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Issue Home March 25, 2009 Site Home

Weighty Waste Matters In New Milford
Stimulus, Cell Phones On SCSD Agenda
Sentencing Report
Courthouse Report
Dairy Farmers Attend Financial Crisis Rally
PA Is “Here to Help”
Hallstead Hears Foundry Update
COG Clarifies Rumors
Local Fire Companies Receive AFG Funding

Weighty Waste Matters In New Milford
By Melinda Darrow

Once again, the March 18 New Milford Township meeting was the source of debate. The camp was discussed, as were holding tanks and one road in particular. At one point the camp discussion, reminiscent of the great quarry debates, crested into raised voices and profanity, causing Mr. Hunter to try and restore order. The meeting ended on a positive note, however, as Mr. Bondurant further illuminated plans for the upcoming bicentennial celebration.

The largest matter of contention revolved around the old familiar theme- the East Lake camp. The matter originally came up when the supervisors put on the table the resolution for a holding tank ordinance. It was asked what was driving this move; one visitor stated that when he had requested a holding tank he had been denied, due to no ordinance being in existence. The supervisors (of which there were only two, Mr. Conroy being absent) responded that the move stemmed from increased demand. The current law, it was stated, does allow for the use of a holding tank when no other recourse is available. This ordinance will only make the process easier. Other municipalities have already enacted similar resolutions. While the motion was passed in the end, it sparked the beginning of the East Lake debate, when a visitor queried as to whether or not this move meant the supervisors were thereby allowing Mr. Young’s illegally installed tanks to be used for holding sewage.

The supervisors stated that this was not their intention. They said that they were the agency which was to administer the act, but DEP would enforce it. Mr. Briechle, the township’s solicitor, attempted to answer the questions which then ensued. The situation, he reiterated, was still in litigation. The township filed an injunction for contempt of court when Mr. Young did not close his camp, however Mr. Young appealed the matter to the Commonwealth court, which stated that Judge Seamans made a mistake by enacting a permanent injunction. Those on Mr. Young’s side took this to mean that the camp can remain open; the township disagrees and the matter is still being pursued. It was asked why the township hired an engineer. The engineer, it was responded, confirmed measurements of the tanks, as requested by DEP. Some measurements were off, and this was reported. It was asked why the township did not appeal to the court above the Commonwealth Court, but this would be the Supreme Court, which is not a right-to-appeal court. It has been rumored that Mr. Young became a licensed SEO, however this rumor would be difficult to confirm. DEP has said, it was stated, that he is not working for a municipality at this time.

In other news the township has a new address. From now on mail will be delivered to the building, not to a P.O. box. The address is 19730 St. Rte. 11, New Milford, PA 18834.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Bondurant further updated those present on the bicentennial celebration situation. The bicentennial DVD, which has the old Blue Book on it, is for sale at a few locations in town. The Bicentennial Committee plans on creating a website for the event, which can have links off it to both the township and the borough. After the event, the plan is to turn this site over to the two municipalities. The evening promises to be laden with entertainment, with the Buddy Spencer band, another band, and a sock hop planned, as well as church activities, vendors, and perhaps fireworks. It is scheduled for the same weekend as Hometown Days, so the park and recreation committee will handle vendor requests. A series of people have been identified to be interviewed for the new book, which will cover the time span from 1959 forward. This book will not be done by the festival, as it is planned to incorporate the festival into it.

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Stimulus, Cell Phones On SCSD Agenda
By Barbara Whitehead

The Susquehanna Community School District Board went through a number of agenda items at their March 18 meeting. One item, the expected federal stimulus funding, will be of interest to those wondering where the money will be used. The other item, the district’s policy on cell phone usage, will undoubtedly be of interest to students, particularly high school students.

The district has received notice of the (tentative) amount that will be received from the stimulus package. The funds will be distributed over a two-year period, and there are strings attached, as there are specific uses to which the funding may be applied. A “webinar” was scheduled for the following day, during which the district administration would be given an outline of how and for what the funds may be used. They will be divided into four basic categories. The district will tentatively be receiving about $200,000 for basic education, $201,500 Title I funding, $263,900 for special education, and $170,000 for foundation projects (renovations).

Students will, of course, be more interested in the change to the current cell phone policy. Superintendent Stone said that students have been having difficulty following the current policy, presumably using them when they shouldn’t be, creating an “educational distraction.” The policy will be reviewed and revised in an effort to find a solution to the problem.

Mr. Stone also spoke about the K-4 program, which will be increased by fifteen minutes per day to allow more instructional time, and the faculty is researching eventually increasing it to a full day, which will not only allow for more instructional time, but will result in a savings for transportation costs.

With the district expecting an increase in pension contributions of 25% to 30%, there may be a slight millage increase in the upcoming budget.

During public comment, Ken Travis, coach for the fifth and sixth grade boys’ basketball, thanked the board for their support and outlined what he said had been a great year for the teams.

In other business, items approved by the board included the following:

-A calendar change; Parent-Teacher Conferences will now be held on April 7 and 8.

-Exoneration of the District Tax Collectors from the collection of unpaid school taxes for the year 2008.

-The 2009/2010 proposed NEIU #19 budget of $ 3,339,160 with a district contribution of $ 9,938.64, a projected increase of $ 464.23.

-The school calendar for the 2009/2010 school year.

-District transportation contracts for the 2008-2009 school year.

-Individuals to serve on the District Strategic Planning Committee; a student, a business representative, a community representative, a parent, and a School Board member.

-Individuals to serve on the District Act 48 Planning Committee; a business representative, a community representative, a parent, and a  School Board member.

-Business office professional development at a cost of $ for 5 day training with Brian Kelly, CPA; this training will provide the staff with procedures to use to set up for the audit and will, over time, provide a savings to the district.

-Job descriptions: Teacher’s Instructional Aide,  School Aide,  Personal Care Aide.

-Additions to the substitute list.

-Volunteers for - Junior High Softball,  Varsity Track & Field.

-Accepting the resignation of Tracy Bergen, Junior Class Advisor, effective end of the 2008-2009 school year.

-The customary requests for conferences, activities and fund-raisers.

And, the board approved a five-year, professional teacher contract (2009-2014) as per the negotiated agreement, which Education Association President and chief negotiator Kathleen Hinkley accepted on behalf of the faculty. Mrs. Hinkley said that a team of teachers, administration members and board members had worked on the contract for a period of one and a half years, and she commended all for their dedication to the process.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.

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Sentencing Report

Following is the Susquehanna County sentencing report for March, 2009 as submitted by the county District Attorney’s office.

Scott William Maxey, 21, of Montrose, 15 months probation, pay $350 fine, pay costs of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, 11 p.m. curfew, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation, perform 50 hours of community service for Receiving Stolen Property in Bridgewater Township on November 24, 2008.

Steven Carl Conklin, 34, of Susquehanna, 2 months to 23 1/2 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, perform 50 hours of community service, receive drug and alcohol counseling for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Ararat Township on July 3, 2008. Mr. Conklin also received 15 months probation to run concurrent to other sentences, pay restitution to victim in this case, pay $150 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, 11 p.m. curfew, receive drug and alcohol counseling for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Oakland Township on October 22, 2008. Mr. Conklin also received 15 months probation to run concurrent to the other sentences, pay $150 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Susquehanna on September 27, 2008. Mr. Conklin also received 24 months probation to run consecutive to other sentences, pay $350 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, pay restitution to the victim in this case, 11 p.m. curfew, not to have contact with anyone on supervision for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Ararat Township on July 4, 2008. Lastly, Mr. Conklin received 15 months probation to run concurrent to other sentences, pay restitution to the victim in this case, 11 p.m. curfew, not to have contact with anyone on supervision, receive drug and alcohol counseling, pay $200 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee for Theft by Deception in Susquehanna on September 1, 2008.

Vincent Alexander Babcock, 17, of Great Bend, 45 days to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, not to have contact with the victim in this case, not to have contact with minor children, pay $200 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee for Criminal Attempt/Indecent Assault in Great Bend Township on June 19, 2008.

Timothy James Gifford, 42, of Rochester, NY, 90 days to 23 1/2 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $1,500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $100 Act 198 fee, pay $200 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, abide by Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock law, continue with outpatient treatment, attend alcohol safe driving school program, may transfer sentence to Monroe County, NY for DUI in Great Bend Township on June 3, 2008.

Ronald W Dickson III, 17, of Binghamton, NY, 1 month to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $350 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, sentence may be transferred to Broome County, NY, perform 25 hours of community service, sentence to run concurrent with Broome County sentence for Receiving Stolen Property in Silver Lake Township on April 21, 2008.

Kevin Allen Compton, 39, of Montrose, 3 months to 2 years minus 1 day in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, receive drug and alcohol treatment, perform 50 hours community service, obtain GED for Escape in Bridgewater Township on November 20, 2008.

John W Kirchner, 36, of Laceyville, 2 months to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $350 and $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee for Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officer in Auburn Township on July 8, 2008. Mr. Kirchner also received 2 months to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility to run concurrent to the above sentence, pay $350 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, pay restitution to the victim in this case, perform 50 hours community service, attend anger management for Simple Assault in Auburn Township on May 31, 2007.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


Veronica Frank to Mark and Ronald J. Powers, in Auburn Township for $20,000.00.

George M. (Est AKA) George and GeorgeBanko, Jr.  to Mark and Ronald J. Powers, in Auburn Township for $430,000.00.

Florence V. Hunsinger (Estate) to Richard and Donald Hunsinger and Linda Perella, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Kenneth P. and Deborah L. Ely (NBM) Deborah L. Roblyer to Kenneth P. and Deborah L. Ely, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Francis L., Patricia A., Brett W. and Christel D. Flynn and Flynns Stone Castle to Francis L., Patricia A., Brett W. and Christel D. Flynn and Flynns Stone Castle, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Christopher D. Slocum and Brooke M. Lewis (NKA) Brooke M. Slocum to Christopher D. and Brooke M. Slocum, in New Milford and Harford Townships for one dollar.

Justin Kropa to Skip Michael Tracy, in New Milford Township for $27,000.00.

Florence MacGowan (Estate) to Carole A. Smallacombe, Jennifer S. and Gregory J. Flanagan, in Montrose for $85,000.00.

Richard W., Frances B. and Marilyn J. Truex to Timothy A. and Jacqueline M. Truex, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Jean Stine to David and Dale Stine, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Donald H. and Janet T. Glatzel to Donald H. (Trust) and Janet T. (Trust) Glatzel, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.

George Costa to George and Diane Costa, in Bridgewater Township for $10.00.

Earl L. Smith to Laurie A. and James E. Taylor, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Norma Talbot to Norma Talbot and Linda Berryman, in Springville Township for one dollar.

Gary (Estate) and Aloysius F. Cifelli to Daniel L. Petrolati, in Rush Township for $54,000.00.


Ramon Alberto Serra of Hallstead vs. Marion Serra of Susquehanna, married 1993.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 4:02 p.m. on March 19, 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, Tony R. Clark, 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, Dominick M. Franklin, Yvette Glover, Angela M. Grecco, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Keith G. Harms, William N. Hendrickson, Ann Hightower, Timothy M. Holmes, Carl M. Kelder, Kevin D. Klein, Erik E. Krisovitch, James R. Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Howard J. Linder, George D. Lowery, Joseph Malloy, Jr, Tanika Marazzani, Patricia J. Marrero, Jason Marshall, Fred C. Materese, Zada A. McDonald, 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, 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, Karl D. Zantowsky.

Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at (570) 278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.

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Dairy Farmers Attend Financial Crisis Rally
Submitted By Pro Ag

An estimated 235 dairy farmers and interested parties attended the recent dairy farmers’ rally at the Federated Church in West Winfield, New York. The dairy farmers attended the session hoping to hear some worthwhile suggestions to alleviate the financial crisis that dairy farmers are experiencing.

Current prices paid to dairy farmers are less than $12.00 per cwt. (approximately $1.00 per gallon), and many of the dairy farmers have great concern about their future in producing milk.

Arden Tewksbury, from Meshoppen, PA, who serves as the manager of Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro Ag) told the group that we have to attack the financial crisis in different ways. For the short run, Pro Ag is urging members of the Congress to place a $17.50 per cwt. floor price under manufactured milk. This would return a pay price to local farmers of approximately $19.00 per cwt. The Pro Ag leader said, “For the long term, we need a new pricing formula for dairy farmers based on the dairy farmers’ cost of production. No longer should dairy farmers pay prices be based on the speculative market starting with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.”

Pro Ag is estimating the average dairy farmer (producing 140,000 lbs. of milk per month) could loose approximately $140,000 in 2009, unless conditions make a dramatic improvement.

In 2007, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., (D-PA) introduced the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007. (S1722) Tewksbury said, “If S1722 had been enacted, we would not see these ridiculous prices that are being paid to dairy farmers.

At a meeting in Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 12, Senator Specter confirmed to Mr. Tewksbury and Linda Broyan that he is ready to re-introduce S1722. Everyone is urged to contact their legislators in Washington and urge them to support the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act (formerly S1722).

Pro Ag can be reached at (570) 833-5776 or

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PA Is “Here to Help”

Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) said that state government is offering a wide variety of programs and services to help people get through volatile economic times.

"There is no way to tell how long the current economic downturn will last," Major said. "It is certain, however, that these times are taking their toll on many Pennsylvanians – some of whom never thought they would have to ask for government help."

From meeting basic needs for food and shelter, to upgrading professional skills to find a new job in a high-demand industry, the Commonwealth has a wide variety of programs to help people.

By visiting which can be accessed through Major's Web site at citizens can learn about the following programs.

PA Rx Price Finder – a way to find the lowest costs for prescription medications by zip code.

File for unemployment benefits – a link to programs that provide temporary income to qualifying people who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.

Make Ends Meet – help in paying for child care, transportation, medical care, food and more.

Help: Qualify and Apply Online – an online data base that helps citizens apply for assistance programs on-line.

Feed Your Family – help in obtaining a Pennsylvania ACCESS card.

Heating Help – on-line tips on efficiently heating a home.

Utility Help – assistance available to pay for electric, gas, phone or water services.

Health Insurance – information about low or no cost health coverage for children.

Job Search and Job Training – help with finding a new job including links to employers and training opportunities.

Mortgage Problems – options available to individuals and families struggling to pay their mortgages.

Veterans' Services – information on programs for families of active duty personnel, Persian Gulf veterans, older and disabled veterans.

Pay Less Taxes – information on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit or Pennsylvania's tax relief or tax forgiveness programs. Some citizens may qualify for free tax preparation by a trained volunteer.

Individuals who do not have internet access may contact Major's district offices for information on the programs.

Major's offices are at Route 706 Lake Montrose, RR 7 Box 7186, Montrose, PA 18801 (telephone: 570-278-3374) and 130 N. Bridge Street, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 (telephone: 570-836-5888).

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Hallstead Hears Foundry Update
By Barbara Whitehead

Hallstead Boro Council has received notification from DEP regarding the old foundry property, in particular a leak from an underground (fuel) storage tank. At their March 19 council meeting, a copy of a letter sent to the property owner, James Booth, was discussed. DEP had notified Mr. Booth on April 23, 2008 that the property was in violation, regarding a confirmed release of a regulated substance on or about April 18, 2008. The notice sent to Mr. Booth advised him of his regulatory responsibility and provided guidance to address the release quickly and effectively under DEP regulations.

The Notice of Violation requested that a progress report be sent to DEP no later than May 23, 2008, and a site characterization report by October 24, 2008. The notice stated that no extension of the site characterization report due date would be provided without prior written approval from DEP, and warned of DEP’s intent to initiate a compliance action if Mr. Booth failed to follow DEP regulations.

As of March 4, 2009, no site characterization report or additional written requests for an extension of the October 24, 2008 due date had been received by DEP, therefore DEP offered a new due date of May 5, 2009 for submittal of the requested site characterization report. And, DEP is considering a civil penalty for failure to submit the report.

As the matter is in DEP’s hands, council agreed that there is not much that can be done on their part at this time, and that legal action by the boro would be fruitless while DEP is pursuing it.

At last month’s meeting, council had approved changing their building inspector from COG to Codes Inspection, Inc. As the boro joined COG by ordinance, an ordinance is required to withdraw. The state also requires 180 days’ notice when there is a change of inspector. A motion carried to proceed with the ordinance to withdraw. Until the change is finalized, COG is the boro’s inspector.

Also reviewed was information from the county Planning Commission regarding work on a countywide Stormwater Management Plan. Municipal representatives are invited to attend the second meeting, this evening, March 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the lower conference room of the County Office Building in Montrose.

There was one reported incidence of damage caused by trucks in the area for gas drilling operations. Although the activity is not in the boro, there was concern that the trucks are driving through the boro, and there is the potential for road damage. As the site being used is in Great Bend Township, and the gas company involved has reportedly posted a bond with the township, the township will be contacted for information as to which gas company it is, and the gas company will then be contacted regarding posting a bond with Hallstead Boro.

The boro also received information from the Pennsylvania American Water Co. regarding its Environmental Grant program. PAWC is seeking innovative and collaborative programs that result in positive and sustainable environmental changes, such as watershed protection activities, biodiversity projects, and hazardous waste collection efforts. Applications must be submitted by May 1.

A representative of the Susquehanna Borough Police Department had requested to address council at this meeting, but had not arrived by the time the meeting adjourned.

Council approved purchase of two filters for the backhoe, and of cold patch.

And, four of the boro’s new street signs have been stolen. Council discussed several options for making the signs more secure when they are replaced.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 16, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.

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COG Clarifies Rumors
By Barbara Whitehead


The Susquehanna County Council of Governments (COG) met for their regular monthly meeting on March 17.

Correspondence included a notice from Senator Yaw, regarding legislation he has introduced to change the current Clean and Green law. The bill, #298, would allow that only land being utilized for gas extraction would be subject to a tax rollback. The law currently allows for all of an owner’s land enrolled in Clean and Green to be subject to the rollback, even when drilling is not taking place on the entire parcel.

Also received was a letter from the Cohen Law Group, offering municipalities a free legal assessment of cable franchise agreements.

Notices were sent to members that an open records seminar was set to be held at the COG offices on March 23.

As many of COG’s members plan to attend the PSAT state convention on April 21, it was agreed to change the April COG meeting to the 28th.

Silver Lake Township has officially withdrawn from participation in the merged police services study. Montrose Boro has not responded to requests to re-submit missing information, so it has been assumed that they, too are no longer interested in participating. Enough of the study should be complete enough for a presentation at the April meeting.

COG had received a tax notice for the property purchased for its new home, in the amount of $116.16. There was some question of whether or not COG is exempt; a motion carried to pay the tax if, indeed COG is liable for the tax, and to pay the annual state COG membership fee of $300.

The price schedule for the new, more reflective signs has been revised, lowering the prices on some, and copies were made available for members. COG is pursuing information on 3M grant funding applications; the grants are to help municipalities with the costs related to replacing existing signs with the newer, more reflective ones. The deadline for applications is November, but those interested were urged to apply as soon as possible for a better chance of getting the funding.

It was noted that municipalities’ right to know officers must register with the state. It can be done on-line at (no www), and only takes a few minutes. The PSAT website has information on records retention, specifically a 105-page copy of the policy which outlines which records must be kept, and for how long.

The staff has been researching floodplain ordinances. The Governor’s Center for Local Government has sample ordinances available, and is willing to provide assistance to any municipality who is interested. It was noted that FEMA maps were to have been updated in 2009, but it now looks like it may not be until the spring of 2011. Members were cautioned to note that if building continues in a floodplain area, it jeopardizes the municipality’s flood insurance, which will, in turn, jeopardize the obtaining of FEMA funding. A representative of the Governor’s Center will be invited to a meeting to further discuss this issue.

The meeting was interrupted briefly so that those present could go outside to see the space station, which passed over the offices at about 7:40. It was said to be an incredible sight.

COG Sewage

The paperwork for the Sewage committee’s line of credit, which had been approved at the last meeting, was ready to be signed.

The two COG Sewage Enforcement Officers had recently attended a state SEO conference and reported that it had been very informative, although attendance this year was down from the usual 600 or so, to 126.

The committee reported that they had met with some Great Bend Township residents to discuss a situation, which has been resolved.

A motion carried to approve the proposed civil assessment policy that had been discussed at last month’s meeting; it is based on Act 537.

COG Codes

A motion carried to use Pennstar Bank as an additional repository, which will allow the committee to ”shop” for the best interest rates for certificates of deposit.

The committee wished to clarify rumors circulating about Building Inspection Underwriters, COG’s third party building inspector. BIU has branches in several states, including PA and New Jersey. The New Jersey branch has been the subject of a federal investigation for allegedly being involved in a scheme to “steer” inspection contracts their way in 2007 and 2008. It was noted that the PA office is a separate entity, and is not under investigation. The state department of Labor and Industry has reviewed the PA branch’s records and reviewed their procedures; all of their questions, it was said, have been answered. As a result of the investigation, BIU’s PA president, Mark McLaughlin has stepped aside, and John Hoodak is now the president of the PA branch.

In the wake of the investigation, some of BIU’s customers may have received information from a competitor, presumably a solicitation for services. The committee noted that they regularly review any competitors’ offers and compare prices so as to offer members the best options, and BIU has consistently offered the best services and prices. It was noted that BIU has also committed to having an inspector available in the COG office on a daily basis, but none of the other firms soliciting for services would do so.

More information was available regarding the legislation requiring that home improvement contractors must register with the state by July 1. This legislation does not pertain to new construction, but to those who  provide home improvement repair in the amount of at least $5,000 per year. The required registration forms were not yet available on-line, and registration does require a $50 fee. There are, of course, some questions, such as, would the contractor’s registration number be required when obtaining a permit. And, the wording of the legislation itself is very vague; as it reads, it encompasses all types of businesses that would be involved in home improvement, not just contractors. One member said that with this law in effect, municipalities can no longer require that a contractor working in that municipality be licensed.

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Local Fire Companies Receive AFG Funding

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, a senior member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Department of Homeland Security has approved funding for several fire companies in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The funding is contained in Rounds 27 and 28 for the competitive Fiscal Year 2008 Fire Grants Award announcements. The awards are administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

The AFG programs are designed to enhance first responders' ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. In Fiscal Year 2008, the AFG program awarded approximately $500 million directly to fire departments and EMS organizations for operations and safety programs, as well as vehicle acquisition.

Funding has been approved for the following companies in Northeast Pennsylvania.

$78,802 for Nicholson Fire Co. in Wyoming County.

$13,376 for Clifford Township Volunteer Fire Company in Susquehanna County.

More information on the AFG program can be found at: or call the toll free help line at 866-274-0960.

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