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Although there was a definite quorum at their January meeting, the Rail Authority Board must wait for new the Susquehanna County commissioners to appoint the Rail's chairperson for 2008.
Although Rowland Sharp was present, he declined to act as chairman because he "wasn't actually appointed for the position," plus there are two other positions which need to be filled.
Ken Bondurant, Vice Chairman acted as chair throughout the meeting.
In attendance were Rowland Sharp, former chairperson; Ken Bondurant, vice chairman; Thomas Wooden, secretary/treasurer; Robert McNamara; Joseph White was absent due to illness; Jim Jennings and Don Kowalewski were also on hand.
Nominated for the following offices were (temporarily until appointment of a chair by county commissioners): chairman – Ken Bondurant; vice chairman – Joe White; secretary/treasurer, Thomas Wooden.
Attorney Patrick J. Lavelle was retained for the 2008 term.
The officers of the authority voiced their approval and recommended that Rowland Sharp be retained as chairman. The statement was unanimously approved by the officers and Robert McNamara. They stated that they had previously nominated Sharp, but have not heard any news from the new commissioners, as of yet. "It is still early," Bondurant assured those in attendance.
Mr. Bondurant stated that the authority was looking forward to meeting with the new commissioners, and added that he had prepared a packet of information about the Rail Authority for each of the commissioners, to help them become acquainted with the authority. He also added that he had spoken with Commissioners Giangrieco and Allen and they were uninformed of the meeting. There was no word from Commissioner Warren.
"I know that it is an exceptionally busy time for them, and I hope they will come to our next meeting so we can all get on board." Bondurant added.
There are two seats to fill as well as appointment of a Chairperson, as P. Jay Amadio and Janet Haulton resigned from the authority just a short time ago.
A letter was sent out to Attorney Raymond Davis and the previous commissioners regarding progress of correspondences from the authority, which has not yet been answered.
The authority has closed out a $25,000 startup/administration grant due to the elapsed date.
Discussion was held that the idea of having our own "Economic Development arm of Susquehanna County" would be most beneficial, as it would be working for its own county and could work for many agencies within the county.
Funding for the authority was a point of concern, as the budget is currently approximately under $150.
Last year, several members of the authority had to pay out of their own pockets for the expenses of insurance and other costs to keep the liability and the whole authority running. The insurances were paid because the authority is liable for its actions and they had to have the coverage to keep running.
In addition to the running expenses of the authority, members also paid their own seminar fees, gas and meal expenses.
This reporter checked with Susquehanna County chief clerk, Sylvia Beamer, regarding whether the county or the state is responsible for covering the expenses of the Rail Authority . Mrs. Beamer stated, "I am going to have to assume that the Rail Authority pays their own bills. I don't know anything about them."
Don Kowalewski inquired about the reality/possibility of a transloading facility in Susquehanna County and how soon, and if there would also be passenger trains as well.
There is the possibility of not only a loading site and, in future, maybe even passengers could also be embarking on a train from the New Milford area facility.
However, Ken Bondurant stated, "We must first get the backing of the commissioners and the funding required; there is money out there for it."
"The railroad would allow businesses to ship their goods on the train," rather than having numbers of trucks hauling the wares, according to Mr. Wooden.
In checking with Senator Madigan's office, Craig Shuey, Director of Senate Transportation Committee, Harrisburg, suggested that both the authority and the commissioners have to come together before the state can issue any funding for the proposed transloading facility at the New Milford site.
He added that if this "problem or personality conflict" between the commissioners and the authority would be ironed out, progress could be made on the actual transloading facility, which had been slated for the New Milford area.
"It would be a good, very good, thing for Susquehanna County; not only could it create more jobs, it is an option that would bring more transportation, more industry to Susquehanna County.” He also stated, "This matter needs to be resolved before any movement on the project can take place... We have come to two meetings to try to iron this out, but ( to no avail).
"It is definitely a positive project, with positive results for Susquehanna County,” Shuey stated. "It may be a good idea to get the interested industries involved, to get this moving. We here would like to help them all we can.”
Shuey remarked that the funding could possibly come from both the county and the authority, but if the authority ran up extensive bills they would have to pay them. "Those are questions the commissioners need to address," he said.
"We extend a welcome to the commissioners to come to our next meeting, February 8, at 10 a.m. in the County Office Building. We do look forward to working with them on this positive project for Susquehanna County’s benefit," Ken Bondaunt offered.
The Elk Lake and SCCTC school board met on Tuesday January 15th, despite snowy roads and an important boys’ basketball game (which Elk Lake reportedly won over Susquehanna by the end of the night). Topics at the meeting included gas leases, technical fouls, vo-tech programs, and multiple commendations of the district, its staff, and its students.
In part because of the snowy roads, the audit was the first item discussed (allowing the auditor to get back on the road quickly). Both schools received clean or unqualified opinions on their finances, which is the highest rating afforded. He thanked Elk Lake for its cooperation, and they thanked he and his associates for their work.
The school is approaching its gas lease decision, and although the actual decision was postponed to a special meeting on Wednesday, January 30 at 8:30 p.m., much discussion on the topic was had that night. At the previous public meeting, held in December, a number of companies came to the district and presented their plans to the board. Since that time three specific proposals had come in, and it was stated that others could be obtained. One person proposed that the district analyze them for two things: 1.) do they meet the legal extent of the law, and 2.) what do they offer per acre, and are royalties factored in? Various board members expressed the importance of having all offers go through their solicitor; Mr. Tewkesbury stated that he thought they all wanted to bring more money into the district, but that they had to consider other things as well. A reporter present asked if the district was just going to accept the proposal instead of trying to bargain back and forth as several individual landowners have successfully done. The reporter also asked for specifics about the offered prices and number of acres the school has. For the current offers the royalty level is pretty standard, the state minimum of 12.5%. The offers range from one to five hundred dollars per acre for a five-year lease, and the school district has 177 acres. The board would like to have more details, such as allowed proximity to the buildings, investigated and settled upon before they accept any proposal. The meeting at the end of the month is public.
Mr. Tewkesbury brought up the school's athletics policy regarding technical fouls. The district has a stricter policy on this matter than many other districts, stricter even than PIAA regulations. A player receiving a technical foul while playing for Elk Lake is taken out of play for the rest of the game (or meet, etc.) A change in policy last year relaxed the rule a bit, allowing for a committee, comprised of the athletic director, Mr. Mallery, and the coach, to analyze the event after the fact. If they feel that the foul was not a matter of poor attitude but a technical mistake (as in the case of a player who accidentally stepped late onto the court recently), they can keep the offense from carrying over through the rest of the year. Mr. Tewkesbury, and other board members, feared that the policy could be hurting Elk Lake athletes needlessly. A technical, he proposed, might have cost the team a recent game against Susquehanna. Mr. Emmerich said that the policy had been created years ago to create good sportsmanship, but it could put the kids at a disadvantage. Some referees call fouls more quickly than others, and there's the potential for other coaches to use the policy to try and purposely get key players out of the game. Mr. Pierson noted that sometimes referees become “hot under the collar” themselves, and Mr. Place stated that he'd hate to think the school was getting targeted for the policy. Mr. Curley, while he understood the others' points, liked the policy. He felt that it was good that Elk Lake students were held to a higher standard, even if there was the potential for it to cost the team games. His opinion seemed to be that holding students to a higher code should be more important than winning. In the end the idea was tabled, as it was deemed generally unwise and unfair to change a policy mid-season. It might be revisited, however, and one option is to loosen the regulations to the same level as the PIAA.
The SCCTC is looking into expanding again, this time by adding another building. Along with the building a program (or programs) might be added. It was asked why there was no agriculture program, being in such a rural area. Apparently when the school was first started a survey showed a lack of interest. Mrs. Davis, however, has been traveling and looking at the success of programs other schools have. One which looked promising is small engine repair. It is an inexpensive program to start, and when she checked with area employers she was told that turnover for these positions was high, so there would be a job market. Dr. Bush was asked to look into the cost, potential funding sources, etc. An additional program might mean additional enrollment, which in turn would increase tuition revenue. It also might open the school up for better funding opportunities, if they get into high priority programs.
The district will feel the loss of Linda DiStasio, and spoke warmly of the former employee and her affection for the school. The SCCTC raised over $1700 for Pink Out Day for her, which is a testimony to the fact that the affection was mutual.
Several student achievements were noted at the meeting. The high school Life Skills class sent out a large mailing recently for the Red Cross, and received a nice thank you note from that organization. The FBLA will be sending three students, first place winners in a recent competition, to states. The robotics team will be traveling to the Harrisburg east rotunda soon to pick up information so that they can compete at Drexel in March, and the boys’ basketball team won a Christmas tournament.
The school board members themselves were also acknowledged and thanked for all of their hard work.
Susquehanna County 911 Emergency calls for the month of November, 2007, cover several different departments, police, fire and emergency medical services. These departments are made up of different companies and agencies throughout Susquehanna County and bordering areas.
There are a total of 12 county police departments (PD); 21 emergency medical services and quick responders (QRS), and 20 fire companies (FC) within Susquehanna County.
There were a total of 1,433 total calls, all departments involved, which breaks down into 717 police department calls, 489 emergency services calls, and 227 fire department calls.
October, 2007, calls totaled 1,406, 27 fewer than November’s 1433.
October breakdowns were as follows: police calls were higher with 809; fire calls were lower with 165, and emergency medical services also had a lower total with 57 total calls.
The purpose of this report is to inform Susquehanna County residents of all the calls which are, and have been covered by the 911 Communications Center dispatchers, as well as the volunteer service departments throughout this county
Due to current time restraints, it is not possible, at this time, to give a department-by-department call list. Each type of incident will be grouped under type/code of the call.
Police departments included in the November tally include: Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office; Broome County PD, Wayne County, Pennsylvania State Police at Gibson, Montrose PD, Oakland PD, Susquehanna County Sheriff, Lackawanna County, Lanesboro PD, Silver Lake PD, Susquehanna PD, Susquehanna County Probation Officers, PA Game Commission, Hop Bottom PD, Uniondale PD, and Wyoming County PD.
Motor Vehicle Accidents 5; Other, 14; PFA (Protection From Abuse order) 8; Public Drunkenness 1; Public Service 1; Traffic Pursuits 2; Smoke Investigation 1; Structure Fire 1; Suicide 4 ; Larceny/Theft 17; Transport Prisoner 86; Trespassing 3; Traffic Stop 152; Vandalism 1; Vehicle Fire 2; Warrant Service 3; Diabetic Problems 2; Falls 1; Overdose/Poisoning 4 ; Pregnancy/Childbirth 1 ; Sick Person 1; Stab GSW Penetrating Trauma 1; Stroke CVA 1; Traumatic Injuries 3; Unconscious Fainting 2; Man Down Unknown 1; Unconscious Fainting 2 ; Burglary Alarm 10; Animal 15; Assist to Service 4; Attempt to Locate 4; Breaking/Entering 1; Brush Fire 1; Burglary 4; Chase/Pursuit 3; Chimney Fire 1; Criminal Mischief 7; Criminal History 1; Criminal Trespass 2; Debris in Road 8; Disorderly conduct 34; Disabled vehicle 43; Serving documents/papers 34; Domestic Dispute 18; Drugs/narcotics 2; DUI/DWI 4; Erratic Driver 37; Fire/Smoke alarm 2; Fraud/ Forgery 1; Gunshots Fired 2; 911 Hang up calls 26; Harassment by Communications 2; Hold Up/Robbery Alarm 1; Harassment 6; Juvenile 5; Littering 1; Mental Problems 3; Miscellaneous 23; Misc. Investigations 16; Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) 77.
The Susquehanna County Emergency Medical Services include: Montrose EMS, New Milford EMS, Pleasant Mount EMS, Susquehanna EMS, Thompson EMS, Coroner’s Office; Barnes Kasson, Great Bend/Hallstead EMS, Harford EMS, Clifford EMS, Little Meadows EMS, Rush EMS, Uniondale QRS, Clifford EMS, Guthrie EMS, Hop Bottom EMS, Forest Lake QRS, Silver Lake EMS, Springville QRS, Hop Bottom QRS, Silver Lake EMS, Greenfield TWP, Cottage, Guthrie, Stat MV, and Forest City EMS,
Emergency Medical Services calls for November, 2007 totaled 489 and included: abdominal pain 2; back pain, non-trauma 3; breathing problems 32; card./resp. arrest/death 12; chest pain 31; choking 3; convulsions/seizures 16; diabetic problems 11; falls 27; headache 2; heart problems/acid 5; hemorrhage/laceration 5; overdose/poisoning 4; pregnancy/childbirth 4; sick person 39; stroke/cva 14; traumatic injuries (specific) 13; unconscious/fainting 24; unknown problem/man down 7; transfer/interfacility 74; back pain (non trauma) 1; breathing problems 9; card./resp. arrest/death 6; brush fire 3; chimney fire 8; disorderly conduct 1; domestic dispute 2; echo priority call 4; electrical fire 2; erratic driver 2; fire/smoke alarm 7; 911 hang up call 2; landing zone 2; medical EMD 5; miscellaneous investigations 4; motor vehicle accident (MVA) 77; stand by at other station/move 3; smoke investigation 4; structure fire 19; suicide 4; and one vehicle fire.
Susquehanna County fire companies include: New Milford FC., Pleasant Mount FC, Snake Creek FC, Springville FC; Susquehanna FC, Thompson FC, United (Montrose) FC, Uniondale FC, Nicholson FC, Greenfield FC, Scott Twp. FC, Great Bend FC, Hop Bottom FC, Silver Lake FC, Harford FC, Clifford FC, Crystal, Hallstead FC, Rush FC, Elk Lake FC, Little Meadows FC, Forest Lake FC, and Vandling FC.
Their shared calls for November, 2007 totaled 227; breathing problems 5; card./resp. arrest death 1; chest pain 3; convulsions/seizures; diabetic problems 1; falls 4; hemorrhage/laceration 1; overdose/poisoning 2; stroke/cva 2; traumatic injuries (specific) 4; unconscious/fainting 3; breathing problems 1; burglary alarm 1; brush fire 8; chimney fire 51; training incident 1; trees down 3; traffic control 2; vehicle fire 3; and 3 wires down.
It would be good idea if you post your address, phone number and medical information beside the telephone in case of emergencies, so you have it handy when you need to call for assistance. This could help prevent panic or loss of memory in an emergency situation. The posted directions will enable the dispatcher to help you more quickly and efficiently.
Without the emergency dispatchers, the caller cannot get the help required. But, without help from the caller, providing the information they need, they cannot efficiently get help to the location.
Todd J. Radus (By Sheriff) to Bear Creek Properties, Inc., in Springville Township for $77,326.00.
Anne L. Patterson, Mary R. Rossi and Jean M. Stine to Jean Stine, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Anne L. Patterson, Mary R. Rossi and Jean M. Stine to Anne L. Patterson, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Anne L. Patterson, Mary R. Rossi and Jean M. Stine to Mary R. Rossi, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Betty J. Bazewick to Betty J. Bazewick and William J. Bostock, in Friendsville Borough for one dollar.
Patrick L. and Catherine D. Burke (By Sheriff) to Angelo and Jacqueline Scarfalloto, in Bridgewater Township for $25,438.28.
David K. Moore and Suzanne C. Annand to James H. and Denise M. Coy, in Herrick Township for $50,000.00
Valerie Price and James R. Cole to Ordie E. and Aline J. Price, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Mary E. and Charles H. Snyder and Michelle L. Fox-Snyder to Marinko and Rochelle Lemut, in Thompson Township for $55,000.00.
Nancy J. Sutton to Nancy J. Sutton, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Dolores Roth to Cassandra M. Roth, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Esther Freeman to Paul R. Bailey, in New Milford Township for $30,000.00.
Mary Lou Butts to Mary Lou and Daniel E. Butts, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Anthony and Patricia Werther to Carlos Marques, in Susquehanna and Oakland Township for $125,000.00.
Henry E. and Carolyn A. Niemitz to Jeffrey W. and Patricia K. Niemitz, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Lillian P. (Est), Albert W., Jr. (Est) and A. Frank Rowe, Jean Wilkinson and Elizabeth Ann Lowrie to A. Frank Rowe, Jean Wilkinson and Elizabeth Ann Lowrie, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Daniel L. and Betty Jean Depue to Daniel L. and Betty Jean Depue, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Millicent Holdsworth (Est FKA) Millicent E. Sloat (Est) to Carl T. Sloat, Carol Moreno and Kathy Birth, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Walter H. Magruder, Jr. to Hal and Jane Magruder (Trust), in Lenox and Lathrop Townships for $250,000.00.
James G. and Suzanne T. Sacco to Suzanne T. Sacco, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Matthew Hornberger to Lynne C. Manzek, in Rush Township for $40,000.00.
Lawrence T., Christine M. and Thomas J. O'Reilly to Michael, Jr. and Patrice Stango, in Lenox Township for $79,000.00.
Martin J. and Ruth P. Gallagher to Martin J. and Ruth P. Gallagher, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Martin J. and Ruth P. Gallagher to Martin J. and Ruth P. Gallagher, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Wendy S. Boice (AKA) Wendy Lynne Smith to Jerry Mikus, in Auburn Township for $262,500.00.
John M. Flood (Trust By Tr) to James A. and Kendra A. Griffiths, in Rush Township for $117,500.00.
John W. Morrison to Morrison Irrevocable Grantor Trust, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
John W. Morrison to Morrison Irrevocable Grantor Trust, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Dean Michael, Sr. and April Demmer to Carol Netzel, in Franklin Township for $139,900.00.
Jordan Annette to Joseph and Patricia Staab, in Brooklyn Township for $113,500.00.
John C. Szpakowski (Est) to Kimberly Ann Szpakowski and Catherine Rita Stover, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Frank and Adelfina Summa to Joseph and Annette Applegate, in Lenox Township and Hop Bottom Borough for $47,000.00.
Robert J. Potter, Jr. to Robert J., Jr. and Joan I. Potter, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Richard Tennant Dallas (Estate AKA) Richard T. Dallas, Jr. (Estate) to Denis C. and Deborah A. Kaufman, in Great Bend Township for $125,000.00.
Al Delisa (AKA) Albert Delisa and Kim Delisa to Albert and Kim Delisa, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Al Delisa (AKA) Albert Delisa and Kim Delisa to Albert and Kim Delisa, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Albert and Kim Delisa to Albert and Kim Delisa, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Albert and Kim Delisa and Louie and Patricia Birtch to Louie A. and Patricia Birtch, in New Milford Township for $100.00.
Louie A. and Patricia Birtch and Albert and Kim Delisa to Albert and Kim Delisa, in New Milford Township for $100.00.
Theresa E. Schumann to Frank E., Sr. and June T. Fasolo, in Forest Lake Township for $193,000.00.
Helen E. Myers to Helen E. Myers (Trust), in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
William Albert to William and Charlise Albert, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Ronald V. Testa to Christopher Russo and Marguerite V. Papa, in Susquehanna for $57,000.00.
Chad Wayne Pinch and Nicole Marie Miszler, both of Thompson.
William Sterling Conyer and Kelly Lyn Cady, both of Brackney.
James C. Baisch and Debra Ann Mahoney, both of Hop Bottom.
William J. Ottens of Deposit, NY and Lisa Mae Carley of Friendsville.
Keith A. Kovalefsky and Theresa M. Krieg, both of New Milford.
Donna Bednarczyk of Hallstead vs. Richard Bednarczyk of LaBelle, PA, married 1997.
Forest City Regional School District opened its January 14 meeting by addressing concerns voiced by parents and community members.
One parent expressed concern about the possibility that certain individuals are working with students, yet do not have proper security clearances. Board members responded that state mandates are being followed in regard to security clearances.
Superintendent Robert Vadella promised to look into the grading criteria for the family and consumer science class’s computerized baby project after a parent questioned the value of the project. One board member stated that the baby project had effectively helped his child understand what having a real baby entails.
One individual asserted that the Forest City School District should advertise its openings for assistant coaching positions in order to make the hiring process more fair. Dr. Vadella explained that the district rarely advertises its assistant coaching openings because individuals are generally hired internally, with head coaches permitted to request that an individual be hired. Vadella added that the Forest City School District is drafting a formalized hiring procedure for extracurriculars.
Several noteworthy events are scheduled for the Forest City schools. Students and parents should note that the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade semi-semi-formal dance will be held on Saturday, February 9 in the high school and will run from 7-10 p.m. Students attending are asked to avoid jeans and sneakers. The event is to serve as a fundraiser for the students’ Washington trip.
On January 29, Career Link will offer an information session in the high school auditorium. Students not planning to attend college should attend a seminar to learn how they can receive paid training in the fields of electronics or health care. Parents are also invited to attend. The electronics seminar is scheduled for 9 - 10:15 a.m., to be followed by the health care seminar at 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
On Saturday, February 9, the Tri-County Advisory Board will meet for a Legislative Luncheon to evaluate the Forest City Regional Pre-School. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and will be held in the rear of the high school.
Prior to the January 17 regular monthly meeting, the Hallstead Boro Council held a workshop meeting on grant writing. With information on so many different kinds of grant opportunities, it was agreed to pursue as many as possible. A priority list of improvements for the boro’s three parks will be compiled, and applications for funding submitted. For those that require matching contributions, the number of man-hours put into remediation of flood damage to the parks may qualify for the boro’s part. Items for the priority list include new playground equipment, a new concession stand for the ballfield, resurfacing the tennis court, and drainage.
There are also low-interest loans available, for purchase of equipment through a state bid program. It was agreed to look into that as well as the boro is considering replacing their truck with a newer one.
At the last regular meeting, council had discussed the possibility of changing the boro’s setback requirement from fifteen feet to ten. Discussion continued, with the consensus being to consult the solicitor for more information before deciding on whether to proceed or not.
Through the flood buyout program, the boro now owns the Wilbur property; the closing had been held the previous day. The firm that surveyed the property will be contacted and requested to meet at the site with a representative from council, to go over where the property boundaries are.
And, council approved purchase of new stop signs, to replace some that are worn or damaged.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, February 21, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
The Blue Ridge School Board began 2008 with a couple new faces around the table, but so far the format was familiar to those accustomed to the leadership of the past many years. New President Priscinda Gaughan applied an orderly and friendly hand to the routine business agenda for the meeting on January 14. New member Laurie Brown-Bonner educated herself and probably helped to fill in a few details for her colleagues with questions on just about every item. The newest member, Christina Cosmello of New Milford kept her own counsel.
Since January is National School Board Recognition month (initiated in 1995 by the National School Boards Association), Ms. Gaughan and Superintendent Robert McNamara recognized each member with a handshake and a certificate of appreciation. At the end of the meeting, everyone in the room was invited to share a rich and sugary cake to celebrate the occasion.
It was a little harder to find a member to serve as the Blue Ridge liaison to the state school boards association, the PSBA. Alan Hall took on most of these kinds of things himself in the past. It took some discussion and soul searching among the board members before Denise Bloomer accepted the nomination. The PSBA is the lobbying organization in Harrisburg that represents local school boards around the state. It hosts conferences and meetings with legislators, and provides a wide variety of materials to support the work of school boards in Pennsylvania.
Among routine personnel matters, the board accepted with regret the decision of teachers Cathy Harter and Lynn Stiles to accept the district's retirement incentive, ending their service at Blue Ridge at the end of the current school year.
Three aides, Elizbeth Hubi, Frida Giangrieco and Lauren Konik, will serve as "facilitators" at their current hourly rate for the new Homework Club for students in grades 4 through 8. New Elementary School Principal, Matthew Button said that some 18 students are participating so far. He said that the after-school program is promoted in a positive way, so that it will attract students who can most benefit; it is important to make it clear that the Homework Club is not detention.
A letter from the Susquehanna Community School District proposing an extension of the varsity football and soccer "co-sponsorship" to younger players will be considered in more detail at the board's next workshop on January 28. Since Blue Ridge has a "Middle School" rather than a "Junior High School" with a different spread of ages, some in the community are interested in just how this might work, perhaps with respect to how the extension might impact the local youth football program.
High School Principal John Manchester reported that all of the equipment acquired as part of the Classroom for the Future program sponsored by the state Department of Education, has been installed. He noted that many teachers are taking to the technology – which includes laptops for students and high-tech electronic whiteboards for classrooms – with enthusiasm. He thanked the technical support and district maintenance staffs for helping to get it all working as quickly as possible. He said that training the faculty to get the most out of the new gadgets will be a "long process," but that the "technology coach," Rich Mackrell, hired specifically to support the project, has been doing a "terrific job."
Mr. Manchester also reported on a controversy among graduating seniors that is under consideration. It seems that the white gowns traditionally worn by female graduates during the ceremonies can be translucent in certain lighting conditions. A survey among female seniors was split almost down the middle between the white gowns and the proposed alternative red color.
As the meeting came to a close, Vicki Drake, mother of a Blue Ridge student, reminded board members of her concerns about some of the literature assigned in the schools. Last autumn she asked the board and administration to reconsider the assignment of a book titled The Chocolate War as required reading for 9th graders.
The administration claims that an alternate book can be requested, but Ms. Drake said that parents weren't always aware of that, and that the alternate titles were not always made readily available to parents.
This time Ms. Drake acknowledged that the issue is now out of the way for this year. She asked the board and administrators to come up with a more clearly defined plan for handling such things, including a list of assigned books and alternates. She requested that the materials be made available early enough so that parents can make their own decisions before their children are exposed to books like the one at issue here.
The public meeting was bracketed with executive sessions for "legal" and "personnel" matters, whatever that means. You might find out by attending the board's meetings which are usually scheduled for the second and fourth Mondays of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
COG and the Northern Tier Coalition have been discussing administration of zoning, which the coalition’s members are in the process of implementing. A committee comprised of members of both groups met and studied the best way to offer zoning services in the area. The committee agreed that the most financially attractive option would be for a zoning officer to work through COG. As COG already has their own office and a full-time staff, there would be a savings on some of the costs. The estimate to rent space from COG would be approximately $63,000 per year. To rent space with some administrative assistance, cost would be approximately $69,220. These estimates include the officer’s salary, mileage, postage, insurance, training, and administrative costs. Whichever option is decided on, some initial supplies would still be needed. Going under COG’s umbrella would also mean less outlay in the areas of insurance and workmen’s comp, efficiencies that should be considered.
Of the members of Northern Tier, two municipalities do not belong to COG and reportedly have expressed a reluctance to join. How then, to offer membership under a zoning umbrella? After discussion, it was agreed that membership could be offered to Northern Tier, as a group, for zoning. This membership would not entitle them to any other services, and would be for zoning only. Although no exact figures had yet been worked out, it was agreed that the membership fee should be a minimal amount, and that Northern Tier should be offered complimentary membership in COG for the first year. A motion carried to begin the procedure to adopt an ordinance establishing Northern Tier’s membership in COG.
In other business, correspondence included a letter of thanks from a masonry business in Hallstead. COG was thanked for making things better, due to the fact that their UCC inspector was easy to work with and knowledgeable. Also received was an invitation to join the Montrose Restoration Committee, along with a brochure listing the committee’s activities in Montrose.
In accordance with COG’s bylaws, presidents of the three committees were up for election. A motion was made and quickly seconded to keep the existing slate of officers, and carried unanimously.
The Building Committee is working on getting prices for putting in a parking lot, excavating, and well drilling for the new building site, as well as a plan for the building itself. The closing on the property should be within a couple of weeks.
And, some municipalities reported not receiving the questionnaires they need to fill out for the next phase of the shared police services study; duplicates will be sent out.
Harvey Rosenkrans reported that he had been contacted by John Watts, who is interested in becoming an SEO. Mr. Rosenkrans gave a positive report after meeting with Mr. Watts, and asked if COG would be willing to sponsor Mr. Watts’ his training. Members agreed that COG has done it before, and it worked out well, a motion carried to approve.
As a point of interest, office manager Karen Trynoski gave a recap of a situation at Dunn Lake; DEP has initiated a program to maintain uniform nitrate levels in discharge into Chesapeake Bay. Through this program, an agreement was initiated where manure is being purchased to use in the area, which was said to be nitrate-poor. Other areas with high nitrate levels have entered into similar purchase agreements for materials to decrease their nitrate discharge.
A flood-damaged building was being torn down, and a situation arose when DEP requested that COG’s building inspector go to the site and request that burning of the debris be stopped; he did. The discussion was, whether or not it is permissible to burn such debris; according to DEP it is not, not even with a demolition permit. DEP requested that COG hand out information sheets, but after discussion COG agreed that it would be more appropriate to provide contact information for DEP on the property information sheets that must be filled out when applying for a permit from COG. DEP also requested that COG host an informational session so that local contractors could learn more about their regulations, but it was agreed that this would be more appropriately hosted by the county.
A member asked if any other municipalities were having problems with outside furnaces, as this one is considering enacting an ordinance regulating them. Another member said that they, too, had been having problems with one situated in a densely populated area where neighbors have to put up with smoke year-round. Due to the high price of oil, it is likely that more people are looking for alternative heating methods. The furnaces require a low chimney, which causes a smoke nuisance for anyone who lives near it. Some municipalities are considering an ordinance to forbid them in populated areas, or require that they be the type that you can put taller chimneys on, or require setbacks from neighboring dwellings. It was agreed that this is something that should be addressed before it becomes a problem, to ensure that they are placed where they don’t affect neighbors.
And, the PSATS is hosting their annual educational conference and trade show in Hershey. This year, for the first time, Susquehanna County will be represented by a booth manned with volunteers to promote the county.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 19, 7 p.m. in the COG offices in New Milford.
On December 30, a gas powered electric generator was found in a creek off of the main roadway near SR 3004 and T-338 in Auburn Township. It appeared that the generator, manufactured by Devilbliss, had been in the area for an extended period of time.
On November 1, at around 5:30 p.m., an unnamed 14-year old male left his snowboard unattended and unsecured outside of the lodge at Elk Mountain Ski area in Herrick Township. When he returned, he discovered that it was missing. The stolen snowboard was described as a black Burton Triumph snowboard with a red star design and a red base. The bindings were described as Cartell band, and had a green and brown checkered design.
PSP Gibson is investigating a burglary which occurred at the Lift Inn in Lenox Twp on January 5, around 4:48 in the morning. During this burglary liquor and beer were taken, with a total approximate value of about $300.
On December 3, at around 2 a.m., a snow plow was traveling south on SR 3017 in Springville Township. The plow truck struck a trailer that was parked along the roadway. The trailer sustained minor damage, and the plow truck failed to stop at the scene.
On December 13 a Mack Truck trailer, driven by Donald Sheldon of Waymart, became stuck on the snow-covered ramp to SR 81 in Lenox Township. Sheldon slid the vehicle into the guide rails as he was attempting to move it.
On December 16 both Roseanne Mattiello of Lakewood and Julie Hargett of Starrucca were traveling north on SR 171 in Herrick Township. At this time Mattiello came upon a vehicle that was stuck on the northbound lane in a snow drift. Hargett failed to observe stopped traffic, and struck the rear end of Martiello's vehicle. Both women were seat belted, but were injured.
Sometime between the 29th and 30th of December, unknown perpetrator(s) obtained access to the residence of Vanessa Kernoski of Union Dale by prying the door with an unknown object. Once inside the residence, the perpetrator(s) ransacked the entire first and second floor of the residence and took several items from the premises.
On January 8 Joshua Lee was traveling South on SR 0171 when he failed to negotiate a right curve in the roadway. This caused him to travel off of the roadway and strike a parked truck and a house. He was arrested for suspected D.U.I.
1 CAR ROLL OVER
On January 8, at around 7:23 p.m., Eduard Sulhanov was traveling east on SR706 when he lost control of his vehicle. It exited the roadway, reentered the roadway, and exited again, spinning around off of the south edge of the eastbound lane before coming to a final uncontrolled resting area on its left side. The two occupants of the car were both wearing seat belts and sustained minor or no injuries.
On December 4, sometime between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., unknown persons entered the residence of Michael Seman of Lenoxville by means of an unlocked door and removed prescription medicine.
On January 9, one or more unknown persons dumped a large wooden crate onto the property of Stephen Esposito in Hallstead, PA.
On December 21, Jonathan Hinton of Hallstead was traveling south on SR 1037, from Sr 1033. A vehicle owned by Dennis Hughes of Sterling, VA was parked on the west berm of SR 1037 facing south. Hinton veered off the roadway and struck Hughes' vehicle, and then proceeded to continue south without stopping and supplying the required information. Several citations were filed on Hinton.
Sometime between the 21st and 27th of December, 51 pieces of 46” rebar were stolen from a PennDot stockpile in Thompson, PA.
On January 15, Zenec Harris of Brackney was traveling east on SR 4002 in windy, snow squall conditions. While negotiating an uphill section in the roadway his vehicle began fishtailing, after he attempted to accelerate up the snow-covered hill. The vehicle then slid off of the roadway and struck an embankment with its right front fender, causing it to overturn and come to a final rest in the westbound lane on its roof.
On January 14, both Patrick Maloughney of Dewitt, VA and a juvenile female driver were traveling north on SR 81. Maloughney struck the rear of the girl's vehicle, causing her to spin into the median.
On January 15, Gail Winorowski was traveling west on SR 706 during windy snow squalls. As she approached the intersection of Scott Rd., she began to slide on a straight, downhill section of the roadway. Winorowski tried to regain control, but continued to slide and in time struck an old pole alongside the roadway head-on before coming to rest.
PRIVATE PROPERTY ACCIDENT
On January 15, at around 10:00 p.m., Frank B. Susavage III of New Milford was driving his vehicle in the cemetery when he drove over several grave sites before getting his vehicle stuck while attempting to leave the cemetery. Assistance was required to remove the vehicle from the cemetery.
Following is the list of names drawn to serve as Petit and Traverse jurors, to appear in the Court of Common Pleas, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, on the fourth day of February at 9:00 a.m.
Ararat Twp.: Patricia Stewart.
Auburn Twp.: Arlene Bell, Joseph Kulah.
Bridgewater Twp.: Wayne Crayton, Douglas Decker, Mary Ann Hayes, Luann Myers, Charles Rauch, Richard Sands, Faye Stepniak.
Brooklyn Twp.: Tracy Burns, Darlene Drake, Jeanette Gardoski.
Choconut Twp.: William Dovin.
Clifford Twp.: Joe Bennett, James A. Opecko, Lisa Scarpino.
Dimock Twp.: George J. Debella.
Forest Lake Twp.: Raymond Harvey, Ronald V. Smith.
Franklin Twp.: Allen Luce.
Gibson Twp.: David Ingerson, Todd Morrison, Elizabeth Supancik.
Great Bend Twp.: Joseph Bennett, Judy Medovich, Deborah Rowe.
Harford Twp.: Michael O’Hara, Robert Pennay, James Shuster, Geoffrey Smeltzer.
Harmony Twp.: Margarita Moran, Timothy Tell.
Herrick Twp.: Daniel Hollis, Dayle McGuire.
Hop Bottom Boro: Jack Evans, Diane Smithbauer.
Jackson Twp.: William C. Chamberlain, Barbara Gallagher.
Lenox Twp.: James Ross, Robert Taylor, Carol Wagner, Mandy Weida.
Liberty Twp.: Lisa McVaugh.
Little Meadows Boro: Judith Hitchcock.
Middletown Twp.: Clifford Bunt.
New Milford Boro: Stanton Carvin, Caroline Fisher, Kevin Kruger, Thomas Palmatier.
New Milford Twp.: Jack Conroy, Leonard Whitney.
Oakland Boro: David Hallisey.
Oakland Twp.: Karen Broad.
Silver Lake Twp.: Linda Carey.
Springville Twp.: Owen Beardslee, Esther Clarke, J. Mulloy, Robert Strait, Jason Wadlington, Theodore Warholic.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: William Fortune.
Susquehanna Boro 2W: Heather Groover.
Thompson Boro: William T. Johnson, Heather Swartz, Steve W. Winner.
Thompson Twp.: Terry W. MacCarter.
State legislation is in the works that would have a serious impact on graduation requirements. Superintendent Bronson Stone told the Susquehanna Community School Board at their January 16 meeting that, as of the class of 2013, seniors must pass a graduation competency exam if the legislation goes through; it is expected that it will. If it is approved, seniors will have to pass a total of six out of ten competency exams to graduate. Stay tuned, it is expected to pass in the spring.
Two items of correspondence were received, a Christmas card from Mrs. Steele’s Class, and a thank you from the Community Foundation for the $2,733 raised by a Christmas basketball tournament hosted by the school. Proceeds go into a perpetual scholarship fund; once the fund is self-sustaining, one boy and one girl from the four participating schools will be awarded scholarships each year.
Audits of the Title programs (I, II, V, VI) is set for the spring. Under Title IV, the district received a grant of $30,712 which will be used for two 16-unit laptop carts to expand the remedial reading curriculum in the high school.
Superintendent Stone, with great pleasure, thanked the board members for a job well done, and presented each of them certificates in honor of their service to the district. In keeping with January’s being School Director Recognition Month, a motion carried to approve a resolution honoring the directors’ service.
In preparation for getting Internet access through Internet II in July, a somewhat large antenna will be installed near the elementary building’s new addition.
Anyone who regularly watches Joe Snedeker’s weather forecasts on the early morning news will know what “The Boris Dance” is. A group of students from the high school were filmed doing “The Boris Dance” and were hopeful that the segment would be shown on that Friday’s newscast. (It was.)
Last month, the district was justifiably proud of their placement in a U.S. News & World Report survey, which named the school as one of America’s best. In recognition of this honor, the district will have two billboards in the area, congratulating the school for its placement in the survey.
Work on next year’s budget is underway; the business office is compiling retirement and post-retirement data to study the impact it will have on the district.
Homestead/farmstead applications will be going out. With the state now seeing income from gambling, there is a possibility that revenues may be applied towards property taxes by next year. Mr. Stone cautioned that if this happens, it will not be a (cash) rebate, but a credit towards what eligible property owners would be paying in property taxes.
The Education Association will be hosting their annual retirement dinner on May 17, with a number of honorees this year. The association also hosts an annual golf tournament and car show, with the proceeds going towards a scholarship fund. Last year’s recipients were Mercedes Allen and Stephanie Ficarro.
The board approved revisions to the English as a Second Language Program Policy; although the district currently does not have any students in the ESL program, it is state mandated that they have a policy and curriculum in place in the event that it is needed.
The following personnel changes were approved:
- Hiring of Jamie Smith, head baseball coach (2008 season only); Margot Parsons, elementary technology teacher (3rd and 4th marking period); Bridget O’Neill, high school guidance.
- Substitute personnel for the 2007/2008 school year: guest teacher – Kyle Cook; Teacher – Candace Johnson; aides – Sara Holmes and Patti Schmidt.
- Accepting the following resignations: Katherine Downton, Starrucca Borough tax collector – effective 12/31/07; head golf coach Chuck Ficarro – effective 12/18/07; Junior High boys’ track and field coach – Bryan Scopelliti.
- Volunteer, 5th and 6th grade boys basketball – Kevin Haynes, and the resignation of Brandon Lawson, volunteer weight room supervisor.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, February 20, 7 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
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