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The Susquehanna County Commissioners held their February 11, 2009 meeting in The Emergency Management Agency Conference room, with approximately 15 audience members in attendance.
Commissioner Leon Allen motioned to authorize the commissioners to “sign the contract between Susquehanna County and Dr. Joseph Cama, Towanda, in which Dr. Cama agrees to provide on-site and care coordination physician and/or physician assistant services to Susquehanna County Prison, minimum two times per week in person, other days as necessary, and 24/7 phone assistance, per the recommendation of the Susquehanna County Prison Board. This agreement is effective March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010 and may be cancelled by either party with a 30-day written notice.”
The cost of this service is $2,900 per month.
The Commissioners cancelled the previous contract they had held with Weatherby Locums to provide medical services to the Susquehanna County Prison. Weatherby will be providing services through the end of February.
Local Emergency Planning Committee members were appointed for 2009 as per the recommendations of Charlene Moser, EMA Coordinator.
Questions concerning the appointment of a “Gas Lease Committee” were raised. Commissioner Warren stated the Gas Task Force was being considered and “looked at” by Central Bradford Progress Authority’s Tony Ventello. She added that who would be on it was not yet decided, but that the information and members should be announced at the next meeting of the CBPA on the third Thursday of the month.
Al Aronowitz questioned the number of members which would be allowed, and was told that only four or five would probably be allowed, as the commissioners had heard that the originally proposed 20-30 members previously discussed didn’t work well for other counties.
Concerns were voiced as to whether or not the committee would be in place to help Susquehanna County, “Before 20,000 wells were put in in the county?” (In time enough to help the county residents with concerns before leasing and drilling.)
Commissioner Warren asked the media if that was a sarcastic question. She was told, “Yes it was.” No comment was offered.
When asked for a “time line” for the appointments and for the committee to begin in its official capacity, Commissioner Warren stated, “It is rolling along.”
Warren added that the “people” or “offices” who needed to be informed and acting on the information, were. She included the EMA Office, The Soil Conservation Office, The Planning Office and other county connected offices.
When asked if other organizations were allowed to “join” the task force, Warren said, “ It is not going to be a large task force, but anyone is welcome to come to the meetings.”
Jim Jennings questioned, “I feel there is no sense of urgency here, it looks like we are behind” (the upspring of drilled wells/leases and other counties). Warren said that things were moving.
Jennings also expressed concern that the Rail Authority has an outstanding bill for attorney services, acquired in regards to trying to bring rail service in to Susquehanna County. Jennings asked who was going to get stuck paying for those services? Warren informed Jennings, “I can’t answer that.”
When Jennings asked what would happen if the Rail Authority members would just quit, he was told that then the Rail Authority would be dissolved.
The commissioners also added that they were not against transportation by railroad being brought into the county, but neglected to state why they were not aiding the Rail Authority to bring business into the county via a transloading facility. Commissioner Warren stated that they did not object to passenger railway transportation.
Reporter’s note: The Rail Authority has been seeking a transloading facility in Summersville (outside New Milford) for many years, working toward taking advantage of railroad industry growing between Binghamton, NY and Hoboken, NJ. Susquehanna County is in between the Scranton and Binghamton sites, and it is a prime location at New Milford to bring jobs and business into Susquehanna County by railway, according to acting president Ken Bondurant.
Ray Osburn of Children and Youth, was recognized for his-five year incremental anniversary with Susquehanna County, working in The Children and Youth Office. Osburn had been previously employed by the county, but went back to school to achieve his Master’s Degree, and is now again serving in Children and Youth.
The commissioners approved a number of seminar requests, including employees from Probation, Treasurer’s Office, and Veterans Affairs.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners met on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 9 a.m. at the EMA Conference building.
At the January Montrose School Board meeting, tax collectors had attended to petition the school for a pay increase. Their petition seems to have borne fruit, as the February 9 meeting saw a resolution to increase the tax collectors’ stipend from $2.82 to $3.10 per real estate and per captita/occupation bill, beginning with the 2009 tax bills.
The calendar for the current school year was also adjusted, with Monday, February 16 and Monday, April 13 being instated as snow day make up dates. The reasoning behind this decision, it was stated, is that seven snow days were built into the calendar this year, and seven have already been used.
The calendar for next year was also discussed, on a preliminary basis. Under the proposed calendar, graduation would be on June 12, and school would begin on Friday, August 21for staff and August 25 for students. The main difference between this calendar and those in the past deals with the late incidence of Labor Day, on September 2. This means that students will be in school longer before that holiday than is normally the custom. This tentative calendar builds in eight snow days, and will be circulated among staff and put on the webpage, before being further discussed in March.
The elementary principals mentioned several occurrences at Choconut Valley and Lathrop Street Schools. Both principals mentioned the impending commencement of the fifth grade writing PSSAs. Last year there was a significant improvement over previous years at both locations. Lathrop Street has begun the archery program for grades 3-8 again, and has 55 students involved. There are hopes of attending a tournament again this season. The Special Olympics students were scheduled to attend the race day events at Elk Mountain the following day. Mr. Addams reported on Choconut Valley’s after-school tutoring program, which helps around 100 students in a school population of only 500 total. Staff are monitoring the students, to ensure that they continue to benefit from the service. Mr. Addams also spoke about a movement to consolidate fundraising efforts in the school, to make the procurement of funds less taxing on parents and community members.
Finally, a woman approached the board to vent several concerns she had regarding the district, especially what she thought to be a lack of proper communication. She brought with her a recent article to the Meteor Chronicle on the subject, and provided various anecdotes of times she said staff had been remiss in this respect. Students, she said, were not allowed to take English books home in the middle school grades, and assignments were not always on the internet. Sometimes, she claimed, staff would say a matter would be dealt with, but it would not be resolved to the satisfaction of the parent or community member. It was argued by the board and administration, however, that parents need to bring these incidents to the attention of the administration when it occurs. The woman replied that parents were afraid to bring matters up, for fear that their children would receive retribution from instructors and coaches. At this point, it was answered, the parent should bring that up to the administration as well, and allow them to deal with it. Mrs. Staats pointed out that very few community members attend board and committee meetings, the dates of which are always usually posted on the website. It was clarified that all of these meetings are, by law, open to the public, and would be a good venue for the communication to which the woman referred. It was also noted that the district is seeking people to serve on the community advisory committee.
It was reported at the February 12 Oakland Boro Council meeting that the boro received an unexpected “bonus.” FEMA has closed out the books on the boro’s claims from the flood of 2006, and the boro has received a final, unanticipated payment of $643.
The monthly codes report was reviewed. The court has ordered that the structure at 14 State St. be demolished. Another property owner at the crest of the hill on State St. was denied a driveway permit by PennDOT. The owner of an East River St. property is pursuing funding to replace the roof. Work on a Boyden St. property will continue when the weather allows. And, the CEO will be asked to look into a complaint about an accumulation of tires on a Westfall Ave. property.
The mayor reported that the Lanesboro Police had conducted patrols during December, and had made a lot of traffic stops and issued warnings and citations. During January, the boro’s police car had been out of commission, and Lanesboro had completed 5 1/2 hours of patrols. The county DUI Task Force had been in the area throughout the month of January. And, on the way to meet with Mayor Dudley, one of Lanesboro’s officers had witnessed four-wheelers in the boro park and had spoken to the parents of those involved. Mayor Dudley stressed that the boro will prosecute anyone who is found riding four-wheelers where they are not allowed, particularly the park, especially as the ground will be thawing soon, making it softer and easier to damage.
Mayor Dudley also reported that there have been rule changes for the Uniform Codes Reporting, which is the duty of the chief of police. As the boro currently only has one part-time officer and on chief, she is discussing with Lanesboro’s police the possibility of having them complete the reports. Whether or not the reports are made determines if fine monies are turned back to the boro. The mayor added that she has been very pleased with the coverage Lanesboro’s police have been providing to Oakland.
Council is still working on revisions to the proposed outdoor wood furnace ordinance.
Council is going to set up a meeting with the parks and rec. committee to discuss some items of concern.
The broken light on the Veterans Memorial Bridge has been replaced.
Correspondence discussed included the following.
Notice from FEMA that the boro will be eligible for emergency funding, as they have adopted FEMA’s mitigation assistance plan.
The interest on the loan the boro pays for its water system has been reduced from 3.5% to 2.21%, payments have subsequently been reduced from $945.80 to $876.60.
PERMA is accepting nominations to its board; meetings are held three times a year, and generally take about two days.
PSAB will be holding their annual conference, at which time changes to the PSAB constitution will be voted on.
A DCNR grant application workshop will be held in Towanda on March 4.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro
Michael T. Sterchak to Joanne M. Sterchak, in Forest City for one dollar.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Nicole L. Schake, in Dimock Township for $75,000.00.
Carmen Joan (AKA) Carmen Perkins (Estate) to Tania L. and Lawrence H., III Meck, in Oakland Borough for one dollar.
Virginia (AKA By Sheriff) Virgina Kemp (By Sheriff) to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, in Forest Lake Township for $1,348.32.
Jeremy S. and Lisa M. Stone (NBM) Lisa Daniels to Jeremy S. and Lisa M. Stone, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Willard Anglemyer to Willard C. and Kimberly H. Anglemyer, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Brian Taft (Est) to Marlene Taft, in Thompson Township.
Loren A. Benscoter (Estate) to Christopher P. and Shannon M. Barnum, in Friendsville Borough for $78,000.00.
Larry Holder to Walter Riedinger, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Joseph Clary to Mark L., Debra L., Scott T. and Laurie M. Andre, in Bridgewater Township for $400,000.00.
William and Ruth Cassidy to Edward J. Hosie, Sr., in Forest City for $128,500.00.
Paul S. and Verna R. (AKA) Verna Griffiths to John Paul and Megan Griffiths Dovin, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
James P. DeMaree and Susan Riley to James P., David Allen and Richard DeMaree, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Anna Woosman (Est) to Matthew W. and Erin L. Woosman, in New Milford Borough for $40,000.00.
Margaret A. White (FKA) Margaret Ann Miller to Margaret A. White, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Kathleen and Dominick Andidora to Judith Loftus-Durkin, Jerome W. Durkin, Mary Cynthia Loftus-Vergari and Joseph Loftus-Vergari, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Vincent L. Griffis to Ronald E. and Jerrold A. Griffis, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Richard Miller to Carol Hallion, in Clifford Township for $75,000.00.
Robert Miller to Carol Hallion, in Clifford Township for $75,000.00.
Alison Gibson (Estate) to Roger and Calvin Gibson and Margaret Wolfe, in Uniondale Borough for $100.00.
Thomas Gall to Amy Gall, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Leonard Przybyszewski to Leonard and John Przybyszewski, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has Bench Warrants for the following individuals as of 10:34 a.m. on February 13, 2009.
David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, David S. Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Michael P. Bradley, Jr., David M. Brant, Ryan T. Brooks, Kenneth G. Burgess, Joshua D. Calby, Mark T. Conklin, Jeffrey A. Craig, Mary Dallasta, John J. Deakin, Paul H. Donovan, Deborah L. Drish, Jonathan Fathi, Kristoffer B. Fazzi, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Nesbitt W. Fitch, Jr., Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Yvette Glover, Deborah E. Gould, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Keith G. Harms, Ann Hightower, Holly N. Holbrook, Timothy M. Holmes, Jeffrey J. Horrocks, Sr., Lyle J. Hugaboom, Roy M. Huntley, Carl M. Kelder, Kevin D. Klein, Erik E. Krisovitch, James R. Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Howard J. Linder, Debra J. London, George D. Lowery, Joseph Malloy, Jr., Tanika Marazzani, Patricia J. Marrero, Jason Marshall, Fred C. Materese, Mark C. McCarey, Zada A. McDonald, Matthew S. Miller, Joseph C. Moore, Anthony Neri, Todd M. O'Hara, Ivy U. Oropallo, Donald Palmer, Gary Perico, Jonathan R. Powers, Jeffrey A. Ransom, Kim Read, Nathan Rosene, Neil D. Shaffer, Duane Spencer, Amy M. Squier, Earl H. Thompson, Jr., Christopher Trayes, Anthony M. Vaow, Keith W. Vroman, Robert C. Walter, II, Glynn Wildoner, III, Jamie L. Williams, Patrick L. Yachymiak, Karl D. Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
On February 4, one or more unknown perpetrator(s) entered the premises of Cosmello's Auto Parts, Sales, and Scrap in New Milford and stole the rear bumper and rear deck lid from a 1996 Dodge Neon.
On February 11, a cabinet, a sofa, and a bag of garbage were dumped onto the property of Andrew Whitehead of Jackson Twp.
On February 11, Kimberly Meagley of Hallstead was traveling northbound on SR 92 in Jackson Twp. when her vehicle exited the roadway and entered a ditch, striking a drainage pipe. The vehicle began a counterclockwise rotation, overturning in the process. The 2001 Jeep Cherokee completed two entire revolutions, coming to a final rest upon its tires facing south, partly in the northbound lane of travel. Meagley suffered moderate injuries during this collision and was transported to Community Medical Center, Scranton.
On February 10, at approximately 7:35 p.m., Anthony Slick of New Milford was observed operating a vehicle in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Slick performed field sobriety tests in a manner indicative of someone under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, and was subsequently placed under arrest and transported to PSP Gibson for a breath test and processing. The breath test results indicated that the defendant was over the legal limit of .08. At the time of report, charges were to be filed at District Court 34-3-02.
SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA/FALSE ID TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
On February 2, at approximately 12:10 p.m., Danny Butts was stopped for a violation of Title 75. When a trooper made contact with the accused, an odor of marijuana was noticed to be emitting from inside the vehicle, and furtive movements were observed to be made by the passenger towards the center console area. Based upon criminal indicators, the accused was interviewed, and he related that marijuana was inside the vehicle. A search was performed based on admission and excessive movements made by the passenger. It was later determined that the passenger provided false information as to his identity. The search yielded a small bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Both operator and passenger were arrested and subsequently transported back to PSP/Gibson for processing. Both were later released as per rule 519. Charges were filed at District Court 34-3-02. The passenger was Michael Scofield of Bainbridge, NY, other from Deposit.
On February 6, at approximately 1 a.m., a woman came into the Pump & Pantry in Montrose, and bought a soda. While paying for the soda, she told the employees not to move and demanded all the money from the cash register. The employees gave her the money, after which the woman fled the scene. Approximately 12 hours after committing the robbery, Jessyma Watlington of Mehoopany was arrested for the incident, mostly due to the provision of a detailed description by her victim. Another witness also provided a detailed description of the getaway vehicle. She was taken into custody by the Wyoming County Adult Probation Department. The Susquehanna County Adult Probation Department also assisted with the investigation. She was charged with Robbery and arraigned before District Magistrate Jeff Hollister, who set bail at $100,000. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 02/18/08 at 2:20 p.m.
On February 7, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Justin Bishop of Meshoppen was traveling south along SR 3001 when, having fallen asleep at the wheel, he failed to negotiate a curve in the road. Bishop lost control of his vehicle, which exited the roadway to the right, striking a guide rail prior to coming to a final rest on its left side. Bishop walked away from the crash without injury.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Sometime during the night of February 8, a 1997 Honda Accord was stolen from the driveway of Matthew Cobb in Clifford, Twp. The vehicle was later recovered along T-436 (High Bridge Rd.) in Lenox Twp. The tires and rims, as well as miscellaneous tools, were taken from the vehicle.
On February 6, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Fred Conrad of South Gibson was driving a MX-Z Sport 600 Ho (Ski Doo) north across a private lot near the intersection of SR 2067 and SR 92 in South Gibson. Joshua Winn of Kingsley was, at that time, traveling south on SR 92, in a Chrysler Cirrus. As Conrad attempted to cross SR 92 to reach another piece of private property, he failed to yield to Winn, resulting in the latter striking the snowmobile on the right side. Conrad was thrown from the snowmobile after impact, and was flown to Community Medical Center in Scranton, PA. PSP Gibson was assisted at the scene by Clifford Township Fire Company and Harford Ambulance.
On February 2, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Jessica Camacho of Beachwood, NJ was traveling with two passengers on State Highway 492 in New Milford Borough. Camacho lost control on the snowy roadway due to the use of excessive speed for road conditions, striking a utility pole. Cammacho was cited for causing the crash. All in the car were wearing seat-belts, and only minor injuries were sustained.
On January 29, at approximately 1:50 p.m., Alexander McAvoy of Conklin, NY was traveling in a Ford F-150 on Route 1033 in Great Bend when, while accelerating to pass another vehicle, he lost control on slush in the road's center and exited the roadway to the west. McAvoy's vehicle then continued up an embankment, struck a tree, and rolled over.
On January 30, at approximately 4:10 p.m., Kamaljeet Jodha of Mississuaga, ON was traveling in the right lane of I81 northbound in Lenox Twp. At the same time, Jean Frostbutter of Wilkes-Barre was traveling in the passing lane. Jodha turned into Frostbutter's lane when it was not safe to do so, striking Frostbutter's vehicle and causing the woman to lose control and strike a guide rail. Clifford Fire and EMS responded to the scene.
On January 30, at approximately 4:20 p.m., William Wilbur was traveling east on SR 171 in Great Bend Twp. when his vehicle drifted off the road, traveling over an embankment, striking a tree, and rolling over onto its side. Wilbur was to be cited as a result of the investigation, as of the time of report.
During a February 9 Forest City Regional School Board meeting, a parent asked board members for an update on advanced placement courses. Acting High School Principal, Joseph Castrogiovanni explained that introducing AP courses takes time. He stated that no FCR teachers are certified to teach AP courses. Castrogiovanni conceded that V-Linc may be an alternate option, but admitted that he questions its effectiveness in teaching AP courses. “We’re still researching it,” he said.
The question of hiring an athletic trainer was also broached. Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella stated that the board had briefly discussed the matter, adding, “I think we need to take another look at it.”
An elementary book fair is scheduled for February 18 through February 24, with an open house on Thursday, February 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the elementary library.
On a related topic, Jan Bianco and the FCRPTO, in cooperation with the national non-profit literacy organization, Reading is Fundamental, provided free books to students in grades 3-6. Two additional book distributions will occur during the next three months.
Cathi Fedak received a Picturing America award grant, through which Forest City Regional Elementary will receive a teacher’s resource book and forty high-quality reproductions of American art.
Math and reading SAT-prep courses currently are in session at Forest City Regional High School. On March 7, Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science students in grades 7-12 will attend a regional competition at Kings College. Future Business Leaders of America members in grades 9-12 will attend a state competition in Hershey on March 29, 30, 31 and April 1. Then on April 2, 12th grade physics students are to attend a competition at the University of Scranton.
Robert Townsend congratulated district and regional band and orchestra students. “They did a good job auditioning,” he said.
Finally, Vadella reported that high school teachers have submitted seven mini-grant applications for expanding technology in the classroom.
The Harford Township Supervisors worked hard for more than two hours on February 10, covering a number of serious issues and spending some serious money.
Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney started off by reporting that the “change order” with ProCon Construction was signed, including a penalty clause requested by the township. The company asked to be allowed to shut down work on the bridge project at Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road until the weather improves. They proposed final completion by May 29. That would be perilously close to the deadline of June 30, by which time the work must be finished so that the township can be fully reimbursed by emergency management agencies as a result of the flooding of June, 2006. The added clause will impose a penalty on the contractor of $1,000 per day for delays beyond May 29.
Next, the Supervisors considered the sole bid from Bradco Supply for a grader. Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry Van Gorden wanted a grader no older than 1990; the township clearly cannot afford a brand-new machine. The Supervisors accepted Bradco’s bid and will pay $60,000 for the John Deere machine, less $30,000 trade-in for two old machines. A representative of Bradco was on hand to answer questions. Mr. Van Gorden and his workers have seen the machine, and even had an opportunity to try it out.
The more important question was where to come up with the $30,000 net cost to the township. In the end, the Supervisors decided to try to finance the amount, rather than use some of the $19,000 in the budget for major equipment purchases and repairs, since interest and principal payments would eat up part of that anyway. Mr. Van Gorden reported some interest rates on suitable loans he had been quoted by Peoples National Bank and PennStar. They will try for a 3-year note at 3.14% from PennStar, as long as the loan contract allows additional payments to be applied to principal, and there is no penalty for paying it off early.
The Supervisors will be advertising for bids to supply materials to the township as follows:
They will need 2,500 tons (more or less) of #67 anti-skid for winter use. Mr. Van Gorden said that this is up 750 tons from the last year. “Ice is killing us,” he said.
They will be looking for 4,000 tons (more or less) of 2RC stone. Balancing the increase in anti-skid, this is 800 tons less than last year.
They will want 35,000 gallons (more or less) of AEP oil for dust control.
They will want bids for 5,000 gallons (more or less) of diesel fuel.
The township will begin replacing its street and road signs this summer, part of a 2-3 year program to bring all of the signs up to new standards by a January, 2012 deadline defined in federal and state guidelines. Mr. Van Gorden said he was “very, very disappointed in COG [the Susquehanna County Council of Governments]” which quoted a price of $48 per sign, not including posts or mounting hardware.
Mr. Van Gorden got four quotes on 56 sign kits (52 township signs, plus four for private roads, to be paid for in advance by the owners of the roads) and accepted the low bid of Bradco Supply for a total of $4,069.44. Each sign will cost $25.85; hardware another $13.49; and the required breakaway posts will cost $23.44 each. The program will begin with places where signs are now missing, or where the posts are wood.
Supervisor Garry Foltz presented a letter he has drafted, addressed to several offices at PennDOT’s Dunmore office, asking that the township be kept informed of any alterations to the configuration of the streets in Harford village. Specifically, he was concerned about the intersection of Tingley Lake Road and Route 547 (both state roads, the latter no longer called Main Street, or even Senator Ed Jones Highway, in the village).
Mr. Foltz acquired maps from PennDOT showing that those streets are defined with a 50-foot right-of-way, 25 feet on either side of the center line. In the area of the tiny, historic Harford Post Office, however, there is often no room for vehicles to pass, because there is no off-street parking, and, since a curb was recently installed along Tingley Lake Road at the intersection, none elsewhere nearby.
That curb was installed by Bronson Pinchot, owner of several properties in the village, including the grand mansion variously known as the Senator’s house, the Aten house, or the Tyler house, across the street from the post office. He was issued a PennDOT permit for the curb, which Mr. Foltz believes encroaches on the state right-of-way, by the Dunmore office. In his letter, Mr. Foltz rehearsed the history of the triangle dispute between Mr. Pinchot and the Harford Historical Society, concerned that future plans for the triangle, unknown at this time, might adversely impact traffic patterns even more.
The Supervisors all signed the letter, understanding that such an approach could be used by the U.S. Postal Service to threaten the viability of the little P.O. A similar threat was staved off some years back by the owner of the property at the time. Mr. Pinchot now also owns the post office property and building, and in the past has worked with the Postal Service to find another location for the facility.
Fully an hour of the meeting was occupied by consideration of a new “Traffic Regulation Ordinance” drawn up by Mr. Foltz, who read the entire eight-page document to the meeting. According to Mr. Foltz, the primary purpose of the ordinance is to give the State Police a basis for enforcing more or less standard traffic regulations on township thoroughfares. The State Police will not patrol locally-administered roads in the absence of an ordinance to enforce.
The new ordinance gives the township the authority to declare temporary and emergency changes to traffic patterns, including closing roads or portions of roads under some circumstances. It also attempts to regulate the movement of large trucks (stone, logging, and drilling vehicles, etc.) by keeping them off local streets in Harford and Kingsley villages except for pickups and deliveries. Mr. Foltz said he had spoken with businesses in those areas that might be affected, to assure them that the ordinance would not impair their operations in any way.
The ordinance establishes a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour on township streets in Harford and Kingsley villages, enforceable once signs are installed.
The ordinance, which also describes more or less standard parking regulations, will be advertised for a suitable period before final adoption, probably in March.
And finally, Mr. Van Gorden reported an incident involving the appearance of excess water at the junction of a private driveway and a state road. There was a possibility of a break in the township-maintained sewer line in the area, so township crews did some work to stabilize the situation (billed by the township to the sewer system at $75 per hour) until the sewer system engineer could examine it. It was determined that the water was not related to the sewer system. The property owner will be responsible for dealing with the situation henceforth.
The Harford Township Supervisors will next meet in public session on February 24, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the township office on Route 547, south of the Interstate.
First-year Superintendent Chris Dyer has chosen “staff development” as an initial focus of his incumbency at Blue Ridge. Staff development is further focused on the faculty, the teachers, offering them workshops and other types of training to help them improve their instructional skills. The notion was extended to the Blue Ridge School Board itself at a meeting on February 9, that began an hour earlier than usual, and continued for more than two and a half hours, the smallest part of which covered the business agenda. Almost two hours were devoted to a presentation and workshop led by Pamela Price, Director of Board Development Services of the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) that hoped to help the Board – and in particular, its newest members – to better understand its role.
But first the Board used its existing skills to consider a fairly ordinary business agenda. Among the personnel items:
The Board accepted the decision of Alexander Slater, a 15-year veteran of the maintenance staff, to retire this month.
Jenna Stoddard of West Hazleton was hired as the school psychologist.
Joseph Burchell will teach third grade in place of a teacher who moved to a position in the library.
Robert Stewart of Conklin, NY will become Assistant to the Director of Information Systems.
Ms. Stoddard, Mr. Burchell and Mr. Stewart all attended the meeting to accept a warm welcome from the Board.
Denise Bloomer resigned her seat on the Blue Ridge Board as of February 2, leaving an opening for a representative of New Milford Borough.
The Board also added Gail Wellman, Cheryl Smith and Donna Tewes to the Strategic Planning Committee, which will begin to organize itself at its first meeting on Friday, February 20. The state requires a six-year strategic plan, with reviews at least every three years.
There was some discussion about changes in the current school-year calendar, which added some snow-day replacements in June, pushing graduation out to June 13. Superintendent Dyer explained that the staff considers adding instructional time to the end of the year of questionable value. By rearranging the middle of the Spring term, better quality instruction can be offered before the school year begins to wind down.
The Board offered four changes to its policy book, which will get a 30-day review before adoption. The changes include an organizational chart; a policy regarding background checks for, and the roles of volunteers, both in athletics and in the classroom; a detailed policy on community use of the school’s computing facilities; and a comprehensive description of Board procedures, mostly regarding the conduct of meetings.
And public meetings are the only arena in which a school board can officially operate, a point that Ms. Price emphasized in her workshop presentation.
Most of what she offered wasn’t news to many of the experienced members of the Blue Ridge board, some of which have served more than 15 years. Most, however, acknowledged that it was a good refresher, and helped to bring many issues into better focus.
Ms. Price brought a lot of experience of her own to the session. She served three years on a school board in a small rural district in Western Pennsylvania, and, since she began working with PSBA 12 years ago, has again become a school board member in her newer location.
With the ultimate focus on academic achievement, Ms. Price hammered away at the two fundamental issues that school boards must keep in mind. First, she said, the board must “define the ends, but stay out of the means” of operating a school district. The board defines policy – the goals and broad objectives that are intended to best lead to academic achievement. The board should expect policy to be implemented by the district’s superintendent, and must monitor the superintendent’s performance to ensure that the board’s policies are directed toward its expected ends.
Secondly, “meetings are where the board does its business,” specifically, public meetings. Board members, individually or as a group, “have no authority to act outside of a [public] board meeting.” She recommended that board members who field questions from the public – their constituents – refer action to administrators; they have no direct authority over staff or day-to-day operations. Board members connect the community to the schools through the policies they define.
Ms. Price went on to discuss the types of meetings, and ways to control and conduct meetings. The law allows for “executive sessions” for very specifically-defined purposes that require confidentiality. However, the board cannot take any action in an executive session; all decisions must be made in public session. Moreover, all executive sessions must be announced in a public session, along with some specific description of its purpose. One additional function of the board is to ensure “due process” in disciplinary actions directed against students, often conducted in executive sessions.
She suggested that one approach to controlling public participation in what are intended to be board business meetings, might be to allow comments at defined points in the agenda, perhaps at the beginning, and maybe also at the end. It is the board president’s responsibility to maintain order at a meeting, yet the board must also allow attending public to comment on any issue before the board.
Most of the discussion about the presentation centered around public participation. The Blue Ridge Board publishes its policy on the first page of its printed agenda. However, this Blue Ridge Board has not always rigidly enforced this policy, often recognizing clarifying questions from the floor. Yet most members seemed satisfied with the way Blue Ridge Board meetings are conducted as they are. There have been occasional disruptions, but members seem to be satisfied with how they have been handled so far.
If you want to witness the Blue Ridge Board conducting its business, consider attending a session, usually the second and fourth Mondays of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
At a Clifford Township meeting on February 10, one resident stated that the Mud Road bridge is “literally falling apart.” However, township officials said that repairs could be slow in coming, since Mud Road bridge spans a “native trout stream,” with construction permitted only in November and December. Township Chairman, John Regan, stated that the bridge engineering firm may employ a box culvert system – a pre-fabricated concrete unit – in order to meet the two-month construction time-frame. Township Secretary, René Reynolds, added that the bridge, through a FEMA grant, will be built at no cost to the township.
Meanwhile, due to another bridge construction project, the township will receive $3,045 compensation for a right-of-way extension.
With spring road work approaching, Regan plans to have a PennDOT representative review the contract. Regan stated that there should be less road work this year, since some roads were tarred and chipped last year.
Winter roadway complaints were heard; one man said that the road from Elkdale to Clifford has been very icy. Regan replied, “We had no salt,” but added that the problem has been corrected. A resident of T-401 stated that his stretch of the road is a “sheet of ice,” with another individual confirming that it is “treacherous.” Regan promised more cinders, and he quipped, “We put 800 tons [of road treatment] somewhere.”
Another winter problem concerns nuisance snowmobile activity. A resident of T. R. Williams Road complained that snowmobilers rip down “Posted” signs and race on private property and public roadways. She pointed out that the latter “creates a hazard” by packing roads into a “sheet of ice.” After contacting the State Police with some license plate numbers, she learned that the snowmobiles were unregistered. The woman suggested designating snowmobile trails, enacting a police patrol and putting fliers in local newspapers in order to remind snowmobilers about laws concerning the activity. Regan asked Randolph LaCroix, Police Commissioner, and Donald Carroll, Police Chief, to evaluate the problem.
Regan stated that a deadline of July 21 has been set for sewer pumping at lakefront properties within the township.
Clifford has been awarded a police car grant. After township officials sign the paperwork, $29,883 will be direct-deposited into a community account.
In an effort to reduce spending, some hours and jobs will be cut for township workers. Additionally, recycling will be reduced to the third Saturday of each month. Regan stated that he will be monitoring the next township recycling day. He added that he would like Clifford Township to “control [its] own destiny as far as recycling,” and township officials are attempting to purchase a recycling truck from a surplus center.
Finally, the volunteer fire department and the historical society will be holding a Civil War reenactment this summer during the Clifford Carnival.
Following is the Silver Lake Township Police report for December, 2008 and January, 2009 as submitted.
On December 5, David T. Kucharski of Levittown, PA, was arrested for DUI after he lost control of his 2009 Dodge truck on the slippery roadway and ended up in a ditch on SR167.
On December 5, it was discovered that several new speed limit signs had been pulled out of the ground and deposited in the middle of the roadway on Britton Road, Silver Lake Township. This caused at least one vehicle to veer off of the road and into a ditch.
On December 11, a .35 cal bullet shattered the front window at the Gerald West residence in Silver Lake Township. The value of the window is over $500.00. Although this incident is still under investigation, it appears that the bullet was spent and may have been from a hunter’s distant discharge.
On December 17, Kyle Walsh of Brackney slid from the roadway on SR167 and totaled his vehicle after crashing through a fence and into a large pine tree. No one was injured in the crash.
On December 17, Mike Shuta reported that someone had tried to forcibly enter his garage at his farm on SR167. A jack stand was taken from outside the garage.
On December 31, it was reported that a mailbox had been intentionally destroyed at the Snigar residence on Arrowhead Lake Road. The box had been snapped off at ground level and destroyed several times over recent months.
On December 31, the mailbox and light pole were destroyed at the Zielewicz residence on Arrowhead Lake Road. This activity appeared to be intentional. Other mailboxes were also destroyed in the area during this timeframe.
On January 10, Silver Lake Police were dispatched to secure the scene of a possible shooting at a residence near the Forest Lake Inn in Forest Lake Township. The incident was subsequently determined to be an accident resulting in the death of a 16-year-old juvenile.
On January 12, it was reported by the Silver Lake Presbyterian Church, that someone had taken the new sign from the billboard facing the roadway.
LIQUOR LAW VIOLATION
On January 13, SLTPD was requested to assist the LCB (Liquor Control Board) with an underage-drinking sweep at the Brackney Inn and other local bars. Some violations occurred and arrests were made.
BURGLARY/CRIMINAL MISCHIEF/ DISORDERLY CONDUCT
On Friday, January 16, SLTPD responded to a disturbance at the Snell cottage on Laurel Lake. Investigation at the scene showed that a cottage had been burglarized, damaged, and underage parties involving out of state youths had been going on for several months. This incident is still under investigation.
On January 22, it was reported by several residents on Lake Sophia, that numerous snowmobiles had awakened them between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. It was reported that the machines were racing back and forth across the private lake. They also drove around several of the houses and cottages, nearly striking them.
On January 27, SLTPD came upon a one-vehicle rollover at 0700 hrs. on SR4008 near the Montross Motocross Track. No injuries resulted and Brian DeGraw’s vehicle was towed from the scene by the owners. The roadway was extremely slippery and covered with snow and ice.
NOTE: After recently receiving a state grant to be used for equipment and officer safety, Silver Lake Police purchased tasers for officers in the department. Sergeant Burgh and Patrolman Genneken were trained and certified as taser instructors at the United States Marshal’s Office in Philadelphia. They can now instruct and certify other agency officers who may purchase tasers in the future.
Also purchased was a new V-SPEC unit to be used for vehicle speed monitoring and control, and a new Watch Guard video system that is mounted in the Ford Explorer.
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