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Pennsylvania State Police at Gibson announced the arrest of Linda Louise Hibbard, Montrose and Richard Serfass, Montrose. They have been charged with Neglect of Care – Dependent Person and Involuntary Manslaughter. The charges stem from a death investigation that occurred at the Gracious Living Personal Care Home in Bridgewater Township.
Investigators learned through their investigation that the victim, Louise Lamb, 89, who suffered from dementia, was a resident at Gracious Living Personal Care Home. According the report issued by the State Police, Ms. Lamb received medications at approximately 8 p.m. and was seen in her bed by staff at approximately 9 p.m. on February 24. According to the report, it was discovered by Ms. Hibbard that Ms. Lamb was not in her bed or bedroom area at approximately 1:30 a.m. Ms. Hibbard failed to notify anyone of Ms. Lamb’s absence until approximately 7 a.m. on February 25, when she was questioned about Ms. Lamb’s whereabouts. A search of the facility’s interior was conducted, with negative results. Staff members then conducted a search of the facility grounds after seeing bare foot imprints in the snow. Ms. Lamb was discovered approximately 100 yards from the facility, lying unresponsive on the ground in the area of the facility’s water building, wearing a nightgown with no footwear at 7:30 a.m.
Investigators believe that Ms. Lamb may have exited the facility through an unsecured door with an inoperable alarm. Ms. Lamb was transported to Endless Mountains Health Care Systems, Montrose, by the facility owner, Richard Serfass. Ms. Lamb succumbed to hypothermia and was pronounced dead at Endless Mountains Health Care Systems.
Ms. Hibbard and Mr. Serfass were arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jeff Hollister, Montrose. Both were released on unsecured $10,000 bail.
The March 25 meeting of the Susquehanna County Commissioners ended with approximately two minutes for the commissioners’ meeting, two minutes for the salary board meeting, and about three minutes for the “actual” retirement board meeting.
However, the real informational meeting began as the retirement board meeting ended.
A motion by Leon Allen to “take 20% of the equity exposure and place it into cash, per the recommendation of the Seneca Group,” was quickly tabled when Commissioner Mike Giangrieco stated, “I am not going to second that.”
Giangrieco discussed the matter, stating that taking 20% equity out would be based on “market timing.”
That 20% would then be turned into cash, then when (if) the market goes up, allegedly Seneca would buy back in at a low rate and benefit.
“I need a lot more information on this,” Giangrieco emphasized.
Questions from the media were answered by Commissioner Warren, who said, “Cathy (Benedict) is the one who spoke with them, she’s not here. We’d have to check with her.” She also handed Giangrieco a piece of paper, apparently with the Seneca Group suggestion on it. Giangrieco stood firm in his quest for more information.
Commissioner Warren added, “We will look further into this suggestion.”
Treasurer, Cathy Benedict, stated, “Well you either sign, it or you don’t.” (Benedict arrived after the three meetings were closed, but she was still in time for the discussion which was held after the adjournments).
Giangrieco disagreed, stating, “It isn't as easy as that, we are talking about a double loss here (if Seneca’s suggestion is followed).”
Benedict said, “Seneca will be in a better position, with cash to buy into the market when it goes up.”
“You don’t understand here, what I am trying to explain,” Giangrieco told Benedict.
Benedict continued, declining Giangrieco’s discussion, and insisting she understood his point of view, actually before Giangrieco was even finished speaking.
“Oh I understand,” Benedict interrupted. “This will violate our minimum investment policy, so vote for it or not, it's a little technical thing.”
“You really don’t understand, it is a ‘big’ technical thing,” Giangrieco continued. “This is a double loss (they are asking us to take), and I need more information.”
“Call them up, then! Call 'em up,” Benedict interjected flippantly.
Giangrieco again demanded, “We need a lot more information here, it is like taking a gamble. Gambling with the market, i.e., market timing. I won't do it.”
The subject was closed, with Giangrieco affirming that he would, “Call 'em up!”
In other action at the meeting, commissioners agreed to sign the “Emergency Management Performance Grant Application through Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for partial funding for the EMA Coordinator and Operations Training Officer Positions in the amount of $43,699.”
When asked about the status of the “re-addressing” the county for enhanced 911 operations, Commissioner Warren said, “It is coming along, however, Harrisburg is holding up some of the addresses. They haven't released them, as of yet.”
Salary board action was to increase the hours of the clerk/typist position in 911/EMA from 32.5 hours per week to 40 hours per week, with no change in rate, range, or benefits, as per the recommendations of 911 Coordinator Art Donato and the EMA Coordinator Charlene Moser, effective February 26, 2009.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners meet at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month in the EMA Conference Room, located in the County Office Building.
One of the items discussed at the February 24 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council was a request from the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority to amend their articles of incorporation, to extend the existence of the authority to 2059. The authority, which oversees the boro’s sewage system and treatment plant, serves the boros of Susquehanna, Oakland and Lanesboro. A resolution that council was asked to approve relative to the request stated that their approval was required by provisions of the PA Municipal Authorities Act, and had already been approved by the board of the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority. It would also need to be approved by Oakland Boro Council.
Discussion began, with Bill Perry saying he wanted more time to look at the resolution. He said that he’d like to see the board come to a council meeting to explain their plans. He had heard rumors that there was a planned expansion of the sewage treatment plant, and wanted to know what the facts are. Mike Matis said that he did not like the fact that the resolution was presented to council on such short notice, with no time to look it over. Mayor Reddon commented that there should be a member of council on the authority’s board. A vote was taken on adopting the resolution, with Mr. Matis, Mr. Perry and Alan Wolfe voting no, and Bill Kuiper and Dave Scales voting yes. After the voting, Mr. Scales commented, “I can’t think why (you’d vote against this). Running the (sewage) plant is not something we (council) want to do.” A resident in the audience responded, “If they (the authority) operate on their own rules, how can we be sure they’re doing what’s best for the community?”
In further discussion, Mr. Matis asked if the charter could be changed to include Lanesboro; Mr. Scales responded that it couldn’t. Lanesboro had had the option of being one of the sanctioning municipalities when the authority was formed, and had declined. To include them now, Lanesboro would have to come up with a substantial amount of money, to match what Susquehanna and Oakland had put in. The current arrangement with Lanesboro is that those hooked into the system pay a usage fee, and it has been working out well.
In other business, there was the usual discussion of parking issues. A number of residents were present to discuss tickets they had received. Mayor Reddon explained that they had been issued by one of the boro’s new officers, who was unaware of the situation on West Main St. The tickets had been issued for obstruction of a roadway (parking in the lane of travel). The mayor said that the officer has since been apprised of the situation, and the tickets would be exonerated, as council is still working on a solution to the problem. Dave Scales wished to clarify that council is not “letting” anyone park anywhere, but this law would not be enforced until a solution is found.
The mayor also said that council is trying to uniformly enforce parking regulations throughout the boro. No one should be parked within thirty feet of a stop sign, within fifteen feet of a driveway, on the opposite side of the street directly across from a driveway, or blocking a sidewalk. Those violators would be issued a ticket, and it would not be exonerated, nor would those issued to the owners of vehicles who remained parked on the street during snowstorms. Vehicles must be taken off the street when the National Weather Service issues a snow warning, until the conclusion of the storm, after the streets have been plowed.
Several residents raised concerns about speeding in several different areas. Mayor Reddon said that the officers have been targeting specific areas, and were trying to get to different areas at different times so that all could be covered. She asked the residents to come to the police committee meeting and bring information about specific times when speeding is a problem.
The mayor reported that the New York Regional Interconnect power line doesn’t look like it will be going through or near Susquehanna; one of the proposed routes would have followed the railway line that runs through town. The route presently proposed runs somewhat to the east of town, although, she said, the matter is still in litigation and is being protested by the communities involved.
At prior meetings, council had discussed whether or not to proceed with hiring a parking enforcement officer, who would mainly work during hours when there is no police officer on duty. After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed to hold off on proceeding with this ordinance for the time being. A motion carried to transfer $2,000 from the streets improvement fund to the police budget, to cover the cost of an extra shift for the next three months. At that time, council determine whether or not a parking officer is still needed.
Last month, council had discussed the upper portion of what used to be Second Ave.; no record of it being vacated by the boro has been found yet. The owner of one half was in attendance at the meeting, and said that it had, indeed been vacated in 1976. It had been surveyed, and he has been paying the taxes on it since then. He agreed to provide copies of his documentation to the boro, which should help in finding more definitive proof that the boro did, indeed vacate it.
During public comment, and discussion of the parking issue, a resident asked if a crosswalk could be put in at the intersection of Main St. and Erie Ave., crossing over to the curve in front of the Methodist Church. Mr. Scales thought that PennDOT might allow that, as it is an intersection, and said that council would look into it.
Another item of discussion carried over from the last meeting was a house on Washington Street that is listed in the Tax Claim Bureau’s repository of properties that have not been sold at the tax sale. Council had discussed purchasing it, tearing it down and putting in a parking lot. Council would have to approve allowing the Tax Claim Bureau to accept any reasonable offer on the property; high bid at the moment was $6,700 (the house has been condemned). If the boro makes a successful bid on the property, Mr. Matis said that the Elm Street project might be able to provide funding for demolition. During discussion it was pointed out that the total cost of the parking lot could be in the neighborhood of $50,000-$60,000, including acquisition, legal fees, demolition, and development. A motion carried to have the solicitor check into whether or not there are any liens on the property, and to authorize a maximum bid of $10,000 for the property.
The liquid fuels audit for 2007 has been completed.
Three price quotes for a new police department computer were discussed. The one the department currently uses is quite old and has crashed. Grant funding is available through NTRDPC, which would cover 75% of the total cost of up to $750.
A resolution was adopted to authorize electronic filing of liquid fuels reports, a motion carried to appoint Robert McNamara, Sr. to the board of River Bounty, and a motion carried to appoint secretary Ann Stewart as the boro’s open records officer.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session (personnel/legal) after which council reconvened briefly. Motions carried to terminate the boro’s property maintenance code enforcement officer, and to advertise the vacancy.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m. at the boro building.
Carlton Paul Verbryck (Estate AKA) Paul Verbryck (Estate) to Michelle Verbryck Kannenberg, Sherrie Gleason and Terrie Verbryck, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Caroline B. Malinchak to Caroline B. Malinchak, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Theresa R. Buracheski to Theresa R. Buracheski, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Norma Ashcraft to John F. and Sarah J. Ashcraft, in Little Meadows Borough and Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Beverly A. Lee to John and Kristy Bleck, in Great Bend Borough for $20,000.00.
Robert (By Tax Claim) and Gloria (By Tax Claim) Edwards and Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau to Charles E. and Elizabeth G. Mills, in Dimock Township for $65,637.00.
William V. Fies (By Tax Claim), Karen J. Henry (By Tax Claim) and Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau to Robert Thatcher, Jr., in Hallstead Borough for $50,490.00.
Janice Pedro (NKA) Janice Fisher to David T. Baker, Jr., in Hallstead Borough for $25,000.00.
Lewis Reno to Reno Family Irrevocable Trust, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Edmund Piasecki, Jr. to Edmund Piasecki, III, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Todd C. (By Sheriff) and Kimberly M. (By Sheriff) Oakley to Susquehanna Marcellus I LP, in Dimock Township for $90,000.00.
Robert M. and Leticia Ellis to Gerald, Jr. and Tammy Ellis, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Robert M. and Leticia Ellis to Robert M. and Leticia Ellis and Michelle Lutz, in Rush and Dimock Townships for one dollar.
Stephen A. and Natasha Yatko to Paul K. Frisbie, Jr., in Lenox Township for $75,800.00.
Ronald J. and Karen L. Pocius to Ronald J. Pocius, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Charles E. Branch (Estate) to Michael McKinnon, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Shannon N. Murphy (By Sheriff) to US Bank National Association (Trustee) and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, in Oakland Borough for $2,035.37.
Joseph Raymond and Arlene Kozlowski to Circle K Farms LLC, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Joseph Raymond and Arlene Kozlowski to Circle K Farms LLC, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Kathaleen T. Lewis (NBM) Kathaleen T. and Millard H. Stalker to Kathaleen T. and Millard H. Stalker, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Larry J. and Ruthann Bender to William Acosta, in Oakland Township for $260,000.00.
Linda Ransom and Laird D. Shively and Beverly Ransom Madigan to Stephen A. and Natasha Yatko, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Kirk Anthony Heffner (By Sheriff) to Homesales, Inc. of Delaware, in Great Bend Township for $6,244.94.
Rick A. Whitney to Cheryl A. and Keith A. Lane, in New Milford Township for $151,000.00.
Patricia O. and Robert E. Aiken to Daniel J., Gretchen P., Richard E. and Virginia M. Backer, in Montrose for $395,000.00.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. to Lucky W. Bedell and Roseanne C. Loveless, in Brooklyn Township for $39,900.00.
Carl E. Lambert to Michael P. Lambert and Adrien Barshinger-Lambert, in Herrick Township for $60,000.00.
Stephen A. and Natasha Yatko to Stephen A. and Natasha Yatko, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Kevin (Estate AKA) Kevin F. Lybolt (Estate) to June Lybolt, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Kyle L. Stallings to Desert Partners IV LP, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Joseph P. Franceski to William and Doris Birtch, in Ararat Township for $82,000.00.
Christine Ann Sutherland to Tammy L. and Carlo R. Ferri, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Pauline Franceski (By Atty) to Luke Pisarcik and Amy Newak, in Forest City for $70,000.00
S. Hamill (Estate AKA) Smith Hamill Horner (Estate) to Joseph Sommerville Horne, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
S. Hamill (Estate AKA) Smith Hamill Horne (Estate) to Joseph Sommerville Horne, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Mark and Joanne Chambers to Patrick and Maureen Antoniello, in Clifford Township for $57,000.00.
Leonard C. Hollenbeck (Est) to Lisa Schmidt, in Franklin Township for $69,900.00.
Michael and Mary S. Coleman to Mary S. and Michael S. Coleman, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Lindsey Marie Flowers of Brooklyn vs. Thomas Flowers of Waycross, GA, married 2005.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has Bench Warrants for the following individuals as of 11:05 a.m. on February 27, 2009.
David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, David S. Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Michael P. Bradley, Jr., David M. Brant, Kenneth G. Burgess, Joshua D. Calby, Darryl M. Chaffee, Tony R. Clark, Mark T. Conklin, James J. Corridoni, Jeffrey A. Craig, Mary Dallasta, John J. Deakin, Paul H. Donovan, Deborah L. Drish, Jonathan Fathi, Kristoffer B. Fazzi, Joseph A. Fiorentino, Shawn P. Fiorentino, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Nesbitt W. Fitch, Jr., Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Dominick M. Franklin, Yvette Glover, Rickey T. Godshall, Deborah E. Gould, Angela M. Grecco, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Keith G. Harms, William N. Hendrickson, Ann Hightower, Holly N. Holbrook, Timothy M. Holmes, Jeffrey J. Horrocks, Sr., 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, Zada A. McDonald, Matthew S. Miller, Joseph C. Moore, Anthony Neri, Todd M. O'Hara, Ivy U. Oropallo, Harriet Pabst, Donald Palmer, Gary Perico, Jonathan R. Powers, James E. Purse, Jeffrey A. Ransom, Kim Read, Nathan Rosene, Neil D. Shaffer, Amy M. Squier, Earl H. Thompson, Jr., Christopher Trayes, Anthony M. Vaow, Keith W. Vroman, Robert C. Walter, II, Joseph Watkins, Glynn Wildoner, III, Jamie L. Williams, Patrick L. Yachymiak, Louis 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.
President Obama’s stimulus plan includes specific earmarks for education, and some of them were discussed at the February 25 Susquehanna Community School District Board meeting (postponed from February 18, due to inclement weather). Superintendent Stone said that an overview of the economic stimulus plan shows that there is an expected $6 billion to come to PA for construction of schools, many of which are aging. If the funds come through, one item the district will be looking at is a new roof for the high school. Other funding is expected to be put into the Title program, with about $600,000 coming to the district over two years. As this funding will be limited to two years, the district won’t be looking to hire staff, but will be looking into other ways to enhance those programs.
Mr. Stone also noted that the governor’s proposed budget for the coming year does not provide an increase for Special Education funding. He also commented on the governor’s proposal to consolidate the state’s 500 school districts into 100. Aside from the added travel time for students (and associated increases in transportation costs), Mr. Stone feels that the current system provides a more cost efficient system, with a less per-student cost than the consolidation proposal. And, he pointed out that the governor cited the state of Maryland as an example of how well consolidation works; however, PA students have consistently scored higher in standardized testing than Maryland’s. He added that the proposed consolidation would also drastically change the current tax structure. For instance, the district does not have an income tax, but most likely would under this proposal.
PSSA writing tests have been completed, with math and reading set to take place March 17 – 20. Something different is being tried this year; the testing will be spread out over four days rather than the usual three, to ease some of the students’ stress.
The PA State Police conducted a presentation on Internet and cell phone safety geared to the age of the students, with another presentation to take place shortly.
The 2007-08 annual audit reports have been completed, and show a growth in the fund balance, which has been earmarked for future post-retirement benefits.
In keeping with the state’s new open records policies, revised district policy and administrative regulations were approved for Public Records, Exempted Records, Disclosure Records, and Fees for Records. A motion carried to appoint Robin Carmody as the district’s open records officer.
Other items approved by the board included the following:
- The NEIU #19 Special Education Services Contract for the 2009-2010 school year at an estimated cost of $203,264.23. NEIU provides a variety of services to the district.
- The local audit report from Brian Kelly, CPA for the 2007-2008 year.
- Granting permission for the Business Office to solicit bids for general, maintenance, technology education, sports and computer supplies for the 2009-2010 school year.
- Granting permission for Mr. Stone to file federal and state program applications for the 2009-2010 school year.
- District transportation contracts for the 2008-2009 school year.
- Reimbursing the elementary wrestling program (which is self-funded) for home tournament referees, maintenance and security.
- Accepting the resignation of the Assistant Varsity Softball Coach.
- Hiring the following personnel for the 2008-2009 school year: one Elementary Teacher, four positions for the Standards for Success program, and an Assistant Varsity Softball Coach.
- Hiring of district substitute personnel for the 2008-2009 school year.
- The customary list of activities and fund-raisers.
- Hiring Catherine Fuller, Elementary Mentor, 1/2 year.
- A letter of agreement with WVIA for the 2009-10 school year, cost $1,000.
- Issuance of a notice to the superintendent, advising him that the board intends to retain him for a further term of five years.
- The resignation of Raymond Testa, Jr. High Girls’ Basketball Coach.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
In the last Susquehanna County Transcript police report, an incident was written up regarding the possession of a small amount of marijuana and false identification to law enforcement, which involved a Danny Butts, Jr. The Transcript apologizes for confusion which may have resulted from a lack of specificity regarding where the accused was from. The Danny Butts in question was from Deposit, NY, and Michael Scofield, the other man mentioned in the report, was from Bainbridge, NY.
NEGLECT OF CARE-DEPENDENT PERSON/INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
Pennsylvania State Police at Gibson announced the arrest of Linda Louise Hibbard, 39 of Montrose, and Richard Serfass, 72 also of that town. Both persons have been changed with neglect of care - dependent person and involuntary manslaughter, stemming from a death investigation that occurred at the Gracious Living Personal Care Home in Bridgewater Township. Investigators learned through their investigation that the victim, Louse Lamb, 89, who suffered from dementia, was a resident at that home. She received medications at approximately 8 p.m. and was seen in her bed by staff at approximately 9 p.m. on February 24. It was discovered by Hibbard that Lamb was not in her bed or bedroom area at approximately 1:30 a.m., but she failed to notify anyone of the absence until approximately 7 a.m. the next morning when she was questioned about the woman’s whereabouts. A search of the facility’s interior was conducted with negative results. Staff members then conducted a search of the facility grounds, after seeing bare foot imprints in the snow. Lamb was discovered approximately 100 yards from the facility lying unresponsive on the ground at 7:30 a.m., not dressed appropriately for the cold temperatures Investigators believe that Lamb may have exited the facility through an unsecured door with an inoperable alarm. Lamb was transported to Endless Mountains Health Care Systems, Montrose by the facility owner Richard Serfass. She succumbed to hypothermia and passed away. Hibbard and Serfass were arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jeff Hollister, Lake Avenue, Montrose. Both were released unsecured on $10,000 bail.
On February 22, 22 open and boxed end wrenches were taken out of the residence of Eugene Feduchak of Thompson. Feduchak stated that he had a contractor by the name of Michael Schmidt, of Kingsley in his residence doing work. Schmidt told Feduchak he would make good on the missing wrenches. Feduchak stated that he had not heard from Schmidt since. This report is pending further investigation.
On February 26, at approximately 10:20 p.m., an accident occurred on East Lake road in Jackson Twp. At this time Vasudevaranji Mudipalli of Susquehanna lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a left hand curve in the roadway and went onto the snow covered berm. As the driver then attempted to come back onto the roadway, he lost control, crossing both lanes exiting the left side of the roadway, striking a small tree, and losing the vehicle’s left rear bumper. The vehicle then proceeded to strike another tree, causing it to turn over and ride up the tree before rolling over onto its left side.
HIT AND RUN
On February 24, at 6:10 p.m., an unknown vehicle struck the left rear bumper of a car in the parking lot of the Hallstead fire hall, then fled the scene undetected.
On February 12 at approximately 2:20 p.m., Kurt Motsko of Vestal was traveling westbound on SR 4019 (Maple St.) when, after cresting a rise in the roadway, he lost control of his vehicle. The Mercury Milan went across both lanes before exiting the road off of the left berm and striking both a small tree and a large tree. The vehicle spun approximately 190 degrees counterclockwise before coming to rest in a drainage ditch facing south. Motsko left the scene prior to police arrival.
On February 22, at approximately 1:16 p.m., Geoffrey Webb of Mountain Grove, MO was traveling south on Interstate 81 in New Milford Twp. when his vehicle left the roadway and struck an embankment. At this point the vehicle went airborne, coming to rest on its roof in the right lane. No injuries were reported by the operator, who was wearing his seatbelt. The vehicle was towed due to extensive damage, by Vogel's Towing. A citation was issued to Webb at District Court 34-3-02.
Michelle Rurka of Baldwinsville, NY was traveling South on I 81 in Great Bend Twp when, losing control in the driving lane, she over-steered, entered the passing lane and then moved back into the driving lane, beginning to spin. The vehicle traveled up an embankment, left side first, rolled over, then came to a final rest on its wheels facing south. Great Bend Fire and EMS responded.
On February 21 at 12:30 a.m., Mark Detweiler of Montrose was traveling north on Twp. 828 when he fell asleep, left the roadway, and struck a tree. Detweiler left the scene, contacting PSP Gibson two days later.
On February 20, a frog “piggy” bank containing change and small bills was removed from a residence in Gibson Twp.
On February 22, Adam West of Brackney, PA was traveling on State Hwy. 29 in Liberty Twp. when his brakes failed while approaching an intersection. West began evasive action, and subsequently struck a pole. He was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.
On February 21 at approximately 3:15 a.m., damage was done to the front porch windows of an Orchard Street home in Hallstead Borough. The damage was the result of two rocks thrown through the glass and screening panes. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police. The investigation was ongoing at the time of report.
On February 18 at approximately 3:52 p.m., a car was left unoccupied along SR 374 in Clifford Twp., disabled from a previous crash. Another vehicle, with an operator unnamed in the report, was traveling westbound on that road when he or she lost control on the snow covered roadway, slid sideways, and struck the right side of the first car. There were no injuries from the crash, and the second vehicle was driven from the scene. SP7-0015 was issued to the driver of the working vehicle, and mailed to the owner of the disabled one.
On February 21, at approximately 3:12 p.m., a white male in his late teens to early twenties entered the Movie Gallery in Bridgewater Twp. The unknown perpetrator, dressed in a dark coat, a hood, and a gray stretch beanie with a red stripe through it, stole various video games before fleeing on foot through the only entrance to the store. He was observed getting into a four-door brown or gray Ford Taurus, which proceeded to travel west on State Route 706.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
On February 15, at approximately 9:35 p.m., two unknown white males entered the movie gallery in Bridgewater Twp. While there the two males, described as being in their late teens to early twenties, stole various PS2, PS3 and Wii video games totaling approximately $900. The two then fled the scene on foot towards Montrose.
On February 19, at approximately 7:43 a.m., Amber Gilvary of Hop Bottom was traveling south on SR 11 in Lathrop Twp. when her vehicle entered an uncontrolled skid and struck the embankment off the east berm. The vehicle proceeded to roll over onto its side. Gilvary was wearing a seatbelt, and was transported by EMS as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
D.U.I./FLEEING OR ATTEMPTING TO ELUDE POLICE/CRASH
On February 18 at 2:48 a.m., PSP Gibson troopers attempted to stop Jordan Jackson of Susquehanna, PA for speeding. Jackson refused to yield, and attempted to elude police, losing control of his vehicle on SR 171 in Great Bend Twp. and striking a guide rail. The vehicle came to a rest on the Conrail railroad tracks. Jackson was arrested for D.U.I., Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police, and numerous other traffic violations. Members of the Great Bend Fire Department assisted at the scene. Jackson's vehicle was removed from the scene by Marv's Towing.
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Between February 7 and February 9, a 2003 Dodge Dakota, gold in color with matching cap, running boards, and brushguard, was removed from the Nagle residence in Springville. The truck bears PA registration PD3200K.
POSSESSION OF A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA
On February 12, at 1:25 p.m., Kevin Hartmann and Alexander Manning, both of Babylon, NY were stopped for a motor vehicle violation of Title 7t of the PA vehicle code. The stop was made on Interstate 81 in Harford. Indicators of criminal activity were present. Consent to search was obtained. The search yielded a bag of marijuana. The defendants were arrested and released as per rule 519, and charges were filed at District Court 34-3-03.
On February 12, at approximately 3 a.m., it was reported, the basement doors belonging to Rebecca Bourassa of New Milford were damaged. The value was stated to be approximately $150.
On February 14, at approximately 8:15, Shanrui Lin of Dewitt, NY failed to negotiate a curve due to having fallen asleep while traveling on I 81 in Lenox Twp. The vehicle rolled over as it entered the median. Lin was wearing a seatbelt and was transported to CMC for his injuries, and was cited for causing the crash.
Christina Whitney became the newest member of the Blue Ridge School Board at the Board’s meeting on February 23. She takes the seat vacated by Denise Bloomer, representing Region 1A, New Milford Borough.
At the very end of the business agenda, the Board asked two applicants to come forward, asked them each a few questions, then voted. Ms. Whitney operates a day-care business and has been active in area educational programs. She has lived in New Milford for 30 years. She told the Board that she would be running in the November election for a full term.
Neither of the candidates seemed to have much current knowledge of the Board’s work. Neither, for example, knew that the Board has not raised tax rates for six years. Ms. Whitney will have an opportunity to learn. As Board member Lon Fisher told her, “You still have to pay your taxes … and there is no pay for the job.”
Last month the Board was expecting to be able to save as much as $180,000 by refinancing two sets of bonds outstanding from the schools’ renovations almost 20 years ago. With the current economic situation, there were no guarantees, however.
This time the Board approved a motion to sign up with RBC Capital Markets Corporation and the lawyers at Rhoads and Sinon, LLP to handle the refinancing. However, when it came time to hear from RBC’s Henry Sallusti, the news wasn’t so good. In short, the bond markets have “tanked,” meaning that interest rates – so favorably low last month – have gone up again. Mr. Sallusti said the savings right now would be about $100,000, and that he would not recommend going forward unless the projected benefit was above about $115,000. The Board is looking to save some money on interest by trading in about $10 million in bonds for a lower rate. Mr. Sallusti said that “everything cooperated… except the markets” in the month since he last appeared to pitch the idea.
Blue Ridge has been paying on these bonds for so long, and had them refinanced so often, that the district’s payments are now mostly on the principal, meaning that interest rates would have to drop significantly to realize much benefit from the transaction. Last month, Mr. Sallusti said this time would be “the last bite of this apple,” and there’s “not much juice left in this lemon.” This time he extended his metaphor with, “not much meat left on the bone.” Maybe he doesn’t get a chance to eat supper before heading out from Scranton for these Board meetings. Based on his recommendation, the Board decided to let the underwriters communicate with District Business Manager Loren Small. If the markets shift in a more favorable direction, the Board can be polled at a special session to make the move.
The meeting actually opened with a presentation by Jennifer Yannone and Janelle Tench, demonstrating a library management system they would like to purchase. More than just a library management system that would replace the outdated software the Blue Ridge libraries now use, Destiny Quest is a whole new approach to searching the library catalog, with links to all sorts of Internet-based information based on a student’s interests.
In fact, the libraries are taking on new roles, and a new name. Superintendent Chris Dyer said, “Our libraries have to be media centers.” He said this new system would “bring some really good stuff to our classrooms,” because it would be available from anywhere on the Internet. Ms. Yannone and Ms. Tench demonstrated the system by showing how it works for the Tobyhanna Elementary Center, accessible from anywhere, at http://18.104.22.168/common/welcome.jsp?site=106 or from the Pocono Mountain School District’s web site at http://www.pmsd.org/Default.aspx?tabid=606 and click the link labeled “Library Catalog.”
According to Elementary School Principal Matthew Button, the total cost of the system would be $12,600, including conversion of the existing catalog and training. The system is a product of Follett Software, of McHenry, Illinois.
Students and their achievements are the focus of the Board’s activities, of course. Three of them were standouts at the meeting. High School Principal Scott Jeffery introduced Alissa Richardson and Josh Allen to recite long lists of their accomplishments. Both are members of the National Honor Society, and Mr. Allen claims first place in his class. And Nick Smith, the senior class representative on the School Board – the first in a long time to make regular appearances at Board meetings, and actually participate – reported that he took first place in divisional chorus and, with three others, was named to the all-state chorus.
The Board went on to give final approval to a policy covering the “gifted” program at Blue Ridge. Board member Joel Whitehead was bothered by what seemed to be overly complex procedures, described in five pages of narrative, plus two forms and two extra pages of guides. The policy speaks of such things as “multi-intelligences,” up to “eight different pathways to learning.” The policy is founded on “research-based strategies [that] provide learning opportunities to develop each of the intelligences.”
Leaving the gobbledy-gook aside, Board member Priscinda Gaughan said that the gifted policy in the past was so vague and ambiguous that nothing was ever done with it. She said that the specificity in the new policy would require the District to actually do something with it.
Mrs. Wendy Reimel heads the gifted program at Blue Ridge (along with the ESL program). Her request to take four students to a NASA program at the IU in Archbald in May was approved with a list of other field trips. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said that the NASA Endeavor program brings people from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to speak to youngsters from around the area.
The IU itself (the North-Eastern Instructional Unit #19) has approved its budget for next year. The Blue Ridge representative on the IU board, Joel Whitehead, said that Blue Ridge’s contribution to the IU budget next year will be about $400 higher. The Board approved a new contract with the IU for special education services for next year. New Blue Ridge Special Education Director Mark Fallon was on hand to answer questions, budgetary and otherwise.
The Board will review an organizational chart and a new transportation policy for 30 days. The transportation policy outlines the District’s responsibilities for transporting students hither and thither, the responsibilities of drivers and bus contractors, and policies for idling buses at pickup and drop-off locations.
The Board approved a first cut at a calendar for the next school year. Classes will begin on August 26, 2009 and end on June 2, 2010, with three additional snow make-up days allotted. Graduation is scheduled for June 12, 2010.
The next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board will take place on March 9, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Committees often meet 30-45 minutes before the board meeting. The Wellness Committee will next meet on March 16, at 4:00 p.m.
New street signs should start appearing in Harford Township this summer, and they will be bright blue, with big, white letters. Deciding just what each would look like, and where to buy them, took up a lot of the time at the Supervisors’ meeting on February 24.
Bradco Supply had the original winning bid to make the signs, but then Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden heard about a rebate program offered by the 3M company. Purchasers of signs made with 3M materials may qualify for a rebate of 30% or more. Chemung Supply did not win the original bid, but they do use 3M materials. The bids of the two companies were close enough that the rebate might tip the balance. What to do?
The rebate applies only to the cost of the reflective “sheeting” bonded to the aluminum sign backing, and the order must be for at least 500 square feet to qualify. As it happens, the 119 signs that Mr. VanGorden figures will be needed would use very nearly that much, given an average sign length of 30 inches. But then there’s the cost of the aluminum sign blanks, the posts, and the hardware to attach sign to post, not to mention the labor to create the lettering for each of the signs.
Mr. VanGorden asked Bradco to hold up an order for 58 of the signs pending a decision by the Supervisors. Now they have to consider whether the rebate deal is worth the cost of ordering all of the signs at once, since the township budget does not provide for replacing all the signs in one year. Federal regulations adopted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania require larger street signs by the beginning of 2012.
The Supervisors will refine their calculations and make application for the rebate through a 3M website to see if the change makes sense.
In the meantime, they have to decide what each sign will look like. They agreed that the lettering will be in uppercase. For most signs, the “Road” or “Street” part of the sign will be abbreviated; spelling it out in some cases could yield a sign five feet long. They went over the list to ensure that spellings are correct. Then there are the intersections that might cause confusion unless the signs are placed just right; and some will have arrows pointing travelers in the right direction.
There are still some cases where even the name of the road is in question. A resident of the Kingsley area, whose home actually sits on part of the old path of U.S. Route 11 was given an address on Route 11. The road now has no sign at all, but Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that county maps list “Old Route 11” in an index. The resident would like to have the name changed to Ross Road, if possible, for a family that owned a Kingsley feed mill and lived on the road in the past.
The Supervisors decided to table this one for the time being. Ms. Furney isn’t anxious to start a rush to rename roads again, although she allowed as how this road might be a special case. So that’s one sign that will remain blank for now.
The Supervisors were asked for the status of the project to replace the sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake. During the flooding of June, 2006, the sluice, which has been gradually collapsing over the decades, could not handle the volume of water coming from the lake, resulting in flooding of a few homes on the lake’s shore. Stearns Road was also threatened with washing out because of the high water.
The Supervisors engaged an engineering firm to develop a design to fix the problem, but have been preoccupied with the bridge replacement on Pennay Hill Road, another consequence of the same disaster. Supervisor Garry Foltz said that he would undertake to familiarize himself with the project again, to see if the cost (estimated by the engineers at over $200,000) could be cut. For one thing, the engineering plan calls for a bypass to be built for use while construction is under way. However, it might be possible to simply close the road for the month or two the project might take to complete. Both Richardson and Wilcox Roads can be used to get around the site, with some little inconvenience.
The grader that the township decided to buy a few weeks ago has already been delivered, even though the financing hasn’t yet been arranged. Mr. Foltz is concerned that the 30-day warranty on the machine – used, but new to Harford – might run out before the township has a fair chance to put it to work. Mr. VanGorden hopes to have the bank paperwork completed by the next meeting. In the meantime, he said that the vendor, Bradco Supply, was willing “to work with us.” The township will get $30,000 in trade-in value for two old pieces of equipment. The remainder of the $60,000 price will be financed with a three-year note at a friendly local bank.
Mr. Foltz is developing some grant applications that he hopes will help pay for part of the Stearns Road project, as well as for a new and better township website. The grants he is working on will require 50% matching funds.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will take place on Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the township office. Does anyone know why Tingley is a street and not a road?
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