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Issue Home May 27, 2009 Site Home

Three Tones For New Milford Township
Sentencing Report
Senate Bill Creates School Budget Peril
Gibson Barracks Report
Courthouse Report
Elk Lake Expands?
Water Problems In Hallstead Borough
COG Acts Quickly

Three Tones For New Milford Township
By Melinda Darrow

At the April New Milford Township meeting, the supervisors had assured a visitor speaking on behalf of the South New Milford Baptist church that they would look into the church’s request for Harford to be established as first response for medical emergencies on its site. The supervisors had done as they said they would, and Columbia Hose Company chief Dwayne Conklin attended the May 20th meeting to explain how dispatching functioned. He and another person present sought to assure the public that coverage is sufficient. When a call is made, a tone is sounded three times at three minute intervals. If no one hears from New Milford when the third tone is sounded, the next nearest company is automatically contacted. In addition to this, oftentimes the Montrose Minutemen are dispatched at the same time as New Milford. The supervisors choose which company covers which area, and the township supervisors decided to leave the system as is. In fire situations, it was further explained, a box alarm system is utilized, which means that multiple companies are generally contacted at once.

Jerry Bevans, true to form, brought up the topic of the East Lake Campground. People, he said, that live around the camp had noticed activity. He asked the supervisors if, in their opinion, it was to be opened or closed. It was responded that this is how at least some people were interpreting the situation, though the supervisors did not say that this was how they saw it. A meeting, it was stated, was scheduled for July 29 to discuss this issue. Mr. Bevans was told he could attend if he wanted. Mr. Young inquired as to whether or not Mr. Bevan’s interest was of a personal nature, but Mr. Bevans stated that he was not discussing anything with Mr. Young.

Clarification was sought regarding policies and permits. One person asked if the township has a driveway permit ordinance. The supervisors responded that one was in existence, but clarified that questions about driveways would go through the supervisors and not the code enforcement officer. Another visitor, planning to take down a wooden barn and replace it with a metal pole barn inquired as to whether a permit was needed just to take down the old structure. It was answered that yes, one was.

The bicentennial committee approached the township with a somewhat soiled request. The festivities will require the presence of port-a-johns , trash bins, and a dumpster. The borough donated money, and it was suggested that the township might like to help out. The supervisors decided to donate the cost of the toilets, and to take care of the dumpster as well.

This wasn't the only donation the supervisors made at the meeting. It was decided that the township would also send $200 for a veterans monument, which the township had received notification would be erected at the armory in Lakeside.

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Sentencing Report

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

Randy Lee Felton, 22, of Windsor, NY 1 month to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, supervision may be transferred to Broome County, NY, pay restitution to the victim, pay $200 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, perform 25 hours community service, not to have contact with the victim in this case, not to have contact with anyone on supervision for Criminal Trespass in Great Bend on December 13, 2008.

Miranda May Briggs, 20, of Kingsley to 9 months probation, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $250 fine, pay cost of prosecution pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, perform 20 hours community service for Receiving Stolen Property in Thompson Borough on December 11, 2007.

Charles R Groover, 30, of Hallstead to 8 days to 6 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility served on weekends, pay $300 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, pay $100 Act 198 fee, attend alcohol safe driving school program, receive drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment for Driving Under the Influence in Great Bend Township on December 4, 2008. The defendant also received 12 months probation to run concurrent to the above sentence, pay $150 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $10 EMS, pay $30 CAT surcharge for Accident Involving Damage to Attended Vehicle or Property on December 4, 2008 in Great Bend Township.

James M Bledsoe, 42, of Montrose to 11 1/2 months to 2 years minus 1 day in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, followed by 3 years probation, pay $750 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, receive a sexual offender evaluation and treatment, no contact with anyone under the age of 18, not to reside within 1 mile of any park, receive DNA testing, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation for Indecent Assault in Montrose on January 1, 1995.

Guy Darnel Slater, 36, of Montrose to 6 months to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $250 DNA testing fee, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee for Criminal Conspiracy/Burglary in Thompson Borough on December 11, 2007.

John Roy Turner, 23, of Thompson to 2 months to 15 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, not to have contact with the victim in this case for Criminal Conspiracy/Criminal Trespass in Thompson Borough on December 11, 2007. The defendant also received 1 month to 12 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility to run concurrent to the above sentence, pay $100 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, not to have contact with co defendants, not to have contact with the victim in this case for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Thompson Borough on December 11, 2007.

Shyrone Antoine Willis, 30, of Montrose to 18 months to 4 years in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $1,000 fine, pay, cost of prosecution, receive DNA testing, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, no contact with anyone on supervision, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment, obtain GED for Criminal Conspiracy/Delivery of a Controlled Substance in Great Bend Township on August 5, 2004.

Alex Jon Gaskill, 19, of Montrose to 1 year to 4 years in a State Correctional Facility, pay $500 fine, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, pay restitution to the victim in this case, perform 50 hours community service for Burglary in New Milford on October 14, 2008.

Gustavo Xavier, 38, of Montrose to 20 years to 40 years in a state correctional facility, pay restitution to the victim, pay $1,000 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, pay $250 DNA testing fee and submit sample, not to have contact with the victim’s family for 2nd Degree Murder in Franklin Township on August 29, 2008.

Thomas David Jackson, 19, of Berkshire, NY to 2 months to 15 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay restitution to the victim in this case, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, not to have contact with codefendant, receive drug and alcohol evaluation, pay $500 fine, pay cost of prosecution for Burglary in Great Bend Township on October 2, 2008. The defendant was also sentenced for 4 counts of Criminal Trespass in Great Bend Township on October 2, 2008, receiving 18 months probation each to run consecutive to the above sentence but concurrent with each other, pay $100 fine for each, pay $50 Criminal justice Enhancement Act fee for each, and perform 10 hours community service for each.

Vicky Lynn Page, 48, of New Milford to 90 days to 18 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $200 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, pay $50 Criminal Justice Enhancement Act fee, attend alcohol safe driving school program, abide by Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock law, receive drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment, not to possess transport or consume alcoholic beverages, not to enter any establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcohol, pay $1,500 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $100 Act 198 fee for Driving Under the Influence in New Milford Borough on November 7, 2008.

Ronald A Vandemark, 53, of Tunkhannock, to 10 days to 6 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, pay $1,000 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay $100 Act 198 fee, pay $50 CAT surcharge, pay $10 EMS, perform 25 hours community service, attend alcohol safe driving school program, receive a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment for Driving Under the Influence in Auburn Township on December 10, 2008.

William Fredrick Brown, Jr., 34, of Laceyville to 11 months to 23 1/2 months in Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, followed by 3 years probation, pay $1,000 fine, pay cost of prosecution, pay restitution to the victim in this case, perform 50 hours community service, not to have contact with the victim’s family, not to possess transport or consume alcoholic beverages, not to enter and establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcohol for Involuntary Manslaughter in Rush Township on August 11, 2007.

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Senate Bill Creates School Budget Peril

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 850 was recently voted on and approved, which is not good news for school districts in the state. At their May 20 meeting, the bill was the major topic of discussion by the Susquehanna Community School Board. The bill will eliminate the proposed $418 million increase in basic education subsidy, the second installment of the state’s new school funding formula. While it is believed that the governor has no intention of signing a budget bill that would spell disaster for education, as they say, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

Bill 850 would eliminate the $271,580 increase the district would receive from stimulus funds in 2009-10, and the district would also lose $313,800 in one-time state fiscal stabilization fund grants. The bill would require the district to increase taxes by 20% to generate the missed revenue. The bill would also eliminate or drastically reduce many of the initiatives that have been implemented to raise student achievement. Among the programs that would be eliminated are Classrooms for the Future, Science: It’s Elementary or Dual Enrollment. Other programs, including Pre-K Counts supplemental assistance, would be cut by 50% or more.

Superintendent Bronson Stone urged anyone and everyone to contact their legislators to oppose further passage of this bill by the House of Representatives and/or the governor. This bill, he said could very well eliminate the opportunity for the district to receive stimulus funding, and could eliminate successful programs like Classrooms for the Future. The bill, he said, is not good for education or for the state of Pennsylvania.

The district staff has presented a tentative budget for the next school year, a process which was said to be difficult given the state’s budget problems, and with Senate Bill 850 thrown into the mix. The district budget for 2009-10, in the amount of $13,748,007 reflects a 1% increase in tax millage over last year’s rates, to 41.29 for Susquehanna County and 13.83 for Wayne County. Mr. Stone commented that the budget is flexible but austere.

Good news for property owners, the state has again approved Homestead/Farmstead exclusions. In spite of difficult times, the state is still receiving gambling revenues, which will be passed on to eligible property owners in the form of tax relief. Final figures are not yet available, but indications are that the credit will be about $309, the same as last year’s. Final figures will be made available once the state’s budget is adopted.

In other business, the district has received a change in Title I designation, from Targeted Assistance to School Wide. This change in designation will allow using Title I funding in a more flexible manner, as the Targeted Assistance designation placed more restrictions on how the funds could be used.

Two safety drills were conducted earlier this month, a collaborative effort with local police departments, the fire department, Barnes-Kasson Hospital, and Turnpike Terrace, which was used as a meeting point site for students.

Items approved by the board included the following:

- Bids for supplies for the 09-10 school year, and giving the Business Office permission to order supplies.

- Reelection of Martha Stanford as board treasurer and Evelyn Cottrell as board secretary for the 09-10 school year, at the same compensation.

- An agreement with the American Red Cross and the county Emergency Management Agency for the use of the school facilities as Mass Care Centers during disasters.

- An agreement for a school-based juvenile probation officer’s services for the 09-10 school year.

- An agreement for services between the district and Pennsylvania Treatment & Healing for the 09-10 school year.

- An agreement with NEIU 19 for Discover Education streaming services for the 09-10 school year.

- A contract change for Bus #26X, effective May 20.

- Purchase of new playground equipment geared to four-year olds through the state’s Co-Stars program, which eliminates the need for bidding.

- Use of Virtual Drive, an on-line theory based driver education classroom course for the 09-10 school year.

- Use of Pre K-12 Notification as the district’s new emergency phone notification system beginning July 1, which offers unlimited use, as opposed to the current system, which charged a per-use fee.

- Carpet/tile quotes for the high school home economics room and cafeteria, and the elementary LGI.

- Quotes from Spectrum Electrical Services, for air conditioning to convert the high school mechanical drawing room into a computer lab and to replace the high school’s electrical box.

- Amendments to the Title I Parent Involvement, Student Graduation and Electronic Devices policies. The graduation policy amendment consists of a log sheet for community service, and the electronic devices policy mandates that cell phones must be turned off and kept in lockers during the instructional day. There will be zero tolerance for not abiding by the policy, as the phones have been creating maximum disturbance during class time.

- Additions to the Strategic Planning Committee, as required by the state: parent Christen Beamer; community representative Jesse Gow; business representative Sara Iveson; board member Erin Mazikewich; and student George Wilkes.

- A program of studies for grades seven through twelve for the 09-10 school year.

- Peoples National Bank as depository for district funds for the 09-10 school year.

- Adopting the History Alive! textbook for ninth grade American History.

- Appointment of James A. Kelly/Joseph Gaughn as district solicitors for the 09-10 school year.

- Homebound requests for two students, one in grade 10 and one in grade 11.

- Agreements with Thomas P. Theobold for the printing of tax duplicates for Starrucca Boro for 2009, and with INFOCON Corp. for printing of tax duplicates for the district for 2009.

- Changing Ms. Joni Miller’s professional title from Special Education Coordinator to Director of Special Education.

- A consulting service agreement with Ms. Kathy Matis for the 09-10 school year.

- Transfer of Ms. Dori Sabatelli to the position of Elementary Technology Teacher effective July 1.

- Hiring of the following summer personnel: Thomas Adornato, driver’s education; teachers Debra Stone, Carolyn Homer, and Kathleen Hinkley; high school teachers, Jacob Johnson, Math, Lisa Paterno, English and Jeremy Page, Science.

- An addition to the substitute list, Kathryn Bryant, RN.

- Accepting the resignations of Joan Greenleaf, food service and Linda Roccanova, elementary aide, effective June 8.

- The customary list of activities and fund-raisers.

- T.A.C.’s proposal for a facility improvement and energy conservation services program, and a detailed energy audit agreement to determine the scope of work, guaranteed savings amount, energy conservation measures, and project price for a comprehensive building improvement program.

- Released class time with Child Evangelism Fellowship for the 09-10 school year.

- A $100 donation to Barnes-Kasson Hospital to support the hospital’s fundraising efforts.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.

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Gibson Barracks Report
Compiled By Melinda Darrow


John Thriemer of Great Bend is accused of copying credit card information belonging to another for his personal use, without having permission to do so.


Sometime between the dates of May 13 and 17 one or more unknown perpetrator(s) entered the residence of Carol Mayorowski of Carbondale. Old coins and dollars, tobacco pipes, and a baseball cap were removed from within; at the time of report the value of the items was unknown.


On May 17 at approximately 3:30 a.m., Daina Larue of Hallstead was traveling southbound on SR 29 in Liberty Twp. when her vehicle exited off the east berm of the roadway and struck a concrete barrier. The Suzuki SX4 then rolled over, coming to a rest on the roadway facing southeast.


On May 17 at 11:30 p.m., Shelly West of Hallstead is accused of damaging the front windshield of a vehicle belonging to Timothy Carpenter of the Cedar Rapids IA area. Charges for violations of PACC are pending upon West.


On May 17 at approximately 6:40 p.m., Scott McLaine of Uniondale was traveling on T387 in Clifford Twp. when he lost control of his vehicle and struck a utility pole. McLaine was not injured, but a passenger, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered a head injury. McLaine was cited for causing the crash.


On May 18 at 5:20 a.m., Alexander Bennett of Montrose was traveling northbound on SR 29 when his vehicle exited the roadway off of the east berm and struck a guide rail. The accord then continued northbound, exiting the roadway off the west berm, striking an earthen embankment, and rolling onto its roof, coming to a rest in the middle of the road. Bennett was ejected from the vehicle and life flighted to Robert Packard Hospital in Sayre, PA for treatment. Police were assisted on the scene by Montrose EMS and Fire, Montrose Minute Men (EMS) and High Tech Towing.


An unnamed juvenile male is reported to have entered the residence of Karen Bright in Jackson, PA by forcing his way through the side door. The boy stayed in the residence from May 11 to May 13, eating food, sleeping in the home, watching tv, and using the phone. He rummaged through drawers throughout the residence, removing a jewelry box from an upstairs bedroom and going through it. He took possession of several dvds and left the residence, proceeding across the street to the residence of Julie Walker. He subsequently gained entry to Walker's residence through means of an unlocked basement door and proceeded upstairs. He was confronted by the home owner upon her arrival home at around 9:15. The boy then left her residence and returned to his own residence, which was located nearby.


On May 16, at approximately 11:59 p.m., Henry Mast of Montrose was traveling eastbound on SR 3004 in Auburn Twp. when he lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway, and struck a tree. Mast exhibited signs of intoxication and was transported to EMHS Montrose Hospital for BAC testing. At the time of report charges for violations of PAVC were pending.


On May 1 at approximately 11:25 p.m., Jesse Hilton, Jr. of Susquehanna was arrested for DUI during a DUI enforcement detail. Hilton was released under his own recognizance to appear at a later court date.


On May 12, at approximately 8 a.m., an unnamed 14 year old boy became disruptive at Montrose high school, causing public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm by acting in a manner which served no legitimate purpose to himself. Charges were pending at time of report for violations of PACC.


On May 22, at approximately 11:00 a.m., an unnamed 16 year old female was found to be in possession of a prescription drug for which she did not obtain a prescription, while at the Mountain View High School in Kingsley. Charges were filed with Susquehanna Co. Juvenile System.


Between May 10 and 14 one or more unnamed thieves gained entry to a detached garage belonging to John Riley by forcing open the side door. A chainsaw was removed from off a work bench located inside the door.


On May 18, at approximately 9:16 a.m., Michael Fifth of Susquehanna was traveling east on State Route 848 when he fell asleep at the wheel, left the roadway, went into a ditch, and then encountered an embankment. Fifth was not inured, but considerable damage was sustained to the vehicle's front bumper area and both front seat air bags deployed.


On May 15 at 1:19 a.m., Chad Batzel of Kingsley was traveling west bound on Orphans School Road when he swerved to avoid a deer in the roadway, lost control of his vehicle, exited the road, and struck a tree. Batzel was not injured; he was wearing a seat belt. Extreme fog may have contributed to the accident.


Between the 10th and 11th of May, one or more unknown person(s) broke into a small shed belonging to the Shadduck's in Rush Twp. and stole a 60 gallon craftsman air compressor, a black and yellow 1007 Ski Doo MXZ 800 Snowmobile, and a Silver 2004 Honda VTX 1300 motorcycle.


PSP Gibson is investigating the theft of prescription medication from the home of James Compton of Union Dale, between the 4th and 7th of May.


PSP Gibson is investigating an indecent assault which allegedly occurred at Montrose High School on May 4 after school. During the incident a juvenile male pushed a juvenile female against the wall and grabbed her breast. A petition will be filed with the Susquehanna County Juvenile Probation Department.


Andrew Fortuin of Nicholson reported that on May 8 at 10 p.m. someone entered his residence without authorization.


On May 8 the driver's door window on a vehicle belonging to Brittney Davies was smashed between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.


Between the 6th and 7th of May, Harry Sutton of Rush had the garage door to his residence damaged.


On May 2, at approximately 2:40 a.m., Roy Van-Vleck of Nicholson was operating a 2008 Pontiac G5 when he was stopped on Interstate 81 in Harford Twp. Indicators consistent with DUI were noticed; Van-Vleck was placed under arrest for suspected DUI. Charges were filed at District 34-3-03.


On May 7, at 12:40 a.m., John Miller, II of Hallstead was traveling westbound on Franklin Ave. when his vehicle exited the roadway off of the north berm and struck a utility pole. After impact Miller fled the scene. The investigation is continuing.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


5GK LLC to Kenneth H. and Lisa J. Schmidt, in Harford Township for one dollar.

Miriam Vanwinkle to Stephen and Floyd, Jr. Vanwinkle, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Miriam A. Vanwinkle to Stephen and Floyd, Jr. Vanwinkle, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Joyce M. and Maurice D. Bailey to Bernard J. and Christine M. Singer, in Harmony Township for $20,000.00.

Thomas A. and Carolyn E. Rivenburg (AKA) Thomas A. and Carolyn E. Rivenburgh to Thomas Asa Rivenburgh, Jr. and Linda S. Wickert, in Ararat Township for one dollar.

Scott M. and Elizabeth A. Updyke to Joseph P. Demuro, in Great Bend Borough for $46,000.00.

Edward M. and Diane M. Snee to Lyle W. and Rachel Moyer, in Forest Lake Township for $152,000.00.

Christina and Jeffrey (AKA) Jeffery Bolcavage to Christina and Jeffrey Bolcavage, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Homesales, Inc. (By Atty) to Madeline Rodriguez, in Great Bend Township for $16,000.00.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (By POA) to Jason B. Miller, in Great Bend Township for $72,000.00.

Deborah L. K. and Robert Guy to Deborah L. K. and Robert Guy, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Robert ad Deborah L. K. Guy to Deborah L. K. and Robert Guys, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

Anne L. Patterson to R. David and Heidi B. Patterson, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Brenda Williams (FKA) Brenda Daniels to Jeffrey Daniels, in Liberty Township for $100,600.00.

John S. and Marie Hacik to Arthur and Tyra-Lynn Ceccato, in Ararat Township for $200,000.00.


Brian A. Thomas and Anita C. Jennings, both of Montrose.

Jeffrey H. Wheeler of Susquehanna and Susan D. Matous of Kirkwood.

Ronald J. Bonham and Sharon M. Tanner, both of Harpursville, NY.

John Gerald Wisgo and Andrea J. Ulichny, both of Pulaski, NY.

Justin Leif Stanley, Sr. and Jennifer C. Deffler, both of Montrose.


Robin Seidel of Hallstead vs. Dennis J. Seidel of Apalachin, NY, married 1984.

Dean F. Scott vs. Ann Marie Scott, both of Forest City, married 2005.

Kristen Borove of Susquehanna vs. Alan Borove of Union Dale, married 2000.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:08 a.m. on May 22, 2009.

Duane M. Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, Keith B. Beach, David S. Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Michael P. Bradley, Jr., David M. Brant, Jason J. Carroll, Tony R. Clark, Mark T. Conklin, James J. Corridoni, Jeffrey A. Craig, Mary Dallasta, Edward J. Dickson, Jr., 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, Tiffany M. Groover, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, William N. Hendrickson, Ann Hightower, Timothy M Holmes, Kevin D. Klein, Erik E. Krisovitch, James R. Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Christopher Locke, Joseph Malloy, Jr., Tanika Marazzani, Patricia J. Marrero, Jason Marshall, Zada A. McDonald, Joseph C. Moore, Anthony Neri, Benjamin Newell, Tanya M. Novak, Todd M. O'Hara, Donald Palmer, Amberly D. Payne, Gary Perico, Amy S. Pompey, James E. Purse, Jeffrey A. Ransom, Timothy W. Rogers, Troy Rohmann, Duane Spencer, Earl H. Thompson, Jr., Christopher Trayes, Anthony M. Vaow, Keith W. Vroman, Steven G. Warner, Joseph Watkins, Jack A. Welfel, Glynn Wildoner, III, Jamie L. Williams, Louis Yachymiak.

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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Elk Lake Expands?
By Melinda Darrow

Is the proposed SCCTC expansion really necessary? This was the question a visitor raised at the May 19 Elk Lake and SCCTC school board meeting. He stated that the matter had been under discussion in the community, and queried as to whether or not the expansion was a serious need. Was the program currently full to capacity? He wondered if the program would expand into commercial trade, feeling that if it only focused on the residential skills that could be instructed on the job, taxpayer money would not be best spent. It was answered that the vo-tech is currently at capacity, and the programs in general are run as diversified learning cluster shops, and thus not restricted to either commercial or residential. Also, the new courses of study being planned were based on input from industry, not random ideas. It was asked whether or not the state dictated what was studied, by restricting reimbursement. The school is planning on receiving 42.9% of the total cost as a reimbursement. It was answered that the state only dictates that the programs be high priority. District taxpayers would, if the program proceeded, potentially see a millage increase, but this would be the effect of Elk Lake's share of the expansion project. As the SCCTC is not a taxing institution, the cost of the project beyond that which would be reimbursed, would be raised through an increase of tuition for each school.

Board members, the evening before the meeting, had been given the opportunity to visit the new house project; those who did were very complimentary. Open visitation is scheduled for May 30.

Elk Lake has decided to pursue a new project of its own, Project Lead the Way. The program, which is designed for junior high students, focuses upon training towards careers in technology. There is a potential for college credits. The goal of the program is to make math and science relevant with hands on learning. It has well documented benefits at the junior high level.

Sixth grade graduation was scheduled for June eighth. It was planned to be a pretty formal event, with a year in review slide show. Each student was to receive a DVD, a laminated card with positive comments from their instructors, and a diploma.

Other administrators had similarly positive news, including acknowledgment of student successes. Anthony Juicer was nominated scholar of the year. Katelyn Cambers received a full ride scholarship to Keystone at the awards night ceremony. The softball team won its play-off game. Two track students made it to track states.

Two mineral companies approached the district, looking to buy its mineral rights. Someone at the meeting pointed out that if the company were to buy the mineral rights, the district would forfeit its gas. The offer was summarily declined.

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Water Problems In Hallstead Borough

There were two residents present at the May 21 meeting of the Hallstead Boro Council, both to discuss water problems in the Pine St. area. The first said that she had been told that the boro was going to open a sluice on her property, near New York Ave., and she was opposed to it. The last time it had been done it was a mess, she said, and water only runs over perhaps once a year. The work had been planned because the road floods over during the winter and ices, particularly across the road near the cemetery. After a lengthy discussion, council asked the resident to allow the boro to unplug the sluice pipe and redirect the water for now, and keep an eye on it to see if that solves the problem.

The other resident said that his property near Fourth and Pine had been flooded during the June, ’06 flood. Since then, paving that had been done is sending water through his house, causing it to flood when it rains, so much that he has had to install a second sump pump. There is a storm drain that might help divert water, but it had been covered over when the road was paved. Council said they’d take a look at it and see what could be done. They also agreed to raise the brim of the road near his property, to prevent people from driving on the sidewalk when they drive around a curve.

Council member Martin Brown related that he had been approached by a resident who is in the middle of a property dispute with a neighbor. Documentation the boro obtained shows that the site in question is a public alley, which one of the parties has maintained and improved. The other property owner contends that the alley is her property, and does not want it used as a public road. There is no evidence that taxes have been paid on the alley, which they would have been if it was private property. Council will let the resident know of their findings.

Council heard some good news, the owner of Rob’s Market is donating a scoreboard for the Lady Raiders ballfield and will have it installed.

Council received a letter from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Company B, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Family Readiness Group. The group has been given permission to construct a memorial in honor of six local members who were killed in action in Iraq in 2005. After a short discussion, a motion carried to donate $100 for the memorial. Those wishing to make donations may send them to FRG – Memorial Fund, 3211 Dubois St., Hallstead, Pennsylvania 18822.

Also reviewed was correspondence from the county commissioners regarding formation of a new Tax Collection Committee, requesting that the boro appoint a representative to the committee, which will comply with Act 32 to consolidate the collection of earned income tax on a countywide basis. Although the boro does not have an earned income tax, a representative on the committee is still required. A motion carried to appoint secretary Cindy Gillespie as their representative. Boro tax collector Peggy Woosman will also be invited to attend the committee meetings.

Council carried a motion to approve a resolution allowing an agreement with the county Housing Authority to administer a home rehabilitation project in the boro. Eligible homeowners may apply for up to $15,000 in home improvements; eligibility is based on income.

And, Mr. Brown contacted the gas company that is currently conducting drilling operations in the area, with concern that some of the trucks used in the operation may be traveling on boro roads. He was told that water is being drawn from a site on Harmony Road, and that Route 11 is being used to transport it, with no boro roads used at this time. However, the gas company is more than willing to address any problems that may arise if boro roads are used at some point in the future, and that they have a good track record of taking care of any road damage that may occur.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 18, 7 p.m. in the boro building.

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COG Acts Quickly


Members of the Susquehanna County Council of Governments (COG) moved quickly through their agenda at their May 19 meeting.

Correspondence reviewed included a notice from the county Assessment Board regarding the vacant land that COG owns and a tax notice that had been received. The Assessment Board’s letter stated that the board had reviewed the situation, along with the county solicitor and had determined that the vacant land is subject to real estate taxes. However, once a building is sited there, it would be exempt from taxes. The taxes amount to $118.53 and had previously been approved for payment by COG, pending notification that it is not exempt.

One member suggested that COG should look into obtaining a gas lease for the property, which would offset any tax payments. It was agreed that it is something that could be looked into.

CQ Services, which hosts COG’s website, sent a breakdown of the hits the site has received over the past four months. There have been 222 hits, with some coming from as far away as the Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, the Philippines and Italy.

Also reviewed was a letter sent by COG to the New Milford Boro Council regarding replacement/repair of the windows and doors of the COG offices. The letter pointed out that COG has been a tenant for nine years, in the building that New Milford Boro owns. The boro had notified COG that they would consider the work when next year’s budget is drafted; however, COG feels that the work should be done before winter, as the drafts from the windows and door create an uncomfortable working condition as well as an increase in heating costs. COG also feels that resealing the door would not be sufficient to cut down on drafts, that perhaps a vestibule is needed. The letter from COG urged the council to reconsider the timeframe in which the work would be done. The boro council had a work session scheduled for the following Thursday, and it was said that the request would be discussed then.

The group also discussed the different types of sign posts used by members, information that would be used to apply for a shared municipal grant to pay for them.

The building committee reported no news on the new offices, but they are pursuing funding, which may materialize sooner than had been thought.

And, a representative from the Governor’s Center for Local Government had been expected to give a presentation on flood ordinances, but had canceled due to a scheduling conflict. With other scheduling difficulties, the presentation wouldn’t be able to be scheduled until COG ‘s August meeting, which was thought to be too long to wait. The Governor’s Center has been working on the county’s flood management plan with the Conservation District; it was thought that something more timely could be arranged through that avenue.

COG Sewage

The sewage committee reported that they have been busy with new work coming in and following up on violations.

COG Codes

The codes committee had nothing significant to report, but chair Ted Plevinsky noted that that day was election day; he said that he hoped that candidates who had expressed opinions against COG were not elected. He said that some of those seemed to think that without COG there would be no sewage or codes permit bills, which is not the case. COG does not determine when permits are required or fees are to be charged, they are state mandated. He said that anyone who said otherwise was misleading the people. COG offers prices and services equal to or lower than other programs in the region. “Many don’t know, or care what COG means,” he said. “We do it because we are a good organization, and we save money.”

Chairman Elliot Ross agreed. “These days, you can’t get any money from the state unless it is a multi-municipal organization. Just last month, we heard about sewage reimbursements.” DEP has notified municipalities that sewage reimbursement payments are drying up; first consideration will be given to multi-municipal organizations that provide sewage services.

Mr. Ross also noted that municipalities who let obligations (such as permits) “slip under the carpet” often find that it comes back to haunt them. The programs COG offers are beneficial to all its’ members. “Our approach is to provide services in an efficient, professional manner.” And, there is a knowledgeable, full-time staff available, something that many municipalities would not otherwise be able to afford. “It is a system geared to simplify things for its members and applicants,” he said.

The COG staff has prepared a pamphlet that outlines what COG is and what services it offers, and the staff is always available to sit down to discuss procedures with members and potential members. And, Mr. Plevinsky said, the group is always open to discussion about ways to improve what COG does.

Members were urged to make note of the office’s new 911 address, 948 Main St., Suite 3, New Milford, Pennsylvania 18834, as the post office will shortly begin returning correspondence with the old address.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 16, 7 p.m. in the COG offices, at which time the first phase of the shared police services study is expected to be presented.

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