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The Susquehanna County Board of Elections met on Friday November 9 to verify the accuracy and check the write-in votes to make sure all "good" votes were counted and no mistakes were made.
The finalized, official results of the 2007 election may not be known until Monday or even Tuesday (after press time), an official stated. "It is hard to tell at this time, it totally depends on what problems or concerns may come in."
The Election Board consists of Rick Ainey, Dawn Wilson, Carolyn Paccio, County Registrar Gary Wilder, Kay Garner, Barbara Squier and Donna Gillette.
All were sworn in to "canvass and compute, swear impartially" to uphold the duties of their office.
Concerns arose right from the beginning, as the machine count was accurate, but the human error factor entered into the picture, and the ballot box had to be opened to be counted by hand. Votes had to be tallied and equal to the machine count and/or subject to human error, the missing or extra votes must be counted for "every one."
The board, beginning at 9 a.m., continued through the next three municipalities, each having “off” items which required the individual ballot boxes to be opened. At noontime, Bridgewater Township was just being finished, when Chief Clerk, Sylvia Beamer called for a lunch break.
The board reconvened at approximately 12:45 and continued their painstakingly, time-consuming job of hand checking votes, write-ins, ballot boxes and the like.
Among the issues which arose were ovals not blackened in, incorrect spelling of names, wrong names, and two votes for one person. Attorney Raymond Davis was summoned to inform the Board of the correct process in this instance, which turned out that, in that case one vote only counts.
Carol Paccio stated, "Every box could be opened, then there would be no need for a recount." Kay Garner added, “We want to do it right the first time."
Rick Ainey stated that maybe the people in charge at the polls "should come here and do this job. Talk about on-the-job training!" He received a unanimous "yes" from the entire room.
Chief Clerk Sylvia Beamer informed the Board, “It is extremely important that each ballot box be sealed and signed by two board members." Ainey assured Beamer, “Each tag is being written on!"
There may be some discrepancies, as in the blackening in of the oval counting. This reporter was informed by an attorney that it is the law, that if the intent of the voter was clear, then that vote may be used.
When questioned as to why the process is taking what seemed to be a long time, Beamer responded, “They must match exactly, and it all depends on the problem (concern) that is (on hand )."
Beamer stated she was unable to comment on when the "official votes" will be announced, "at this time.'" They were working over the weekend. "It could be Monday, or maybe even Tuesday. We just have to wait and see."
She also said that she couldn't comment on whether the write-in votes could have a big effect on the third commissioners’ seat, “Not at this point, until all tallies are in and accounted for."
On the lighter side, there were votes for: Chuckie Cheese, anyone, anyone else, someone else, Homer Simpson, Larry the Cable Guy, Cleo the Cat and bringing it closer to home, Lori in the front office got a vote for auditor, then "George Baker," and "Mary Ann Kelley."
The Transcript will have announcement of the official voting results as they are available. Please stay tuned, this will be an interesting election.
The Rail Authority's November meeting was held on November 9 at the Susquehanna County Office Building. Attending were Authority members: Chairman Rowland Sharp, Kenneth Bondurant Vice Chairman, Thomas Wooden Secretary/Treasurer, Bob McNamara and Joseph White.
Also in attendance was Robert Templeton, County Planning and reporter Staci Wilson. Member P. Jay Amadio was excused from attendance for health reasons. Janet Haulton was absent again this month for a total of four missed meetings.
One of the main discussions included ideas for meeting with the newly elected county commissioners, explaining the situation and the reasons for the need of Susquehanna County to acquire the train stop within the county to help build commerce and transportation. "We just need to bring them up to speed," Thomas Wooden stated.
The newly elected officials also have to nominate a new chairperson for the upcoming year. "We will recommend Rowland," Wooden, White and Bondurant stated. But it is up to the commissioners for the final appointment.
Also on the top of the list were letters to the following: Janet Haulton, asking her status on the attendance of meetings or lack thereof.
A letter to Attorney Raymond Davis, County Solicitor, inquiring why he has not yet met with the Authority's attorney to discuss the Rail Authority's issues.
Previously in letters to Commissioner Mary Ann Warren, Sharp said, "It was agreed upon that the county solicitor meet in direct contact with our attorney, Patrick Lavelle. Later, it was learned that the solicitor, the county commissioners, authority members, and Craig Shuey all met in April, 2007."
Sharp questioned that possibly, "Political games were being played that caused the Rail Authority to not be able to get the financing necessary to complete the project."
He added that due to the "lack of action by Commissioners Warren and Kelly, as well as on the part of Central Bradford Progress Authority, that members of the Authority feel they have wasted their time and personal funds."
Continuing, he stated, "regardless of the outcome of the election, this issue will not go away."
Again a request was made for Attorney Davis to contact Rail Authority Attorney Patrick Lavelle.
Commissioner Warren responded, stating that she had contacted Solicitor Davis, who said, "No, he had not contacted Lavelle and could not do so until he had two commissioners tell him before doing so."
Sharp detailed a response on November 1, stating "No written agreement for site of property was entered upon. There is no written agreement in place because there is no support from the Central Bradford Progress Authority, or Commissioners Warren and Kelly.”
And, "As of November 9, 2007 Mr. Raymond Davis has not contacted Attorney Lavelle.
"We are anxiously awaiting Mr. Davis' call.
"We are now in the process of sending back approximately $5,000 of the preliminary engineering grant we received in the amount of $25,000. The amount spent was allocated for engineering funding and other needed aspects of the plan.
"Previously, we also had to close up the Startup Administration Grant, awarded to us because the time limit elapsed," Chair Sharp stated.
The Central Bradford Progress Authority has been hired by Susquehanna County to perform the duties an economic department should be performing.
The cost of hiring this economic developmental "arm" of Susquehanna County, basically amounts to approximately $50,000 for a three-year period. “That figure breaks down to a little over $16,000 plus every year." Bondurant added.
"We should have had our own funding," Sharp disclosed to this reporter, "but no action has been taken, and we pay our own conference fees, lodging, and meals from our own pockets. At one time, the county did actually give us $1,000 of the start-up grant used specifically for an ‘Authority’ (in freeman's terms to set up the actual Rail Authority).”
The next rail Authority Meeting will be held on Friday, December 14, at 10 a.m. at the County Office Building.
The Montrose Borough Council does pays attention to the little things, as well as to the large. At the November 5 meeting, topics of discussion ranged from the revivification of renter rules to the cost of cameras (with discussion of a one-cent donation thrown in for good measure).
Some months ago, the decision had been made to look into purchasing cameras, to monitor the park and allay misbehavior. Councilman Reimel came back to the council at this meeting, explaining that the months without news did not signify forgetting, but an inability, until now, to find something suitable. With the new four-camera system, borough employees should be able to monitor various areas. The system can be panned and watched remotely; the feed can be recorded or viewed via an i.p. address.
Frank Spickerman, the borough's zoning officer, may soon be the borough's code enforcement officer as well. It was stated that all which would be needed for this change would be for Frank to attend a short course. Currently there is no CEO in the borough; codes can be difficult to enforce. COG would charge $25/hr. to enforce the codes, in addition to a $35/hr. charge for travel time. The idea was expressed that without a means of enforcing a new law, there was no sense in having it.
One of these new laws may be the resurrection of the renter's ordinance, which legislation was recently discussed over several months before being tabled. The resurgence in interest this time could be at least partially traced to the visit by tenants at October’s meeting, coupled with visitors at the current meeting representing concerned neighbors from Laurel and Cliff Streets. They came to urge the consideration of a an ordinance which would hold both landlords and tenants responsible for the upkeep of properties and the behavior of the tenants while within them. The main presenter brought with her photos and anecdotes of four properties located in close vicinity to these streets, which she felt to be kept up poorly. In addition, the police, it was reported, have been called repeatedly regarding noise issues and other disruptions. This led to a brief discussion of what should/could be done to solve problems with troublesome tenants. One suggestion was to raise the fines for noise, etc., so that they mean something. Another was to actually adopt a resolution. It was decided that council members would read through examples (two brought by the women and some which the borough secretary had compiled). The meeting was not to be adjourned but recessed until November 13 at 7:00. At this time the potential ordinance will be discussed further.
One resolution was made at the meeting, officially commending Ed DeWitt, Citizen of the Year. Gratitude was expressed for his contributions to the community, as well as apologies for not doing so before. It is hoped that these sentiments will be expressed to Mr. DeWitt himself in the near future.
Discussion at the Great Bend Township Supervisors meetings always includes the roads, or more precisely, the condition of the township’s roads, and the meeting of November 5 was no exception. An Emerson Rd. resident has been requesting that improvement for that road be included in next year’s budget. The township did patch some potholes, but other, older ones have resurfaced with the heavy rain the area saw recently. He asked if those could be scraped and filled with cold patch.
George Haskins and some of his neighbors have requested that the township take over what is now considered driveway, and convert it to a township road. Doing so, he said would promote development of several properties, aid possible future growth of the township and increase its tax base. The area in question is 2.467 miles, and Mr. Haskins said that the township taking it over would benefit all of the owners whose properties abut it, not just a few.
The supervisors reviewed a map where the “road” is and discussed whether or not to approve the request. Mrs. Guinan said that the state recommends that they look over such areas before any official decision is made.
One concern is that trucks can’t turn at the bottom of a hill on the road. At Mr. Haskins’ request, the fire company was asked to take a truck through and see if they encountered any problems. They took a 38-foot truck and encountered no problems. The township’s truck can handle the turn, but there is concern that a tri-axle would encounter problems. Mr. Haskins suggested that a radius or a corner could be put in, to ensure that trucks can get by. Mrs. Guinan felt that should be the owners’ responsibility, before the township considers taking over the road.
Mr. Haskins felt that another advantage of the township taking over the road would be better access to some areas for emergency vehicles.
A member of the audience asked, “Why would the township want to take on more road when they can’t take care of what they already have?” Mr. Haskins said that the township would get Liquid Fuels money for the road, but Mrs. Guinan pointed out that Liquid Fuels pays $2,600/mile; would what the township gets for the road be enough to cover repairs? Mr. Squier offered the opinion that the road is probably as good as any in the township now.
Mrs. Guinan reiterated that she would like PennDOT to look at it before any decision is made, and made a motion to do so, but did not get a second. No (other) action was taken, and presumably PennDOT will be asked to take a look before the subject is brought up for a vote.
An Airport Road resident relayed that speeders are still a problem there, even though the township has posted speed limit signs. He also had concerns about the road being too soft, so that when stone is applied, it “sinks” down and doesn’t help to hold down the dust. The original road bed, he said, was clay; when it was put in, they took out gravel. “It was not prepared properly,” he said, and the top is gone, it needs a gravel bed. With all aware of how expensive this could be, he suggested that another bridge at the other end of the road would be a help, but that, too, would be exorbitantly expensive. In the meantime, he said that the State Police insist that it is a private road and would not patrol it unless they received a letter from the supervisors stating that it was a public road; the supervisors agreed to send one.
Correspondence included a lengthy letter from Commissioner Jeff Loomis, containing information about a (new) Dubois Creek watershed association. Similar information was sent to homeowners along the creek, the letter said, to clear up misconceptions. The watershed association is a nonprofit organization, formed to protect homeowners in the future, would allow direct contact with PEMA and FEMA, minimize confusion, and would not conflict with or take money away from other watershed associations. The letter went on to say that Mark Wood, the county Emergency Management Agency Director, should be contacted for further information.
There were some questions, particularly why a new association was formed, when there was already one in place that covers Dubois Creek. Mr. Squier speculated that perhaps Mr. Loomis was not aware of the existence of the other watershed association.
Flood repairs to Brants Crossing Road have been completed.
The Bridging Communities committee sent the supervisors a copy of the plans for the new sidewalk project, which, with the supervisors’ approval, is going out to bid. Their goal is to have the work done in the early spring. A motion carried to approve the plans.
There was a lengthy discussion about a driveway permit application received for the Kilmer property. A driveway had been put in without a permit, for the purpose of showing the property for sale; the permit was applied for, as the supervisors had requested, but they stipulated that drainage at another existing driveway on the property needs to be fixed before a permit for this one is issued, as it is damaging a township road.
A motion carried to approve the usual $100 donation to the county library.
Also received was a donation request from CART, which has been formed as a FEMA requirement; FEMA requires information on plans to provide for household pets in an emergency. CART was requesting a $100 donation from each county municipality to purchase equipment. Mrs. Guinan felt that if the CART was a requirement of FEMA, municipalities would be required to participate if they want future disaster funding. She noted that there were some pets displaced during the 2006 flooding, as well as people who would not evacuate if they had to leave their pets behind.
Mrs. Guinan had attended a LUCA class (local update of census addresses) for the 2010 Census. Addresses within the township would need to be checked for accuracy; she agreed to do that.
After an effort of five or six years, two new fire hydrants are going in, one on Randolph Road and one near the Colonial Brick. The water company requested the township’s endorsement of the application for the hydrants, and a motion carried to approve.
The county Housing and Redevelopment Authority is working on 2008 Community Development Block Grants; proposals from interested municipalities are due by December 31.
No word had been received from DEP on the situation at the Allard property; they will be contacted again.
Joan Long was successful in getting an extension, to January, to pay the fine that was levied against her for codes violations. After a short discussion, the supervisors agreed to give her until January to comply with the nuisance ordinance; they will start the legal process again if it is not clean by then.
Some cleanup was done at the Carter property, but it was not completed. A second letter will be sent, and action taken with the magistrate if necessary.
Joe Kovitch is willing to be the township’s Emergency Management Coordinator; Brad Krayeski, Mike VanGorden, and Cindy VanGorden are willing to be deputy EMCs. A motion carried to approve.
The proposed 2008 budget is ready for inspection, and will be voted on at the December meeting.
Concerns raised during public comment were about a proposed new building going up on Airport Road; it is apparently closer to the stream than the required fifty feet, and there is a concern about its effect on flood water. The supervisors suggested that the Conservation District be contacted, as they would have the answers to the questions that were raised.
Another question was about the regulations for reclamation of an abandoned quarry, but the owner does have a permit and began blasting (again) two weeks ago, which would indicate that the site has not been abandoned.
The next meeting will be on Monday, December 3, 7 p.m. in the township building.
Japeth Stoltzfus (By Sheriff) to Scott and Aaron Arthur, in Susquehanna for $28,339.28.
Charles F. Noldy (EST) to Cheryl B. Pascavage, in Auburn Township for $128,000.00.
Shannon L. Martin to Amanda A. and Darren M. Roe, in Oakland Borough for $70,000.00.
James T. and Joan Cook (NBM) Joan Balinas to James T. and Joan Cook, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
John H. and Darleen Sholtiss to Jayne M. Frye and Robert P. Reddon, in Great Bend Township for $45,000.00.
Marie A. Gesford (Estate AKA) Marie Gesford to Kenneth S. Gall and Dora L. Rozelle, in Forest Lake Township for $65,000.00.
Candace and Ronald W. Thomson to Shawn R. and Julie D. Burns, in Susquehanna for $20,000.00.
Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company to MTGLQ Investors LP, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.
Diane Stone (NBM) Diane Boeset and David Boeset to Franklin and Christina Sceranka, in Susquehanna for $55,000.00.
Norman E. and Arlene Welch to Jason M. Goss, in Hallstead Borough for $78,000.00.
John and Bernice Palmer to David and Luann Palmer, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
United States Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development to Ray M. and Kathleen L. Ellinger, in Choconut Township for $55,247.00.
Robert F. and Teri L. Weida to Bradley P. Fisher, in Harford Township for $30,000.00.
Philip J., Jr. and Lauri A. Pass to Philip J., Jr. and Lauri A. Pass, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Mary Slamas (AKA EST) Mary Slama to Winifred Rizner, in Forest City for one dollar.
John E., Jr. and Linda W. Spitko to Lisa M. Fisher, in Jackson Township for $67,500.00.
Anthony J. and Deborah M. Conigliaro to Janet L. Winemiller, in Harford Township for $70,000.00.
Katherine R. Brobst to Robert P. and Anita Swetter, in Springville Township for $88,500.00.
Gregory Gagliardo (Estate) to Adam C. and Casey L. Allen, in Ararat Township for $132,500.00.
Edward L. (Estate) and Romayne T. Dooley to Romayne T. Dooley, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Anna M. Pratt (Estate) to David J. and Luann Palmer, in Lathrop Township for $110,000.00.
Nancy E. and Bruce A. Strait to Scot J. and Lisa S. Ross, in Springville Township for $113,500.00.
Joseph S. (By Sheriff) and Mary Ann (By Sheriff) Gontarski to David Eddleston, in Franklin Township for $66,301.00.
Charles Siegfried and Mark H. Teufel to Steven and Ronda J. Carnwath, in Jessup Township for $58,000.00.
Camp Chen-A-Wanda, Inc. to Bahs Holdings LLC, in Ararat and Herrick Townships for $2,500,000.00.
Teresa A. (By Sheriff) and Lauren C., Jr. (By Sheriff) Hertzler to GMAC Mortgage LLC, in Dimock Township for $1,029.06.
TREHAB to French’s Auto, Inc., in Susquehanna for $10,000.00.
Debra H. Haskins to Michael J. Burke and Barbara J. Fenescey, in Oakland Borough for $70,000.00.
Allen D. Fitch, III to Nancy M. Cush, in Springville Township for $180,000.00.
Matthew J. and Mary E. Piercy to Esther H. Lambert, in Thompson Township for $660,000.00.
Edward B. Mudrak to Ernest E. Gustinucci and Sigrid J. Perry, in Gibson Township for $115,000.00.
Bruce H. and Doris T. Vancott to Bruce H. and Doris T. Vancott, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Norman E. and Dorothy Turner to George M. and Sandra D. Kutalek, in Liberty Township for $55,000.00.
Bruce H. and Doris T. Vancott to Marvin B and Carlene R. Vancott, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Alice T. Smith to Donald H. Vanorder, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Bruce H. and Doris T. Vancott to Luana Goff, in New Milford Township for $1,500.00.
MTGLQ Investors LP (By Atty) to Stacey Cook, in Hop Bottom Borough for $40,000.00.
Gilbert Purnell Sifers and Donna Lynn Degroat, both of Montrose.
Randy Jeff Yoskowitz and Holly Cobb, both of Thompson.
James M. Smith and Jessica M. Griffith, both of New York, NY.
Keith David Armstrong and Trish Marie Heckman, both of Hallstead.
Paul Michael Jones and Joslynn M. Zurn, both of Hallstead.
Todd Dixon and Denette A. Luchko, both of Clarks Summit.
On October 26, Elizabeth Bryant of Lawton was rounding a curve on Bow Bridge Road in Apolacon Twp. In the process of doing so, she lost control of her vehicle, which exited the roadway, traveled up an embankment, and rolled onto its roof. Both Bryant and a passenger were wearing seat belts and were uninjured.
ONE VEHICLE CRASH
On October 28, at 5:45 a.m., Steven Warner and passenger Jason Henriquez, both of Hallstead, were traveling northbound on SR. 11. Their vehicle went off the right berm, then veered left and crossed the three lanes of the road. It then exited the left berm, passed through a dirt pull off, traveled over an embankment, struck the stone ballast along the railroad tracks, crossed the tracks, and finally came to rest after striking a spare rail lying along the main line. Warner was cited for careless driving, driving under suspension, and failure to report the accident.
Between the 26th and 27th of October, one or more unknown persons broke a window out of the rear entrance door of a woman's house in Thompson, PA. Before fleeing the scene the perpetrator(s) replaced the glass panel and vacuumed up the glass.
On October 26, at around 11:45 p.m., Robert Venosh of Olyphant was traveling North on SR2027 in Clifford Twp. when he failed to negotiate a left curve properly. Venosh's vehicle traveled off the roadway and into a drainage culvert before impacting with a tree. Venosh was arrested for suspected driving under the influence of alcohol.
On October 27, Raymond McPherson was traveling west in Choconut Twp. when he failed to negotiate a curve and struck a bridge. McPherson's vehicle then crossed both lanes of traffic, went onto the opposite berm, and hit a tree, a stone wall, and a large boulder before coming to an uncontrolled stop. McPherson left the scene prior to police arrival. Numerous traffic citations will be filed. McPherson was located by fire personnel and transported to Wilson Hospital in Binghamton, NY.
ONE CAR CRASH
On November 1, Joseph Fizzano was driving west on SR 706 in Rush Twp. Fizzano lost control of his vehicle, exited the road off of the north edge of the westbound lane, and struck an embankment, a traffic sign, and a utility pole before coming to a final, uncontrolled rest. No EMS or fire responded. Fizzano was wearing his seatbelt; he was not injured.
On November 2, Timothy Shattin of Jessup lost control of a 2004 Freightliner truck while negotiating a left curve. The truck exited the roadway before striking an embankment and overturning. Shattin was not injured and was wearing his seatbelt. He was cited for causing the crash. The truck was carrying nitrogen and oxygen cylinders. A small amount of oxygen and nitrogen gas were released.
On November 3, Christopher Bellmore and Dawn Williams, both of Windsor, were traveling northbound on SR 1029 in Great Bend Twp. when their vehicle exited the road, began a clockwise rotation, impacted a ditch, and overturned onto the passenger's side. Both the driver and the passenger refused medical treatment at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, charges are pending findings.
Sometime between the 19th and 20th of October, an unknown person (or persons) broke into a home in Montrose. The perpetrator obtained entry by breaking a window (cutting himself in the process), and then used a hammer and chisel to force open a locked door and a locked closet. After removing $500 from the home, he fled the scene.
THEFT- UNAUTHORIZED USE OF M.V.
Antonio Gamboni of Thompson claims that, in August, he allowed Harold Kelsey and Felecia Wilmot to use his motorcycle for a time, due to their own vehicle supposedly not functioning. Gamboni has been unable to contact the two since. Anyone with any information on the location of the motorcycle or the people is asked to contact PSP Gibson.
On October 20, unknown perpetrator(s) are reported to have driven a vehicle over the lawn area and softball field of Rock Mt. Bible and Family Camp in Gibson Twp. A business sign was also knocked to the ground and broken apart. The investigation is ongoing.
On November 3, Andraya Iyoob and Randel Conti, of Scranton and Vandling, PA respectively, went to the Morcom residence in Lenox to pick up money that was owed them. Upon their arrival, Scott Krupovich of Nicholson put a 12 gage shotgun to their heads and told them to shut off and get out of the car. After a dispute, Iyoob and Conti drove away, with Krupovich and Derrick Morcom chasing them. Krupovich turned around in Lenoxville. Iyoob and Conti then contacted PSP Gibson. Krupovich was later charged, arraigned, and transported to the Susquehanna County Jail after failing to pay bail. He also had bench warrants outstanding from both Susquehanna and Lackawanna Counties.
ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD
Stacy Labarr of Hallstead is accused of obtaining another person's ATM card and using it to remove approximately $400 from the Pennstar Bank ATM in Hallstead, without permission.
On October 28, Robert Jenkins of S. Gibson was stopped on SR 106 in Clifford for traffic violations. Jenkins was subsequently arrested for suspicion of DUI. Charges are pending the results of a blood test.
On November 4, Jonathan Webb of Lyle, NY was riding a 2004 Suzuki Quadsport 250 on Cosmello Rd in New Milford Twp. He was not wearing a helmet. Webb struck a tree, causing him to be thrown from the ATV. He was found on the other side of a bank by friends and air lifted to Wilson General Hospital in Binghamton, NY.
TWO VEHICLE CRASH
On November 3, Norene Neiley of Wyalusing was crossing SR 267 into a lane with oncoming traffic. Neiley struck a dump truck driven by Thomas Elliot of Endicott, NY, which was traveling south at the time. The dump truck spun approximately 90 degrees counterclockwise before coming to an uncontrolled stop partially in the northbound lane, and Neiley's car crossed both lanes of traffic before coming to rest on the west berm of the road, facing north. Both operators were wearing their seatbelts.
On November 3, Rachael Cutsogeorge, a female inmate at Susquehanna County Prison, is accused of having assaulted a female corrections officer. Cutsogeorge was charged with aggravated assault and arraigned before district judge Jeff Hollister in Montrose. Bail in this case was set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing was scheduled.
On October 14, between the hours of 9 and 10 at night, Alex Gaskill of Montrose and two unnamed 17-year olds are accused of forcibly entering a residence located along Churchill Rd. in Thompson Twp. The three boys entered the home while no one was there and removed three personal computers, a Sony Playstation, other computer software/hardware, and approximately 22 PS2 video games with a total value of over $4,000. While Tpr. Michael Lohman was investigating an unrelated incident on October 22, he discovered a few of the stolen items in Gaskill's residence. The investigation led to the arrest of the other two boys as well. On November 7, all three were charged with PACC 3501 Burglary and PACC 3921 Theft.
One or more unknown person(s) are accused of stealing the contents of an unattended honor system money container, used for produce, from Ross Feed Inc. in Hop Bottom.
It’s that time of year again, when the Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to “ring the bell.” Anyone interested in helping out in Susquehanna should contact Lynn at 853–-4692. Donate some time for a good cause that benefits the residents of Susquehanna County.
Susquehanna native Tom Robinson's latest book has been released by Weigl Publishers Inc. of New York City.
Robinson wrote, "Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)," which is part of the Weigl series, "Presidents of the United States."
The book is the seventh by Robinson, a freelance editor and writer specializing in sports and educational publishing, to be released in the past two years. The Clarks Summit resident serves as sports editor of the Susquehanna County Transcript.
Robinson has three more completed manuscripts of sports books in the production stage and is in the process of writing two other books.
"Presidents of the United States" is a series of eight books intended for readers in Grades 5-8. The 48-page books focus on each president, along with the major historical events of the given era.
The book spanning 1870-1900 covers the presidencies of Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.
Following are the Starrucca Borough Council meeting minutes, as submitted.
The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular, monthly meeting on October 3 at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President Rhone, Mr. Lou Gurske, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Robert Buck, Mrs. Helen Haynes Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Anthony Palonis and Mayor Downton were present.
President Rhone called the meeting to order and the minutes from the previous meeting were read. Motion to approve carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
The minutes from a special meeting (Sept. 18) were read, and motion to approve, carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed “to the whole meeting”.
The Treasurer’s report was given and motion to approve carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
The bills were presented for payment. Motion to approve payment carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed and stated he was “opposed to the bills numbered 824 through 827 which represented: M.M. Plevyak (2), Attorney Bugaj and the Wayne Independent.”
The following correspondence was received:
A request to use the building for Elections (Wayne County Election Bureau) Motion to grant permission carried.
A notice of an appeals hearing – Wayne County Assessment Office.
A contract from Freddy’s Refuse Removal concerning garbage pickup as well as instructions and prices for the citizens. Motion to accept the contract to grant Freddy’s Refuse permission to pick up refuse in the borough carried.
Motion carried to allow Karen Downton and Jennifer Bennett the use of the Community Hall at no charge to host a Halloween Party on October 26.
Motion carried to have the bulletin board moved from the Hall to the Post Office to make it more visible by the residents.
In Borough Reports:
The Tax Collector (Kathryn Downton) was present and stated she had nothing to report.
The FEMA agent (Darl Haynes) stated all the flood work has been completed and paperwork has to be turned into PEMA. Mayor Downton asked about money coming in, and Mr. (Darl) Haynes replied to the best of his knowledge it’s all there.
The Depositions Committee reported their first set of final findings as follows:
Louis Gurske: Mr. Gurske obtained bank statements without going through or notifying council. His sole purpose was to embarrass current council and its secretary. Unredacted checks were put into the wrong hands, starting with Paul Everett. Two pieces of evidence that had been introduced referred to the NRCS having funding for the wall project, and the second from PennDOT, notifying the borough that the wall was on private property. Further, the former secretary signed Ken Rausch’s contract, which according to Borough Code, was improper. Mr. Gurske did not disclose that he was part owner of the property, which could have him ousted from office. The Depositions Committee suggested the findings be forwarded to all agencies and the District Attorney’s Office.
Mr. (Darl) Haynes asked the secretary how much has been spent to date with the attorney and the depositions. The secretary responded approximately $11,000.00
Motion carried to seek restitution for the borough, to be paid within thirty days, to all those that caused the investigation.
Mr. Palonis added to the motion, by a further motion, that the restitution will be sought, starting with Mr. Gurske, as the final report prompts him as the first responsible party and others will be assessed as final reports are made. Motion carried. Mr. Gurske stated he was opposed. Mrs. (Loreeda) Everett prompted him to say he abstained. He changed his vote to “abstained.”
Mr. (Darl) Haynes read the final findings of Laura Travis.
Laura Travis: The borough suffered no financial loss as a result of the money not being transferred from one borough fund to the other. Mr. Everett, through Mr. Gurske, obtained borough bank statements and further shared them with others. As a FEMA agent, Mrs. Travis was aware that private property was not eligible for funding through the municipality. The committee introduced a letter from PEMA dated September, 2006 stating the money for the wall project must be deobligated because the project is on private property.
The committee found there were no illegal or improper actions on the part of secretary Travis.
Mr. Haynes further stated that these reports would be sent to the state agencies, as deemed necessary, as well as the District Attorney’s office, as many documents have already been sent.
Motion carried to authorize the attorney to enforce Mayor Downton’s subpoena by Court Order or any other legal means necessary, to secure the subpoena. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
Mr. Rhone presented the three-year snowplowing agreement with Scott Township. He read the agreement, which states that Scott Township will plow and cinder the Fairmount road for $30.00 per trip and the Kellogg road for $20.00 per trip. Motion carried to approve. Mr. Gurske stated he was opposed.
President Rhone announced he obtained phone quotes for the rest of the roads to be plowed and cindered. Mr. Gurske asked why the work wasn’t bid out. President Rhone explained the bidding requirements and added that quotes are less expensive for the borough than the advertising required for bids. He stated he spoke with Bill Pykus (Bill Pykus & Sons Excavating) who said he wasn’t interested. He also asked Miller Brothers (Miller Brothers Earth Movers) who stated they were too busy. He spoke with Como Construction who agreed to perform the work for the same prices as last year. $50.00/hour for plowing and $50.00/hour for cindering with $15.00/ton for the cinders used. Motion carried to award the quote to Como Construction.
In Unfinished Business: Mayor Downton spoke to Mr. Rhone (Road Committee) about washed-out sluice pipes on what he called the “Doug way”. He also spoke of a concrete pipe “on top”. Mr. Rhone stated the Road Committee would check it out.
President Rhone explained that David Mitchell from the Wayne County Conservation District instructed that seeding and mulching was needed on the Leach Creek Road. Motion carried to purchase the hay (approx. 125 bales) and hire Miller’s Earth Movers to perform the work ($50.00/hour) ,costing about $300.00. Mr. Gurske was opposed and added “to the borough having worked on that road (Leech Creek Road) at all”.
A subdivision in the name of Buck/Rhone was presented. A review letter from the Wayne County Planning department was read. All outstanding issues have been addressed. Motion to approve carried. President Rhone and Mr. Buck abstained from the vote, as they are involved in the subdivision. Mr. Gurske was opposed, stating he wanted time to look into it.
A motion carried regarding the restitution that will be sought by the borough for those that caused the investigation (motion made earlier), that if payment is not made after the given thirty days, the borough’s solicitor will be granted the authority to use whatever legal recourse necessary to collect the funds for the borough. Mr. Gurske abstained.
Mrs. Everett asked who the Scott Township Supervisors were. The secretary responded Mr. David Harris, Mr. Erban Travis and Mr. Elbert Allen.
No further business to come before the board, meeting adjourned.
Starrucca Borough Council Minutes, October 9, 2007
The Starrucca Borough Council held a special meeting on October 9. President Rhone, Mr. Lois Gurske, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Robert Buck, Mr. Fred Rhone, and Mr. Anthony Palonis were present. Mrs. Helen Haynes and Mayor (Jack) Downton were absent.
The purpose of the meeting was to open the bids for the Buck Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project. Mrs. Everett stated she objected to this meeting, as the bids were not advertised in the newspaper of choice. The secretary explained that the council had made a motion to use the Weekly Almanac except when timing was an issue; then the Wayne Independent would be used. A total of four bids were received: Procon Contracting, $72,000.00; Pioneer Construction, $108,710.00; R. DeVincentis Const., $87,850.00; Timz Construction, $81,200.00.
After review, Mr. Palonis asked for an executive session to further discuss and Mr. Gurske explosively objected. Motion carried to table the bids for further review and deliberation, and to hold a special meeting on Friday, October 12. Mr. Gurske was opposed and stated, “It’s a Wayne County Bridge, not a Starrucca Borough Bridge.”
Mr. Rhone, representing the Depositions Committee, reported the final findings for Bridgette D’Agati as follows:
Mrs. D’Agati served on Council from August, 2004 to December, 2005. She voted to accept Ken Rauch’s proposal even though she was aware there was a lower responsible bidder. She testified that Mr. Everett (FEMA agent at that time) was to secure the GP 11 permit from DEP, which required engineering and a seal. She also was aware through a presentation of Renee Warden’s deed that the project was on private property and she never contacted PEMA concerning the issue. Since she left office she testified that she has written several letters to the offices of Governor Rendell, Congressman Sherwood and Senator Lemmond. The Committee found that she defied and ignored legal guidelines concerning the project.
Mr. (Darl) Haynes, Chairman of the Depositions Committee read directly from the FEMA guidelines: “Funds for the repair of flood control works are available through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) PL 84-99 program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection program. Because the repair of flood control works falls under the authority of other Federal agencies, FEMA cannot provide public assistance funds for the permanent repair of flood control works. This restriction applies even if funding is not available from the other agencies.”
He further read two letters from the borough solicitor, addressed to Paul Everett. The first, dated August 7, 2006 wanting to meet, and offering a special meeting if necessary, based on his availability, to gain his input to help resolve the matter for the borough.
The second, dated January 17, 2007 concerning the bank records and alleged financial irregularities, invited him to attend the February meeting of council and bring with him any records and cancelled checks,
“To my knowledge,” Mr. Haynes said, “Mr. Everett did not attend the February meeting, nor did he answer either letter.
He, referring to Mr. Everett, testified that he turned over paperwork to many state agencies.
There was no public comment.
No further business to come before the Board, meeting adjourned.
Starrucca Borough Council Minutes, October 12, 2007
The Starrucca Borough Council met for a special meeting on October 12. President Rhone, Mr. Louis Gurske, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Robert Buck, Mr. Fred Rhone and Mayor Downton were present. Mr. Anthony Palonis and Mrs. Helen Haynes were absent.
The purpose of the meeting was to decide the outcome of the bids received on the Buck’s Road Rehabilitation Project. Council members were provided with results of both sets of bids. President Rhone stated the first round of bids were rejected and read the results of the second set of bids. Procon Construction, $72,000.00; Pioneer Construction, $108,710.00; R. DeVencentis Construction, $87,850.00; Timz Construction, $81,200.00.
Motion carried to award the bid to Procon Construction for the bid price of $72,000.00.
Mayor Downton asked, “How do you plan on coming up with this?” stating that $1,200.00 is still owed to Delta Engineers.
President Rhone told him he felt the project is “workable,” using both General and State Liquid Fuels funds. Mr. Gurske stated he was “opposed. It’s a county bridge, and that was proven by Mike Lehutsky”.
The Depositions Committee read their final findings on former secretary Pat Schneyer:
She served from December, 2004 to December, 2005. The ad placed in the newspaper, by her, did not match the “scope of work” as written by FEMA. She signed Ken Rauch’s contract without the authority of council to do so. The Borough Code does not authorize the secretary to sign legal contracts that bind the borough council. She also stated that Paul Everett filled out the GP 11 permit for the project, without the engineering and design as required. She further admitted, under oath, involvement in contacting government agencies in the furtherance of the project using the FEMA funds.
At the request of Paul Everett she testified, she went to his house where they reviewed cancelled checks (front and back) of borough accounts which compromises the borough records in an unauthorized manner. She was aware that the project was on private property and that FEMA would not pay for projects on private property.
The committee found that Pat Schneyer committed serious acts of misfeasance and breached her fiduciary and legal duties to the borough council and the citizens of Starrucca Borough. Further, they recommend she be sanctioned for her acts of commission and omission and the report be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office and appropriate agencies for action against her and costs of the investigation be assessed against her.
Motion carried to have Pat Schneyer make restitution to the borough, within thirty days, in the amount of $11,000.00 for her involvement in borough issues. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
Motion carried that if payment is not made within the thirty days, the borough shall authorize the solicitor the legal authority to collect the payment. Mr. Gurske opposed.
Mr. (Darl) Haynes reported the Depositions Committee continues their work, and will report more findings in the future.
In Public Comment:
Mr. Robert Weldy asked who voted “in favor of the bridge.” Answer: President Rhone, Mr. Haynes, Mr. Buck and Mr. Rhone, with Mr. Gurske being opposed. Mr. Weldy further added he looked at “Kirk’s deed” (President Rhone) and found that he owns property on either side of the bridge. “Therefore you own the bridge, like Renee Warden owns the wall.” President Rhone attempted to explain that it was not the same thing.
Mr. (Erban) Travis asked the Depositions Committee if he could obtain copies of the findings for his attorney, and Mrs. Everett snapped, “for $2.00 a page”.
Mayor Downton accused Mr. (Darl) Haynes of distributing copies of the findings “around town.” Mr. (Darl) Haynes responded, “They are public record.”
Mrs. Everett accused the board of having secret deliberations (concerning the Buck’s road bridge project) without Mr. Gurske, asking when and where they happened. President Rhone stated there was none. Several more questions were asked, suggesting council met to discuss and deliberate the issue, lead to Mr. (Donald) Haynes stating, “I’m my own man, and I make my own decisions, Mrs. Everett.”
Mrs. Everett then addressed President Rhone, “You did not mention where Tony (Mr. Palonis) is. President Rhone apologized and told Mr. Palonis couldn’t make it tonight, and Mrs. Haynes is not feeling well.
Mr. Weldy asked when the project (Buck’s road bridge) is to start? Answer: It’s up to the contractor.
When will it be done, he further asked. Answer: It’s up to the contractor.
The meeting became unruly and motion carried to adjourn.
The main item discussed at the November 8 meeting of the Oakland Boro Council was the budget for 2008. With no changes to the proposed budget as presented, the boro would find itself with a $15,000 shortfall. The decision, then, was to pare it down or increase the millage.
One major item is the new boro garage. Its cost will be split between the boro and the water company, with the boro paying 60%. That will mean that the water rates will be raised by about $10 per quarter, but the alternative would be a significant tax increase. As it is, a two mill increase is necessary.
Some items included in the budget are an additional two hours per week for secretary Flo Brush, from 18 to 20. Also included is an hourly pay raise for streets/water worker Jeff Wayman. The raise, 60¢ per hour from the boro and 40¢ per hour from the water department, is contingent on what the cost will be for a different health insurance policy, which the boro provides. The current policy has an extraordinarily high deductible, which some felt was tantamount to paying a lot of money for nothing.
Also included in the budget is an increase for the police department’s allocation, from $5,000 per year to $6,000. Mayor Dudley felt that the increase would allow the boro to offer an occasional eight-hour shift to officers, which in turn would offer the boro a better opportunity for retention of officers. And, the mayor pointed out, even with such short shifts, the officers are bringing revenue into the boro, just over a thousand dollars last year.
Mayor Dudley reported that the police had worked five shifts during the month of October. Fourteen traffic stops had been conducted, and one assist to Susquehanna Boro. Mischief Night and Halloween had passed, with the most serious complaint being kids who were toilet papering. The radio was being repaired, and the grant money that has been awarded to the department should be received early in December. The department’s two officers had recently taken their recertification tests, and an additional officer was still being sought. Mayor Dudley said that, with only three or four hour shifts available, it did not seem to be worthwhile for the time and expense involved for an officer to travel to the boro. Although the hourly pay is competitive, the number of hours the boro can offer was a deterrent to finding another officer.
Several codes violations were said to be progressing; the solicitor is handling one case; at another site, vehicles have been ticketed and will be towed if necessary; one owner has complied; and one case was tabled for further discussion.
A special meeting had been held to open bids for building the boro’s new garage. Four had been received, with the highest at $134,500. Low bid came from Dave Dibble Construction, at $82,700; this bid was accepted. Now a decision had to be made about financing it. Two local banks had been contacted for rates on 15 year loans. One offered a fixed-rate loan, but the other offered a fixed rate for the first five years, with an adjustable “capped” rate for the ensuing years. It was agreed that this bank should be contacted again for an offer on a fixed-rate loan. After discussion, a resolution was adopted authorizing Ron Beavan to proceed with whichever loan was at the best rate.
A motion carried to turn over the remainder of the year’s budget allocation, about $400, to the parks and rec. committee. The committee submitted a project list of items they are working on.
The final discussion was about the new sidewalks being put in on State Street. As part of the project bid, the company putting in the new walks will get to remove any stone sidewalks, as ownership of that stone is part of the project specs. Any homeowner who removes the stone prior to the new walks being put in runs the risk of not being included in the replacement project.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.
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