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Issue Home August 20, 2008 Site Home

Potential Gas Perils Outlined At MASD
Blue Ridge Welcomes Superintendent
Oakland Water Gets Upgrades
Courthouse Report
Harford To Review Budget
Bridge Project For Clifford Township
Pre-trial Sets Tentative Jury Trial For Wilder
V-Linc Introduced To Forest City Schools
Gibson Barracks Report
Sept. Jurors Drawn


Potential Gas Perils Outlined At MASD
By Melinda Darrow

Attorney Mike Giangrieco outlined for the Montrose school board some of the attendant issues of gas leases at the August 11 work session in Choconut. Mr. Giangrieco had been contracted by the district at the preceding public board meeting to work on its gas and oil lease preparation, in conjunction with others. He then attended the work session to discuss the particulars of a lease, and questions which the district needs to contemplate, though he would not go into particulars of the district's specific bid in public session. An executive session followed the meeting for further discussion between the lawyer, the board, and the administration.

Mr. Giangrieco presented the board with several questions which he felt deserved consideration going into this process. (The district had put a lease out to bid once before, but had declined to accept either of the bids it received.) Should Montrose lease land both at the high school and at Choconut Valley? Would they lease all rights, or only subsurface rights? Would a well be allowed on school property? Should it be visible from the school building? (If asked, the company will plant trees around the well.) To what extent is the district willing to allow a company access to its property?

He explained that a well on the property would be a 24/7 affair, and 4 to 5 acres would be required to put the hole in the ground. He called the process a mess, but explained that when it was over and the area reclaimed, the site should not look all that bad.

He explained that contamination of the aquifer could be a problem, even if the process was a mile away from the school. This is not a big deal when the hole is vertical, he said, but in order to acquire gas, horizontal drilling is required. He explained that gas is not free flowing, but rather is trapped in shale and rock. In order to free the gas, a fracture procedure is utilized, which involves putting more than water down the hole. Acid and chemicals are also utilized, though the companies will not generally say which specific chemicals are used. The companies may argue that all of the chemicals come back up to the surface, and are reclaimed and treated as hazardous waste. He expressed doubt, however, that all of the hazardous materials do surface early on, and pointed out the additional potential danger of contaminated water evaporating. He called these chemicals terribly carcinogenic, stating that in some places cancer rates have skyrocketed. This may, he suggested, be something the board wanted to consider, especially in relation to Choconut Valley, which gets its water from a well (as opposed to the secondary school, which is on public water). Permanent water testing requirements can be worked into a lease, to ensure that the company continues to assess the safety of the school's water through the years.

One person asked if some of the same effects would be faced if the district didn't lease at all, with an affirmative response. The boundary line of the district can not be penetrated with a drill without permission, but water damage could still be faced.

If one well is drilled, he continued, and gas is found, more than 1 well, perhaps as many as 20 or 25, may be erected. Theoretically, a well could be placed every 50 acres. Pipes will also then be required, to transport the gas to a gathering and compression station where the gas can be compressed. If wells are around a site, even if that site does not have a well, it might end up with pipes running through it. Pipes can not be laid, however, unless the property owner agrees. A reporter asked if there was truth to rumors of the potential for explosions with this system. Mr. Giangrieco said that it could be possible, and has occurred before.

He said that laws in Pennsylvania are currently ill prepared to deal with contamination. The Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Conservation Act, and the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, have some good phrases, but are not keeping up with technology.

There's a good chance the district would not get the full royalty, he also told those present. If gas comes from many properties, then each owner gets a fractional amount of the royalty based on the number of acres he or she contributes. If there is a well on the ground a “well site fee” might be offered, but that same property owner might receive little of the actual royalty.

A visitor pointed out that from the well to the compression station only plastic piping was required, and that this only needed to be buried 36 inches into the ground. He said that he had hit lines down at that depth before while working. It was asked if the public would be made aware of the contract terms, but the district responded that these were considered negotiations for now, and would thus be handled in an executive session.

In other news, at the regular public meeting, various changes were made. The mileage rate for activity run contractors was raised by 4 cents to $2.29/mile with the hourly wait time payment being increased by $2.00, to $12.00/hour. This increase was reached by taking the state index and applying it to the activity run rate.

The dental hygienist for the district was contracted for an extra 8 half-days than in previous years (68). This allows for 30 half days spent at each elementary school, and 8 days at the junior-senior high school for seventh and eighth grade students.

The district approved contracting with Tier Occupational Therapy Services, PC of Hallstead for its occupational therapy services, instead of working through the intermediate unit for these needs as has been the wont. The district is saving $12,000 by making the switch, and has interviewed other districts to receive high reviews of the new company. Montrose will be the company's first Pennsylvania school.

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Blue Ridge Welcomes Superintendent
By Ted Brewster

The new Superintendent of the Blue Ridge School District made his first appearance in person at a Board meeting on August 11. Chris Dyer didn't have much to say to the Board this time, or to the several teachers who attended the meeting to make his acquaintance. He did, however, thank the Board for the opportunity, and said that he would be back on August 21 for the opening of the new school year, after helping to prepare his school in Virginia for their opening.

The Board meeting was preceded by meetings of the Education Committee and the Finance and Transportation Committee. The latter, chaired by former Board president Alan Hall, reviewed new bus schedules for the Fall term, and the contracts for the various contractors and drivers. Mr. Hall made a brief presentation to the full Board once the business meeting got under way.

Mr. Hall issued to each Committee and Board member a thick folder containing detailed information about each bus and contractor, as well as maps for each of the regular routes. He said that a "little bit of grumbling" could be expected during the first week or so of classes as the kinks are ironed out. He said that the schedules ensure that "loaded miles" will continue to exceed "dead-head miles" on all routes, so that basic transportation costs would continue to be 100% reimbursable by the state. Those costs are expected to be higher than last year by more than $40,000, at least in part due to higher-than-expected increases in the state "index" under which reimbursement is made. Basic transportation – the two runs per day made by most of the buses – is expected to cost more than $890,000. Last year it cost about $75,000 to run buses for the various activities outside of the regular schedule. As an example, Mr. Hall selected the longest route in the schedule, an 80-minute morning run by micro-bus 19 through the Jackson area that covers some 33 miles, almost all of it on dirt roads. The route serves some 23 high-school students.

On the other hand, tuition to educate some 25 students in special and alternative programs last year cost over $600,000 alone. Such students are transported to as many as 8 different locations, from Shamokin, PA to BOCES in New York State. Mr. Hall said that taken together, transportation and tuition for special and alternative education services cost Blue Ridge about $1 million annually. He said these costs are getting "more and more out of control every year."

The rest of the Board's business meeting was fairly routine, and was observed by Nick Smith, Senior Class President, who sat in at the table as student representative on the Board.

The main part of the agenda was interrupted by an executive session that president Priscinda Gaughan said was for a personnel matter. When members resumed their seats, Ms. Gaughan distributed an addendum that included two items.

The Board approved Hartt Dairy once again to supply milk products to the district: whole milk at $0.2547; unflavored 1% milk at $0.2358; and 1% chocolate milk at $0.2406. Bread products will be supplied by Butter Krust Baking and DiRienzo Brothers.

Among personnel actions:

* Roseanne Berger will retire.

* Julie Rumage resigned as Middle School instructional aide and student council co-advisor.

* Timothy Hutchins resigned as Middle and High School drama director.

* Harold T. Allen was appointed technology education teacher.

* Linda Gigliotti will serve as a long-term substitute school nurse during the absence of Ms. McNamara.

* Rich Mackrell will be paid for some additional hours spent training staff on the high-tech Promethean "smart"

boards over the summer. Mr. Mackrell is the district's "coach" under the Classrooms For the Future (CFF) program. Several people testified to the value of his instruction.

* A "compensation agreement" was approved for Sherrie Tanguay, the school psychologist. In June,

Ms. Tanguay's request for a raise was tabled awaiting more information. Details of the compensation package were not provided.

* Doreen Smith will serve in three roles: "alternative education" teacher at about 25 hours per week and "homebound instructor" at $26 per hour; she will also perform "behavioral observations" as requested at $80 per day. Board member Laurie Brown-Bonner asked whether the school psychologist could not perform the behavioral observations instead. Administrators allowed as how she might, given enough time in her schedule. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said he thought this function might be done a little differently in the future. Classroom observations are conducted at the request of teachers and administrators when a student is thought to be exhibiting behavioral problems that might be disruptive.

* There was some muted giggling when the Schedule B salary for the ski club advisor in the Elementary School was increased from $377.37 to $378.00, all of 63 cents.

The Board renewed "dual-enrollment" agreements with Lackawanna College and Luzerne County Community College. A representative from the Lackawanna College office in New Milford was present to respond to questions. He said he expected between 25 and 40 students in the program this year. With a $26,000 grant to support it, there should be little or no cost to students or the district for college-level courses taught at Blue Ridge (often by Blue Ridge teachers) in subjects such as American government, computer programming, economics, physics and mathematics. Tuition and fees for these courses ranges from $244 at Luzerne, to $350 at Lackawanna, with text books extra.

The Board approved a 30-day review of some new policies related to computer use and bullying/cyberbullying, school assignment and charter schools, among others.

The district will be replacing some copiers/printers under an equipment lease agreement with DeLage Landon.

The Board approved contracts with Gopher (of Minnesota, $352.88), MF Athletic (Rhode Island, $333.00), Battaglia's Sporting Goods (Scranton, $10,572.50) and Worldwide Sport Supplies (Vestal, NY, $210.87) for athletic equipment and supplies. Uniforms were bid separately.

A Memorandum of Understanding & Disclosure with the Pennsylvania State Police was approved that defines the conditions under which the district will call on the police for assistance, and the obligations of each.

Board members approved a contract with Henderson Brothers of Pittsburg for consulting services at about $1,200 per year. The firm will help to manage the district's 403(b) retirement accounts. Section 403(b), similar to the familiar 401(k), is a part of the Internal Revenue Code that allows for tax-deferred deposit accounts for employees of non-profit organizations, including public schools. New 403(b) regulations will go into effect in January 2009 that add complexity to the handling of these accounts that the district business office is not prepared to deal with. Henderson Brothers works with a number of school districts in this way.

Administrators reported preparations underway for the start of the new school year at the end of the month. New High School Principal Scott Jeffery noted that this will be the third (and probably final) year of the Classrooms For the Future program as supported by the state. He said that Blue Ridge expects to receive about $46,000 from the state for CFF this year.

Elementary School Principal Matthew Button said that he expected 60 or more youngsters in the kindergarten for four-

year-olds ("pre-K") this year. He also reported that the school will shortly be advertising for its first instructor in an "English-as-a-Second-Language" (ESL) program.

The next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board is scheduled for Monday, September 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Oakland Water Gets Upgrades
By Barbara Whitehead

Oakland Boro’s water system will be getting upgraded, and the improvements will be funded through an agreement with Chesapeake Energy, which the boro council had approved at a prior meeting. Chesapeake will be purchasing water for its drilling operations, and the boro will use the funds it receives to improve the system. Council president Ron Beavan gave a rundown of the improvements at the August 14 meeting. It was thought that the system was designed in the most economical manner available at the time it was built, and due to its age and present capacity, some changes are definitely in order.

The number two pump has been tested, and, with an upgrade, can draw more water to equal the capacity of the number one pump so that it could take over in the event that number one is not working. The electrical system also needed to be upgraded, which required a new building to house it. The old building was the original one put in at the time the system was built, and needed to be replaced.

The agreement with Chesapeake will stipulate at what hours water can be drawn (not during peak usage), and a hydrant will be put in so that water can be drawn before it reaches the boro’s treatment tanks. It was agreed that this setup is a good one, as it will be more economical to the boro to use water that has not yet been treated, and that selling water to other outside sources is something to be considered once the agreement with Chesapeake has concluded.

Mayor Dudley gave the July police report. Three patrols had been conducted, which included thorough coverage on the Fourth. Members of the department had met with the State Police to discuss backup situations (mutual aid), and Lanesboro’s police had covered one shift. Officer Nate Williams has begun to work patrols, and at the present time, the boro’s officers have been able to cover their shifts. For a variety of reasons, the boro has had some difficulty getting the shifts covered and council had discussed the possibility of dissolving the police department and contracting with another boro for coverage. With things going well, it was agreed to table further discussion of that for the time being, especially since the consensus was that most residents would prefer that the boro has its own department.

Discussion continued on whether or not to leave the boro’s liquid fuels account with a local bank, or to go with PLIGT, which is a municipal pool. As the difference in interest rates offered is negligible and PLIGT’s are fluctuating, it was agreed to keep the accounts local.

The Oakland Heights senior apartments, built where the old boro building used to be, are now completely occupied. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for September 5 at noon.

The boro had entered into a (gas) lease agreement for the 26 acres the boro owns; the proceeds of the sign-on bonus will be applied towards a new, Ford 550 truck, which will be purchased through the state’s piggyback program (which does not require bidding by the boro). The remaining funds will be used towards the loan the boro had taken out for repairs of the retaining wall on River Road, with what is left after that to be put aside. There was some discussion as to whether the old truck should be sold or kept as a backup; after discussion a motion carried to keep the old truck for a year, at which time a decision will be made whether to keep it or sell it and possibly replace it with a smaller one.

Several council members plan to attend a meeting with members of Susquehanna and Lanesboro’s council members on August 22, to discuss issues of mutual concern. It will be at 7:00 p.m. in the Susquehanna Boro building. Mr. Beavan stressed that it is just a discussion, it should not be considered a regular council meeting, and no action will be taken.

A driveway ordinance is still in the reviewing stage; the main concern is drainage problems, specifically situations where water runoff from driveways accumulates on the boro’s roads, causing a hazard in winter conditions.

About a year ago, complaints by boro residents led to a proposed ordinance to regulate outdoor, wood burning stoves. A sample ordinance had been obtained from a manufacturer of those stoves, which outlines guidelines such as what materials can be burned in them, the distance they must be situated from neighbors’ homes, and the height of their chimneys. This led to an intense discussion, as at least one council member felt that the ordinance would, in effect, tell some of the boro’s residents that they could not get this type of heating system for their homes, and questioned if it was fair to regulate them, and not indoor stoves. Another felt that some regulation is necessary, as the boro and the owners of these stoves could be sued by neighbors who had to deal with the smoke when the manufacturer’s standards are not followed. It was pointed out that some municipalities are banning the stoves entirely; this ordinance would not ban them, but would regulate how and where they are installed. And, the ordinance would be reviewed by the boro’s solicitor as well as the UCC before being enacted. At the conclusion of the discussion, it was agreed to proceed with enacting the ordinance, which will include the provision that the distance from other homes will be “according to UCC regulations.”

At their last meeting, council had discussed High Street, which is partially in the boro and partially in Oakland Township, specifically whether or not the township would be willing to transfer ownership of their portion to the boro. Research shows that the state would not authorize such a transfer, and would not pay liquid fuels to the boro; they would be paid to the township, which would then have to reimburse the boro for the amount. The state recommends a legal, binding agreement between the municipalities. The boro will contact the township to see if they would be willing to enter into such an agreement.

Council approved an addendum to the county’s flood mitigation plan, although there was some skepticism as to the need for the additional paperwork, as only a small portion of the boro is actually in a flood plain. Most of the boro’s water damage in flood conditions is due to runoff from the higher elevations.

Lower State Street sidewalks were discussed; weeds have overgrown them, making walking difficult, and they are covered in gravel left over from the winter. Last year, the boro had seen to cleaning them, even though the property owner is responsible. This year, the boro did not see to their cleaning, as work for a new sewer line was to be started, which has not yet been done, and other work took precedence. A suggestion was made to have the walks cleared, and a bill for the cost be sent to the owner. Secretary Brush suggested that a committee could be set up to work on beautification projects for the area, which is at the entrance to the boro.

DCNR had approved a grant application for improvements to the boro’s park, but the funds have yet to be received. Red tape seems to be the reason for the holdup; the funds were to be released in April. With work to be completed by December 31, there is some question as to whether it can be completed in time. Several contractors have pledged work on the project, but with an indefinite start date and other jobs to get done, it is in doubt whether or not it can be accomplished. Mayor Dudley expressed frustration at the continual holdup; she has been working continually on the project for almost two years. She said that she felt like she was not able to continue to put the time into pursuing it that it needs, and perhaps someone else would have better luck. She said that she would be willing to help in whatever way she could if someone else would agree to take over. Council commended her for the endless hours she has already put into the project, and agreed to discuss it further.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


George E. Stine (Estate) to Margaret Stine, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.

Kim Marie Friar (By Sheriff) to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (Trustee), in Brooklyn Township for $1,386.60.

Greater Forest City Industries, Inc. to Forest City Borough, in Forest City for one dollar.

Marie Nowark (By Atty) to EGK LLC, in Middletown Township for one dollar.

Amy L. Rentner to Scott A. Lonzinski, in New Milford Township for $95,000.00.

Byron D. Lesjack to Byron D. and Carol J. Lesjack, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Byron D. Lesjack to Byron D. and Carol J. Lesjack, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Rodney W. Kintner to Rodney W. Kintner and Janice E. Petchalonis, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

Steven J. and Sandra M. Burgio (NBM) Sandra M. Wildoner to Kevin J. Schwarztrauber, in Auburn Township for $279,000.00.

Rick E. and Marcia M. Landsman to Mark Franklin Associated LP, in Franklin Township for $689,000.00.

Clifford B. and Patricia M. Neuroth to Owen Conaghan, in Clifford Township for $100,000.00.

Nicholas J., Sr. and Nicholas J., Jr. Palma to Nicholas J., Sr. and Nicholas J., Jr. Palma, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Nicholas J., Sr. and Nicholas J., Jr. Palma to Nicholas J., Sr. and Nicholas J., Jr. Palma, in Rush Township for one dollar.

James N. Wademan to PA Commonwealth – Department of Transportation, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Frederick and Beverly Stanton to PA Commonwealth – Department of Transportation, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Edward A. and Gertrude D. Diem Phoenix to John Sedlock, Jr., in Oakland Township for $64,000.00.

Kevin and Vanessa Schwarztrauber to Edward A. and Lacey Jo. Schwarztrauber, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Seth D. and Laurie D. Silow to Peoples State Bank of Wyalusing, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Seth D. and Laurie D. Silow to Peoples State Bank of Wyalusing, in Montrose for one dollar.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to John B., Linda L., John Travis and Zachary Michael Butt, in Herrick Township for $3,495.00.

Bertha H. (AKA) Bertha Croat to Lorraine A. and Logan Fenstermacher, in Jackson Township for one dollar.

Walter Babich to Edwin C. Runyon, Jr., in Herrick Township for $90,000.00.

Gerald E. and Gail M. Burke to Kirk A. and Melissa L. Strope, in Auburn Township for $130,000.00.

James N. and Mary R. Blachek to Phillip and Stacy Owen, in Montrose for $140,000.00.


Eric Anthony Haines and Kimberly Michele Law, both of Hallstead.

Dennis R. Perry, Jr. and Roberta R. Christianson, both of Lanesboro.

Duane C. Yoder of Friendsville and Sharon E. Bourdess of Deposit, NY.

Leonard A. Romanski and Elizabeth F. Martin, both of Factoryville.

Matthew J. Wolf and Tiffanie Renae Yoder, both of Susquehanna.

Joel Sumner Smith of Schroon Lake, NY and Lauren Nicole Palmer of Clarks Summit.

Corey J. Rudock and Sarah Rebekah Hobbs, both of Susquehanna.

Jason Jon Whitney and Susan Denise Cook, both of Kirkwood.

Jeremy Robert Keene and Roseann M. Wade, both of Peckville.

Jeremy Scott Stone and Lisa Marie Daniels, both of Thompson.

Arthur Ray Roberts and Rachel Leslie Edmondson, both of Forest City.

James H. Norton and Shawna M. Hill, both of Hop Bottom.

Brian S. Woodruff and Ashley Nicole Rittle, both of Montrose.

Joseph Skiscim and Erika L. Parraga, both of Susquehanna.

Timothy Dewey of Montrose and Alissa Ann Lesinski of Susquehanna.

Zachary Lee Powell of Vienna, WV and Michelle Ann Cavanaugh of Montrose.

Scott J. Johnson and Francee Choplosky, both of Hop Bottom.

Jesse Ray Wayman and Mary A. Potter, both of Starrucca.

John J. Liepinis, III and Donna Marie Manzer, both of South Gibson.

Justin R. Lawrence and Desiree Marie Davidson, both of Meshoppen.

Michael John Durbin and Sheri Lynne Miles, both of Hop Bottom.

Curtis A. Tunilo, Jr. and Diedre V. Decker, both of Montrose.

Joseph Wynne, Jr. and Katie-Lynn M. Horton, both of Kingsley.

Damon Gregory Porter and Shelly Beth Mathews, both of Friendsville.

Antonio L. Staler and Clemekia Nacortny Price, both of Hallstead.


Christine Cottrell of Forest City vs. Dale Cottrell of Simpson, married 2001.

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Harford To Review Budget
By Ted Brewster

Harford Township Supervisors announced at their meeting on August 12 that they will begin review of next year's budget in September. Supervisor Garry Foltz said that they are "going to have to make some adjustments" this year. Harford Township hasn't seen a tax increase in many years, but since Mr. Foltz was already concerned about the adequacy of the current year budget when he first came aboard last January, and since Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney has indicated that taxes might have had to be raised before, the "adjustment" seems to signal a tax rate increase with the next budget.

The Supervisors announced that they had held an executive session on August 5 on a personnel matter. It was learned later that the township may soon be the target of a suit charging age discrimination, perhaps as a result of the termination of an employee earlier this year.

Ms. Furney said that there was nothing new to report on the project to replace the bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road. All the papers have been signed, so the contractor should be starting work any day now. Mr. Foltz told the meeting that he was beginning to review the paperwork related to the project on Stearns Road to replace a sluice at the outlet of Tingley Lake in order to "move that along." He said also that the Supervisors should undertake to review all of the township's ordinances, as he did with the parking ordinance implemented last month.

Ms. Furney reported that re-addressing in Harford is on hold due to commotion and turnover in the emergency management offices in Montrose.

And Supervisor, Chairman and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden reported that he and his crew are "on the homestretch" to complete the major roadwork for the summer. Once that is done, the crews will look at individual trouble spots as necessary.

The next public meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Building on Route 547.

TRIANGLE UPDATE: It has been reliably reported that Bronson Pinchot, who has sued the Harford Historical Society over the triangle property in the middle of the Harford village, has requested arbitration as a means to settle the dispute out of court. No date for negotiations has been set.

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Bridge Project For Clifford Township
By Stephanie Everett

During a regular business meeting on August 12, Clifford supervisors announced that next April, PennDOT will begin replacing the small, open-grate bridge near the Clifford Municipal Building. The bridge and roadway will be widened; according to Chairman John Regan, PennDOT will pay the township $2,000 to compensate for the additional land usage. A small, paved parking area may also be installed in front of the Municipal Building.

A new front door for the Municipal Building has been ordered. The building may also see changes in the form of a tenant; the supervisors are considering renting out office space to a chiropractor, with the goal of raising funds to help maintain the building.

After a discussion of township road work, Regan announced that next year, Clifford may use saltwater brine to replace oil on the township roads. The brine, a by-product of the natural gas drilling process, will be readily available once extensive drilling gets underway.

Sandy Wilmot announced the success of Chautauqua Weekend and stated that the township had visitors for the event from as far away as Florida.

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Pre-trial Sets Tentative Jury Trial For Wilder
By Carole M. Canfield

The trial date for Wilder versus Susquehanna County plus two County Commissioners has tentatively been set for April 6, 2009.

Susquehanna County’s former Voter Registrar, Gary Wilder, has filed a lawsuit against Susquehanna County Commissioners Mary Ann Warren and former Commissioner Jeff Loomis for not recognizing veteran status to be granted for the position of Voter Registrar in 2006. They are represented by Attorney Michael Donohue. Wilder acted “pro se” (versus having a lawyer) with Attorney Donohue, who “had his defendants accessible by phone.”

Wyoming County’s 44th Judicial District Especially Presiding Judge Vanston is trying the case, as Susquehanna County’s own Honorable Judge Kenneth Seamans recused himself.

Judge Vanston offered to rule on the case, if it would be agreeable to each side. Wilder immediately agreed, but Atty. Donohue declined, stating he needed first to contact his defendants, to see if they would agree. The commissioners did not attend the pre-trial hearing.

Judge Vanston requested that Atty. Donohue let him know what the commissioners would like to do by Wednesday, August 20.

This date was set by Judge Vanston, who also ruled that none of the events occurring after March 15, 2007, be admissible as evidence.”

The case only involves whether the commissioners failed to grant veteran’s preference in hiring for the position on June 14, 2006, when they hired Laura Watts for the job. Watts currently is Voter Registrar.

Wilder was not offered the employment opportunity for said position until March 14, 2007. Wilder served in the US Navy for over 23 years.

The lawsuit was actually filed on October 13, 2006.

“Once the veteran establishes a claim to veteran’s preference, the burden of proof is upon the defendants to establish that the veteran (Wilder) was not qualified for the job. The commissioners feel that they meet that burden of proof,” Wilder stated.

Wilder, being opposed to their decision, filed the lawsuit.

The pre-trial hearing was held on Friday, August 15, and unless the county and the commissioners agree to utilize a settlement or to allow Judge Vanston to rule on the case, the jury trial has been tentatively set for April 6.

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V-Linc Introduced To Forest City Schools
By Stephanie Everett

At Forest City Regional School District’s Board meeting, NEIU-19 representatives Brian Dempsey and David Reese provided information on a V-Linc program which will be offered at FCRSD this year. V-Linc, a cyber services program, is intended as an extension of curricular offerings at the school and will likely be used as a tool for gifted education, for remediation, and for summer school. Administrators also hope that the V-Linc program will draw in the district’s present cyber charter students.

In order to become enrolled in the V-Linc program, a student will have to be approved by school administrators. V-Linc students will have the option of taking all of their courses online but can still remain “somewhat engaged in the school setting” through tutoring, athletics and other extra-curricular programs.

Although the V-Linc program is new to Northeastern PA, the program has been in effect in Western Pennsylvania for 3-4 years.

Reese stated that online teachers are highly qualified. One advantage to the V-Linc program is that it promotes a collaborative relationship between school districts, allowing students to take courses not offered at their school.

Course work for V-Linc students will be monitored through program facilitators and through the collaboration of David Daugherty and Brian Dempsey. Daily attendance will be determined based on a log-in and the completion of assignments.

V-Linc students will receive a diploma from the school, and the school will receive state funds for V-Linc students.

Mrs. Tamaro stated that she felt her daughter had been “ignored” and “disregarded” at the last board meeting in her complaints about the quality of the Forest City girl’s athletic program.

In another matter concerning sports, Mrs. Tamaro announced that the student athletes have volunteered to donate a percentage of concession stand proceeds to the dress code fund for needy students.

Patricia Chesnick, Dr. Vadella and Mrs. Wilcox will serve as confidential contacts for individuals who cannot afford school outfits, although administrators agreed, “We pretty much [already] know” who needs financial support. Individuals interested in offering a donation are asked to write “for dress code fund” on the memo line of their check. Clothing donations will also be accepted.

Parents of elementary schoolers should note that sweat pants will be permissible on gym class days. However, high school students will have to change for gym class.

Danielle O’Neill requested that the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky be removed from the school library on the grounds that it is offensive and inappropriate for students. Ms. O’Neill stated, “[The students] would be suspended if they wrote [some of the phrases that are in the book]... How can they read it?” she asked.

“There are a lot of issues in this book,” Vadella admitted. In fact, the book was removed from the required reading list at FCRHS. Board members pointed out that they do not choose the books that are placed in the school library. However, several members agreed with Henry Nebzydoski that they would be “condoning” an inappropriate book by leaving it in the school library.

Not all board members were in favor of removing the book, however. Fred Garm stated, “It’s a pretty open world,” pointing out that students have access to offensive material on the internet, particularly when they are able to beat the school’s computer filters. “I don’t think we should go down the censorship road,” Garm stated. Garm and a few other board members pointed out that many works of classical literature have been placed on the “banned book” list, including The Holy Bible, The Koran, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Huckleberry Finn.

A community member asked who the high school principal will be for the 2008-09 school year. The board would not offer specifics, but Dr. Vadella stated, “We will be covered.”

Vadella gave a brief presentation on a Project Lead the Way seminar that he attended. Project Lead the Way is intended to familiarize students with science, technology, engineering and math, since these are promising career fields. Students will be learning applied math, soldering, wiring, as well as learning to read schematic drawings. The program will be covered in more detail at seventh grade orientation on August 21 at 5:30 p.m.

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Gibson Barracks Report
Compiled By Melinda Darrow


It appears that on May 30, sometime between 7:30 and 12:30 p.m., someone was towing a vehicle, which spewed debris on the roadway as it was traveling toward the Wyoming County line, on Novitch Road in Lenox Twp.


On August 6, Mark Morgan III of New Milford was driving west on 766 in Bridgewater Twp. when he lost control while traveling around a corner and struck a tree. The crash occurred at around 5:50 p.m., and emergency medical services were called at approximately 7:15 p.m., with Montrose Fire and EMS responding to the scene. Morgan sustained a minor injury; the vehicle did not get towed.


Sometime between August 8 and 11, unknown persons cut and stole the copper lines from the propane and fuel oil tanks to the house of Stephen Gaffney of Gibson.


On August 10, at around 1:50 a.m. Jeseph Mastorio of Ocean Beach, NJ was riding an ATV along Whitney Hill Rd. in Thompson, with Michael Mojcik, also of New Jersey, as a passenger. Mastorio lost control of the vehicle, which traveled off the road, subsequently striking a tree. Both riders were thrown from the machine. Mastorio was treated at Barnes Kasson Hospital; Mojcik sustained major injury and was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital. The investigation continues; charges are forthcoming.


Sometime between the night of August 7 and the morning of August 8,  one or more unknown perpetrator(s) used a tool to unlock a vehicle belonging to Michael Mahon of Hallstead, removing his laptop computer from inside. The vehicle was parked at the Colonial Brick Motel parking lot at the time. The computer is described as a Dell Latitude 610.


Sometime between the 2nd and 8th of August, one or more unknown person(s) removed copper pipe and a regulator from the propane tank of the Harford Agricultural Society. The incident occurred at the Harford Fair Grounds in Harford Twp.


Between the 11th and 12th of August, a John Deere hay baler was stolen from James Shimer of New Milford. The bailer was not functional, but it is valued at $500 in parts and scrap.


On August 8th Margarett Murphey of Thompson reported that someone damaged her mailbox planters. Paul Hitchcock of Montrose reported that on July 25th someone in a white car equipped with a sunroof drove up to his mailbox and smashed it. Richard Jones of Hallstead reported that his mailbox in Franklin Twp. was smashed on August 7th.


On August 8, at around 1:55 an accident occurred on SR 2027 at the intersection of TR 473 in Clifford Twp. At this time, Joseph Gerchman was reportedly traveling northbound on that road when he lost control of his Buick Century and left the roadway, impacting a series of trees and a ditch. Gerchman exhibited signs of intoxication and was transported to Marian Community Medical Center in Carbondale for BAC testing, which was refused. He was charged with violations of PAVC and violations of PACC that occurred during arrest.


Between the 28th and 29th of July, a foreign substance was reportedly placed in the gas tank of a vehicle belonging to Deborah Lepay of Friendsville, causing mechanical problems. The vehicle in question was a 1996 Toyota Tacoma Truck.


On August 5 at 1:50 p.m., an accident occurred in New Milford Twp. on I-81 near exit 223. The incident occurred as Shashanka Chakrabortyy of Scarborough, ON was traveling northbound on that road. At the time of the collision the roadway was dry with no adverse weather conditions. At this location, Chakrabortyy impacted a bear that was positioned within the right travel lane. Her Nissan Altima suffered disabling front end damage as a result of the impact, but she was not injured.


On August 5, a green/gray electric mini bike was found at Hinkley Apts. in the Great Bend Plaza in Great Bend Twp. The owner is unknown.


On August 5 at around 6:50, an unknown person was driving southbound on SR 1019 in Oakland Twp., while Barbara Wayman of Susquehanna was traveling northbound. As the two vehicles passed each other a collision occurred, with the two striking mirrors. The unknown driver failed to stop and fled the scene south on SR 1019. Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information on the unknown vehicle is asked to contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154 and reference incident number R05-0702768.


On August 3, a 15-year old juvenile male and a 16-year old juvenile male became embroiled in a physical altercation at the New Milford Park. As a result of the altercation, the 15-year old required 12 stitches to his upper lip.


On August 3 at around 2:41 p.m., Todd Ruegner of Hallstead was traveling west on SR 706 in Bridgewater Twp. when he lost control of his Kawasaki Volcan, with the bike sliding onto its side and coming to an uncontrolled rest off the north edge of the westbound lane. No fire or EMS responded, and the bike was taken away by its operator.


On July 24, a five-gallon gas can with gas in it was removed from the property of Ronal Strong of Hallstead. Between October 1 and July 31, a gas powered power washer and a power generator were stolen from Gary Bonavita of Meshoppen. This amounted to $1,100 worth of stolen property.


On July 19 at 2:10 a.m., Michael Voshefsky of Clarks Summit was traveling westbound on SR 0374. He failed to stop for a posted stop sign, crossed over both lanes of SR 0092, and struck an embankment. Voshefsky suffered minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene. He was arrested for DUI and transported to Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale for a BAC test. The investigation was continuing at the time of the report.


On July 29, Bobby Perry of the Scranton area was traveling southbound on I81 in Lenox Twp in a 2005 Freightliner truck, which he lost control of. The truck traveled across a grass median divider in the highway, across both northbound lanes, through a series of guard rails, and traveled approximately 75 feet down a bank before coming to a final rest.


On August 1 at 2:50 p.m., Daniel Natt of Drums and John Osif of West Hazleton were traveling east on SR 4015 when Natt lost control of the vehicle, striking a traffic sign and a utility pole, and rolling over before coming to a final uncontrolled rest. Neither the driver nor the passenger were injured. Rush Fire and EMS responded to the scene.

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Sept. Jurors Drawn

Following are the list of names drawn to serve as Petit and Traverse jurors, to appear in the Court of Common Pleas, Susquehanna Courthouse, Montrose, on the second day of September, at 9:00 a.m.

Ararat Twp.: David Cottrell, Joyce Thorn.

Auburn Twp.: Eugene Gardner, Ronald Lee, Yvonne Lord, Laurie Trible.

Bridgewater Twp.: Bryan Austin, James Frystak, Vincent Grisafi, Robert McKeen, Edwin Mead, Mathew Sellers, Arthur Stinson, Casey Strohl, Robert Ann Taylor.

Brooklyn Twp.: Lindsey Flowers, Mary Osburn, Diane Zapolski.

Choconut Twp.: Robert Kika.

Clifford Twp.: Lori Ahrens, Thomas Woodyshek.

Dimock Twp.: Kylie Antol, Ellis Arthur, Donald Hollister, Wendy Taylor, Edwin Tucker.

Friendsville 1W: Shirley Pecko.

Forest City 2W: JoAnn Matarese, Lisa Zuidema.

Franklin Twp.: Kenneth Bozzo, Susan Webster.

Gibson Twp.: Darlene Dorang, Jerilyn Watson, Randy Zimmerman.

Great Bend Twp.: Paul M. Colton.

Harford Twp.: Paul Baldwin, Dawn Kohlhepp, Lisa Nichols.

Harmony Twp.: Clayton Marcum.

Herrick Twp.: Dawn Ferguson.

Jackson Twp.: David Berg, Andrew Graytock, Frieda Martinez.

Jessup Twp.: Beverly Hagstrom.

Lenox Twp.: Janice Bevacqua, Lula Kromko, Ann Rogers, Michele Schuler, Patricia Smith, William Whengreen, Sandra Wilbur.

Liberty Twp.: Christine Rosecrans.

Little Meadows Boro: Judith Hitchcock, Joan Middendorf.

Middletown Twp.: Rosemarie Weise.

New Milford Boro: Jesse Wallace.

New Milford Twp.: Harold Newberry, Elaine Osborne, Glenn Scott.

Oakland Boro: Brian Rhone.

Oakland Twp.: Rex Keyes, John Wanatt.

Rush Twp.: Kelly Allen, Dixie Graham.

Silver Lake Twp.: Dominic Delousia.

Springville Twp.: Jerry Ainey, Robert Matthews, Amber Peacock, Richard Warpus.

Susquehanna Boro 1W: Timothy Bedford.

Susquehanna Boro 2W: Robert Iveson, Robert Romanofski.

Thompson Boro: Steve W. Winner.

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