the building, not the district, and the district will therefore only receive half the award.
Despite a board compromise, the car-contract conflict continued to be a topic of much discussion for another month. After the second executive session of the evening, the board announced the decision that any family who had a car contract in prior years would be able to keep the standing contract. However, the car or van would not necessarily take the children to the school, but perhaps to the closest, safest bus stop. These are contracts which had previously been approved under another administration, and the changing of which had caused consternation. It was stated that the contracts would be upheld this year, but might change again in the future.
The conflict came when the board addressed two families in particular, for whom there was some road safety concern. The matter revolved around the bus driver's ability to turn at the mouth of the road which, the board argued, was so narrow that the bus might have to enter the other lane. The district stated that it was talking to Lenox Township about widening the road, and in the meantime it would send a car contract to convey the children to the closest bus stop. This incited parental censure as the two families involved declared that the road was safe, and that a dump truck and 20 ft. camper could make the turn there safely. The district said that it would be safe in the morning, and the bus could be sent, but not in the afternoon. The parents did not want their children picked up by vans, and kept insisting that the bus pick up and deliver them both times. One mother felt it to be unsafe for her five-year old son to take the van and then transition at the bus stop. In the end Mrs. Stone, the business manager, said that she would meet the one family at their home the next day, and try to speak again with the township in order to resolve the problem.
During the second hearing of visitors, car contracts were broached from a different point of view. A van contractor asked for an explanation as to why his pay rate had been reduced, when every other employee salary had stayed consistent or increased. He asked if research had been conducted to lead to this decision, or what it was based on. It was answered that no research had been done, but that it boiled down to simple economics. If the district, for instance, asked for car contracts and received 10, then it must be paying enough. If not, then pay should be raised.
Ms. Lori Novak was not appointed to the EAP reading tutor position. This might not have been a notable part of the meeting, except for the reason why five of the six present board members voted against the appointment. Prior to the vote, a visitor queried as to why the position was being filled when it was still being advertised. The application period, according to a recent advertisement, was not slated to close until early September. This, various visitors and at least one board member asserted, was illegal. It was explained that the first person hired had already resigned, due to a full-time position elsewhere. Administration had petitioned the board to re-advertise, and then looked again at first round interviewees, thereby selecting Ms. Novak. Mr. Zick argued that the re-advertisement would serve the purpose of providing a reserve list of tutors, but the rebuttal was made that this was not stipulated in the advertisement. Although at least one charge of dishonesty was levied against the district by those assembled, for at least some of those in power the mistake appeared to be completely inadvertent. Mr. Zick chose to still have the vote held, but the motion summarily failed. Mr. Griffen formally stated before the vote took place that his “no” would not be due to an objection to Ms. Novak or the position, but to the position's still being advertised.
The Harford Township Supervisors continued to mull options at their meeting on August 28. With work on two major projects at a standstill, the three decided to convert a half-million-dollar loan that took months to arrange to a line of credit.
The money is to be used to replace a bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road, and to install a larger sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake. The Pennay Hill Road bridge was washed out during flooding in late June, 2006; the partial collapse of the Stearns Road sluice caused the lake to back up and flood homes during the same storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) have pledged funds to rebuild the bridge; some of the loan money will be used to bridge the FEMA payments. So far, the entire cost of the Stearns Road project will be on the shoulders of Harford Township taxpayers.
Since, however, the projects have been delayed so long, the Supervisors were advised to convert the loan to a line-of-credit to avoid paying interest until the money is used. The principal is held in an interest-bearing account that happens to return more than the interest on the loan, but Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney reported another possibility that would make the credit line more attractive. It seems that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) can make interest-free loans to municipalities in cases like this. Since free interest is always better, the township may not have to draw on the line-of-credit, if application to PennDOT is approved.
It now seems, however, that the Butler Creek bridge project may be delayed still further. FEMA/PEMA originally pledged about $320,000 to replace the bridge as it was before the flood. The engineering study the township was required to get to design the new bridge estimated the cost at over $400,000; it also specified a slightly longer, wider and higher bridge. FEMA/PEMA are now saying that their subsidy cannot be used for a bigger bridge and they won't provide any more funds than originally promised.
Part of the deal required the engineers to perform a hydrologic study to determine just what kind of bridge would be needed. There is no guarantee that FEMA/PEMA will accept the conclusions of the study even if the hydrologic data support the larger design. In that case, the design would have to be scaled back to more closely match the old bridge.
As if that isn't enough, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has yet to issue any permits. So all of this is delaying work even further, to the extent that the Supervisors don't really expect much actual work on either project until next year. They weren't willing to estimate when any phase of either project might be completed. "We're still working on it," seemed to be the preferred position.
Among other minor matters, the Supervisors tabled the appointment of a NIMS coordinator for a little while longer. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) coordinator would represent the township in the nationwide, federally sponsored system intended to provide a more consistent and smooth-functioning response to national emergencies. Each municipality must designate such a coordinator, preferably by the end of September, so that training can be scheduled by the county emergency management office.
With the general election only a few months away, and a new budget due only a couple months beyond that, the Supervisors said that they would invite Garry Foltz to sit in on budget deliberations. Mr. Foltz is the only declared candidate for the seat being vacated by Rick Pisasik, the current chair of the board of Supervisors.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors is expected to begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 8. All meetings are held at the Township offices on Route 547 south of Interstate 81 exit 217.
The question of whether or not it would be advantageous for Susquehanna Boro to take ownership of the old railroad water tower was discussed again at the August 28 council meeting. The tower’s owners had offered to turn it over to the boro; council had accepted the offer, but then concerns were raised after Roy Williams contacted the boro’s solicitor and insurance agent. Both of them had raised some questions about the advisability of taking it over, but after discussion council had proceeded as the majority felt that it would ultimately benefit the boro, and grant funding could be sought to refurbish it, which would only be possible if the boro owns it.
Representatives from DCNR, DCED and the Endless Mts. Heritage Region had been in the boro for a meeting on another matter, but had discussed the tower. Consensus was that it would be worthwhile to try to restore it, and funding to do that might be possible; the tower would fall under the category of “historical icon,” as it had been put up during the railroad’s heyday. That designation would mean that funding could be sought under different, less stringent criteria than the usual channels. The one fly in the ointment is that to pursue grant funding for its restoration would first require an engineering study, to determine whether or not it is sound. But, there is a very real possibility that funding for this, too might be attainable. And, Ron Whitehead has been looking into the matter for quite some time. He said that any (possible) funding sources he was able to find did require that the boro own the tower before any grant applications are submitted.
In other business, a short executive session on a personnel issue followed the opening of the meeting.
A motion carried to put out bids for heating oil, and for a maintenance contract for the heating system.
Roy Williams, who was presiding in the absence of president Tom Kelly, asked that, during committee meetings, only the members of the department under discussion be present; he thought it best that all others wait outside the meeting room and only come in while their specific department matters were being discussed. Mike Matis pointed out that it was illegal to prevent people from attending the meetings, as they are open to the public; limiting attendance to specific departments would not be allowable.
The Pennsylvania American Water Company has been requesting that all commercial properties be fitted with a backflow prevention valve. The boro building does have one, but the garage does not. A motion carried to approve proceeding with getting one installed there.
There was some discussion about the status of the bridge that runs under Main St., in light of increased state inspections. It was said that one of the main beams has a huge hole through it, which was why the turning lane had been blocked off.
Work had been started to refurbish the older truck, but it was found to be in worse condition than had been thought. The streets committee will discuss particulars about getting it replaced with a new one.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 11, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
The Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement is looking for young recruits, aged 18-20 years old, to work undercover as underage buyers.
Individuals selected for the program will conduct Age Compliance Checks at establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 to 20, and must have a clean criminal background.
Applicants can apply by calling (570) 826–2370.
Richard C. and Dianne Billig to Richard W. Kehrli, in Springville Township for $114,000.00.
Manzek Land Co., Inc. to Henry G. Jr. and Shirley A. Green, in Auburn Township for $89,900.00.
Manzek Land Co., Inc. to Edward R. Jr. and Heather A. Shingler, in Auburn Township for $49,900.00.
Manzek Land Co., Inc. to John III and Darice Richmond, in Jessup Township for $64,900.00.
Louis W. Benjamin J. (By POA), Michelle P. (By POA) and Natalie J. Hawley to Pennsylvania Commonwealth of Susquehanna County, in Bridgewater Township for $90,603.54.
Frank and Providence Scarola to Mary Knapp and James Vankuren, in Montrose for $99,500.00.
April L. Walker (AKA) and April L. Harvey to April L. Harvey, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Thomas and Mary G. Tornusciolo and Orazio and Rosina Altieri to Thomas and Mary G. Tornusciolo and Orazio and Rosina Altieri, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Thomas and Mary G. Tornusciolo to Orazio and Rosina Altieri, in Herrick Township for $1,000.00.
Marie Cross to Scott W. and Genine E. Langman, in Herrick Township for $119,000.00.
Jerry W. Neary (By Sheriff) to Citimortgage Inc. (SBM), Citifinancial Mortgage Co., Inc., (FKA) and Citifinancial Mortgage Consumer Discount Co., in Oakland Borough for $2,695.28.
Leonard and Charlotte Roshak to Kimberly Roberts, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Mark F. and Donna M. Scully to Michael J. and Corinne M. Rossi, in Auburn Township for $40,000.00.
Francis C. and Margaret M. Bunting to James and Mary Costigan, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Harold and Rosaline Aranow, Alvin and Valerie Crooker Clemens, Marvin and Therese Kallish, James T. McHale, Martin and Elaine Phillips, Samuel N. Rabinowitz, Donald Resnick, Anthony A. Lawrence (EST), and Nancy J. Resnick to Arthur J. Kania, in Herrick Township for $50,000.00.
Arthur J. Kania to Alvin H. and Valerie Crooker Clemens, in Herrick Township for $9,947.50.
William M. and Barbara T. Fuhrey to M. Todd and Cynthia L. Bosscher, in Springville Township for $199,000.00.
Jean M. Weaver to Patricia A. Wood, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Patricia A. Wood to Patricia A. Wood and Ray Lasher, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Timothy M. Captain to Anthony and Stacy Sunderman, in Ararat Township for $240,000.00.
Wells Fargo Bank (By Atty) to Butch Wilson, in Bridgewater Township for $18,000.00.
Chantel L. Gabriel (By Sheriff AKA), Chantel Butcher (By Sheriff) and Christopher R. Gabriel (By Sheriff) to Fannie Mae, in Hop Bottom Borough for $1,800.87.
Kevin A. and Carla J. Sives to Carl H. and Beverly S. Hagstrom, in Jessup Township for $295,000.00.
Kimberly S. (By Sheriff AKA), Kimberly Sue (By Sheriff) and Andy E. Meagley (By Sheriff) to Citibank and Chase Manhatten Mortgage 02-1, in Harmony Township for $4,518.00.
Ann (By POA AKA) and Ann E. Gamble (By POA) to Maryann Anderson, in Forest City for $80,000.00.
Joseph and Sharon Pfluger to William J. and Jennifer F. Weldon, in Herrick Township for $185,000.00.
Dermot A. and Brooke O’Hare to Shawn R. and Julie D. Burns, in Oakland Township for $150,000.00.
J P Morgan Chase Bank and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. to Chann Investment, Inc., in Susquehanna for $10,000.00.
Dora and Robert Cobb, Dawney, Dennis and Linda Talbert, Darlene and Kevin Sheffler, Diane Truscott and Dorothy Jackson to Dora Cobb, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Harry J. Weiland to Harry J., Margaret E. and Mary Ann Weiland and Arthur E. Riegal, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Diane Rockwell (NKA) and Diane Sheldon to Diane Sheldon, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
George Legg, Jr. to Mildred Legg, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Dorothy M. Ball to Brian Ball, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Dorothy M. Ball to Kimberly Wallace, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Dorothy B. (Estate AKA) and Dorothy Kropa (Estate) to Justin Kropa, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Sara K. Murphy to Sara K. and Brian J. Murphy, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Elwin J. and Gail A. Ellis to Juliane D. Howe, in Montrose for $165,000.00.
Lawrence T., Christine M. and Thomas J. O'Reilly to Marion E. and Kevin M. Baskin, in Lenox Township for $69,500.00.
Manzek Land Co., Inc. to Bruce and Donna Hansen, in Forest Lake Township for $49,900.00.
Ruth M. Leonard to Philip A. and Darlene M. Lewis, in Great Bend Township for $159,000.00.
Lewis F. Titus (By POA) to Donna M. Fekette and Thomas J. Lopatofsky, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Pauline Dockham to Larry G. and Cynthia L. Guarnotta, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
David A. and Diane L. Medlar to Richard J. Upright, in Oakland Borough for $75,000.00.
Thomas Joseph Conboy to Thomas Joseph Conboy, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Andrew Wyzykowski to Henri and Marilyn Deutsch, in Clifford Township for $185,000.00.
Albert B., Shirley A., Hugh D. and Theresa M. McCollum to Adam and Julie Diaz, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Annette Clary and Annette Brunges (FKA) to Annette and Eric C. Brunges, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
WM Specialty Mortgage LLC to Richard D. Mackiewicz, Jr., in Choconut Township for $99,807.00.
Mary L. Giblin to Patricia A. Lynch, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Debbie (AKA) and Debra Smith (NBM), and Debra and Duane Goga to Mary Beth Zincone, in Susquehanna for $72,000.00.
James R. Russell to John H. Sanders and Richard P. York, in Apolacon Township for $8,030.00.
Harry H. and Mary Thatcher to Harry H. and Mary Thatcher, in Harford and Gibson Townships for one dollar.
Mildred Krizauskas to Joseph Krizauskas, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
William G. and Janet M. Roe to Pennsylvania Commonwealth Dept. of Transportation, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Lynn R. and Barbara Powell to Pennyslvania Commonwealth Dept. of Transportation, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
E. Irene Squires to Linda R. and Michael F. Erat, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Charlotte M. Flannagan to Kylie Jo Slocum, in Lanesboro Boough for $75,000.00.
Mary A. Hubal and Phillip Avery to Mary A. Hubal and Jason Skarbez, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Michael C. Caviness II and Danielle Marie Cross, both of Brackney.
William S. Waring and Rebecca A. Maynard, both of Brackney.
Timothy E. Welsh and Tara J. Upright, both of Montrose.
Andrew Joseph Ficarro of Susquehanna and Lauren A. Price of South Gibson.
Thomas Charles Williams and Patricia Debra Sheff, both of Binghamton, NY.
William V. Briggs, Jr. of Friendsville and Katrina Alice Montonya of Montrose.
On August 24, an unknown person in a white Ford F150 came to the residence of David Lewis of Montrose to remove scrap metal. While at the residence, he/she stole cash that was in a bank envelope next to where Mr. Lewis was working on his farm equipment.
Sometime between the 12th of June and the 10th of August a burglary is reported to have happened at the rental property of Shirley Sheridan on Montrose Street in New Milford Borough. Taken in the burglary were construction tools valued at approximately $450.
On August 26, a vehicle belonging to Stevan Stranburg of Montrose was damaged while parked on SR0706 in Bridgewater Twp. The driver's side window of the vehicle was smashed, and an iPod was stolen from within it.
A report was made that someone damaged the gate of the public pool located in the Blue Ridge Park in New Milford Borough. The incident occurred sometime between the 13th and 20th of August.
It is reported that someone stole approximately $1,000 worth of electrical wire from a location on SR 171 in Herrick Twp. The incident occurred between the 5th and 18th of August.
THEFT OF ATV
A 3-wheeler valued at $1,200 was stolen from the property of Simply Auto on main street in New Milford. The vehicle, belonging to Jason Colwell, was taken sometime during the night of August 19.
On July 13, around 3:30 p.m., a vehicle of unknown make and driver was traveling north on SR 92 when it came in contact with utility wires. The vehicle dragged the wires north, pulling a utility pole from the ground in the process. The pole, in turn, struck a metal carport as it fell causing minor damage. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop at the scene.
An accident occurred on the 27th of August, at MM 227 of I81 Northbound in Great Bend Twp. Lonnie Pittsley of the Cortland, NY area was driving on this road when he encountered two vehicles stopped in traffic, driven by Willie Jones of the Whitakers, NC area and Michael Perry of the Pine City, NY area respectively. Pittsley failed to stop in time and struck the rear of Jones' vehicle, which in turn made impact with the rear of Perry's vehicle. All were wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. Perry was not injured; Jones sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment, and Pittsley was transported by ambulance to Wilson Memorial Hospital in NY. Charges are pending upon Pittsley for violations of PAVC.
Sometime during the night of August 24, a vehicle belonging to Connie Wilson of New Milford was stolen from her driveway. The vehicle is described as a green 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, with Pennsylvania Registration GBE6904.
On August 24, at around 11:30 p.m., Edward Herman and Karl Shimer were injured during a physical altercation involving several people who were unknown to the victims. The incident occurred at the Penn Can Speedway in Oakland Twp.
Bryan McDonald of New Milford is accused of dumping nine bags of lawn refuse onto the property of Walter Kropa of New Milford. McDonald has been cited for Scattering Rubbish in response to the incident, which occurred on August 17.
ONE VEHICLE TRAFFIC CRASH
On the 11th of August, at around 2:15 a.m., a one-vehicle crash occurred on SR858 in Rush Twp. The incident involved a 1999 Jeep Station Wagon, within which were traveling Matthew Bowen and William Brown. In the course of the accident, Bowen was severely injured. Tragically, these injuries proved fatal approximately two days later. Due to the nature of the investigation, further details are unavailable at this time, and will be released later.
On August 21 David Grosvenor of Montrose was driving on SR 2024 in Dimock Twp. when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and entered a ditch. Grosvenor traveled approximately 75 feet within the ditch before striking a culvert.
An unknown perpetrator entered the Liberty Truck Stop in Harford several times on July 17 and cashed checks made out to several different people. These checks were apparently stolen. This investigation is pending.
On August 17, Kyle Blaisure of Montrose was in a line of westbound traffic behind a Freightliner truck driven by Gerard Martin of Wyalusing. Blaisure attempted to pass the truck, and drove into the opposite lane. In doing so he struck an eastbound vehicle driven by Joseph Burridge of Factoryville, colliding nearly head on. Blaisure, Burridge, and Curtis Squier, a passenger of Burridge, sustained injuries. Blaisure was charged with traffic violations including Unsafe Passing and Careless Driving.
On August 18 Paul Martinez of Mehoopany was driving on SR267 in Choconut Twp. Martinez failed to stop in time upon encountering a vehicle driven by Regina Looby of Endwell, which was stopped and waiting to turn left onto North Rd. Looby's vehicle, in turn, was pushed into one driven by Timothy Bingham of Endicott, who was also stopped awaiting the turn. Martinez was cited for causing the crash.
On August 17, one or more unknown persons set five round hay bails sitting in a field alongside SR 2013 in Lathrop Twp. on fire. The bails belonged to Gerald Harvey of Hop Bottom.
MISSING PERSON-RUNAWAY UPDATE
An update was given on August 22 that a runaway 15-year old female, mentioned in a previous report, was located.
THEFT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
On August 10, a white 1996 Chevy Corsica, bearing PA Reg. EMN0819 was stolen from the parking lot of the New Milford Market located at 198 Main Street in New Milford. The vehicle belongs to Francis Straub of that town.
Author Tom Robinson, a Susquehanna native, recently had two more books released by Enslow Publishers of Berkeley Heights, N.J.
Robinson's latest books are "Donovan McNabb: Leader On and Off the Field" and "Andruw Jones: All-Star On and Off the Field." Both books are part of Enslow's Sports Stars with Heart series. The 128-page sports biographies, highlighting star athletes who also make significant charitable contributions outside of sports, are geared toward readers in grades 5-8.
The McNabb and Jones biographies make six books by Robinson released in the past year. Biographies on Derek Jeter and Shaquille O'Neal were released last year to help launch the Sports Stars with Heart series, and Robinson also was co-author on a pair of Triumph Learning books designed to help Pennsylvania students prepare for grade 11 standardized math tests.
Robinson, a freelance writer and editor in sports, medical and educational publishing, has completed four other manuscripts which are in various stages of production. The Clarks Summit resident remains active in Susquehanna County sports, serving as sports editor for the Susquehanna County Transcript. Among his other ongoing assignments is a series of feature stories for the National Football League's website.
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