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Christmas Special December 23rd

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Issue Home December 16, 2009 Site Home

Hall Back In B/R Saddle
Oakland Gets A Christmas “Gift”
Forest City Wraps Up 2009
Courthouse Report
Great Bend Bare Bones
Commissioners Deal With Grants
LaCroix Praised In Clifford
Parking Problem In Harford
Holiday Deadlines
MASD Reorganizes

Hall Back In B/R Saddle
By Ted Brewster

After a year’s interregnum, Alan Hall resumed the chair of the Blue Ridge School Board at its only public meeting in December and last of the year on the 7th. Having lost the Hallstead seat to Laurie Brown-Bonner in the 2008 election, he won an at-large seat last month for a 4-year term, and was unanimously elected to preside by his colleagues on the board. Also sworn in during the board’s reorganization session were incumbents Christina Cosmello (2-year term) and Christina Whitney (4-year term); and newbies John Ketchur, retired Blue Ridge teacher and technology guru, and Shane Rumage, both for 4-year terms. Ms. Cosmello was chosen vice-chair.

Mr. Hall’s accession to the chair was greeted by prolonged applause from an unusually large audience, most of whom were brightly - and seasonally - attired in Blue Ridge red and white. Board member Priscinda Gaughan thanked departing members Lon Fisher, Cindy Gillespie and Dawn Franks for their service; and especially Harold Empett for his year as the board’s chair, a “not always thankful job.”

The reorganization meeting ended with approval of the meeting schedule for 2010, and Mr. Hall started right off by declaring that the first meeting of each month would be a business meeting, and the second would be a workshop, the regime he tried to keep during his earlier years as board chairman.

Having quickly reorganized itself, the board immediately launched into its December business meeting, beginning with three presentations.

First up, High School Principal Scott Jeffery introduced two of his outstanding seniors, Jackson Franks and Vikki Hartt. Mr. Franks said that he had applied at 2 colleges and hopes to major in criminal justice or psychology. Ms. Hartt said she had been accepted at 2 schools already and expects to study communications.

Next, Stacy Wolfe showed off the new Weather Bug system installed at the district, comprising a weather station, server and software that adds Blue Ridge to a network of some 8,000 school-based weather stations around the country. The system includes an interactive on-line curriculum that, with live data, can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. Ms. Wolfe said that the district can also use the information to plan for heating requirements, as well as transportation and athletics scheduling. There is a link to the campus weather station data (through the Weatherbug web site) on the district’s home page. Two of the principals can even get live weather information from the station on their cell phones.

Ms. Wolfe brought Rob Robinson before the board for special recognition. Owner of Rob’s Market in Great Bend, Mr. Robinson funded the acquisition of the Weatherbug system. Mr. Hall noted that Mr. Robinson has always been a “huge supporter of the school and the community.” Elementary School Principal Matthew Button thanked Ms. Wolfe herself for all the work that went into researching and acquiring the system, and enlisting Mr. Robinson’s financial support.

The Board then heard from Michael Dougherty of Murphy, Dougherty and Company, the district’s auditors. Mr. Dougherty said that, contrary to expectations, the district actually increased its fund balance at the end of the fiscal year on June 30 by over $250,000, due to some increase in revenue, and careful cost control. He said the district’s books are “very much in order,” and singled out the food service program for having increased its own fund balance by some $17,000 from its own funds, when most school food service programs struggle to get by, and often require transfers from general funds.

Mr. Dougherty said that the district’s self-funded health insurance program, begun in September of 2008, ended the fiscal year with a fund balance of about $434,000. He recommended that the district continue to build that balance, particularly over the next few years, considering the steadily increasing costs of health care. The plan has “stop-loss” insurance of its own, but a few large claims could weaken the plan unless the fund balance is maintained at a healthy level.

Similarly, expenditures for employees’ pension plans will rise dramatically over the next few years. Presently, Blue Ridge pays 4.76% of its gross salary expense into the state pension plan. Due to steep declines in equity markets over the past year, that is expected to rise to about 32% by 2013, from $335,000 in fiscal year 2009, to over $2 million. It is “such a large problem,” that Mr. Dougherty recommended that the board designate part of its general fund balance for this purpose. According to Blue Ridge Business Manager Loren Small, the district actually set aside about 7.5% last year for the pension program just for this reason. The state reimburses the district for half of this cost, but future increases are still extremely worrisome.

During the business meeting, the new board gave final approval to a plan to give teachers an incentive to take advantage of those pensions. The retirement incentive proposed last month was adopted with only one minor change. The plan offers 40% of the final year salary for 5 years, plus 100% health premium coverage for the retiree for a maximum of 10 years, or until s/he becomes eligible for another plan, such as Medicare; the retiree may also choose to cover a spouse at 50%. One new criterion is that the incentive will apply only to teachers who are eligible under state programs, and have served at least 14 years at Blue Ridge. (The plan as proposed last month would have required 15 years service at Blue Ridge.) Teachers have until January 4 to make known their intent to retire under the incentive.

The business meeting agenda contained the usual routine personnel actions. Mary Clinton was present to accept the board’s welcome as a “para-educator” in the Middle School. According to Mr. Small and Superintendent Chris Dyer, a para-educator occupies a position between aide and teacher, is usually certified and has at least a 2-year college certificate.

The board approved an exception to its policy on exchange students to accommodate Jose Montoya, a “Student Ambassador” in the Pro American Educational And Cultural Exchange (P.E.A.C.E.) program. According to its web site, “P.E.A.C.E. is an interdenominational, Christian-oriented program promoting an ecumenical mission of international goodwill and understanding through foreign student exchanges.” The organization asked that two of the district’s policies be waived in this case: his application should have been made the prior Spring for admittance in the Fall; and Blue Ridge policy would not have permitted a high-school graduate to attend, although that is a requirement of the P.E.A.C.E. program. Mr. Montoya spoke to the board to thank members for their support.

The Board also approved adding advisors to Schedule B of the teachers’ contract for the Geocaching, Art and Library Book clubs. The board will consider later who - and how many - of these advisors will be appointed at the rate of $387 each. A teacher pointed out to the board that some of the clubs will require more than one advisor, based on the number of students participating.

The Board renewed a service agreement with AlertNow for the telephone alert system for another year at a cost of $3,060. And for $1,405 accepted a license agreement with Amateur Theatrical Presentation for a production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” It also severed the district’s relationship with Solution Tree, Inc. of Bloomington, IN, a provider of professional development services that Mr. Hall said were no longer needed.

The evening actually began an hour early with a brief meeting of the Finance Committee. Committee chair Harold Empett reported no movement on gas leasing. He said rumors had lease bonuses being offered as high as $10,000 per acre; the offer from Cabot at $5,600 is still the only one on the table, however. And the committee is still considering the purchase of some land from the Grover estate adjoining the campus. Discussions are in the hands of the district’s solicitors for the moment, at an asking price of $5,000 per acre. Mr. Empett expects any of the available 41 acres purchased by the district to come with gas leasing privilege intact.

The committee also considered - and the board later approved - an offer of $2,000 from Army Recruiting to support district athletic programs in exchange for the placement of Army logos on wrestling mats during the upcoming season. Some committee members wondered if sponsors of interscholastic competitions held at Blue Ridge would allow such promotion. Perhaps parents ought to be consulted as well. And what about the other services?

Administrators all reported holiday-time giving and charitable activities blooming, with all of the schools participating in the Feed-A-Friend campaign. Mr. Jeffery reported that the teachers’ organization and the Montrose VFW cooperated to collect some 300 coats to warm the needy, more than twice the number from last year.

Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski announced that the Red Robin restaurant had discontinued the “Character Award” program that offered a free meal to a student and his or her family “for an act of kindness,” but that Armetta’s restaurant had picked up the baton to continue the Character Award at a more local establishment. He also noted that members of the National Junior Honor Society will serve as bell ringers for the Salvation Army this season at Rob’s Market in Great Bend.

And finally, taking charge once again, Mr. Hall listed the board committees for the coming year, and those he has appointed to chair them. Harold Empett will chair Facilities and Grounds (whose next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on January 11); Joel Whitehead will continue to represent Blue Ridge on the board of NEIU 19; Laurie Brown-Bonner will continue as the board’s representative to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and head the Curriculum Committee as well as the Legislative Committee; Ms. Gaughan will continue to chair the Wellness Committee - she said her committee is recommending that the fitness center be more broadly supervised; John Ketchur will chair a Technology Committee; Christina Whitney will head up a Career Development Committee, and asked that the Guidance Department be asked to contribute; Ms. Whitney and Ms. Cosmello will form the Activities Committee for the new year. Mr. Hall will retain for himself the chairs of the Finance, Personnel and Policy Committees. Committee chairs are to select their members, schedule public meetings, and report to the board at workshops. In general, committees may include members of the community at large, and are not restricted to members of the school board itself.

The Blue Ridge School Board usually meets in public session on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Committee meetings are generally scheduled for an hour or so before a board meeting. The next meeting of the Wellness Committee, however, will be at 4:00 p.m. on January 12. All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School. The next meeting of the full board will be a business session on January 11.

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Oakland Gets A Christmas “Gift”

Oakland Boro got a long-anticipated Christmas “gift.” It was announced at the December 10 council meeting that, at long last, the negotiations to obtain the old “trailer” property adjacent to the park was finally to be obtained. The closing was scheduled to take place the following day. Of course, every Christmas story has a “Grinch” of some kind, and this one was no exception. Not too long before, there had been an incident of vandalism and the windows had been shot out of the trailer. The boro police were investigating.

Once the boro obtains ownership of the property, the first order of business would be to have the trailer demolished. Two firm bids were received for the job, and two more were reportedly forthcoming. It was agreed to table the matter until the other two bids were received.

In other business, a motion carried to approve the 2010 budget. After last month's meeting, some adjustments had been made to the initial draft to include a 50¢ per hour raise for the boro's maintenance supervisor, and to put some funds aside for an anticipated increase in electric costs. Those costs may not materialize until early 2011, but the provision was made to have the funds available if needed. An increase was also made to the police budget for the year. The good news for boro homeowners is that there will be no increase in real estate taxes for the third year in a row. A special meeting will be held on December 30 to adopt the budget.

Mayor-elect Randy Glover was present, and spoke about a recent regional police workshop meeting that he had attended. He also plans to attend their next meeting in January. Oakland Boro has not been actively pursuing joining in with the proposed regional department, but Mr. Glover wanted to get as much information as he can about what they are doing. He stressed that the plans are not concrete, that there are still many questions to be answered, but he wants to get as much information about it as he can.

Oakland Rec. will be sponsoring this year's Christmas decorating contest, with judging scheduled to be held on Saturday. No council members or boro employees are eligible to win prizes.

During the around-the-table discussion, the boro's curfew ordinance was brought up. Reportedly, there has been one individual out after hours who has been stopped three times by the boro police, but no written warnings had been issued. Council will speak with the officers involved to get more information.

Motions approved to accept the terms for the services of the boro's auditor and solicitor for the year 2010, both at the same rates as 2009.

Council will hold their regular meeting and their reorganization on Thursday, January 7, 7:00 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.

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Forest City Wraps Up 2009
By Stephanie Everett

During a borough meeting held December 7, Forest City Mayor Nick Cost announced that between December 14 and January 3, there will be free parking at Forest City meters. Cost wished Council and “everyone in town” happy holidays and thanked NEP for installing holiday decorations on Main Street. Cost, who will be leaving his position as mayor and taking a seat on Council, stated, “I am very proud to have served as your mayor,” and thanked family, friends, Council and the people of Forest City who have supported him.

Council passed Ordinance 480, which amends a previous ordinance regulating traffic and parking on Main Street. Between November 1 and March 31, parking will be banned on Main Street in Forest City between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Council next considered how to post Ordinance 480. In order to avoid holding the matter until the next business meeting, Council passed a resolution to investigate Penn-DOT requirements and purchase street signs accordingly.

Next, Forest City passed the 2010 Forest City Budget.

Pentecost Hall rentals produced a lively discussion. Borough secretary Susan Coleman explained that although “some people leave [the hall] exactly the way they found it,” other groups have failed to clean up and have left the heat on, escalating the heating bill. In the past, Coleman explained, the fifty dollar rental deposit was waived for non-profit groups. Council agreed that all groups will now be required to pay the deposit, which will be refunded if the room is left in proper condition. Additionally, a “person of responsibility” addendum will be added, requiring an adult to supervise children in the borough building.

On Sunday, December 20, Santa Claus will arrive in Forest City. Between 12:30 and 1 p.m., Claus will tour Main Street and perhaps a few other streets in town, arriving at the emergency services building between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

Council hired Scott Perry to serve as a part-time Forest City police officer retroactive to November 4, 2009.

On Monday, January 4 at 7:30 p.m., Council will hold a business and reorganization meeting.

Due to the holidays, borough trash will be collected on December 26 and January 2.

Jim Lowry, Council President, stated, “This will probably be my last Council meeting.” He thanked the members for working with him.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


Anna Schmuck to Elizabeth Greer, Anna Driesbach and Hans F. Schmuck, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Arden L. and Karen MacGeorge to Jeremiah and Yvonne Johnson, in Auburn Township for $90,586.00.

William H., III, Jerome J., George M., Sr. and Suzanne S. Combs, Lucia C. Geraci, C. Noel Garapola and Edmee C. West to Combs Family Limited Partnership, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

William H., III, Jerome J., George M., Jr. and Suzanne S. Combs, Edmee C. and Edmee S. (by guardian) West and Lucia C. Geraci to Combs Family Limited Partnership, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Pauline H. Smith to William and Robin Beckwith, in Herrick Township for $100.00.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Joseph and Marie Owens, in Herrick Township for $100.00.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Robert, Lena and Paul Tomanek, in Herrick Township for $100.00.

William Harold, Jr. and Joan Bleuer (trust by trustee) Blomberg to Alicia Blomberg Copland, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

David G. and Jean Lynch to David G. Lynch, in Forest City for one dollar.

Mark and Aubrey French to Edgar S. and Phyllis L. French, in Harmony Township for one dollar.

Edgar S. and Phyllis L. French to Edgar S. and Phyllis L. French, in Harmony Township and Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Peter W., Jr. and Wilma M. Kornack, in Herrick Township for $1,745.00.

Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Ruth A. Lutz, in Herrick Township for $2,995.00.

Dale Howell Enterprises Inc. to Eric and Nina Bills, in Susquehanna for $55,000.00.

Cathy A. Berish to Brian Carter and Jessica L. Hughes, in New Milford Borough for $83,500.00.

Susann M. Davis to Douglas Browne and Denise Allen, in Clifford Township for $138,000.00.

Pennstar Bank, a division of NBT Bank to Ned D. Birchard, in Forest Lake Township for $45,000.00.

Michael A. and Meredith A. Treacy (NBM) Meredith A. Foote to Paul B. and Theresa M. Barnes, in Susquehanna for $8,500.00.

Matthew R. and Ruth I. Smith to Peoples National Bank, in Jackson Township for one dollar.

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (by POA) to Mary Anne Waddington, in Liberty Township for $29,500.00.

Crissi Ann Corbin and Jean L. Dubbs to Denise M. Eisenhauer, Lisa M. Maderic and Barbara A. Plohocki, in Franklin Township for $10.00.

Louise Lott (AKA) Louise Oakley (estate) to Robert F. Oakley, Doris E. Bowring (AKA) Doris E. Gallan and Ruth Resseguie, in Harford Township for one dollar.

Doris E. Bowring (AKA) Doris E. Gallan and Ruth Resseguie (by atty) to Robert F. Oakley, in Harford Township for $123,333.33.

Paul J. Guiton, Jr. to Paul J., Jr. and Linda S. Guiton, in Middletown and Forest Lake Townships for one dollar.

Donald H. (trust by trustee) and Marilyn B. (trust by trustee) Smith to Donald H. Smith, in Harford Township for one dollar.

Melba Susla, Dolores E. Canfield, Larry A. and Kimberly R. Davis to Larry and Kimberly R. Davis, in Jessup Township for one dollar.

Jessica L. Glover and Christopher D. Bishop to Lawrence M. Grasso (rev living trust), in Oakland Borough for one dollar.

James J. Flaherty (estate) to Helena M. Flaherty, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

James J. Flaherty (estate) to Helena M. Flaherty, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

Helena M. Flaherty to Patrick M., John T., Joseph L. and Janet M. Flaherty, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

Helena M. Flaherty to Patrick M., John T. and Joseph L. Flaherty, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

Thomas C. Zigon to K Man Investments LLC, in Forest City for $90,000.00.

Joyce A. and Walter E. (by guardian) Welch to Roger I. and Pamela J. Scales, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.

Marika K. Moore to Dale Howell Enterprises, Inc., in Susquehanna for one dollar.

Burton H. and Sharon K. Force to Heather L. Jurchak, in Rush Township for $58,500.00.

Joseph and Mary Schultz to Thomas C. and Deborah A. Diehl, in Lenox Township for $80,000.00.

Stanley E. Vernovage (estate) to Barbara A. Vernovage, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

George A. (estate) and Mae P. Chase to Mae P. and Michael A. Chase, in Jessup Township for one dollar.

James R. (AKA) James Cavanaugh (estate) to Coralie D. Cavanaugh, in Dimock Township for $200,000.00.

E. Dean, Elaine, James, Sharon A., Kevin J. and Penny I. Jones, Lynda Williams, Dawn and Leonard R. Sharon to E. Dean, James and Kevin Jones, Lynda Williams and Dawn Sharon, in Middletown Township for one dollar.

Gerald and Beverly Ann Legg to Nathan and Kayla D. Stone, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.

Ronald A. and Mellisa Franks to Robert and Laura Schneider and William Kenneth and Benjamin Wood, in Clifford Township for $230,000.00.

Montrose Area Industrial Agency, Inc. to John A. and Kathleen E. Robilotto and David J. and Katherine I. Perozeni, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Thomas R. and Jennifer R. Ehrie (NBM) Jennifer R. Allen to Thomas R. and Jennifer R. Ehrie, in Franklin Township for one dollar.

Paul R. and Elizabeth J. Valentine to Steven F. and Laurie M. Serfilippi, in Ararat Township for $100,000.00.

Ann M. Reed, M. Kathleen Kubly, Joseph T. and Stephen W. Kielceski to Ann M. Reed, M. Kathleen Kubly, Joseph T. and Stephen W. Kielceski, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Margo Ace, Sharon and Walter Sutton, Gary, Mary Ann and Allen Davies to Brian W. Clinton, in Rush Township for $90,000.00.

Daniel M., Jr. and Lori Jo Trivett to Daniel J. Jr. and Lori Jo Trivett, in Auburn Township for one dollar.


Dena Curtis of Forest City vs. Matthew Vercruyssen of Lake Ariel, married 2007.

Troy Brown of Susquehanna vs. Heidi Brown of Binghamton, married 2006.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:08 a.m. on December 11, 2009.

Antonio L. Alcantara,    Duane Aldrich,    David P. Atherholt, Jr.,    Erika L. Back,    John W. Barber Sr,    William D. Barton,    Keith B Beach,    Neeko A. Beahan,    Harold R. Bensley,    David Shawn Blaisure,    Joseph Bonavita,    Howard A. Burns, III,    Robert B. Carrier,    Beverly A. Carvin,    Darryl M. Chaffee,    Christopher J. Clark,    Edward J. Dickson, Jr.,    Deborah L. Drish,    Keith Edwards, Jr.,    Christina Elmy,    David J. Fischer,    Ryan M. Forder,    Kelly Fox,    Racheal L. Frisbie,    Deborah E. Gould,    David Haines, Jr.,    John J. Hall,    Suzanne R. Hansen,    Amanda L. Henderickson,    William N. Hendrickson,    Kenneth M. Kintner,    Eric C. Kohlhepp,    Erik E. Krisovitch,    Lee Labor,    Joshua Lee,    Charlie J. Legere,    Carlos L. Leiser,    Jason Lindquist,    Eric Lynn,    Patricia J. Marrero,    Nancy McGillis,    Bradley W. Megivern,    Joseph Mershon,    Kimberly L. Mershon,    David N. Miller,    Joseph C. Moore,    Robert A. Muzzy,    Shane Nelson,    Anthony Neri,    Benjamin Newell,    Ryan A. Rhoads,    Timothy W. Rogers,    Robert A. Ryman,    David J. Shiner,    Richard D. Shoemaker,    Darin Sink,    Sinon C. Smith, Sr.,    Duane Spencer,    Donald Louis Stocks,    Garrett M. Thomas,    Keith W. Vroman,    John Wansacz, Jr.,    Jamie L. Williams,    Roderic R. Williams,    Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr.,    Patrick L. Yachymiak,    Karl David Zantowsky.

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

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Great Bend Bare Bones

The Great Bend Township Supervisors voted at their December 7 meeting to approve the 2010 budget. It does include a half-mill increase, in anticipation of some form of HB1500 being passed (the bill that could levy a State Police service charge on municipalities that do not have full-time police coverage) so that some funds can be set aside if needed. Otherwise, it is a “bare bones” budget.

The supervisors have written local legislators in protest of HB1500 or any other bill that will levy the surcharge and have received some replies; on this evening a response from Senator Gene Yaw was read. It said that he feels that the bill (or an equivalent) would only add to the burden of local government, and that he would not support such a bill if it comes to the full senate for a vote.

Other correspondence included the Hallstead-Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority audit for the year ended June 30, 2009; information from the Citizens for Clean Water regarding a Susquehanna County Gas Forum; and, a notice of intent to remediate the Hallstead Foundry property from PA Tectonics (part of the property is in the township).

The roadmaster's report consisted of a list of equipment maintenance, clearing plugged sluices, and dealing with the first snow of the season the previous weekend.

The township is still in need of a representative for the sewer authority and an emergency management coordinator.

The survey of the township's property on Route 11 was delayed pending receipt of a map from PennDOT, which has been received.

Sheila Guinan and Joe Gaughan will represent the township at upcoming regional police workshop meetings.

The township's solicitor has reviewed the ordinance for posting and bonding the roads, and recommends enacting it.

The solicitor has also reviewed a proposed agreement to lease a township property on Randolph Road for a potential gas pipeline site, and has recommended that the township not enter into the agreement as it stands; no action was taken.

During public comment, the supervisors were asked to see to some potholes that have not been taken care of, and alerted that a light is out on the bridge. They were also asked about the possibility of gas leases for some of the township's properties to bring some extra revenue into the township; the supervisors are looking into it.

The next meeting will be on Monday, January 4, 7:00 p.m. in the township building.

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Commissioners Deal With Grants
By Carole M. Canfield

Reports from the December 8 Susquehanna County Commissioner’s meeting say that Susquehanna County agrees to adopt resolutions regarding a cooperative agreement with the Redevelopment Authority of the county of Susquehanna. This resolution along with Resolution #2009- 33 allows the grant monies from the state to be given (through the county) to the Redevelopment Authority.

According to information from Redevelopment’s Bobbi Jo Turner, the monies are used to help prepare and bring elderly and low-income family homes up to code. “We like to focus on the elderly, because they seem to need the most help. Although we are receiving this grant money, we have a waiting list, which is a four to five year wait. In fact, we have closed the waiting list for a while to try and catch up with the people we have currently signed on the list. Some of these homes need to be brought up to codes and these monies will help with electrical details, windows and more efficient heating requirements, main components to bring the homes up (to the county / state codes).

“We do not do any cosmetic work…we do the most needed; the necessary work on any of the homes we have been working on.”

This Scattered Housing Rehabilitation Program helps a number of county residents, and will continue to do so. Ms. Turner emphasized that although the waiting list did have to be closed this time, it is to give a chance to some of those who are needy / elderly and already waiting for their number to come up.

The Scattered-Sites Program hopes to continue receiving the yearly grant funding.

The Commissioners, who committed $15,000 from existing Act 137 Housing Trust funds to the Scattered Site Housing Rehabilitation Project, authorized funding for the Project.

It was noted grant funds are dollars that have been generated by the County prior to 2009 and transferred into the Susquehanna County Housing/Redevelopment Authority’s account.

The Commissioners also adopted Resolution #2009-33 which authorizes the Redevelopment Authority to file an application for funds for the Scattered-Site Rehabilitation with the department of Community ad Economic Development.

In other action at the meeting, James Wolf and Tina Marie Carlin were appointed to the Ag Land Preservation for a three year term beginning on January 1, 2010 and expiring December 31, 2012.

The resignation of Dewey Lyon from said board was accepted and Jim Kessler was appointed to serve until the completion of Lyon’s term, which will end December 31, 2011.

Commissioners also authorized the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between Susquehanna County and The County Housing/Redevelopment Authority outlining the duties and responsibilities entity.

Commissioners also signed the Supplemental Agreement (Consolidated Assistance Grant Agreement for the Community Transportation Service Programs) between Susquehanna County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation whereby the County will receive an additional $20,000 State Grant for service stabilization. No County match is required. In essence, the program for transporting persons to medical appointments via Barnes Kasson Hospital will be turned over eventually to Tre-Hab Services down the line.

Jodi Anderson was recognized for her 10 Year Employee’s service to Susquehanna County, working in the Recycling Center.

Mildred Fetterman was transferred from the Clifford District Judge’s Office by Judge Jeffrey Hollister, effective November 11, 2009, Range 6, Rate $7.87 per hour, 32.56 hours per week, with a six-month probationary period and benefits per the Court-Appointed Bargaining Unit.

Patrick Ahern, Rich Franks, and Frank Kwader, were appointed to The Susquehanna County Planning Committee for a four-year term beginning January 1, 2010.

All HVAC bids are to be rejected as they are being sent for rebids, due to missing information on the original bid.

There were no gasoline bids.

Commissioners were authorized to sign the DEP Grant Agreement, Pennsylvania Conservation Works Program between the Susquehanna County Commissioners and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Energy and Technology Development (DEP), whereby DEP awards a maximum grant dollar amount of $100,000 to the County for Project Title: Susquehanna County Court House Efficiency Upgrades. These upgrades involve installing a more efficient baseboard hot water heat distribution system and energy efficient widow panels. The total project cost is $117,975 with $17,075 being the County portion.

It was noted that project work may be done November 17, 2009, through May 31, 2011.

The Susquehanna County Commissioners meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month promptly at 9 a.m.

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LaCroix Praised In Clifford
By Stephanie Everett

Clifford Township supervisors met Tuesday, December 8 for a regular business meeting. The first major topic involved the sale of reflective mailbox signs. Trent Turner of the Clifford Volunteer Fire Department suggested that all kits be sold at the Clifford Fire Station. Turner stated that cost of the kits will be less than twenty dollars and that mailbox signs are a “key to completing [the 911 addressing] project.” Individuals with a post office box address are requested to post their county-assigned house number at the end of their driveway.

An individual starting a new business on a commercial property asked the board about installing a temporary holding tank. The supervisors stated that Clifford does have an ordinance concerning holding tanks and advised the man to consult Clifford Sewage Enforcement Official Jay Lynch and Clifford Solicitor Joe McGraw.

Township secretary Renee Reynolds announced that Clifford was denied a grant to replace the windows in the township building. Reynolds explained that the windows, which are un-caulked and have single panes with steel frames, are “actually removing heat from the building.” Reynolds and the township supervisors will continue seeking grants to fund the project.

Clifford supervisors thanked Toby Lee, Joe Shipsky and Jim Locker, who supervised last month’s recycling day. Dennis Knowlton volunteered to supervise recycling on December 19.

Mr. Knighton stated that roads within Fern Hall Development still are not up to code. John Regan, Chairman of the Board, stated that if corrective action is not taken within a week, a “stop work” order will be issued.

Despite problems with the township’s 1997 truck, the supervisors agreed that Clifford is ready for winter road maintenance. Regan explained that he doesn’t “want to sink any money into [the truck].” Road salt is coming as soon as possible.

After fifteen years of serving on the Clifford Township Board of Supervisors, Randolph LaCroix is resigning to begin a state job. LaCroix stated that during his time on the board, he has seen increased community involvement, which is “making [Clifford] a better township.” Of his service to the township, he remarked, “I’ll miss it,” but added, “You’ll still see me [around].”

Regan stated that LaCroix has been instrumental in grant and budget writing. “Thank you for everything you’ve done,” Regan told LaCroix.

A reorganization and regular business meeting will occur on January 4 at 7 p.m., with a planning commission meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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Parking Problem In Harford
By Ted Brewster

It’s not like there’s a scarcity of parking places in Harford Township. But Garry Foltz wants to be sure none of them are in the roadway. At the Supervisors’ meeting on December 8, he reviewed a couple of ordinances to be sure he had the wording right, and then asked township Secretary Sue Furney to send a nice letter to the owner of a commercial vehicle obstructing a road to ask that it be moved. With bad weather expected overnight, the roads need to be cleared so the plows can get through.

Snow isn’t a new phenomenon in Harford, sometimes lots of it. It seems the Harford Fire Company has been contracting to have snow cleared from around the firehouse, and has now asked the township to do the job. Supervisor and Roadmaster, Terry VanGorden, who is also a fireman, reluctantly had to say no to the request. With 62-odd miles of township road to clear with his small crew, he didn’t want to have to assume that the Fire Company would have first priority as an emergency facility. The township also uses an “anti-skid” product for traction control instead of the customary cinders, and the Fire Company has said that the small sharp stones don’t work well on the concrete surrounding the firehouse.

Ms. Furney reported that she is awaiting final payment of some $178,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), the last of the reimbursement expected for replacement of the bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road. The bridge was washed out in the flood of June 2006 and was replaced last summer.

Mr. Foltz reported no word yet on 3 grant applications he has applied for through the state. He is awaiting a second bid for re-paving School Street in Harford village, so he can apply for a county grant. Another county grant is in place for repairing a sluice under Richardson Road at a swamp site. Mr. Foltz expects to complete that work in the Spring.

The Supervisors are still having issues with the support provided by the engineering company responsible for the sewer system. The township spent almost $2,000 to prepare a site at the sewer plant on Burns Road, but so far the plumbing work has not been completed by the contractor. A township resident and sewer system subscriber attended the meeting with documentation of an issue at her residence. She and her husband had to call the sewer emergency number 3 times, and then a Supervisor, before the malfunctioning pump at her house was repaired. The sewer system has a set of guidelines in place - at the behest of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - that is supposed to designate backups when the person with primary responsibility for such things is not available. Mr. Foltz declared that residents should not have to call 3 times, nay, even twice, to get service.

It was a short meeting, with Mr. VanGorden expecting his crew at 5:00 a.m. the next morning to begin tending to the snow. The next meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. on December 22. All public meetings are held at the township office on Route 547 just west of the Interstate

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Holiday Deadlines

The deadline for news and advertising during Christmas week will be Thursday, noon, December 24.

The deadline for news and advertising during New Year’s week will be Thursday, noon, December 31.

Our annual Christmas special issue will run Wednesday, December 24, with a deadline of Friday, noon, December 18. If you have not yet been contacted to wish all our readers happy holidays, call our offices at 570-853-3134.

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MASD Reorganizes
By Melinda Darrow

Special presentations were made at the December Montrose school board meeting on December 7, as the student council presented checks of money they had raised to the United Way and the American Cancer Society. Ruth Donnelly accepted the check on behalf of the United Way, and thanked the club on behalf of that organization and the 21 programs it helps to support. Cindy Delaney spoke on behalf of the Cancer Society, also expressing her appreciation to the students and explaining that donations like theirs really help to provide services. As is standard, handshakes and certificates were dispensed to the students and their advisor.

A letter had been received from PSBA (Pennsylvania School Board Association) asking that local long term school board directors who had served for a certain number of years (8, 12, 15, 20, 24, 28, 32, 48, etc.) be honored in a public meeting, and be presented with certificates. It was stated that most school directors have a desire to put things back into the local community. Two board members were honored that evening, although neither was the most senior member on the board, they had reached the milestones being recognized. Christ Caterson and George Gow both reached the eight year mark, and were able to experience the handshake and certificate ritual they are normally active participants in. Mr. Gow stated that while he didn’t intend on serving for 8 years, he enjoyed serving on the board. He appreciated, he said, the support the community gives the board, and hopes that it will continue. Mr. Caterson reiterated what Mr. Gow said, feeling that the years had flown by, and explaining that he did the job because it was fun, and that he felt others did it for the same reason.

The district had received a letter from the Susquehanna County Historical Society thanking it for the yearly donation it makes - one dollar per student. Comments were made regarding the very significant budget cut the library had received, causing it to close on Fridays, etc.

A letter was also received from the secretary of education, complimenting the district on its audit results, for two years in which it did not have any findings or observations. The letter requested that it be read at a public meeting.

At this point in the meeting the reorganization meeting was held. Karl Wimmer was nominated to be the temporary president for the purposes of the reorganization. When he opened the nominations for president, only one was made - Doug Wilcox. Mr. Wimmer himself, then, was nominated to be vice president. When Mr. Wilcox took Mr. Caterson’s seat, the latter shook his hand and quipped, “Good luck, buddy.” The regular meeting then continued, with the new board hierarchy in place.

Several policies were discussed at the meeting, any new policy proposals are to be posted on the website. One dealt with the establishment of a certified safety committee, the creation of which was required by state legislation. Its function will be to document and perform periodic inspections, etc. It is to be comprised of 13 or so members, from different aspects of the school. The service animals in schools policy was also to be updated. When it was originally created by PSBA, it only stipulated guide dogs. People apparently became a little upset over this, pointing out that their were other animals used in these roles.

Ms. Lusk and Mr. Owens were acknowledged for their work on the copy machine alterations, which the board discussed at a prior meeting and enacted at this one. All copiers were to be replaced under this directive, and down the road the plan would be to replace some printers as well. It is hoped that this will in time save the district money.

The support staff union was present at the meeting. As with the November meeting they did not speak, but sat in a silent show of solidarity.

The budget timeline was discussed at the work session, as was the proposed renovation of the administrative wing. The district established three meetings for budget purposes. A meeting was also held with different modular construction companies, in which they were asked to help design the new offices.

It was once again decided that regular meetings would be held on the second Monday of the month. This cycle will be broken, if all goes according to plan, only in December, for the purposes of reorganization.

Choconut Valley received a request for the gas and oil companies to perform a seismographic study. It was thought that a few stipulations should be put into any such agreement, after a discussion at the community advisory meeting. When such a study is done, a small hole is drilled and a charge placed within it, then set off. This explosion sends out waves which lets them know where pockets of gas are located. The stipulations would be that no trucks go on the school’s fields or playgrounds, and that no tests be done on a weekday. The company agreed to both when contacted, as well as to the stipulation that they conduct the test using receivers only (meaning that there would be no charges on the land). Some at the meeting, however, were concerned about the well, and if this would effect it. The company had agreed to do no testing within 500 feet of this well, but there was some curiosity as to where on the property this would leave them to work.

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