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The December 10 commissioners’ meeting was again well attended, with members of The Susquehanna County Tourism Committee on hand to again discuss the distribution, or lack of tax monies, now dispersed by the commissioners.
Although the monies were collected by Susquehanna County lodging facilities, the commissioners have decided to step off the path of the usual disbursement rules and select just who will get how much of the monies allotted.
The Tourism Committee is concerned about the advertising budget they need to keep up with the work they have set in place, i.e., very specific advertising pamphlets to promote all of Susquehanna County, informational cards which are placed out for attraction to area ski lodges, bed and breakfasts, hotels, their website, phone numbers for various lodging facilities plus other areas.
Eleanor Lempke was on hand again to ask commissioners if they had revisited the award distribution, stating that there are five large businesses which bring numerous tourists into the county, Elk Mountain, Stone Bridge Inn, Holiday Inn, Conklin’s Wood Barn and Colonial Brick Inn. Lempke emphasized that the pamphlets and maps are a necessity, and she had hoped the commissioners had revisited and changed their minds.
Gregg Confer from Elk Mountain requested the commissioners agree to meet with the Tourism Committee for a work session. The commissioners told Confer to “give them a call.”
Commissioner Mary Ann Warren thanked Mrs. Lempke for her input.
Gerri Nelson reminded commissioners that she had attended the last meeting and requested an answer from the commissioners regarding the funds, and had not received an answer then; she would like an answer now.
Commissioner Giangrieco stated he “had nothing to say.” Allen agreed, as well as Warren, and the subject was left as last week.
A number of employees were on hand for Employee Service Recognition, including, Debra Strong, District Attorney’s Office, 30 years of service; Shari Whitney, Historical Records, ten years; Kimberly Grace, ten years, Pennsylvania Ag Extension Office; and Diana Roszel, 5 years, Children and Youth.
After the commissioners accepted William D. Iveson’s re-registration from the Susquehanna County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Commissioner Giangrieco declared they were going into executive session, due to personnel records. When they returned, the commissioners announced that Robin Kaminski (Drug & Alcohol Commission) was terminated.
A member of the press asked the commissioners if Chief Clerk, Sylvia Beamer was going to call Ms. Kaminski and inform her of the decision before someone else told her, due to the fact that in other cases, people who were terminated had heard of their termination from others, before the commissioners had spoken to them. I did not hear an answer.
Meeting policies were advertised for the new year, stating that the commissioners’ meetings will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 9 a.m. in the Susquehanna County Office Building, with the Salary Board, Retirement Board, and Election Board meetings to be held during or after the regularly scheduled meetings or as required. They also added that if that date is a regularly scheduled meeting which falls on a holiday, i.e., November 11, 2009, the commissioners have the choice of convening or not on the preceding day, with proper public notice.
Assessments were scheduled for reviews on the first Thursday of each month in 2009 at 9 a.m. in the Assessment Office.
Inspectors of the Jail are scheduled to meet on the first Tuesday of the month, beginning February, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room.
A monopole for NEP Cellcorp, Inc. was authorized for location in Forest City in an area of land near the Recycling Center at a rate of $100.00 per month with yearly increases of 3% for a five year term, with an automatic renewal for four additional five year terms. The pole will be utilized for better cell phone coverage for county employees, including Probation, Sheriff and Drug Task Force.
Mrs. Mildred Booth’s resignation/retirement from the Veterans’ Affairs Office, was accepted with regret, effective January 16, 2009.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 9 a.m. in the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Office.
Who should decide the color of a house? Though it may seem an insignificant question, the discussion of this occupied a decent chunk of time at the December 8 Montrose Borough meeting. Luther Giordano and Nancy Jean Eddington, it was stated, received a grant to side their house. The color scheme they chose involved brick red siding, Portsmouth blue trim, and white window frames. The Susquehanna County Historical Society contacted the borough secretary, stating that they were working on the historical district, and considered these colors problematic. They asked council to consider stopping the project and requesting that the homeowner consider making his home white to keep in conformity with the town. Copies of various newspaper clippings were given to the borough from the 1920's, detailing a movement to beautify the town by turning it white.
Someone commented that no one had said the Susquehanna Historical Society had veto power, and it was responded that they don't. If house color is not included in an ordinance, the borough can't do anything about it. Annette Rogers, the borough secretary, pulled the minute books for 1921 through 1929, and researched the matter. In 1923 the ordinance book became unserviceable and was lost, she reported, so if a motion had been made officially to keep the houses white it was lost. No one knew of an ordinance regarding this which would last to the present day.
Mr. Reimel brought in photos of 15 area houses which were not white, and expressed his opinion, which seemed generally shared, that a person should pick his own house color. The idea of a historical district, it was said, was news to both the borough secretary and the borough solicitor. He had discussed the color scheme with people in Harrisburg, and hadn't received a negative reaction. It wasn't even known that the house in question was a historical structure; one person said it was believed that only two or three buildings were currently listed as historical in the borough. In the end Mr. Giordano, who hadn't been contacted directly, asked for the name of a contact person from the Historical Society so that the matter could be discussed and worked out.
In related news, the borough secretary announced that the Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority wished it known that funds were available for home repairs in the county. The program is largely directed toward lower income families.
How much the borough should support the fire department was also discussed. One council member expressed his opinion that each municipality served ought to pay its share in supporting the department, though he was careful to clarify that he knew with what the borough did pay it could not independently field a fire department for even itself. He just felt that the support ought to be distributed equally. The borough does pay for hydrant rental in town and workmen's comp. for the company. A member of the company stated that each year a contract was given to the five municipalities the company served, and that contributions were received from each.
How to verify workman's comp. claims from volunteers was then briefly addressed. It was decided that a form would be created for authentication purposes, which would require the chief to sign off that a given claimant was a volunteer for the company, and that an injury had been sustained during the call of duty.
An update was given on the house on Cherry St., which, it was thought, would likely be bought the next day through sheriff's sale. The owner, it was understood, would then clean up the property.
At the last Montrose Restoration Committee meeting, it was stated, a suggestion had been made to remove the parking meters on Public Avenue and chalk tires instead. The borough decided against this course of action.
The crosswalk in front of the Catholic church has become a safety hazard, according to at least one person at the meeting. When, during mass times, cars park on either side of the crosswalk, it can be difficult for a driver to see a pedestrian until he or she is in the crosswalk. The borough decided to ask the priest to request his parishioners not park right by the crosswalk, and warned that, if necessary the matter would be more strictly enforced.
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro
Matis Manufacturing Company, Inc. to Vincent R., Jr. and Cynthia Branning, in Oakland Borough for $12,000.00.
Federal National Mortgage Association (AKA) Fanniemae to Fox Enterprises, Inc., in Ararat Township for $59,000.00.
Wells Fargo Bank (By POA) to Thomas C. Zigon, in Clifford Township for $74,000.00.
Robert S. and Katherine E. Warriner to Robert S. Warriner, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
EMC Mortgage Corporation to John and Sarah Ashcraft, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Pike Sportsmen Club, Inc. to Pike Sportsmen LLC, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Jeffrey J. Kilhullen to Ambrose Leonard and Virginia Kilhullen, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (By POA) to Peter J. McBride and Monica M. Gwiazda, in Middletown Township for $79,900.00.
James P. Arnold to Rodney and Sarah Birchard, in Bridgewater Township for $425,000.00.
Sheryl H. Deboff to Sheryl H. Deboff (Living Trust), in Springville Township for one dollar.
Frank Franolich (By POA) to Cheryl Joyce and Edmund Kraft and Robert Franolich, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Valerie J. Tilton to Casey A. McKenzie and Alfonso L. Russo, in Oakland Township for $75,000.00.
Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Norma A. and Anita V. Beckles, in Herrick Township for $2,495.00.
Steve (AKA) Steve J. Sicovitch to Steve J. Sicovitch and Joseph S. Siggins, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Crows Nest 2 LLC to Joseph M. Burke, Jr., in Susquehanna for $20,000.00.
Veronica Ann (AKA) Veronica Allen to Patricia M. Allen, in Great Bend Township for $75,000.00.
Eric Lockwood to Allen Price, in Brooklyn Township for $24,000.00.
John J. and Sharon R. Marrer to Michael J. and Krista E. Marrer, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Mario and Tonia Lisi to Brandon L. Gendron, in New Milford Township for $129,900.00.
Norman W. and Lucinda E. Kahle to Norman W. and Lucinda E. Kahle, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Anthony Marano to Charles H., III and Mary E. Snyder, in Ararat Township for $39,000.00.
Todd M. and Amy B. Legg to Todd M. Legg, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Cory M. Sprout and Jamie L. Kohler, both of Montrose.
Michael James Koscelnak and Jessica Ann Dibble, both of Montrose.
Kevin R. Brearley of Endicott, NY and Betty M. Bickel of Port Crane, NY.
Eric Christopher Fish and Rosemary Costigan, both of Hop Bottom.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has Bench Warrants for the following individuals as of 10:34 a.m. on December 5, 2008.
David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, Keith Beach, Michael J. Beach, Neeko Beahan, David S. Blaisure, Jennifer N. Bonavita, Joseph Bonavita, Michael P. Bradley, Jr., Ryan T. Brooks, Kenneth G. Burgess, Joshua D. Calby, Lynn M. Cokely, Mark T. Conklin, Jeffrey A. Craig, Jeremiah M. Craven, Mary Dallasta, John J. Deakin, Jeffrey L. Decker, Amanda Dedonis, Paul H. Donovan, Deborah L. Drish, Thomas D. Earley, Jonathan Fathi, Kristoffer B. Fazzi, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Nesbitt W. Fitch, Jr., Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Jason T. Gardner, Yvette Glover, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Keith G. Harms, Jamie E. Heaman, Gregory R. Henry, Ann Hightower, Holly N. Holbrook, Timothy M. Holmes, Lyle J. Hugaboom, Roy M. Huntley, April Kravchenko, Erik E. Krisovitch, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Howard J. Linder, George D. Lowery, John A. Manning, Tanika Marazzani, Patricia J. Marrero, Fred C. Materese, Erica Y. Mead, James R. Moran, Todd M. O'Hara, Ivy U. Oropallo, Amberly D. Payne, Gary Perico, Warren N. Peterson, Tina M. Pooler, Jonathan R. Powers, Jeffrey A. Ransom, Kim Read, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Nathan Rosene, Brandon Scott, Neil D. Shaffer, David J. Shiner, Rory Sicovitch, Duane Spencer, Amy M. Squier, Correna A. Stormes, Andrew J. Survilla, Earl H. Thompson, Jr., Shannon L. VanVleck, Anthony M. Vaow, Keith W. Vroman, Robert C. Walter, II, Glynn Wildoner, III, Patrick L. Yachymiak, Edward K. Zajaczkowski, Karl D. Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at (570) 278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
The Harford Township Supervisors discussed bridges and signs at their meeting on December 9, but there is as yet no sign of a bridge on Pennay Hill Road. The bridge over Butler Creek was washed out in the flood of June, 2006, and the township has been struggling to get it replaced ever since. Since the replacement was to be paid for from federal and state emergency management funds, there was a deadline. The first deadline was extended a year, to the end of this month.
The bridge span is being fabricated by Steadfast Bridges, of Fort Payne, Alabama. The latest schedule had the structure being shipped on December 15, for delivery two days later. The contractor has said that "under no circumstances were they going to be able to meet the 12/31 deadline," according to Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden. The Supervisors have been able to get another six- month extension for government reimbursement.
According to Supervisor and township Secretary Sue Furney, Hawk Engineering, the company that was paid some $16,000 to design and manage the project, found some flaws in the specifications developed by the Alabama firm assembling the structure, delaying the delivery through the autumn. Hawk Engineering itself is currently embroiled in a dispute over a faulty bridge design in Binghamton, New York.
With the delays and uncertainties on the Pennay Hill bridge project, Ms. Furney said that she doesn't feel comfortable launching into another major project just yet. That would be the replacement of a sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake. The engineering for that project was also completed by Hawk, and calls for a much larger pipe, with concrete headwalls, that is estimated to cost over $200,000, all of it so far the responsibility of the township.
Supervisor Garry Foltz got agreement to begin reviewing the Stearns Road project soon after the beginning of the new year next month. The township originally thought it would be able to employ local contractors and some of its own workers to put in the new sluice at lower cost. But since the project involves diverting the water temporarily, among other complications, no local contractor was willing to undertake the work. Mr. Foltz hopes to bid the work before suitable contractors are booked for the summer.
The Supervisors put $7,000 in next year's budget to pay for about one-third of the new street signs that will have to be installed before new state regulations go into effect in 2012. Mr. VanGorden said that the township has 56 distinct roads, and will need 118 new signs. He said that he thinks the signs can be purchased more cheaply from the Susquehanna County Council of Governments (COG), which has acquired the equipment to make them.
Mr. VanGorden said that he would prefer to install signs in one section of the township at a time, to save fuel and time. However, one observer at the meeting noted that her road recently changed its name for the county-wide readdressing program. And Mr. Foltz said that he would prefer to start with roads that either don't have signs at all yet, or those on roads whose names have changed. The new signs must have lettering at least six inches tall, and exhibit a high degree of reflectance.
Everyone in the township will have a new address, whether on a road with an old name or a new one. The Harford fire company was supposed to have the materials to make and sell the numbered signs by last week. Mr. VanGorden said, however, that they aren't yet available. He said he thinks the signs are white lettering on blue background, the standard color scheme across the country for such signs. He said the fire company will sell the numbering "kits" for $15 apiece (no discounts for short numbers). He said that in hardship cases, members of the fire company would help to install the signs. The new addressing and signage schemes will help the firemen find their way to your home in an emergency – in case they can't see the smoke, that is.
Mr. Foltz is also wrangling with the township's insurance company, trying to clarify the township's coverage. He said that he wants to be certain that individual township employees and officials are covered for litigation involving township business, and that the gobbledygook in a letter he requested from the insurer did not satisfy him.
Mr. Foltz also read from a recent article in the Scranton newspaper with the headline, "Drillers say DEP bad for business," that describes the difficulties companies exploring for natural gas in the area have been having getting permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Foltz said that some companies are threatening to suspend operations in Pennsylvania because of the costs and roadblocks created by state regulators. He said he thinks the development of the natural gas underlying the area would be good for the local economy and local property owners. "We need to let these people come in here and do their thing," he said of the gas companies.
Mr. Foltz said he knows of one county resident who has already received her first royalty check. She has only eight acres and there was no drilling on her own property, yet she was paid $7,000 for production (covering 70 days) from the "unit" of which she is a part. Mr. Foltz described several well locations and said that most of them caused no problems at all with well water, the roads, or anything else. "They're really trying to be friendly and do a good job," he said of the drilling outfits.
He also read from an article in a recent issue of a local paper that hinted that the county commissioners are also considering ways to grab a piece of the pie. The article said that the commissioners are considering imposing a "well-head" tax, and perhaps a tax on the production of the gas. Mr. Foltz seems to oppose such measures, saying, "They're making it nasty."
There are also signs of winter in Harford. Mr. VanGorden said his crews are keeping up with the brief "nuisance snows" so far, "trying to keep busy" and keep the equipment in shape.
The supervisors will formally adopt a budget for 2009 at their next meeting, on December 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Reps. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) and Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) announced that a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Recycling Performance grant has been awarded to Susquehanna County.
Susquehanna County has been awarded a $19,203 grant. The funding amount is based on the 1,673 tons recycled for the 2006 calendar year, as well as the municipality's population.
The Recycling Performance Grant Program was established under Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act. Recycling Performance Grants provide incentives to help Pennsylvania's communities increase the amount of materials recovered through recycling and promote economic growth in the Commonwealth through job creation and market expansion.
For more information about recycling, visit the DEP's Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us.
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 fifth day of January at 9:00 a.m.
Auburn Twp.: Donald Adams, Jerry Filan, Joshua Ridall.
Bridgewater Twp.: Sharon R. Bickford, Elizabeth Cain, John Engstrom, Betsy Groover, Lori Oleniacz, Jane Sparks, Elva Wood.
Brooklyn Twp.: Thomas Escandel.
Choconut Twp.: Tammy Lake.
Clifford Twp.: Lynette Andzulis, Lois Howell, Sonia Lopatofsky, Sally Roberts, Kathy Woodyshek.
Dimock Twp.: Kylie Decker, Donald Hibbard, Ann Marie Phillips, Edgar Warriner.
Forest City 1W: Marion Yanchitis.
Forest Lake Twp.: Lawrence Micks, Edward J. Ramirez.
Franklin Twp.: Patricia Cook, Robert Darrow, Donald Kessler, Joel Welch.
Gibson Twp.: Carl Breese, Susan Crandall.
Great Bend Boro: Wendy Ford, Janet Holtzman, Lynette Stoddard.
Great Bend Twp.: Edward Fassett, Gary Froehlich, Eugene Graves, Kristin Landis, Karen Makosky, Helen McHugh, Brenda Phillips, Candace Salansky.
Hallstead Boro: Sharon Manzer, Kathleen Naylor, Lois Paulo, Richard Walworth.
Harford Twp.: Debra Ball, Lenore Burns, Ken Schmidt, Tim Smith, Edythe Whitney.
Harmony Twp.: Assunta Sickles, James Tracy.
Hop Bottom Boro: Diana Cacace, Diane Smithbauer.
Jackson Twp.: Robert Pavelski.
Jessup Twp.: Karen Blaisure.
Lanesboro Boro: Elaine Hanrahan.
Lathrop Twp.: Marie Williams.
Lenox Twp.: Bonnie Love, Alberta Sheridan, Michael Swan.
Montrose Boro 2W: John Eidenier, Lynn Marie Jerauld.
New Milford Boro: Ronald Sullivan.
New Milford Twp.: Amy Knauer, Margaret Roman, Andrew Welch.
Oakland Boro: Gail Baker, Chad Crawford, Sarah French, Christy Towers.
Silver Lake Twp.: Jonathan Homan, William Luce, Suzanne Millard, Edmund Nichols, Gertrude Puglisi, Catherine Walsh, Robert Wilkes.
Springville Twp.: Sandra Black, Peter Comly.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: Amanda Fortune.
Susquehanna Boro 2W: Raymond Testa, Mary Tigue.
At a December 9 Clifford Township meeting, one resident complained again about vehicles that are overflowing from a junkyard onto township property. “The vehicles are still there more than ever,” he said. “It’s a safety hazard.”
Elk View Drive developers questioned the status of Eleanor Kinney’s road. John Regan, township supervisor, stated that the township won’t take over maintenance of the road until it meets PennDOT specifications. He added, “The township can’t incur any debt on that road in the future... I don’t want to have to sink money into it.” Regan also stated that he contacted PennDOT regarding the road, but explained, “I haven’t gotten a letter back from PennDOT.” Another safety issue concerned locating Kinney. The developers agreed to post a street sign at the end of the road.
A different resident of the development wondered when PennDOT will tar and chip the lower portion of Elk View Drive. Regan stated, “We have completed our part of the agreement,” but stated that PennDOT is likely done tarring and chipping until next Spring.
Trent Turner of the fire company expressed concern about poor alternative heating choices, explaining that the firefighters have already “spent a lot of time [on call] this winter.” He asked that township residents “Please, please, please, be careful.”
Finally, it should be noted that a planning commission and supervisors’ reorganization meeting will take place in the Township Building on Monday, January 5.
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