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An informational meeting was held on October 14 in the EMA Conference Room of the Susquehanna County Office Building, featuring Jeanne L. Fignar, AAS, and Coalition for a Smoke Free Valley’s “Policy and Research Coordinator,” which is the Primary Contractor for The Pennsylvania Clean Air Indoor Air Act. The event was co- sponsored by Trehab.
That act reads, “The PA Clean Indoor Air Act requires that public places and workplaces must be smoke-free. This includes, but is not limited to offices, schools, educational institutions, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers, retail stores, theaters, museums, health care facilities, health care clinics, no less than 75 percent of hotel/motel sleeping quarters, mass transportation (trains, subways, buses, planes, taxicabs and limousines).
According to Fignar, “Everyone benefits from a smoke-free environment, employees, patrons and proprietors.”
She continued, explaining the new smoking ban for restaurants, establishments and bars in Susquehanna County (and all of PA).
Business owners, operators and management are expected to know the law, and to inform employees and customers about it. The Clean Indoor Act states that no person shall carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or other lighted smoking devices into a public place or workplace. “No Smoking” signs must be posted prominently where smoking is not permitted. The Department of Health also recommends that all ashtrays and other receptacles used to extinguish cigarettes or other smoking items, be removed. There is a compliance toolkit available, which provides additional guidance and resources to help owners, etc., to comply with the Clean Indoor Air Act. These are available on the PACT website at www.PACTonline.org, or may be requested through the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Helpline at 1-877-835-9535.
Although the meeting was not widely attended, Fignar sat down for a roundtable discussion, allowing the attendees to get personal and state concerns of their own.
When one irritated restaurant/bar owner stated that the law could eventually put him and other area places out of business, due to the number of regular patrons who “quit coming in and going instead to the other places where smoking is still allowed,” Fignar said, “This doesn’t surprise me at all, and I am sorry – I have heard it before. What needs to happen,” She added, “is that patrons or business owners need to let their legislatures know of the non-compliance and file a complaint, which will be checked into, and eventually the offending establishment will be fined in violation. They could be fined for each offending patron who smokes. The cost of their lack of enforcing the law puts them at risk, and will cost $250 per smoking patron and with, say even 10 offenders, the fines can get quite steep at that price. Each offender could be fined a second time if they light up after being told to please smoke outside. The fines range from $250 to $1,000.”
While competitors continue to disobey the laws, those who are ignoring it, are placed at risk of losing their establishment. Fignar stated that eventually, all the loopholes in the ban law should be sorted out, within a period of time. One concerned owner stated, “We can’t hold on that long, within say 3-4 months my business has lost 70% of the regular patrons, and another set of several months will just deplete our working capitol, as well as the patrons.”
Stating that she understands the ban is not fair, yet, she is certain that eventually it will place businesses on the same page and, hopefully, regular patrons will return. “I wish everyone would comply, so that businesses who are making the necessary changes are not taking the hit until enforcement comes around, so that every business will be non-smoking.”
Fignar also explored exceptions and exemptions of the ban; however, those exemptions deadlines were September 10, 2008. Business owners were not informed of that deadline until after that date and, “unfortunately will not be available to utilize exemptions that may have helped their individual usages.” The glitch was not known by the Coalition for a Smoke Free Valley, the state enforcing agency until after it happened. “The Health Department was supposed to send information letters out to businesses to inform them of the exemptions, and they dropped the ball.”
Fignar took time to discuss the plans for potential exceptions or legal opportunities that would allow owners to add a patio with no outside walls, or a room that had sufficient ventilation and was apart from the dining crowd, but even then, owners’ hands are tied, without adding to or taking down walls of their original establishments.
Information including the ventilation was discussed at length, with the final result explaining that in actuality there is no ventilation system which can take away the carcinogens totally. “It just can’t be done,” Fignar reported. According to Fignar, “Everyone benefits from a smoke-free environment, employees, patrons and proprietors.”
According to her message, there are statistics which show that only about 15% of the cigarette smoke is inhaled by the smoker; that means that the remaining 85% lingers in the air for others to breathe. Six people a day die from diseases related to secondhand smoke, which contains a dangerous mixture of more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of them cancer-causing. “Not smoking indoors needs to be out in the open,” she added.
She emphasized that smoking is bad for everyone, and even secondhand smoke is no exception. “I encourage smokers to quit; there are an estimated 28% to 38% of high school kids who smoke at one age or another. If the parents of these children don’t smoke, there are statistics that show kids won’t begin smoking nearly as much as kids who have smoking parents, family, and friends. Also, if a youngster hasn’t begun smoking by the age of 17, he/she will never smoke.”
The Coalition offers pamphlets regarding the law free, along with several opportunities to take advantage of quitting and following the rules of the Clean Indoor Act properly. These are to help keep the public informed and offer help as much as the Coalition office can offer.
You may obtain the information on the web at www.dsf.health.state.pa.us, or by phoning 877-835-9535.
Trehab also offers informational pamphlets to smokers and non smokers alike, by calling (570) 278-5278 or 1-800-982-4045, ext. 5278. This includes cessation services for small groups or individuals.
A pavilion has been erected at Lathrop Street School, it was reported at the October 13 Montrose Area School Board meeting. The year before, the PTO had come to the board to request permission to put a pavilion near the third grade wing. Recently, their vision saw its fruition. Dave Wood, PTO president, spoke of first having the idea five years ago. Reception of the new structure has been positive, with classes eating lunch there, parents sitting and watching their children play, and at least one faculty meeting having been held within it. Pictures are on the district’s website. Key players in the project received the standard MASD certificate and handshake treatment.
An official motion was made, and accepted, to allow the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas to meet in the Junior-Senior High School in case of an emergency. The request was due to a mandate; every county courthouse is required to have an emergency evacuation plan.
The district now needed to include a line within its Acceptable Use of Internet policy on cyber bullying and made the final alteration at the meeting. A new policy was also created regarding this: Policy 249 Bullying/Cyberbullying. This is due to a requirement by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, defines the terms and lays out what the consequences of such actions are and who handles it.
An MASD staff member has received an honor which superintendent Michael Ognosky stated he has not yet seen in his more than 20 years with the district. Polly Pritchard, an educator in the French department of the Junior-Senior High School, will be embarking on October 27 to live for six weeks in Morocco as a Fulbright Scholar. In the spring, the exchange is to be completed as Ms. Fatima El Addaoui spends six weeks at Montrose.
There was some debate over the matter of head instructor stipends at the September meeting. Despite this, an increase to $1,500 per year was unanimously approved.
Representatives of the P&G Credit Union were the first presenters at the work session. The company, it was stated, had a vision of going out and reaching young people, and has put this vision into practice. The vision is driven, it was explained, in part by a student approaching one employee and not knowing how to use his checkbook. The credit union works with schools, inviting not only staff and administration to become members, but also students. In Tunkhannock, a student-run credit union, funded by a grant, was opened. It is one of only 17 in the state. Membership is free, and students are offered special benefits. A curriculum, specific to personal finance in day to day life, has also been created, “Making the Right Money Move,” which Montrose has already used. The representatives said that they wanted in no way to undermine what the school is currently doing, but only want the district to consider making P&G an option. The company said that, if allowed, it would put an ATM in now, and had a vision for the future of opening an on-site branch and hiring students to work in it.
Act 1 reared its head again at the meeting. Districts were required to put part of the legislation on the ballot in the past, regarding tax changes, which was resoundingly defeated in almost every district in the state. Every two years, however, the districts have the opportunity to revisit the matter and put it on the ballot again. Montrose declined to do so.
An update was provided regarding the oil and gas lease. At a recent building and grounds meeting, the board directed Mr. Ognosky to contact oil and gas lease companies to see if any would be interested in the lease as written. He contacted seven, and received some interest. Mr. Ognosky called this lease very land-owner friendly.
Mr. Owens reported on the new parent portal system. A link to the portal has been placed on the website. Through the system, parents can monitor their child's discipline record, attendance, calendar, and assignments. Additionally, there is the hope of more options to become available. Mr. Owens plans, he said, on trying now to get parents to open their children's student accounts. Students cannot open an account without their parents. He clarified that the student portal only links to that child's information, to allay any fears that they will be able to access that of their siblings. A cafeteria portal is also in existence, which allows parents to deposit money into their children's accounts on-line.
Recently, a board member was asked where the school's money was invested in this economically challenging time. It was answered that the state treasurer had started a PA state investment program for school districts. As districts were strongly encouraged to participate in this, that is where Montrose's money resides.
Much of the evening’s time was spent working on the 2009 budget at the October 16 Hallstead Boro Council meeting. A work session had been held on October 9 to begin, and on this date some “tweaking” was done, raising some line items and lowering others. The proposed budget will be approved at the November meeting, and finalized at the December meeting.
Other business included notification from the county Tax Claim Bureau that the property at 84 Railroad Ave. has been sold at an upset sale.
Copies of the boro’s current burning ordinance were distributed for review.
Christmas lights will be put up after Halloween.
A council member had been approached about filling cracks in the boro’s streets, cost $9,600. After discussion, it was agreed that, if this were to be done, it would be better to wait until after the winter’s plowing. More price quotes would need to be obtained, if next year’s budget allows for the work to be done, and if council decides to go ahead with it.
A council member from Great Bend Boro had asked if Hallstead would be interested in partnering to buy a (big) load of salt; since Hallstead normally only uses anti-skid, Hallstead will not be taking Great Bend up on the offer.
And, a motion carried to send a letter to the Bridging Communities committee asking for an update on the sidewalk project. If it is not going to happen, the boro will request their $5,000 donation back.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, November 20, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
Amy Feller to Amy Alexis Feller (Rev Trust), in Lathrop Township.
Fannie Mae (AKA) Federal National Mortgage Association to Mark S. and Carol Marie Scanlon, in New Milford Township for $90,000.00.
Eleanor L. Brown and Brown Trust (By Trustee) to Mary and Paul Gere, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Ethel Louise McGinness (NMB) Ethel Louise Lulay to Ethel Louise and James H. Lulay, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
James F. Kane to John C. and Else K. Brunner, in Jessup and Forest Lake Townships for $123,000.00.
Michelle Lee Milne and Harry Schoeller to Ronald C. and Carol L. Dubas, in Ararat Township for $145,000.00.
Paul F. Reich to Paul F. Reich and Claire Reich Woidt, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
John S. and Barbara S. White to Francis J., Francis J., Jr. and Michael J. Pinkowski, in Bridgewater Township for $199,950.00.
Christopher A. and Jill P. Snyder to Marty and Mary Capoferri, in Herrick Township for $95,000.00.
Joseph and Patricia E. Lucchesi to Joseph Lucchesi, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Jeremiah Wolfe to World Wide Trucks and Parts, Inc., in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Patricia A. and Henry L. Dube to Elizabeth A. Farringer, in Bridgewater Township for $122,000.00.
John P. and Arline Drann to John P. and Arline Drann, in New Milford and Great Bend Townships for one dollar.
Alice F. (By Sheriff) and Richard L. (By Sheriff) Kilmer to HSBC Bank USA, in Dimock Township for $1,350.34.
HSBC Bank USA (By Attorney) and Nomura Home Equity Loan, Inc. to James Auerbach, in Forest City for $35,250.00.
Audrey Kalb to John S. Kalb, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Mary E. Snyder to Starrucca Viaduct Limited Partnership, in Lanesboro Borough for $47,500.00.
Arthur Bryant to Eastern Overhawk LLC, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Christopher M. Hanrahan to Tammy A. Walker-Hanrahan, in Apolacon Township for $12,000.00.
William S. Conyer to William and Kelly Conyer, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Thomas M., Jr. and Carol D. Delaney to Harold A. and Elizabeth A. Rhone, in Uniondale Borough for $86,005.00.
Brian C. Griffis to Brian C. and Jennifer J. Griffis, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Suzanne M. (AKA) Suzanne Campbell to Darek W. and Kelly M. Potter, in New Milford Township for $183,000.00.
Timothy Aaron Arthur and Brandy L. Estell, both of Montrose.
John Strohl and Sarah E. Carlin, both of Meshoppen.
Manuel Rutilio Gomez and Terra L. Kilmer, both of Friendsville.
Sean T. Werkema and Robin Louise Zurn, both of Downingtown, PA.
Evan Glenn Everitt and Erin Lynn Way, both of Brackney.
Kenneth Robert Bush and Kelly Marie O'Reilly, both of Friendsville.
Larry Alan Williams and Donna Lynn Gow, both of Montrose.
Franklin G. Belcher, Jr. and Amy Hlavaty, both of Clarks Green, PA.
Discussion centered around road work at the Clifford Township meeting on October 14. Township supervisors asked that the contract for the Mud Road bridge project be revised to protect the township from incurring massive debt, and to allow for more than a year to complete the project.
Supervisors agreed to participate in a co-op project with PennDOT. In exchange for cutting brush at various intersections, PennDOT will tar and chip from Route 247 to approximately 9/10 mile up Elk View Drive, reducing expenses to Clifford Township. Regan, chairman, stated, “It’s a way for us to come ahead... one piece at a time.”
A woman in attendance stated that her elderly mother lives alone in a cul-de-sac off of Elk View Drive. The woman asked what can be done to bring the road up to specifications so that the township will plow the road. Regan stated that he would meet with the woman and a PennDOT representative to discuss the matter. The woman also asked how anyone could find her mother in the event of an emergency, since there is no road sign. Regan stated that a temporary sign would be arranged.
Also concerning Elk View Drive, one resident asked about grant money for repairing the upper portion of the road. Regan suggested that the man contact a state representative.
Additional matters concerned a grant application to replace windows in the municipal building. Regan announced that he will have someone from Anderson Windows provide a quote.
The grand courtroom in Montrose was transformed into a theater on the evening of October 17 for the benefit of an overflow crowd enthralled by the spectacle of justice denied, and redeemed through the eyes of a child in literature.
Jason Legg as Atticus Finch pleads his case before the jury, "In the name of God, do your duty."
County Sheriff Lance Benedict said he had never seen the courtroom so full. They all came out on a cool October night to witness a reenactment of the courtroom scene as depicted in Harper Lee's 1960 novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Thought to be the most widely read book about race in America, Ms. Lee's only novel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was made into a film in 1962, for which Gregory Peck received the Best Actor Academy Award.
The book's story is narrated from the point of view of six-year-old Scout Finch whose widowed father, an attorney in a small town in Alabama in 1935, defends a black man unjustly accused of raping a young white woman. Scout and her older brother, Jem learn courage and the virtue of compassion through the experience. The rest of us learn from them through Harper Lee's simple, yet powerful story.
The story of Scout's father, Atticus Finch, was an important influence on Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg, who has described in these pages how he was drawn into the law by the example of this unique character of American fiction. Mr. Legg organized the event at the courthouse as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play out his hero on his own accustomed stage.
The dramatic event was the culmination of a program called Susquehanna County Reads, sponsored by the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association and the Susquehanna County Literacy Program, and supported by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Throughout October, for the price of only $3, participants were each given a copy of the book and encouraged to discuss it among themselves.
As part of the reading program, Mr. Legg collected a cast of adults and teens to play the various roles in the live courtroom drama, which was divided into two major parts, with an intermission generously provided with refreshments for the large audience.
The first part was the reenactment itself of the most dramatic part of the courtroom scene in the book, as witnessed by Scout from the balcony. Mr. Legg defended Tom Robinson, a poor black man, played by Philip Crisp, in "an atmosphere rife with hostility" presided over by Judge Taylor (played by lawyer Patrick Daly). The prosecutor, Horace Gilmer, was played by another lawyer, Mark Darmofal. So the cast was well stocked with people familiar with their roles. The part of Sheriff Heck Tate was played by William Strong, who happens to be a part-time county detective and coordinator of Mr. Legg's law enforcement task force. The abused Mayella Violet Ewell was played by Margaret Vaccaro; her father was played by Andrew Vaccaro. An unruly commentator, Link Deas was played by Charles Cesaretti, who also narrated the proceedings and moderated the question-and- answer discussion at the end of the evening.
The outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion, of course, loosely based as it was on a similar circumstance witnessed by Ms. Lee when she was 10 years old. Atticus Finch expected the result, but also expected to be able to appeal the conviction. In the novel, his hope was frustrated when Tom Robinson was hauled from his jail cell and murdered.
In the reenactment, however, Jason Legg/Atticus Finch made his case before an appeals court in the second part of the evening's drama. The arguments were heard this time by the Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie, who currently sits on the bench of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania as Chief Judge, in Scranton. An amiable gentleman, Judge Vanaskie seemed to enjoy the proceedings, especially when later a member of the audience noted that the court was not directed to rise when the judge entered the courtroom. He ultimately ruled that the conviction was overturned, based primarily on that "hostile atmosphere" in the town and in the courtroom at the original hearing.
During the question-and-answer period, Judge Vanaskie remarked that he still sees cases of African-Americans tried before all-white juries. "That's an issue that still gets raised today," he said, of the obvious and brutal racism portrayed in the novel's trial sequences.
For his part, Mr. Legg reminded his audience that the trial in the book, and as reenacted in Montrose, was told "from the perspective of a child." Whether it had the substance and veracity of real courtroom procedure was beside the point. The question, after all, was justice.
Clearly, everyone who attended the dramatic event went away moved and thoughtful. It was a success all around, and the experience of "To Kill A Mockingbird" will not soon be forgotten in Susquehanna County.
Following are the Lanesboro Borough Council meeting minutes from September 2, as submitted.
Roll Call – Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Bob Mireider, Dale Rockwell, Stan Rockwell, Colleen Wilkes. Also present –Secretary/Treasurer Gail Hanrahan, Mayor Chris Maby. Absent – George Houghton.
Motion to approve minutes of previous meeting as presented, unanimous.
Correspondence and Resolutions:
Voicemail from County EMA office – the 2005 Emergency Resource and Notification plan that was being updated by Maby is not NIMS compliant. Charlene (County EMA office) sent Maby a sample for use. Maby will propagate information from 2005 manual, update where needed, and distribute prior to the October meeting. The manual will need to be approved by resolution at the October meeting. S. Rockwell volunteered to be the deputy. Motion needed for approval, unanimous. Maby also approved to list Swanson’s as bus transportation, pending approval by Ray Swanson.
Flood risk evaluation report from FEMA – Resignation letter from John Foote, effective August 30. Would like notification in writing of acceptance. Council agreed – Secy. to send letter. After brief discussion, motion carried to hire Dan Boughton to replace John Foote. Unanimous, excepting an abstain from vote by Boughton.
Newsletter from Rail-Trail – Letter from Senator Baker’s office listing bridge projects in Susquehanna County, along with a request to determine if local bridges should be added. Maby reviewed – the bridge crossing the Starrucca Creek on Viaduct Street is listed for rehabilitation, including some money for ROW acquisition.
Pre-disaster mitigation grant program available for review.
PSAB conference in Gettysburg.
Code Enforcement – 3 messages, no complaints.
Community Center – $150 in rentals for August. Discuss whether to start renting again until resolution of PO move is accomplished, possibly a month by month schedule. After discussion, council agreed to rent through October and then revisit mid-monthly from that point on, in case there is direction provided from the Post Office on what needs to be done.
Mayor’s Report – Discuss possibility of submitting a letter to Susquehanna regarding their police bike. Susquehanna rec’d a grant for the bike, with matching funds from local businesses. There is some interest by their council in keeping the bike local, may be willing to donate it to Lanesboro if request is made. After discussion, motion to authorize Maby to send letter expressing interest in bike if it can be donated. Maby to compose letter and cc council.
Soccer field grant – Two benches and two three-row grandstands were ordered, should be here this week. County agency is handling all bidding (when needed) and ordering to simplify paperwork, so that Lanesboro does not need to worry about it. Cost of benches and grandstands is slightly less than $3,000. Remaining money to be used on, in priority: 1) fence to close in property; 2), grading, top-soiling, and seeding of field upon completion of soccer season (late October) 3), curbing and sidewalk; and 4), if any money is left, lighting. Maby would like concurrence from council on priority list. After discussion, council in agreement with priorities.
Soccer association also is planning to install electric in their concession stand. The account will be set up and paid for by the soccer association – Lanesboro will have no involvement in this. The plan is to go underground with the electric from the utility pole.
Bids for the police car on municibid.com. One bid - $750. Maby instructed by council to accept it and make arrangements to have it removed.
No new information from Atty. Dewitt regarding 911 mapping addresses. Wilkes will follow up with Atty. Dewitt.
No new information from Atty. regarding an ordinance for older buildings with storefronts and the associated ADA issues. Wilkes will follow up with Atty.
Patton Wiedow is resigning. Need to hire another officer. Majority of the coverage has been shifted to nights, due to recent late-night issues. Two arrests have been made, with more likely in the coming weeks. Discussion that there is a communication problem between local and state police. Maby will look into arranging a meeting to discuss and see what can be done in regard to information sharing, and possible state police patrols in the area.
Police car suffered minor damage during a 911 call pursuit, will be turned into insurance for repairs by Swanson’s Garage.
Hiring of Jason Fissel as part-time employee – motion to use Jason Fissel as needed. Need to include hourly rate.
Floor plan/estimate of materials – tabled until council receives something in writing from PO regarding specs.
Possible cul-de-sac on Jail Hill – D. Rockwell contacted three surveyors with only Barry Wheaton calling back. Ted Schwartz notified D. Rockwell that a construction trailer was blocking the road. Rockwell investigated – the trailer is not blocking anything. D. Rockwell to discuss with Atty. the width and length of the road. Maby recalls an ordinance length of about 269 or 469 feet, but can’t be sure.
Jefferson St. completion – NYS&W sent application to PUC, waiting on approval from them. Abandoned siding rails will be removed, and the approach grade to the crossing built up to make a smoother crossing.
Mountain Road project – D. Rockwell has forwarded all of the information to Atty. DeWitt, along with a bill from the contractor for $104,000. No work has been done on the punch list yet.
Hole on Barnes Ave – patched three times already by Boughton, will continue to watch
Firework ordinance – D. Rockwell will provide information to Atty. DeWitt.
Conversion of Consla rental to one-family – Shane Lewis, Codes, contacted Dick Consla, visit not yet scheduled.
Chesapeake gas meeting – no signing going on in Lanesboro, looking at Harmony and Thompson Township. 10 acre minimum, with price $2,500/acre.
Relocation of welcome sign and cannon to under Viaduct – tabled until the old Post Office comes down.
Bounced checks – Secy. noted that there have been a number of bounced checks, and that we cannot recover any service charges for them because we don’t have an ordinance. Also, there are several accounts owing Lanesboro in excess of several thousand dollars. Lanesboro has a shutoff agreement with PAWC, but has not used it yet. After discussion, motion to develop an ordinance for a $20 fee for a returned check. Unanimous. Motion to start the process of turning water off on delinquent accounts after three months. Letter will be sent at three-month window, with shutoff if no response to letter. School will be notified if water is shut off. Unanimous vote.
Leash law enforcement – letter will be sent with sewer bills. S. Rockwell and Maby to compose the letter, and provide to Secy.
Meeting with Susquehanna and Oakland about sharing of services and equipment – general interest by council. Agreed that providing snow plowing assistance and possible use of garbage truck for tire pickup or recycling. Discussion to continue at next meeting with Susquehanna.
Pothole repair - could possibly use Susquehanna DPW to make repairs, in exchange for some assistance with daytime plowing during the winter months, and is probably far cheaper than putting out to bid (must get three written bids for $4,000 to $10,000 of work). After discussion, motion to continue discussion related to pothole repair by subcommittee (whoever can attend the meeting with Susquehanna is authorized to negotiate on behalf of Lanesboro). Unanimous.
Visitors (requesting time on floor):
Roland Salamon – asked about a double billing for garbage/sewer (issue to be handled by Secy.). Asked for and was provided an update on 2008 budget. The budget for the year is $200,324. Through July (seven months), Lanesboro has spent $117,273. Council noted this is within a few hundred dollars of being proportionally on target.
Andre Tomczyk – concerned about sewer rates and sidewalk. Council explained that everything associated with sewer (treatment, maintenance of equipment, insurance, legal fees, billing time for secretary) are all in the bill, whereas previous budgets had money coming from the general fund to pay for legal fees, insurance, billing time, and some of the maintenance. Mr. Tomczyk also asked if a sidewalk could be constructed on Turnpike St. from Main St. to the school entrance, as there is no shoulder or sidewalk at this location now, making it dangerous for pedestrians. Council noted the state decides on the sidewalk, as all sidewalks built in Lanesboro have been funded by grants from the State. Note: Maby sent an email to PennDOT asking if they would consider a sidewalk project here, in addition to making improvements to the existing sidewalk along Turnpike St., where a red Mustang running through a bus’s blinking red lights on a blind corner (at the elementary entrance) nearly ran over an elementary student getting on the bus.
Sandy Davis – glad to see that a leash law will be enforced.
Much as we would like to avoid it, there will be snow this winter. And Harford's Roadmaster (and Supervisor) Terry VanGorden is reporting that his equipment is prepared. At the Supervisors' meeting on October 14, Mr. VanGorden said that the two main trucks, the Macks, are already outfitted with spreaders, and the anti-skid is piled up behind the township garage. He did request authority to purchase some new rubber plow blades at just over $100 apiece; he said that without them, the plows would tear up the roads.
One of those roads, Pennay Hill, is getting a new bridge, more than two years after it washed out the first time in the great flood of June, 2006. The Supervisors voted to make the first payment of $134,508.09 to ProCon, the contractor building the new span. As of the day of the meeting, the contractor was awaiting delivery of the bridge span itself. The entire project is expected to cost over $400,000, all of which will be reimbursed by federal and state emergency management agencies as long as the work is complete by the end of this year.
The operator of a stone yard attended the meeting to defend his operation from charges that his trucks have been beating up the roads. He said that the complaints came during a time when he wasn't shipping any stone at all. The Supervisors have expressed concern that heavy stone trucks have been taking short cuts through the township, using hills that get washboarded by bouncing trailers.
There was also some debate about the relative merits of calcium chloride versus AEP oil for dust control on the roads. The stone yard operator said he thought that proper application of the calcium chloride was the best approach. Mr. VanGorden has been happy with the performance of the oil, making some stretches look almost paved. Problems arise, however, when the oiled stretches are used too soon after the product is applied.
On the other hand, Mr. VanGorden said that the oil could rise to over $2.00 per gallon next year, a cost that the township could hardly afford. Calcium chloride is significantly less expensive to buy, but might have to be applied as many as three times in a single season, whereas one oil application is usually enough.
To help out somewhat, Supervisor Garry Foltz is studying a proposed new "traffic regulation" ordinance, based on a template provided by a state township supervisors' organization. He said that he would probably remove the speed limit parts of the template, leaving the township the authority to close roads for maintenance and emergencies, as well as to apply weight limits.
Mr. Foltz guided the last ordinance through the approval process, the one that established new procedures and permitting regulations for driveways in Harford township. Now comes the first application for a driveway permit under the new rules.
The property owner needs the permit in order to apply to the county for a subdivision, but doesn't intend to install the driveway immediately. Mr. Foltz insisted that the application include details like materials, grade and drainage provisions. He would also like the position of the new driveway to be staked out on the ground. He said he would gladly sign the permit once those things were taken care of, noting that the owner would have one year to build the driveway. The new ordinance, he said, is intended "to prevent the problems we have had in the past."
Besides the prospect of snow, this time of year we also look forward to municipalities' budgets for next year. The Supervisors began going through a draft provided by Secretary (and Supervisor) Sue Furney. Mr. Foltz seemed comfortable that the township would remain within the bounds of its current budget by year's end. He did say, however, that "we are going to have to make some adjustments before the new year," clearly implying an increase in taxes.
By far the largest increase in expenditure is expected to be for fuel, to heat the township building and garage (oil and propane), and to run the township's equipment. The township is now paying about $3.39 per gallon for heating oil; the price for 2007 averaged about $2.33. Electricity costs are also expected to rise as much as 10-15%.
Mr. Foltz said that he would like to increase the allocation slightly for legal expenses for 2008, since he will need a lawyer's counsel for the ordinances he is working on.
On the other hand, Mr. VanGorden thought he could get by with a little less pipe next year. And the township was over budget this year for dust control by about 10%. He had already mentioned the increasing cost of AEP oil.
Mr. VanGorden also noted that the township will have to spend as much as $6,500 in each of the next four years for new road signs mandated by new state regulations. All road name signs will have to be replaced with signs sporting larger lettering. He expressed some frustration that PennDOT seems to want to require the township to pay for road signs for state roads as well.
The fire company is also asking for a quarter of a mill increase in the fire tax. Harford Township residents now pay 0.75 mills in direct taxes for fire protection. If approved, the increase (33%) would bring the fire tax to a full mill. Mr. VanGorden, who is also a member of the fire company, said that the firemen did not apply for a grant this year, having received grants for the last three years.
The Supervisors also reported that the state has announced cuts in liquid fuel subsidies, the major source of revenue for road maintenance in municipalities like Harford. The cut is expected be about 2%.
After the month's bills were considered, the Supervisors were asked about the payment of $16 to a private business owned by one of the township's own employees. Mr. VanGorden said that he authorized the expenditure (for sharpening four saw chains) and "didn't think there was a conflict." Mr. Foltz said he considered it more cost effective than sending someone to Hallstead to have the work done.
The Supervisors received a request from a resident for consideration of a park of some kind where children could play safely. The Supervisors noted that the Mountain View school campus is available, and no one using the grounds for recreation has been known to have been asked to leave.
Election Judge Maureen Warren reported that the county election board will be supplying two additional booths this year. Township employees have traditionally taken responsibility for setting them up and taking them down for election day. Since the polling place was moved to the new fire hall a couple years ago, the booths have been stored in the firehouse. Some of the firemen have opposed using the building for this purpose, but the fire company board was prevailed upon by county Commissioner Mary Ann Warren to allow the polls to be moved there from the tiny township office. The Supervisors allowed as how the job of putting up the booths and taking them down was a legitimate job for township employees, whether there are four booths or six booths.
The next public meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, beginning at 7:00 p.m. All meetings take place in the township building on Route 547, just south of the Interstate.
Following is the September, 2008 Silver Lake Township Police Report, as submitted.
On September 4, Lisa Fike reported credit card charges against her card which were not negotiated by her. Information and a police incident were turned over to the bank’s investigators.
On September 7, Geoff Rosevear reported that he heard noises in his driveway. When he investigated he found that his vehicle’s rear door was open. Upon Silver Lake Police arrival, further investigation showed that windows had been tampered with for apparent access. The victim may have scared off the actor. Nothing was taken from the vehicle.
On September 7, Monica Redding reported her mailbox had been completely smashed and destroyed, at her residence on SR4002, before 9:00 p.m. on this date.
On September 7 and several days to follow, numerous reports were filed concerning mailboxes being smashed or vandalized recently in the township. Individuals have been charged with this activity and it is still under investigation with further arrests pending.
On September 16, Silver Lake Police responded to a domestic in progress on Laurel Lake. The couple were arguing with no physical violence. Both parties agreed to separate for the day and seek professional counseling.
On September 24, a victim notified Silver Lake Police of a domestic violence situation. The activity was outside of Silver Lake jurisdiction and PSP were called to investigate the situation. Silver Lake PD assisted PSP with the investigation, arrest and resolution of this incident.
Any information or questions for the Silver Lake Township Police, call (570) 278-6818 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be held strictly confidential.
Following are the names drawn to serve as Petit and Traverse jurors, to appear in the Court of Common Pleas, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, on the third day of November at 9:00 a.m.
Auburn Twp.: Vivian Bennett, Richard Herman, Yvonne Lord, Anthony Newhart.
Bridgewater Twp.: Rebecca Bennett, Beth Dabell, Justine Elston, Kathleen Herb, Daniel Knight, Allen B. Oakes, Carl Rickert.
Choconut Twp.: Terese Gar.
Clifford Twp.: Kevin Brown, Joan Cavallaro, Dorothy Niles, Ruth Obelenus, Gloria Ort, Donald Snedeker.
Dimock Twp.: Warren Ball, John Bennett, Kylie Decker, Raymond Hunsinger, Edgar Warriner.
Forest City 1W: Margaret Puntar, Sandra Shager.
Forest City 2W: Bryan Bebla.
Forest Lake Twp.: Rita Flynn, Lori Nagy, Matthew Timm.
Gibson Twp.: Karl Zantowsky.
Great Bend Twp.: Dorinda Bennett, Evelyn Decker, Mark Gallagher, Jon McHugh, Robert Treible.
Harford Twp.: Edward Donahue, Carole Goldsmith, Troy Schermerhorn.
Herrick Twp.: David Durko.
Jackson Twp.: Jerome Hartt.
Jessup Twp.: Donna Fassler, Vincent Quattrocch.
Lanesboro Boro: Lillian Loy, Jason Roe.
Lathrop Twp.: James Galvin, Gerald Daniel Harvey.
Lenox Twp.: Tracey Chrzan, Francis Kane, Lula Kromko, Dennis Melia, Bonnie Rowe, Judith Wech, William Whengreen.
Liberty Twp.: Ann Smith.
Little Meadows Boro: Mitchell Ferrill.
Montrose Boro 1W: Arlene West, Alma Wood.
Montrose Boro 2W: Karen Ely.
New Milford Twp.: Elaine Grover, Jody Hall, Gayle Reggie, Matt Taylor.
Oakland Boro: Chad Crawford.
Oakland Twp.: Charles Ficarro, Elsie Robles.
Rush Twp.: Amy Burgess, Joyce Ettlinger, Matthew Wambold.
Silver Lake Twp.: Robert Griffis, Jonathan Homan, D. Mark MacGargle, Jack Maynard, Violet Rieselman, Donald VonBarthel, Robert Wilkes.
Springville Twp.: Laurence Stone.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: Charles Quisenberr, Margaret Rosenthal.
Thompson Boro: Wayne Shontz, Jr.
Thompson Twp.: Jennifer Stone.
Some new members of the “family” were introduced at the October 15 Susquehanna Community School Board meeting. New board member Erin (Soden) Mazikewich was welcomed to her first official meeting, and new members of the elementary teaching staff were introduced: Melissa Sussman, art; Jill Holleran, grade one; Maryann Deakin, grade one; Ray Testa (Jr.), K-4; Karyn Armitage, grade six; Beth Davis, guidance.
One item of correspondence was read, a thank you card from Mrs. Dawn Steele, thanking all for their participation in the Change for Cancer campaign; a total of $602.61 was raised.
Superintendent Stone reported that the district is investigating the potential for energy savings, and the board had heard one proposal at the previous evening’s work session. Items being looked into are alternative fuels, improving the efficiency of the boilers, and changes to the lighting system. The board is also looking at the district’s tax collection rates, with the intent to alleviate or modify “nuisance” taxes.
Homecoming was scheduled for later in the week, and both buildings had pep rallies and other related activities planned leading up to the weekend.
The elementary school will once again be participating in Red Ribbon activities, all of which are centered on a “don’t use drugs” theme.
Mailings had been sent out to parents of students who may qualify for free or reduced lunches, but as of this date, very few had been returned. Parents who might be eligible were encouraged to return the applications (students who qualify but who have not applied will have to pay full price).
Representatives from the Mid Valley School District were scheduled for a visit to observe the district’s special ed program; they are looking at other schools with successful programs to gather information to apply in their district.
The board approved the submission of the Susquehanna Community Jr./Sr. High School Improvement Plan for 2008-2010 to I.U. #19. The plan outlines strategies for improving math scores (45% of all students across the state did not reach proficiency levels in math in PSSA testing).
The board granted permission to the superintendent to tentatively hire, pending board approval for any vacancies that may occur between October 15 and December’s Board meeting.
Hiring of the following personnel were approved for the 2008-09 school year: Carol Bushong, SADD advisor; Roxanne Lloyd, SADD advisor; William Szili, junior high boys basketball co-coach; Jeremy Page, junior high baseball co-coach; Brent Soden, junior high baseball co-coach; Jacob Johnson, baseball assistant coach; Debra Stone, after school tutoring teacher; Carolyn Homer, after school tutoring teacher; Rachael Gilleran, after school tutoring teacher; Lori Sampson, elementary life skills aide (temporary position); Patti Schmidt, elementary personal care assistant.
Substitute personnel for the 2008/2009 school year were approved: Charles Fuller, teacher; Chad Upright, teacher; Sharon Havey, aide; Deborah Zayas, aide.
Other items approved were:
- School Per Capita Tax Exonerations as presented.
- Homebound Instruction request for one student (medical).
- Granting permission to the business office to pay bills that may occur between October 15 and December’s board meeting (there is no meeting scheduled for November).
- Transportation contracts for the 2008/2009 school year.
- Medical leave for guidance counselor Beth Davis.
- The resignation of Brion Stone, JV girls’ basketball coach, effective September 23.
The next meeting will be the board’s reorganization meeting on Wednesday, December 3, 7:00 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
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