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Issue Home October 21, 2009 Site Home

Vadella States Goals
Blue Ridge Incentive Still Uncertain
Hallstead Has Short Meet

Courthouse Report
Montrose Conserves Energy & Leases Land
Harford Budget On Track
Clifford Supervisors Don’t Show
County Signs For Funds
Reader Notice
Starrucca Borough Council Minutes

Vadella States Goals
By Stephanie Everett

At a regular meeting October 13, Forest City School Board members welcomed Christine Acevedo, the new high school principal. “We’re very glad to have her,” stated Superintendent Robert Vadella.

Geoff Wood of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, provided a routine information session concerning United States Department of Education funds. Since the summer, Wood has visited school districts within Northeastern Pennsylvania to inform the business office, superintendent’s office and the school board about accountability requirements pertaining to funds received through the Stimulus Act. Based on tips or audits, Wood’s office, which is based in Philadelphia, investigates fraud, waste, and misuse of Department of Education funds.

Mrs. Zefran asked Vadella to report on PSSA scores. Vadella responded that although Forest City Regional Elementary has received Adequate Yearly Progress, the high school remains in School Improvement 2. He added, “We did see some growth [from last year]; we just didn’t see enough.” Zefran queried, “Are we doing enough?” Vadella answered, “I will always say, ‘No.’” He went on to provide several strategies, some of which are already in place at Forest City Regional, for improving high school PSSA scores.

Among those ideas is Foresight testing, which allows for routine monitoring of student progress. The school has expanded before- and after-school tutoring and hopes to have a late bus by next month. Vadella hopes to add to the school’s pre-engineering program and its business and medical career programs in order to provide each of the programs as a major course of study. Additionally, Vadella hopes to have each high school student complete algebra and geometry classes.

“Are we tapping all the resources we possibly can?” asked Zefran. Vadella stated that school administrators consult the NEIU, textbook companies…even the new high school principal and that programs such as Foresight testing are “research-proven.”

Special education programs are also receiving attention at Forest City Regional. Donna Potis, Director of Special Education, highlighted several events that have been adopted at the school to serve these students. This month, four Forest City students were accepted for a pre-college academy program at Penn State. Potis refers to the program as “very successful,” explaining that one of last year’s seniors completed the course and is now attending college.

On October 1, Steven Armalay of the Scranton Trade Union met with Forest City students to discuss the Pre-Apprenticeship Program, which is geared for students who are interested in working in construction.

Finally, as an effort to cut costs, Forest City Regional may host its own life skills program next year. Presently, twelve Forest City students participate in the program outside the district, and approximately seven are expected to be enrolled next year.

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Blue Ridge Incentive Still Uncertain
By Ted Brewster

October 12, Columbus Day, was no holiday for the Blue Ridge School Board. Its meetings seem to be drawing greater attendance these days, including a number of faculty and even retired teachers. That may not be surprising, at least in part because the Board and its Finance Committee are considering - and reconsidering - a retirement incentive package that the Business Manager wants to have in place as soon as possible so the Board can begin consideration of the budget for 2010-2011.

Two weeks ago the Finance Committee told the Board that it would probably recommend a package that would pay new retirees 40% of their last year’s salary for 5 years, but would contribute nothing to their health insurance premiums. Indeed, the incentive package was on the business agenda this time.

It was removed after a lengthy discussion at a meeting of the Finance Committee that focused on the health insurance provision. State law requires that schools continue to offer coverage under the district’s health plan after retirement for 10 years or until the retiree gains coverage under another plan (for example, Medicare, or a spouse’s plan). The district is not required, however, to pay the premium for a retiree.

For many school districts in Pennsylvania the issue is not in doubt: health coverage for retirees is part of the teachers’ contract. Not so at Blue Ridge, yet the district wants to remain competitive for teacher talent especially with its neighboring districts. So, should some subsidy be offered, and, if so, how much?

The problem for Blue Ridge lies in its “self-funded” health insurance plan. Were the district still using an externally-provided plan, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the costs for covering retirees would be more easily predictable. The self-funded plan adopted by Blue Ridge a few years back offers overall cost savings for taxpayers, but it also means that the district accepts the risk, much as an insurance company does, based on actuarial estimates, of steeply rising medical costs as retirees age.

The Finance Committee will continue to consider the competing demands on its health coverage plan versus its teacher benefit package at the next meeting, on October 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. when Business Manager Loren Small promises to have available comparable figures from other districts in the county. Blue Ridge is known to have one of the better health plans in the area for its staff. The Board would like to keep it that way in order to attract the best teaching talent. Yet in a time of rapidly increasing health care costs, and uncertainty in the health care insurance arena, the Board has to keep the impact on its tax base clearly in view.

The Finance Committee also heard a report from Mr. Small on the recently-passed state budget. He told members that there are still “a lot of questions” about the level of state subsidy that will be available. Offering a sheet of figures supposedly comparing increases in funding from the state for a number of school districts, he said that “None of this really adds up.” He said that, while the listing seems to show an increase of 3.65% in “Basic Education Funding” for Blue Ridge under the new state budget, he wasn’t certain whether some other components of state funding were included in the new amount that would otherwise leave the district to come up short.

Board President Harold Empett told the committee that there has been no movement recently on what gas companies may be offering on a lease for Blue Ridge’s 49 acres. There have been some reports that the state is negotiating for leases on game lands and state forests, but no one knows where that money would go. The Blue Ridge campus borders on a tract of state game lands.

The Board bracketed its business meeting with a pair of executive sessions, according to Mr. Empett, to discuss staff compensation issues. One of those issues is believed to be a contract for the 3 school principals, which would help with the budgeting process due to begin shortly.

At the very outset of the business meeting, when Mr. Empett called for comments and questions from the public, a parent rose with an unusual and disturbing account of what she called “inappropriate communication” with her daughter using “text messaging.” She told the Board that she was disappointed with the administration’s response to her concern and, asking that the Board take it over, she was prepared to begin reading some of the “hundreds of texts.” She was immediately interrupted by Superintendent Chris Dyer, who would not allow her to air such private issues at a public meeting. He asked her to deliver any new information about the incident to the administration, and to allow administrators time to respond.

Principal Matthew Nebzydoski reported that his Middle School’s Leo club will be preparing and serving a breakfast to local veterans on November 12, to recognize Veterans Day. Any and all area vets are invited to take part.

Superintendent Chris Dyer announced that the district expects to receive 1,500 doses of the vaccine for the H1N1 influenza very soon, for distribution among all students and staff over the next few weeks.

High School Principal Scott Jeffery bracketed the business meeting with his favorite activity, announcing and introducing standout seniors. Alex Burkett stood to read from a long list of his activities at Blue Ridge. Mr. Burkett is a “high honors” student who has been recognized as the WVIA Artist of the Week for Theater. He has attended a youth leadership conference at Penn State, and expects to attend Kutztown University next year. Mr. Jeffery also named Debra Barton as an outstanding senior, but she was not present to introduce herself to the Board.

Mr. Jeffery also noted the achievements of Taylor Guinan, recognized as “Scholar of the Year” for Blue Ridge by NEIU 19 and WUSR, the radio station of the University of Scranton. Mr. Taylor has also been awarded the Rensselaer Medal by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for excellence in mathematics and science. If he applies and accepts admission to RPI, he will receive a scholarship of $15,000 per year.

Full Board meetings generally begin at 7:30 p.m. Committees usually gather at 6:30 p.m. on the same night. Policy Committee chair Lon Fisher asked that consideration of a policy on visitors to the schools be removed from the agenda so that his committee can review it in more detail at its meeting on October 26. All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Hallstead Has Short Meet

The Hallstead Boro Council met early for a budget workshop on October 15, followed by their regular monthly meeting.

Correspondence reviewed included an update on the new senior housing building at the Emerson Apartments, notice from the county Housing Authority regarding home rehabilitation funding, and a copy of a letter of complaint sent to the Rose Hill Cemetery Committee by a resident who lives near the cemetery.

Council discussed the ordinance necessary to withdraw from COG, and will possibly begin the procedure at their next meeting.

The nets at the tennis court have been taken down for the winter. There was some discussion about a complaint that an individual has been using the courts as a dog run, with the dogs also leaving “evidence” behind. The courts are locked at night during the summer months, and will remain locked during the winter.

The backhoe was still in the shop, work was expected to be complete by Monday or Tuesday.

New blinds will be purchased for the windows in the boro building, which will also be repainted.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, November 19, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


Ruth Resseguie (by Atty) to Adam Thomas Jones, in Harford Township for $35,000.00.

Helen Dubrachek (Estate) to Barbara Santamour and Victoria Ann McAndrew, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.

Ronald A. and Rose Marie Stortini to Steven F. and Jane M. Lucente, in Herrick Township for $180,000.00.

Ricardo J. Moran to Michael Tomas and Liza Marie Dooley, in Herrick Township for one dollar.

James Vincent Gordon and Jamie G. Morris (NBM) Jamie Schroeder to James Vincent Gordon and Jamie G. Morris, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

R & J Marcho Family LP to R & J Marcho Family LLC, Rachelle L. Bergey and Julie A. Yoder, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Timothy and Kristine Loomis to Hilda E. Franklin, in Bridgewater Township for $280,000.00.

Robert V., Jr. and Karen M. Shaver (NBM) Karen M. Plevinsky to David S. and Michelle R. Hawk, in New Milford Township for $40,000.00.

Erik S. and Jennifer Richards (NBM) Jennifer Krisiak to Erik S. and Jennifer Richards, in Jackson Township for one dollar.

Robert L. and Jerome J. Cassizzi and James A. Senior to Joseph M. and Julie A. Catalano, in Apolacon Township for $167,500.00.

Ernest D. and Lucille A. Compton to Ernest D. and Lucille A. Compton, in New Milford Township for one dollar.

Norbert A. and Sherrie A. Tanguay to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Montrose for $202,500.00.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to William Ray Parrish, in Herrick Township for $100.00.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Rachel Cooley, in Herrick Township for $100.00.

Warren D. and Ann C. Slocum to Stuart W. and Carolee P. Slocum, in Jackson Township for $20,000.00.

Donald M. and Barbara Stone to Donna M. Passetti and Warren L. Stone, in Ararat Township for one dollar.

Betty D. Binde to Thomas McDermott, in Liberty Township for $85,000.00.

Leonard and Jean M. Lupini to Leonard Lupini (Trust), in Lenox Township for one dollar.

James and Joetta Aten to Joetta Aten, in Auburn Township.

Alfred S. Roberts to Heather C. Roberts Lerch, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Michael A. and Nancy J. Zenzel Catalano to Ryan W. Curry and Stefanie A. Rivera, in Choconut Township for $185,000.00.

Rocco John (AKA) Rocky Longo (Estate) to Faith Louise Higgins, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

Robert and Nancy H. Jalbert to Gary and Ruthann Bolmer, in Herrick Township for $249,900.00.

Lillian J. McQuillan to Scott C. McQuillan, in Ararat Township for one dollar.

Margaret Gray-Bailey to Margaret Gray-Bailey, Cynthia Groover and Joseph and Donald, Jr. Gray, in Franklin Township for one dollar.

Eugene F., Diane F., Eugene F., Jr. and Debra S. Arthur to Michael and Mary Elizabeth Connelly, in Silver Lake Township for $170,000.00.

Michael J. and Charm K. Giangrieco to Giangrieco Family Limited Partnership, in Forest Lake and Silver Lake Townships for one dollar.

Sharon M. and Robert L. Bishop and Florence S. Gardoski to Sharon M. Bishop, Florence S., James J., Daniel J., Ronald D. and Kenneth M. Gardoski, Nancy A. Perri and Susan F. Haroun Mahdavi, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.

Duane D. and Rita R. Slocum to J Cam Farms LP, in Thompson Township for $480,000.00.

V. James and Bethann Robertiello to Philip J., Jr. and Lauri Pass, in Herrick Township for $76,000.00.

John and Emily (AKA) Emilie Roszko to Christopher J. and Jeffrey M. Czebiniak, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Michelle R. Mabus and Loree A. Mowrer to Bremer Hof Owners, Inc., in Herrick Township for $100.00.

David S. Ellis to David D. Ellis, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Paul A. and Pamela E. Kelly to Pamela E. Kelly, in Dimock and Jessup Townships for one dollar.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 11:09 a.m. on October 16, 2009.

Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, John W. Barber Sr, Keith B. Beach, Neeko A. Beahan, David Shawn Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Robert B. Carrier, Jason James Carroll, Beverly A. Carvin, Darryl M. Chaffee, Christopher J. Clark, Tony R. Clark, Edward J. Dickson, Jr., Deborah L. Drish, David J. Fischer, Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, William N. Hendrickson, Ann Hightower, Steven L. Jones, Kenneth M. Kintner, Corey J. Koch, Eric C. Kohlhepp, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Patricia J. Marrero, Nancy McGillis, David N. Miller, Joseph C. Moore, Anthony Neri, Rodney Alan Oakley, Donald Palmer, Gary Perico, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Timothy W. Rogers, David J. Shiner, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Garrett M. Thomas, Keith W. Vroman, Steven G. Warner, Donald L. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr.

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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Montrose Conserves Energy & Leases Land
By Melinda Darrow

The October 12 Montrose school board meeting opened on a solemn note as, in lieu of the standard recitation of the Lord’s prayer, those in attendance observed a moment of silence in memory of Mrs. Delores Quinn. Mrs. Quinn was a former member of the board.

Ross Kelley, President for the Eastern Region, was in attendance at the meeting to present the district with the Energy Education Pacesetter award. Having begun its program approximately 11 months ago, Montrose has realized a 25% cost savings, $141,901 in total. Mr. Ognosky, district superintendent, commended all of the staff for this achievement, particularly citing Energy Manager Chris Tripp, without whom he stated the district would not have enjoyed such success. Mr. Kelley then stood up and spoke, saying that in these economic times every school in the country is doing all they can to reduce utility costs, but some do this better than others. Some, he continued, are world class leaders, and in less than a year Montrose is emerging as one of these - a world class leader in conservation. This designation was given in comparison to over 16,000 districts in the country. This has not been achieved, he explained, through the virtue of investing a lot of capitol, but through a concerted effort by everyone in the district to modify their routines, etc. He called the energy savings Montrose has realized a testament to the dedicated leadership of Mr. Tripp and a tribute to the staff, specifically including the maintenance staff, custodial staff, and cafeteria staff in the honor. He then presented the Pacesetter award, which is given to only those districts achieving above average savings, to board president Chris Caterson, and explained that he was symbolically also giving it to the entire district. Mr. Caterson said he hoped that over a period of time, with reinforcement, these changes would become the norm, and it would just be the way Montrose did business. He smiles, he said, every time he comes in and the hallways are dark, and shared an anecdote of once seeing a custodian competently sweeping a corridor without lights. He thanked Energy Education, and gave as his only regret that Montrose had not participated in the program sooner.

The board passed a motion that evening resolving that the president and secretary of the school board, in conjunction with the superintendent, be authorized to deliver an oil and gas lease to Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation. The lease, with addendum, would cover 177.72 acres, largely situated in Bridgewater Township and Montrose Borough. Mr. Ognosky and Mr. Caterson, it was reported, had met with Cabot several times, and were offered the standard contract. Mr. Jordan then came up with a list of addendums to add to that contract, solidifying the non-surface part of it. The contract, it was related, was a non-surface one as good as if not better than the one utilized at the Choconut Valley site. It stipulated $5,600 an acre with a 21% royalty rate. It was estimated that the district would receive from this just shy of a million dollars.

It was explained that, as was discussed at a recent building and grounds meeting, the non-surface operations lease would mean that the company had the opportunity to come under the property from another property, but could not disturb the surface of the land by means of drilling, a road, etc. The lease included stipulations for water testing and, in fact, denied the company the right to claim that any contamination was not their fault. Someone asked Mr. Ognosky about making sure that the adjoining property was also leased by Cabot, and he responded that the owners of that property had just recently contacted his office to confirm that it was.

It was also reported that Cabot had offered a separate right of way agreement, and the district responded that they did not even want to talk about it at that time. It is a non-surface lease, the board explained that evening, so why would they just go and give the company the right of way. If they need one, it was said, they could come back to the district and ask about it at the time; it might be worth more then. After all this discussion the board approved the five year lease.

Several policies were reviewed, as the board approved the first reading of one new policy and the revision of others. All of these were to be posted to the website for public perusal and comment. All of the changes are following changes in the law.

The largest changes were to the electronic devices policy, it was explained. Though renewing an old policy, the alterations take into account the updates to electronic devices currently in existence, and make allowances for those still to be invented. Student privacy was also considered, by specifically prohibiting the use of such devices in locker rooms, health suites, etc. Basically, the policy states that all electronic devices which can take photographs, store or access messages, or have unrestricted access to the internet are prohibited from use during school hours, though it did not prohibit students from having them on school grounds. If a student were to be in violation of this policy, an administrator would confiscate the device and require a parent to come and pick it up. Someone asked what would happen if a student became a repeat offender, and Mr. Ognosky replied that, while this is not delineated in the policy, the discussed procedure indicates that the student would not even be allowed to have it in school, whether or not it was used. An administrator might, however, make exceptions to these rules and allow use of devices when stipulated in a student’s iep, in an emergency situation, or when deemed necessary for his or her health, safety, or well-being.

The policy also tacitly forbids the creation and dispersal of obscene, pornographic, rude, or illegal photographs, to include the texting and e-mailing of such. Also, due to consideration of the recent difficulties which a local district underwent after prosecution of a similar offense, it explicitly allows the district to report such conduct to state or federal law agencies, as it may constitute a crime.

Where this policy sparked debate at the meeting was in consideration of whether or not educators should be allowed to confiscate the phones when they witness use. Currently the policy does not allow for this. Educational staff members are to refer the matter to an administrator, who will then deal with the issue. Mrs. Staats and Mrs. Humphrey argued that this creates a loophole in the rule. If an administrator was busy, and could not respond at the time, a student could get rid of the phone or deny having it by the time he or she was questioned. When Mr. Ognosky replied to their concerns by explaining that the current policy did not allow for instructor enforcement, it was asked if the board could change to policy so that it would. Mr. Wimmer agreed with this idea, feeling it made the policy more enforceable. Mr. Ognosky suggested that before such a change were to be made, it ought to be run before a solicitor, but agreed that it could be considered.

The employment of Jeffrey Noriss as an instructor at the school was terminated that evening. Mr. Ognosky said he wished it understood, however, that the motion was in no way related to his current legal situation. He explained that Mr. Noriss had been operating under an instructional one certificate, under which an educator has a six year period of time to meet stipulations so he or she can obtain an instructional two certificate. Because he did not meet those requirements, Mr. Noriss’s instructional one certificate expired. Thus he does not hold a valid certificate, and therefore his position had to be terminated. It was asked what was to be done about filling this position. Mr. Ognosky suggested that, as it is so difficult to find a person certified in both English and Latin, and as the district currently has a competent English certified substitute in place, the position be posted for a lengthier time than is standard in hopes of finding a qualified candidate.

Although none of the principals were present, their reports were reviewed. At the high school, the Rachel’s Challenge program was called a great success. Assemblies were held for grades six through eight and nine through twelve. Many students requested, after what was described as a very powerful presentation, to be part of a training afterward. Numerous students and staff, it was stated, thanked the administrators for having the assemblies, which the district planned because of concerns administrators have had in the past regarding bullying. Mr. Ognosky stated that he felt the experience was something which would stay with the district.

The elementary school-based behavioral programs are in place, it was reported, and parents seem receptive of services. Twenty-five students have been identified for the program, the purpose of which is to provide wraparound services, and to access community services in conjunction with the school.

Mr. Owens briefly discussed some technological matters. He talked about the mms system, which is now extended down to fourth grade and has perhaps 70% parent participation. Patty Smith, the technology coach, has had her duties extended down to the elementary school as well. There was also some discussion over a need to better control printing at the school, and perhaps utilize copying more in its place.

Near the meeting’s end, the gas and oil concept reemerged as a topic of conversation, with a proposal for how the income from it could be utilized. It was suggested that the board should consider replacing the administration building, which was put in place in 1967 on a temporary basis and is still in active use 42 years later. The maintenance department had mentioned the existence of weak places in the floor under the superintendent’s office. The administrative complex is comprised of four trailers, which one person described as rotting from the bottom up. Mr. Caterson talked about the benefits of modular building, and its usefulness in largely avoiding prevailing wage. He requested permission to have the maintenance department conduct a comprehensive examination of the trailers and report at the next meeting regarding his findings. (It was recommended by another board member that a building inspector be included in this assessment.) He then suggested changing the site of the administrative offices if they are replaced, and the allotment of the current site as more parking. Mr. Ognosky pointed out that the renovations would not have to be tied to oil and gas money, as the district is in possession of other funds.

Mr. Ognosky then brought up the idea of a pre-k program. He mentioned that the district receives e-mails all the time regarding this, but in the past has focused on its full-day kindergarten instead. Now, he suggested, it should at least begin the process of studying the idea. The question was raised of where it would be housed, and it was admitted frankly that there is no place currently. That would be one thing to consider. Mr. Caterson, however, pointed out that with declining enrollment every year, eventually there would likely be a place to put a pre-k room.

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Harford Budget On Track
By Ted Brewster

Following the end of the 3rd quarter of 2009, the Supervisors reviewed progress against the Harford Township budget at their meeting on October 13. The new grader was one major exception to the budget, paid for in part by a loan. Otherwise, Garry Foltz and his colleagues are satisfied with the way expenditures are tracking against the budget. Next month the Supervisors will be preparing a budget for 2010.

The Supervisors have been segregating the bill list for the sewer from the other bills ever since Mr. Foltz became angered with the lack of response from the sewer contractor on some issues. He has occasionally voted not to pay the contractor’s monthly bill (which was nevertheless paid, by the votes of the other Supervisors). This time he declared that the contractor’s attitude has been “going in a more positive direction,” after hearing some of the operator’s log; he voted to pay the bill this month.

Some time ago Mr. Foltz applied for a grant to help with the purchase of a new stone rake. With the budget problems in Harrisburg, the township has yet to get a response to any of its grant applications. But Mr. Foltz is determined to replace the stone rake that is now more than 30 years old. He is also hoping to construct sheds to get the township’s road materials under cover. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that her contacts suggest that all grant applications are “up in the air,” since state agencies still don’t have their final allocation figures. Mr. Foltz said he would develop another grant application to help pay for re-paving School Street.

The same state budget impasse has held up payments to the township for replacing the bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road. Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden said he hopes to begin receiving those reimbursement funds within a couple of weeks, now that the state budget has finally become law.

Some money is apparently getting through from the state. The Harford Volunteer Fire Relief Association received a payment of $8,198.64, passed through the township accounts along with the 1 mill local property tax imposed by the township to support the Fire Company.

Harford is one of only about 11 municipalities in Susquehanna County that levies an “earned income tax” (EIT). As such, it is represented on a committee established by the county commissioners to plan county-wide EIT collection. Ms. Furney occupies Harford’s seat on the committee, which has held its first meeting to elect officers. Next they will develop bylaws and select a solicitor. Ms. Furney said she would favor employing the Central Tax Bureau, headquartered in Berwick rather than trying to do it locally. Several municipalities in Susquehanna County use Central Tax to collect most of their taxes, and Berkheimer Tax Administrator of Bangor, PA to handle delinquencies. The committee, which will try to meet on the 4th Thursday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m., may move its meetings around the county. Ms. Furney said that the process will be lengthy, and some way must be found to pay for the committee’s expenses. The county itself does not impose an earned income tax; the commissioners were obliged by state law to establish the committee, but “wanted out” as soon as it had been created.

Mr. VanGorden, also a member of the local fire company, polled a number of people hoping to find someone to take on the job of Emergency Management Coordinator for Harford Township. The late Ted Batzel was the last person in a job that nobody else seems to want. That’s not surprising, since it doesn’t pay anything but mileage, and requires a fair amount of training time. Mr. VanGorden was finally able to get Jim Batzel to take it on. Mr. Foltz said that Charlene Moser, the county Emergency Management Director (and Harford resident) should be asked to address the issue of compensation for Emergency Management Coordinators county-wide, “especially if the county is telling us we have to have it.”

Mr. Foltz has been studying zoning. While he said that “Harford Township is not ready for zoning,” he said the Supervisors should consider developing some ordinances to control certain types of development in the township, perhaps to get “closer” to zoning.

Mr. VanGorden’s crew are getting ready for winter, filling the latest potholes and preparing the equipment. Their work on Payne Road earned the plaudits of school bus drivers - and particularly their passengers, who sent a collection of artwork to the township in appreciation for making their ride a bit smoother.

The Supervisors announced that there may or may not be a meeting on the next scheduled date of October 27, depending on how little business there will be to conduct. Otherwise, meetings are generally scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the township office on Route 547.

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Clifford Supervisors Don’t Show
By Stephanie Everett

On Tuesday, October 13, approximately twelve Clifford Township residents arrived at the township building for a regular business meeting and were surprised to find both doors locked and no notices posted. One woman stated that there was no notice of a cancellation posted on the township’s website, and she had not been able to reach the township secretary either. Several individuals in attendance complained that Clifford Township meetings are frequently rescheduled with little or no notice and requested that the October 13 incident be reported to the local newspapers. One man pointed out that such behavior on the part of the supervisors makes them look suspicious, even if they’re not doing anything illegal. At 7:05 p.m., everyone left the building when it became certain that no meeting was to take place.

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County Signs For Funds
By Carole M. Canfield

According to minutes from a meeting, Susquehanna County Commissioners will obtain $177,909 for eligible costs incurred under the contract signed Wednesday with the Commonwealth of PA, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program Grant Contract #C0000046163, and the Economic Development and Susquehanna County whereby the money is to be utilized between September 17, 2009 and August 12, 2012. . The filing of a proposal for these funds was authorized in Resolution 2009-28 and is from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Acts of 2009 and was filed by Trehab.

October 2009 was proclaimed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Susquehanna County.

Hudak Waterproofing Company, Taylor, was the lowest bidder and was awarded the Chimney repair/replacement bid, per Allen Luce, Department of Maintenance and with the approval of the insurance company. The bid came in at $6,500.00.

Commissioners signed the Lackawanna/Susquehanna Commission on Drug and Alcohol Provider contract for Fiscal Year July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 with Wilkes-Barre Behavioral Hospital Company, LLC dba Choices Programs of Wyoming Valley, Kingston on a fee for service as needed basis.

Susquehanna County Employees for Years of Service Recognition included Connie Perry for 10 years in Children and Youth, Jan Krupiniski for 10 years in Clerk of Courts and also a 10 year stint for Glyn Kester, District Judge Office.

Ray Osburn’s Children and Youth resignation, effective December 2, 2009 was accepted with regret.

Paul Bartholomew, 911, was terminated effective October 6, 2009 per the recommendation of 911 Coordinator, Art Donato.

Tracey Breslin, Children and Youth was also terminated effective October 7, 2009 as per the recommendation of Sue Adamec.

Michelle Graziano, Kingsley was hired to the fulltime Casework Supervisor position in Children and Youth on a six month probationary period, effective November 1, 2009.

Karen Vanetten, Montrose was hired to the union position of Clerk Typist II in Children & Youth, with a six month probationary period, effective October 28, 2009.

Susan Wilson, Montrose was hired to the full time position of dispatcher in 911, 40 hours a week, $9.25 per hour, with benefits per the residual Bargaining Unit Contract, per Art Donato’s recommendation.

An election Board meeting was held for Commissioners to approve a poling place change for the Borough of Forest City, from the Forest City Fire Department to the Forest City Area Emergency Services Building located at 380 Railroad Street, Forest City, PA per the request of the Forest City Borough Council as stated in their Resolution 9-09 commencing with the November 3, 2009 election.

Minutes were read and approved.

The Commissioners’ Meeting was then adjourned.

Commissioners Meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 9 a.m. sharp, in the EMA Conference Room in the County Office Building.

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Starrucca Borough Council Minutes
Submitted By Frank Buck

The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular monthly meeting on September 2 at 7:00 p.m., at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President (Kirk) Rhone, Mr. Arthur Kopp, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Peter Frank, Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Robert Buck, Mr. Anthony Palonis and Mayor (MaryAnn) DeBalko were present.

President Rhone called the meeting to order and called for an Executive Session to discuss both legal and personnel matters.

The meeting was reopened at 7:24 and the minutes from the previous meeting were read. The motion to approve carried.

The Treasurer’s report was given and the motion to approve carried.

The bills were presented and the motion to approve payment carried.

The following Correspondence was received:

A list of Winter Products from Blooming Grove Sand and Gravel was received.

In Borough Reports:

Copies of the 2008 Audit from the William Owens and Company CPA firm were distributed to the Council members. After review, the motion to approve and accept the Audit as presented and further the same to the DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development) and the Wayne County Prothonotary as required carried.

In Unfinished Business:

A letter from the Borough’s Solicitor (Ronald Bugaj) was read concerning the Special Investigation of the Auditor Generals’ Office. The motion to obtain legal advice to proceed in the proper manner to address these issues, and maintain compliance with the report carried.

Mr. Frank suggested the Council follow up with the Solicitor for the status of the Windmill Ordinance.

A motion to authorize the secretary to order a copier and supplies needed, not to exceed $800.00, carried. It was agreed the machine would be kept at President Rhone’s residence.

Mr. Rhone reported his investigation of the Fairmount road yielded a hole in a pipe, located, and another bad spot, not previously reported. He suggested getting Mr. Miller and the Road Committee to look at the situation to determine the proper repair.

Mr. Travis suggested the Road Committee also invite Robert Muller Jr. from the Wayne Conservation District to view the site.

President Rhone reported the Committee will be getting quotes for “winter maintenance” and he suggested that Scott Township may consider an Intergovernmental Agreement instead of the current contract to maintain the Fairmount and Kellogg roads.

In New Business:

Mr. Rhone mentioned reading a recent newspaper article which stated that Robert Muller Jr. of the Wayne Conservation District will be re-visiting flood prone sites. The Borough was included in the article, he stated.

In Public Participation:

Mr. Robert Martin asked “Does the Borough, without legal advice, make recommendations to the Auditor General’s report?” Mayor DeBalko answered it would be foolish of the Council to give an opinion under such circumstances.

Mr. Jack Downton asked “What was the PA Department of Transportation $700.00 bill for?“ The answer was an inspection as required by Penn dot.

He then asked “what is the total figure on the Buck’s Bridge?” The secretary responded she did not know off-hand, that it would have to be researched.

Mr. Downton then stated he wanted to clarify his position concerning the Fairmount Road repair. He explained that he understood the job would not get done if he didn’t give landowner permission. Mr. Rhone and Mr. Palonis again attempted to explain that based on what he said and the nature of the repair, they were requesting his written permission to enter upon his property. Mr. Downton absolutely refused and stated “whatta need it for?” The secretary explained that after he (Jack Downton) threatened the Council with a complaint to the DEP. at last meeting, the Borough in order to protect itself against any possible liability, needs his permission to go onto his land to be able to complete the repairs. She also stated that she didn’t understand his mentality, first he demands the repair, then he refuses landowner permission, and threatens complaints to the DEP. He exploded, telling the secretary that she tells lies in the minutes and demanded that he did not make that statement. Everyone in the room, Council and audience members agreed he did make the statement, exactly as it appeared in the minutes. Mr. Martin agreed, but told everyone that “it was a statement not a threat. “Mr. Downton then turned to the Mayor and asked her specifically if that is what he said and she answered yes, it was. Mr. Rhone again asked if Jack Downton would grant permission and Downton refused and stated that he wouldn’t give Council “an inch“ and he didn‘t “give a damn for Starrucca Borough. “He then asked if other entities such as PennDot get landowner permission, and it was answered “absolutely yes.”

The Council agreed to have Mr. Muller Jr. (Wayne Conservation District) and Mr. Miller look at the situation.

No further business to come before the Board, the motion to adjourn carried.

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