Please visit our kind sponsors
The October 10 meeting of the Susquehanna County Commissioners was full of surprises, comments and numerous questions.
The action began when Commissioner Mary Ann Warren reported there had been an executive meeting held on September 14, to discuss a personnel matter.
The most controversial questions were raised by Jim Jennings, when he asked Commissioner Kelly if she had been party to a closed-door meeting, which allegedly had been held on September 14. The meeting allegedly was held to discuss the probationary status of Voting Registrar, Gary Wilder. Kelly stated “I did not vote. The action was not approved.”
Jennings alleged that such a meeting would, in fact be a violation of the Sunshine Law. “I want them to follow the law,” Jennings stated.
Commissioner Kelly stated that she had not been privy to the meeting, but had walked in on a phone conversation regarding the matter.
According to information provided by Commissioner Mary Ann Warren, the meeting had, in fact, taken place between her, Commissioner Jeff Loomis and Sylvia Beamer, County Chief Clerk.
Reporter Staci Wilson asked if action had taken place at that meeting?
Commissioner Loomis declined comment, stating they had been advised by Attorney Scott Blissman not to discuss the matter with the public, but to refer any and all questions to the attorney himself. Loomis offered the phone number of that Philadelphia-based firm to those who would like to come to his office to obtain it. Loomis also stated that the lawfirm with which Blissman was affiliated was indeed a “labor specialty” law firm.
At press time, no comment was received from calls to Attorney Blissman regarding the "legal" ramifications.
Commissioner Warren stated that, allegedly, Wilder’s previous probationary hiring had been extended to another six-month term.
Jennings stated that, according to the Susquehanna County employee manual, only a “90 working day” probationary period was allowed. He added that this was “done behind closed doors.”
Wilder’s probationary status would have been up on September 15, 2007. It was reported that he had not been told of the meeting.
Commissioner Loomis repeatedly asked Commissioner Warren to abide by the attorney’s request, to not discuss the matter.
Commissioner Warren stated that she “was being honest” about what had happened and other information be referred directly to the attorney. She added that she was telling the public this because she was being honest, and “no one steers me. I stand on (my own) issues.”
Reporter Ann Whynman also questioned the Commissioners’ actions, “I am embarrassed,” referring to all the political actions and politically-based decisions which reportedly have taken place throughout this election year.
Whynman further complimented Wilder’s recent Voting Training Program as “the most organized most logical training program” she had ever attended. Commissioner Kelly added she agreed, and that she felt the alleged meeting “was truly political in nature.” She added that she hoped Wilder was not going to be fired after the election.
John Hoffman added that Dave Yulke’s Voting Training Program was just as good as Wilder’s.
Fred Ehmann said he was shocked at the editorial comments just made. “I am disappointed that two reporters stand up and accuse the commissioners of committing the same action that got former reporter Vera Scroggins fired. Reporters are not entitled to state their opinions in that manner, in their capacity as a reporter.”
Ms. Whynman questioned that statement, saying she had a right to an opinion.
“As a taxpayer, yes, but not while you are sitting at that (the media) table,” Ehmann defended. “I’ll have to change my seat to offer my opinion then,” Whynman declared.
In B&S Quarry information, Ehmann said, “We are at a great place, good place,” as B&S withdrew its application for the mining permit which it had been seeking. Ehmann added that apparently,”word had gotten through to DEP.”
In other discussion concerning a violation of The Sunshine Law, Ms. Whynman stated that the law was for everyone, not just taxpayers but reporters, too. “Oh” she quipped, “I forgot to change my seat “(to say that), referring to the previous argument with Ehmann about a reporter’s role.
Whynman also commented positively on the prison report, stating that not one political action/remark occurred in reference to the recent meeting announcing a 100% compliance Susquehanna County had received regarding the jail.
It was mentioned that Susquehanna was one of only 19 prisons within the state of Pennsylvania to meet the 100% compliance status.
Commissioner Loomis added that this is a “positive thing, as all manuals and procedures were on hand, according to requirement.”
“This is a very momentous occasion, since 1992, when the prison was first opened.” Loomis added. “All credit goes to Warden Stewart and his staff, who worked hard to accomplish this.”
In more matters, Toby Anderson, of Friends of Salt Spring, announced that they had received the grant for Salt Springs to hire five county people between the ages of 18-25 and put them to work in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps at Salt Springs State Park. The Commissioners contribute $5,000 (25%) towards the grant, which will be funded by the state in the amount of 75%. “This gives people the opportunity to get into a good working position. Many of these workers go on to further employment, when their work with the project has ended,” Anderson stated. All three commissioners supported this program unanimously.
Proclamations passed declared October 14-20 as “National Business Women’s Week,” and The Conservation District will celebrate 60 years of Conservation in Susquehanna County on September 10 and 11.
The next Susquehanna County Commissioners meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Susquehanna County Office Building, Public Avenue, Montrose on Wednesday, October 24.
The October 8 meeting of the Mountain View School Board was quick and uncomplicated, compared to some in previous months. Several matters were covered, however, including some positive reports on the district's functioning.
The Saturday evening before the meeting, a dinner had been held by the Mountain View Alumni Association. At this event four graduates were honored, three of whom have acquired advanced degrees and all four of which have made distinct contributions to society. Dr. Chichura related this, and spoke of how the district has a lot to be proud of in terms of its alumni. Ms. Vagni also spoke of the event positively, specifically recognizing Wade Nordahl, Calla Buford, Josh Jarnagin, and other current students who assisted with the event.
A possible opportunity for area businesses to contribute to student learning was brought up, as part of a list of coming events. On November 15-16 the secondary school will be conducting 4-Sight testing. This leads the senior free, at a time in which other grades are busy, and the school would like to hold a program for them on résumés and interviewing skills. If there are any local businesses interested in helping to interview students as part of this training, Donna Porter or Kate Kurosky can be contacted at the school.
The district, reportedly, is doing pretty well now in regards to staffing. Emergency certification has been applied for for the two long-term subs who were filling FMLA vacancies and were not certified in their respective areas. Sherry Vonada and Robyn O'Brien were appointed to elementary cafeteria positions, but this decision represented a move – not a hire. Both women are current employees; the new positions will simply mean more hours. A 16-hour custodial position and an elementary cafeteria position still need to be filled.
Mountain View is now another district to pass a resolution officially supporting House Bill #6. This legislation would, if it were passed, transfer the entire responsibility for cyber charter school funding from the school districts to the Commonwealth. It would also ask for these schools to be held to greater accountability than is currently the case. The comment was made that the payments given to cyber schools are not always related to the function of the schools. Mountain View spent $164,584 in the 2005-2006 school year, and $181,483 during the 2006-2007 year on cyber school attendance. Only about 30% of this money is traditionally reimbursed, and historically the yearly total has continued to increase.
A mother in attendance spoke up with a lunch account concern. She passed out photocopies of her children's account slips, and stated that the math on the slips consistently does not add up. She believed that the discrepancy is due to a student's balance from the previous year being forwarded to the new year. She expressed concern, however, that other parents might be looking at these slips and wondering what was going on. Dr. Chichura stated that this was being worked on.
During public comment at the October 9 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council, the question arose about a building on Main Street that had been condemned. Doug Arthur asked if council would lift the condemnation order, as he had recently purchased the building with the intent to renovate it. He planned to begin work immediately and expects it to be completed by spring. But, he could not get insurance on it while it is classified as condemned. Mike Matis said that while it is in the boro’s best interest to work with Mr. Arthur, he was concerned that lifting the condemnation might put the boro in a position of liability if the order was lifted and then something were to happen. After discussion, it was agreed that a meeting should be set up for the following Thursday with Mr. Arthur and Shane Lewis (Codes); Mr. Arthur agreed that there should be a point-by-point discussion of issues of concern. Mr. Arthur said that one issue was the lack of a fire escape, and he does plan to put one in.
Mr. Arthur also expressed concern about vandalism to another of his properties at 107 Willow Ave. He said that kids have been using the yard as a shortcut to Erie Ave., and he was concerned about the possible hazard. He does plan to put up a fence, but in the meantime there has also been vandalism to the house itself. One council member noted that several of the businesses in the area do have security cameras that may have caught the vandals on tape.
In other business, council extended their appreciation to the group that put together the Harvest of the Arts, which the boro had hosted the previous weekend. The boro is hosting an art exhibit, From Heart to Hand, during the month of October, which is coordinated through the Northern Tier Cultural Alliance. During the opening weekend, the Harvest of the Arts was held to showcase local crafters and organizations, as well as a farmers’ market. The Harvest of the Arts was hosted by the Susquehanna Community Development Association and its members, chairman Alice Deutsch in particular, as well as Margaret Biegert of TREHAB and Chris Davis, a local business owner, were all commended for a job well done. The events were said to have drawn tourists to the area, as well as local residents, and council expressed a hope that a similar event could be hosted again next year.
During review of the bill list, there was a question about the monthly charges for the police department’s cell phones, which came to $217.98. Mayor Reddon assured council that the matter had been taken care of, and would not be a problem in the future.
Police officer Joe DeMuro officially submitted his resignation, and it was accepted with regret.
Mayor Reddon said that the latest news about the New York Regional Interconnect project has been back in the news lately; it would seem that there are renewed plans to route power lines through Wayne and Susquehanna counties. Bill Perry said that the EPA has stepped in, and are exercising the right of eminent domain; the power line, he said, is going in. As other local municipalities have enacted ordinances that would cover such situations, it was agreed to contact some of them for information on what their ordinances entail.
Bill Kuiper reported that there had been a sizable fuel spill on upper Main St. recently. Although some absorbent materials had been applied, he questioned whether the situation had been handled correctly. There had been a rather large puddle where the fuel had settled. Tom Kelly said that the fire department should have been notified; they have hazmat training and would have known what the proper procedures are. Ron Whitehead suggested that, since it is a public safety issue, the gas station owner should be notified about the incident. Mr. Matis agreed, and said that the letter should also include what proper measures should be taken. Mayor Reddon suggested that the county Emergency Management Agency be contacted to find out what should be done in such situations. Mr. Kuiper agreed, and noted that the owner be requested to ensure that employees are aware of the proper procedures.
Secretary Ann Stewart reported that she had been contacted by an individual who was interested in becoming a constable; he had said that he would need to obtain approval from all of the municipalities in Susquehanna County to do so. But, Mr. Kuiper said that it was his understanding that this individual resides in Windsor, New York, and would therefore be ineligible to be a constable in Pennsylvania. No action was taken.
Correspondence included notification from PennDOT as to the current members of the District 4 Municipal Services staff and contact information. PennDOT will be conducting light pole inspections, and included an outline of problems they would be looking for, such as poles that were improperly installed.
Penelec sent a letter outlining their new policy for installation of high pressure sodium vapor street lights; if a customer requests an underground system, the additional cost shall be borne by the customer. Special equipment, in excess of 16 feet in length, may be furnished at the company’s option, upon written request, and the additional cost shall be borne by the customer.
And, John Bronchella extended appreciation to Margaret Biegert and Commissioner Roberta Kelly for their help in getting a collapsed building on Broad Ave. demolished. This was done through Phase I of the Elm Street project.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 p.m. in the high school cafeteria at the Susquehanna Community School District, as the council meeting room will still be occupied by the From Heart to Hand exhibition.
On September 25 a theft occurred in Great Bend, in the Bilo parking lot in front of Reddon's Drug Store. Tonya Roe of Action Fire and Safety, located in Kirkwood, NY, parked her vehicle in said lot and entered the drugstore. While she was there an unknown perpetrator accessed her vehicle and stole a bank bag containing a large amount of cash. The investigation is continuing.
On September 19, Sandra Rieck was attempting to cross SR 11 in the area of the Hallstead Plaza, in Great Bend. Riecke failed to notice approaching traffic, which was coming southbound from the intersection of 11 and 171. Walter Seaman of Binghamton was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier and struck Riecke. She was transported from the scene to Wilson Hospital by Great Bend-Hallstead ambulance, having sustained moderate injury from the collision.
Sometime between the 28th of September and the 8th of October, one or more persons unlawfully entered the residence of Robert and Joan Potter in Thompson. Approximately $212 in loose change, which was stored in empty glass jars, was removed from the scene.
Between the 16th and 17th of September, unknown persons removed two skid steer forks from outside the Suit-Kote business in Great Bend Township. The forks are reported to be 4 ft. in lengh, black, and universal fit.
On September 7, at about 11:44 p.m., David Fitzpatric-Depue of Friendsville was traveling southbound on SR 848 in Apolacon Twp. Fitzpatrick-Depue lost control of his vehicle, partially exited the roadway, struck a mailbox, crossed a private driveway, and hit a wooden fence. His vehicle then exited the roadway entirely and impacted with a tree, turning over onto the passenger's side of the vehicle sometime during this accident. Fitzpatrick-Depue exhibited signs of intoxication, and results of BAC testing are being awaited. Charges may be filed, pending these results.
Between September 8 and October 6, a hunting Cabin in Middletown Twp. was broken into and the interior ransacked. A circular saw and weed trimmer were removed.
On October 4, an altercation occurred between Damon Osborne and an unnamed male juvenile in the New Milford Square in New Milford Borough. Osborne reportedly approached the victim, accusing him of trash talking his sister. He then proceeded to slap the victim, push him off the pavilion, and break his tooth by punching him in the mouth. The investigation is continuing.
Between September 21 and 24, several items were stolen from a stone quarry belonging to Ralph Fruehan of Brackney. Three different generators, two stone saw blades, a water pump, and chisels/hammers were taken.
Between September 28 and October 2, two catalytic converters were removed from vehicles parked at the Simmons-Rockwell Car Dealership on SR 11 in Great Bend Twp.
Between the 19th and 30th of September, three tires were slashed on two personal vehicles belonging to state troopers, while they were parked in the PSP Gibson parking lot.
Between September 28 and October 1, unknown perpetrators entered property belonging to the Buckhorn Rod and Gun Club in Harmony Twp. They proceeded to dump oil into a pond which was being used, and was located in an area that is being quarried.
On October 1, an unknown person vandalized property at the Queen of Harts bar in New Milford. The perpetrator, who was seen to be wearing dark clothing and a hoodie (to cover his face), damaged the tubing which leads from the propane tank into the kitchen of the bar. He was observed running north along the railroad track from New Milford at 11:30 p.m. that night.
TRAFFIC COLLISIONS (DEER INDUCED)
On September 28, Grace Magill of Montrose was traveling on SR 2023 in Rush Twp when she swerved to avoid a deer, exited the roadway, and rolled her vehicle over a bank. On October 4, Robert Applegate of Susquehanna was driving on SR0092 in Jackson Twp., also swerved to avoid a deer, exited the roadway, and rolled his vehicle onto its roof.
HIT & RUN TRAFFIC COLLISION
On September 7, a collision/confrontation occurred in the parking lot of the Pump ‘N’ Pantry in Lenox Twp. The accident occurred when driver #1, who had been parked facing the store, attempted to back out of his parking spot and hit a car driven by Beth Anesko of Fulton, NY. Anesko was parked at the gas pumps at the time. The unknown driver got out of his vehicle and confronted Anesko and her passenger. He refused to provide the required information and fled the scene. This man is described as a white male in his 20's, 5'7” tall with short blond hair and a goatee. He was driving a new dark/navy blue pick-up truck without a license plate, and was last seen traveling north on Creek Road toward Harford. Anyone with information regarding the identity of this driver is to please contact PSP Gibson.
FATAL CRASH (ATV)
On September 27, William Traver of Friendsville was traveling north on T768 when his vehicle exited the roadway onto the west berm. The right side tire of the vehicle struck a tree, and Traver was ejected from it, hitting his head on a tree and coming to rest against other trees approximately 15' away. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 07:33 a.m. by Lackawanna County Coroner Timothy Rowland. He was not wearing a helmet.
Between September 17 and 24, an unknown person slashed two canvas tents located on Camp Iroquina property in Liberty Twp.
If you have information regarding any of these matters please contact the Gibson State Police at (570) 465-3154.
Lynn C. and Anne G. Bayly to George H. Stover III, in Great Bend Borough for $70,000.00.
Shirley M. and Earl L. Walsh (Estate), Lois, Robert, David H. and Roy Kennedy to Paul O. and Margaret M. Ortlip, in Uniondale Borough for $47,500.00.
Michael Scott and Catherine Lee McCain to Gregory T. Piechocki, in New Milford Borough for $87,550.00.
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. to Federal National Mortgage Assoc., in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Federal National Mortgage Assoc. (AKA) Fanniemae to Allen G. and Lisa M. Jones, in Lathrop Township for $54,000.00.
Theron L., Sr. and Lee Ann Page to Gregory Page, in New Milford Township for $130,000.00.
Richard Decker to Jeanne F. Decker, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Christopher T., Cathleen A., Skip M., Lawrence D. and Kelly A. Tracy to Valentine F. Grabek, in New Milford Township for $28,000.00.
Kevin E. Schrader to TNT I Limited Partnership, in New Milford Township for $2,300,000.00.
Charles D. (By Sheriff) and Shannon L. Gorton (By Sheriff) AKA Shannon L. Phillips (By Sheriff) to Wells Fargo Bank, in Gibson Township for $2,541.11.
Diane M. and Douglas Ives to Randy L. and Jocetta E. Brown, in Auburn Township for $5,000.00.
Paul H. and Inez Jean Lyne to Larry S. Lyne, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
John, Candace and Carolyn Yakubik to Elkdale Management LP, in Clifford Township for $280,000.00.
Wayne Morton to Joshua Capwell, in Silver Lake Township for $60,000.00.
John and Alberta C. Spillar to Roger G. Swinburn and Cynthia Jane Williams, in Lenox Township for $138,100.00.
Brenda J. and Beverly J. Frost to Brenda J. and Beverly J. Frost, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Brenda J. and Beverly J. Frost to Brenda J. and Beverly J. Frost, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Thomas J. Lopatofsky, Jr. and Donna M. Fekette to Myles C. and Alissa Kilmer, in Lathrop Township for $112,000.00.
Robert C. and Grace E. Wert to Jerry W. Guizar, Jr., in Montrose for $58,000.00.
Louis J. and Isabel A. Montone to John D. and Jennifer L. Gregory, in Silver Lake Township for $183,000.00.
Edwin Hamton II and Anne D. Shafer to Dennis and Geraldine Nagy, in Silver Lake and Liberty Townships for one dollar.
Gerard and Linda Sachney to Gerard and Linda Sachney, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Diane K. Nye (NBM), Diane K. and Timothy E. Murray to Diane K. and Timothy E. Murray, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Thomas G. and Catherine Holleran to Chad D. and Melissa S. Perry, in New Milford Borough for $23,000.00.
Cara S. Valentine-Brady (NKA) Cara S. Valentine to Cara S. Valentine, in Oakland Borough for one dollar.
James M. Sellitto to Donald Haynes III, in Thompson Borough for $90,000.00.
Karen and Robert P. Woodbridge to Karen M. Woodbridge, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Timothy E. Ignatovich, Jr. and Kari Sue Rick, both of Forest City.
Walter S. Frankowski, Jr. and Deborah J. Donelan, both of New Milford.
David R. Evans of Tunkhannock vs. Donna Lee Evans of Binghamton, married 1989.
John A. Price vs. Robin L. Price, both of Hallstead, married 1989.
Eric J. Glemser vs. Patricia Ann Glemser, both of Meshoppen, married 1998.
Franklin R. Moser of Forest City vs. Jeannie L. Moser of Allentown, married 1992.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe