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Issue Home November 4, 2009 Site Home

New Water Tower Planned For Susky
Blue Ridge Prepares For Flu
Mt. View Fills Vacancies

Courthouse Report
Gibson Barracks Report
H1N1 Rumors Impact SCSD
Silver Lake Twp. Police Report
N. M. Twp. Gets Blue Book

New Water Tower Planned For Susky

Requesting time on the agenda at the October 27 Susquehanna Boro Council meeting was Bill Malos of the Pennsylvania American Water Co. Mr. Malos said that PAWC is planning a project to replace the aging water storage tank on Convent St. They are in the process of purchasing four acres at a site above the park on Prospect St., at the intersection of High St. and Sixth Ave. Plans for the new site are to install a 60,000 gallon ground level storage tank. As the purchase of the land involves subdivision of a 95 acre parcel, the county Planning Commission had been contacted; their determination was that the boro has its own ordinances covering minor subdivisions, and that the request should go through the boro. After review of the plans, a motion carried to approve the subdivision.

Mr. Malos said that the project had originally been slated for next year, but with current economic conditions it may not start until the year after that. Once the purchase goes through, PAWC will require a right-of-way from the boro to the site. Council saw no problem with that.

Once the plans for the site are finalized, the boro would need to have a zoning board in place to approve the plans. A motion carried to advertise for members; it will list the qualifications required, which include some knowledge of construction. Letters of interest will be accepted until November 9.

Council did have some questions for Mr. Malos on some other items concerning PAWC, dealing with current construction projects and some areas of the boro that have low water pressure. Mr. Malos explained that the new tank should eliminate the problem with low water pressure and said that he would look into the construction questions.

In other business, there were some questions regarding the bill list, specifically why payment for recent paving was not being paid in full. As the project was not yet complete, ten percent of the total was being withheld pending completion of the project.

In her report, Mayor Reddon said that she has kept in contact with PennDOT concerning the replacement of the Main St. bridge. PennDOT has been drilling for core samples of the bedrock at the site, and the project is progressing, although slowly.

Correspondence from PennDOT indicated that there are three areas within the boro that meet the criteria for banning the use of engine retardant brakes (commonly referred to as “jake brakes”). Those areas include two sections of road through the downtown area, and the residential portion of West Main Street near the entrance to town. After discussion, it was agreed to proceed with banning use of the brakes on the section of West Main. PennDOT has supplied a sample ordinance, and will determine where warning signs should be posted. The boro will be responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the signs.

Through a clerical error, an ordinance that was enacted at the last meeting, to vacate the upper portion of Second Ave., was inadvertently given the wrong number. Although the ordinance itself would not be changed, just the number of the ordinance, there was some discussion about what steps should be taken to correct it. Information from the boro solicitor was that it had been advertised with the correct number, all that would be needed was to carry a motion to amend the number. As the original motion to enact the ordinance had been made by Bill Perry, who was not present, council thought that he should be the one to make the motion to amend the number; a special meeting would be called for the budget work session to be held on the following Monday, when the matter would be taken care of.

Ownership of the Capra building on Main St. has been transferred to the boro, and the steps to have it demolished have begun. It is expected to be completed in three months or so.

The meeting adjourned to an executive session, after which a motion carried to hire Officer Dennis Murray as a part-time police officer.

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Blue Ridge Prepares For Flu
By Ted Brewster

Near the very end of the meeting on October 26, Blue Ridge School Board member, and Wellness Committee chair, Priscinda Gaughan asked the status of district preparations for the appearance of H1N1 “swine” influenza. How many cases had been seen so far? she asked.

Two weeks ago Blue Ridge Superintendent Chris Dyer announced that the district would be receiving 1,500 doses of vaccine to combat the strain of flu that is worrying everyone this year. Now it appears that the vaccine is harder to come by than expected. Mr. Dyer still expects to get early delivery of the potion, since the district made early application. When it becomes available, the vaccine will be offered to all faculty, staff, students and families in the Blue Ridge community at no charge.

Mr. Dyer said that the district has seen only 8 cases of the new strain of flu confirmed so far. He said that absentee rates so far have peaked at 10-12 percent. Normal student absences tend to average around 5%. Because reporting to the school is not required, it is impossible to know how much is due to infection with the H1N1 virus, and how much may be due to increased caution or other causes. Administrators are not aware of any cases of flu in the Blue Ridge community severe enough to require hospitalization.

The Health Office section of the Blue Ridge web site offers information about H1N1, and notices regarding the availability of the vaccine. The page can be found from a link off the district’s home site at The Wellness Committee is also developing a web site that can be reached from the same district home page.

The board’s business meeting was bracketed by two executive sessions concerning personnel matters, one of them related to compensation for the schools’ principals. The board also approved a settlement agreement with former music teacher Jeffery Burkett, and rescinded a prior action that granted him a 6-month sabbatical leave. Mr. Burkett was alleged to have conducted inappropriate communications with a student. At the last board meeting 2 weeks ago, a parent was prepared to read from text messages found on a student’s cell phone that were apparently from Mr. Burkett. She was urged not to air the material in public, but to pursue the matter directly with administrators. According to the district’s solicitor, under the settlement agreement Mr. Burkett is no longer employed by Blue Ridge and will not return to the school. The agreement is said to contain a “confidentiality clause” that constrains board members from commenting on the matter.

The evening actually began with committee meetings, at 6:30 p.m., a routine that has become established just recently. The Facilities and Finance Committee heard reports from Business Manager Loren Small on the proposed retirement incentive, gas leasing and roof repairs.

The board has been considering various options for a retirement package to offer to senior faculty. Because Blue Ridge funds its own health plan, the district itself bears the risk of increased claims by older participants. An original proposal to offer 40% of a retiree’s final-year salary for 5 years but with no health subsidy is being reconsidered. Blue Ridge wants to be able to attract good teachers with competitive benefits, so Mr. Small had been asked to survey other area districts for comparison.

For most neighboring districts the issue is not in doubt, because retirement packages are part of the teachers’ contract. And all of them, in fact, subscribe to outside health plans that can be more easily managed for retirees because premiums are fixed. But the packages offered to retiring teachers in the 7 districts surveyed vary widely. The salary portion is often based on years of service, in some cases service in the district is the primary criterion. Medical coverage for 5 of the 7 is fully subsidized, at least for the individual, if not for a spouse.

The committee didn’t come to a decision, but it was clear that Blue Ridge would have to offer some sort of health plan subsidy for retirees.

Mr. Small reported no movement on a gas lease for the district’s 49 acres. The latest best offer was for a bonus of $5,600 per acre, from Cabot Oil. He said the contract would be for a “non-surface” lease, which would proscribe actual drilling on Blue Ridge property. The committee decided to wait until the state decides what it will do about leasing game lands for gas exploration; one tract of game lands abuts the Blue Ridge campus.

Mr. Small also reported that Tremco, the primary contractor on the project that re-roofed the schools some 4 years go, has asked to be allowed to take core samples of the roof. The roofs have leaked in one place or another ever since the re-roofing was completed, causing damage in some cases, particularly to the gymnasium floors. The company has been called back several times for repairs, but the roof still leaks.

Mr. Small is not inclined to allow the roofing company to drill holes in the roof, especially not in areas that don’t leak now. Yet he acknowledged that company representatives “have honored their warranty” so far.

The Activities Committee heard a request from the principals to add some club advisors to Schedule B of the teachers’ contract. According to Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski, some of these clubs have been meeting for quite a while, but without a paid advisor. The principals are asking for advisors for the Art Club, a Geocaching club, and a book club. Specifically, they would like 2 advisors for each of the Geocaching Club and the Book Club.

Committee Chair Dawn Franks is concerned that the number of Schedule B positions is growing, perhaps without sufficient accountability. She requested that the principals furnish the committee with information about participation in each of the clubs. The new “Diversity Club” has two advisors who split the salary. In most other cases, multiple advisors are assigned either because of the number of participating students, or because of the nature of the club’s activities. For example, a Geocaching Club would be working outdoors; two advisors would help to ensure the safety of the students on an exercise, said Mr. Nebzydoski.

And finally, the budget season began, with a presentation at the very end of the board’s business meeting from Donna Tewes and Mike Stewart, on their budget requests for next year in technology. The total technology budget, including components charged to the individual schools, would be over $100,000, but in line with current expenditures, according to Technology Directory Tewes. Most of the money would be for upgrading equipment, although some new modules are recommended for the MMS student information management system. This time Ms. Tewes and Mr. Stewart also offered a glimpse at what they expected to be planning for the future of technology at Blue Ridge in each area over the next several years. As the cost of hardware components continues to fall, new technologies are expected to come forth to absorb additional funds. One area of concern for some on the board was the collection of laptop computers that were originally funded by the state through the Classrooms For the Future (CFF) initiative, which is no longer funded. Under that program, Blue Ridge acquired some 8 carts of laptops, each holding about 25 computers. Mr. Stewart estimated a cost of about $35,000 per year to keep them up to date.

Routine personnel actions at the school included a list of 3 substitutes in the Health Office. They may be needed soon if the H1N1 flu virus takes hold. Mr. Dyer told the meeting that if the number of absent students reached about 30% of enrollment, the Board would be asked to consider closing down. So far Blue Ridge has managed the outbreak by providing hand sanitizers throughout the buildings, and emphasizing measures to minimize transmission.

The next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board is scheduled for November 16, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Several committees are also planning meetings that night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. All meetings take place in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Mt. View Fills Vacancies

Note: In last month’s article regarding the Mountain View School Board meeting, the new board member’s name was given inaccurately. The board member appointed that night was Gina Yarrish, not Jamie Yarrish. The author apologizes for this mistake.

At the October 26 school board meeting, which once again saw visitors and board members still in attendance as the clock neared 11 p.m., the board filled the remaining vacated seat at the table. Mark Phillips became the second board member appointed in the last two months.

The pre-k program had officially begun the Monday prior to the meeting, at full capacity. A small issue was raised for discussion regarding this, as the state was asking the program to complete 160 days. This would mean having the preschool children continue after the end of the school year for the other students. It was pointed out that this might not be much of a problem, as they utilize private transportation anyway. Mrs. Pippitone hadn’t heard anything about their request for an expansion yet, though it was said that there might be some extra money due to other programs having closed.

The state budget was passed, it was reported, and everyone was able to be paid with the assistance of the fund balance. In this budget is some potential for dual enrollment funding, however the amount allotted for this program is still unknown.

One of the major topics of discussion was the relationship of the school to the H1N1 outbreak. As of the day of the meeting, there had been a 21% absenteeism rate at the high school after sending 16 students home. At the elementary school, for that day, the rate had been 15% prior to sending home their students. At the elementary, it was reported, staff absenteeism was not very bad yet, but the situation at the high school was described as being worse. The question was raised whether or not there were enough substitutes for this, with the nebulous answer of sometimes. The school nurse, it was said, was saying that the kids needed to be fever free and med free for 24 hours before returning to the school. A visitor, whose child had contracted swine flu, reported that her doctor told her the child should be out of school for between 7 and 10 days.

Someone asked what actions were being taken to keep the school disinfected. The administration passed around an informational sheet regarding ByoGlobe vital-oxide broad spectrum disinfectant cleaner and mold controller. This compound would be sprayed into the rooms, and would stick to the items within it.

Dr. Chichura explained, however, that according to the information he had received, a large percentage of the H1N1 virus dies within 2 hours, and it has been projected that all of it would be inactivated within 8 to 12 hours anyway. The most proactive things which the district can do, then, are the simple actions taken during the day - hand washing, keeping tissues available, etc. One mother asked what the point of purchasing the ByoGlobe product was then, if the virus would die overnight anyway. Dr. Chichura answered that while the H1N1 virus might die overnight, there are other viruses which stay active longer. Also, this chemical in particular has the ability to stay on surfaces and remain effective for a certain length of time.

It was stated that it was difficult to ascertain how many cases of H1N1 are in the school. When students are sent home, sometimes, the doctors ask them to actually stay at home unless the sickness becomes serious, thus they are never actually tested. A CDC alert was mentioned, however, which reportedly said that 99% of flu symptoms at this time are likely to be H1N1, because it is too early in the season for the seasonal flu.

There was then extensive discussion regarding whether or not school should be closed, and the board was asked at which point this might be done. One person called busses canteens, in which disease could spread rapidly. It was said that the district was rapidly approaching 1/3 of staff out sick, and that hundreds of students, according to the school nurse, were likely walking around sick that simply hadn’t become symptomatic yet. Mr. Doster said that some substitutes have been leery of coming in to the school. This has led, in some cases, to classes being combined into the auditorium, or study halls being provided instead of classes. Mrs. Pipitone mentioned that some students who are absent may not be sick, but their parents might have chosen not to send them.

Dr. Chichura spoke about the implementation of a calling system. With this, he said, one phone call could be made and everyone notified immediately of closings, etc. Dr. Chichura stated that he was primarily concerned with security, and that such a system was highly recommended by the state auditor during his fall visit. It would likely do away with the phone chain, though this might be kept in place for a year. Many other districts have already put similar systems into place. There were various discussions regarding how it could be used, if it could be tied into Skyward, and the potential for utilizing it to schedule parent conferences, announce sporting victories, monitor absentees, etc. The cost, it was stated, is not very prohibitive; the most expensive system was 4,900 dollars. The board approved further investigation into this matter.

It was suggested that the decision to close school be at the discretion of the administrators and nurses. Dr. Chichura said that the situation was being monitored daily, and that if it were canceled the decision would, he suspected, be made a day in advance.

Mrs. Pipitone reported on the swebs (school wide effective behavior support) program which, she said, is running well. Under Swebs students have weekly, monthly, and quarterly incentives. It functions under the premise that if a school can control behavior it can better (and more easily) educate students. She said that she was very proud of the faculty, and that the students liked the program, and were really excited.

Various other happening sin the schools were discussed as well. The wrestling room in the basement is nearing completion. A school in a school concept is slated for board consideration, in line with the idea that a better transition from 6th to 7th grade is necessary. There is also a movement toward having more separate activities for the middle school. A Jr. High celebration for Halloween was scheduled toward this end. A new mascot is on the way. Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Fargnoli, it was said, wanted to have a fight song competition, where students and faculty would be asked to come up with lyrics to go along with music the school will be using for its new fight song. The tune is that of the usc fight song, and the winner would receive bragging rights and a gift card from the band boosters. The board approved this competition.

At a certain point some present rather volubly questioned the mandatory PSSA retest policy for seniors. This vocal group opposed the policy. Much of the complaints were directed toward Mrs. Voigt. She, in turn, explained that this had not been her decision, that the decision had been the result of a board and administrative discussion four years ago. The state, she explained, encourages districts to require proficiency in reading and math for graduation, and the board had decided they did not want to pursue this option. Mr. Griffiths protested, however, that although it was being called a board directive, there had been no vote. Two-thirds of the senior class this year had to retake the science PSSA; last year was the test’s first year. Those in favor of the retest felt that it encouraged students to do their best. Mr. Beamish also pointed out the statistical data value of retests. Those opposed claimed that they simply did not feel it should be mandatory. In the end the board agreed with the latter side, and it was decreed that the retests would be voluntary. Mr. Doster was to announce the decision to the students, but also emphasize the educational value of deciding to take it. It was also decided that a brief note would be sent home so that parents were aware of the change.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


Laura L. Bentz to Cindy H. Thompson, in Bridgewater Township for $124,000.00.

Maureen M. Stephens to Richard K. Hacker, in Gibson Township for $187,000.00.

Suzanne Brant to Raymond Whaite, in New Milford Township for one dollar.

Andrew (estate) and John Yakubik to Elkdale Management LP, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Peter K. Quigg and Therese Stukas-Quigg to Peter K. Quigg and Therese Stukas-Quigg, in Bridgewater and Franklin Townships for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Rachelle L. Bergey, Julie A. Yoder and Martha G. Marcho to W & M Marcho Limited Partnership, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Paul D. (by Sheriff) and Donna M. (by Sheriff) Carpenter to Peoples National Bank, in Jackson Township for $4,335.30.

James Wayne Overfield (estate) to Kathryn McGinnis, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Jeanette and Richard Chamberlain and Violet Smith to Melissa and Timothy S. Colwell, in Hallstead Borough for $72,500.00.

George E. and Diane Sansky to George E. Sansky, in Harford Township for one dollar.

Robert McCollum to Gregory C., Jr. and Carrie Lee Scheer, in Bridgewater Township for $206,500.00.

Frank E. Lashinski, III, Judy A. Davis and Jean F. Strelzik to Frank E. Lashinski, III, Judy A. Davis and Jean F. Strelzik, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Clark A., Sr. (AKA) Clark A. (AKA) Clark Cable to Rail Trail Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in Uniondale Borough for $76,000.00.

Andrew J. Burke to Walter K., Jr. and Jean L. Hannemann, in Clifford Township for $68,000.00.

Emory R. and Sarah Louise Stanley to Kristen A. Hinkley, in New Milford Borough for $69,100.00.

John D. Arnold (estate) to Jody Lou White and Jeffry C. Arnold, in Franklin Township for one dollar.

John D. Arnold (estate) to John W. Arnold, in Franklin Township for one dollar.

John D. Arnold (estate) to Jody Lou White and Jeffry C. Arnold, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Marian R. Ferguson to Julie A. Dantini, in Silver Lake Township for $10.00.

Joseph P. Demuro and George J. Evans to Paul B. and Theresa Marie Barnes, in Susquehanna for $14,000.00.

Raydene K. Conrad to Cynthia L. Boerner (NBM) Cynthia L. Tompkins, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.

Rose Ghirelli to Cindy Hudzik, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

William F. and Mary L. Barno to Mary L. Barno, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.

Joan H. Lyman to Richard Craig, David Wayne, Donald Avery, Kevin Grant and Jason Perry Lyman and Lisa Lyman Robinson, in Springville Township for one dollar.

Lois D. Arnold to Beverly Frost, in Thompson Township for one dollar.

Warren H., Jr. and Christina D. Hessler to Joseph Lee and Alyssa N. Leonard, in Choconut Township for $7,000.00.

Mountain Stone LLC, Dennis and Melody Montross to Aaron C. and Lynn R. Miller, in Rush Township for $178,000.00.

Romayne E. (AKA) Evelyn Sickler Longo (estate) to Ira and Mary Beiler, in Dimock Township for $100,000.00.

Gerald and Janice L. Linfoot to Gerald and Janice L. Linfoot, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

James B. and Vivian J. Gorton to Tina Marie Vonweinstein and Brain Lee Gorton, in Susquehanna for one dollar.

Charles Stephan and Linda Dunn to Linda Dunn, in Harford Township for one dollar.


Joshua C. Donald of Montrose vs. Jennifer Lynn Donald of Brooklyn, married 2006.

George E. Sansky of New Milford vs. Diane D. Sansky of Harford, married 2001.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:10 a.m. on October 30, 2009.

Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, John W. Barber, Sr., 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, Racheal L. Frisbie, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, William N. Hendrickson, 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, Donald Palmer, Scott Pensak, Gary Perico, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Timothy W. Rogers, Sylvia M. Rowlands, Amy Shelp, David J. Shiner, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Robert J. Sterling, Garrett M. Thomas, Charles VanWinkle, Jr., Keith W. Vroman, Donald L. Welch, Steve A. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Patrick L. 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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