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The newly constituted School Board at Blue Ridge opened 2010 with its first meeting on January 11. New members John Ketchur and Shane Rumage took their seats at the table, and Alan Hall, resuming the chair, took a new approach to expediting the business agenda: he asked for a motion to approve all 11 items at once. All were approved unanimously by roll-call vote.
One item was voted on separately, when Mr. Rumage had some questions about the new visitors policy. The policy requires that visitors be escorted while in the buildings. He wanted to know how escorts were assigned. Mr. Jeffery said office staff acted as escorts when necessary. Elementary School Principal Matthew Button said that large groups visiting the auditorium were generally escorted as a group from the High School entrance.
The evening actually began an hour earlier when the Facilities and Grounds Committee met to review some items with Business Manager Loren Small. Mr. Small started off with a list of 5 projects to be completed over the summer, including work in the cafeteria, the parking lots, a couple of building entrances, and renovation of the High School Chemistry lab.
The district’s architects want $34,400 to design, bid and administer the work next summer. Mr. Small said that design work could begin in February, bidding could start in April, with contractors lined up in time for summer. The committee will send the board its recommendations, and may decide to design and even bid most of the work, yet postpone some of it, depending on cost.
The Committee also discussed the use of campus facilities by outside organizations. A local theater group would like to use the auditorium/theater and one Middle School classroom 5 nights a week for two months between January and March. The committee decided that such requests would be brought before the full board for disposition.
Last month the Committee heard a proposal from Army Recruiting to provide up to $2,000 to the wrestling program in exchange for placing Army logos on wrestling mats for competitions. According to Mr. Small, the district’s solicitors don’t have a problem with the idea, but now the wrestling season is winding down, and it may not be feasible to use the branded mats at post-season competitions away from Blue Ridge.
A visitor asked the committee to consider finding a way to expand the space available for weight training. He said the weight room now is too small - “small and dangerous,” he said - for more than about 6-8 people, not enough to encourage wider participation among students.
And High School Principal Scott Jeffery asked the committee’s permission to consider painting the blank wall in the lobby at the gym entrance with a mural with an athletic or health-related theme. He was encouraged to submit drawings or sketches to the board for consideration.
The Board’s business meeting got under way with Mr. Jeffery’s recognition of two of his outstanding seniors. Taylor Guinan, class valedictorian, listed some impressive awards in his academic career, including Scholar of the Year (WVIA), National Honor Society, and medalist in a competition at Rochester Polytech. Mr. Guinan has an interest in marketing and business, but plans to study bioengineering at Princeton or the University of Pennsylvania before pursuing his goal of becoming a surgeon.
Mr. Jeffery’s other standout, Kaitchen Dearborn, was playing basketball and could not attend.
Superintendent Chris Dyer presented awards to the Elementary and High Schools for 2 consecutive years of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). He hopes that the Middle School will qualify next year. As a new principal, Mr. Jeffery generously awarded gratitude for the achievement to his faculty and staff.
And, as January is National School Board Recognition Month, each member of the Board was presented with a certificate of thanks, and a Thank You For all You Do cake at the close of the meeting.
Among the agenda items bundled together at the meeting were letters accepting the district’s retirement incentive from 5 teachers: Barb Buffington, Mary Jane Chamberlain, Angela McCarthy and Saranne Small. An addendum to the agenda “clarified” the provisions of the program in such a way that, according to Mr. Hall, another 3-4 teachers could be covered.
The Board agreed to advertise for bids for general and custodial supplies, food service products, athletic supplies, wood chips and fuel oil for the 2010-2011 school year.
Mr. Button reported that the $1,800 that came with the AYP award will be used for technology in the Elementary School. He also said that the holiday movie night sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) was well-attended, and the low cost benefited some low-income families who might not otherwise be able to enjoy an evening out together.
Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski noted that his wrestlers did very well this year for a small team, with virtually all finishing with winning individual records. He also reported that Jack Edwards received the “Character” award for December, and will enjoy a free meal with his family at Armetta’s.
Mr. Jeffery told the board that his High School received a bronze in the U.S. News & World Report assessment of high schools for the 2nd year. He said that the gold and silver levels were accessible mostly to schools with more advanced placement (AP) courses; Blue Ridge offers only 2. He also reported that senior Ken Seamans will be attending the Military Academy at West Point next year.
Special Education Director Mark Fallon took a seat at the table with the other administrators for the first time. He said that special education enrollment in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade has increased some. He reported that the district has received $18,700 from the state to help improve access to a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for students in his programs.
Mr. Dyer proudly reported that the schools collected 1,700 coats for the winter coat drive, and recited a long list of staff who contributed to the effort.
Legislative Affairs representative, board member Laurie Brown-Bonner told her colleagues that the conference of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) will be hearing from all gubernatorial candidates in this election year, and encouraged all members to attend.
The meeting closed with announcement of an executive session to discuss the purchase of land from the Grover estate. The district is considering the purchase of up to 15 acres adjacent to the existing campus. A small part of the lower athletic field is actually on private property.
The Blue Ridge School Board will meet next in public session on Monday, January 25, for a workshop, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Some of the board’s committees will meet the same evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners opened 2010 with a quick meeting to get the New Year off to a good start.
Mr. Donald Bennett, Deputy, from the Susquehanna County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for his 15 years of “faithful service” to Susquehanna County Law Enforcement, all service within the County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Bennett took a brief moment from his busy day to stop in and receive his certificate.
Ms. Reta Fischer, Probation Department, was honored for her 10 years of faithful service to the County Probation and Parole Department.
As always, the Commissioners express their appreciation to the employees for service years in increments of five years and up. Commissioners expressed that they honestly do appreciate all the work, dedication and loyalty their employees show Susquehanna County.
Two HVAC Bids, which were due in the County Clerk’s Office by January 11, 2010, were opened by Commissioner Michael Giangrieco. The first bid was from United Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc, from Pittston, PA with a yearly bid of $10,127, roughly a $21,000 and change amount for the two year period the contract will be for.
The amount bid by the second company, Tri City Temperature, Inc., from Binghamton, NY, was $15,394. This bid stated that it includes all materials as well. The bids are for a two year maintenance period and will be reviewed and viewed, comparing them line by line to pick the lowest bidder, the bid award to be announced at a later date..
Commissioners agreed to sign a contract between Susquehanna county and Cocciardi & Associates, Inc., of Moosic, PA, for Coccardi to provide a Hazardous Materials Transportation Commodity Flow Study to be conducted in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation Standards for $6,000.00. The study will be presented no later than 45 days after execution of the proposal. Funds from Hazmat will be used to pay for the study, which encompasses rail and roads, as well as any other mode of transportation which runs through Susquehanna County.
The Susquehanna County 911 Coordinator, Art Donato, was given approval to hire Diane Chandler, of Hallstead and Teresa Lamberson, of Kingsley, to the open part time positions of “Dispatcher-Trainee,” at $8.50 per hour, varied hours, each with a six month probationary period and benefits per the Residual Bargaining Unit. It was mentioned that 911 Dispatchers are still needed on a part time basis.
Commissioner Mary Ann Warren was appointed to the Lackawanna/Susquehanna Mental Health/Mental Retardation Advisory Board for a three year term beginning January 1, 2010.
Commissioners signed Grant 21118 between The Pennsylvania Commissioners on Crime and Delinquency and Susquehanna County pursuant to Pennsylvania Act 66 of 2005, which will eventually allow Susquehanna County to receive up to $15,000.00 to standardize and modernize the process of issuing licenses to carry firearms by the County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Commissioner Giangrieco this money will allow the Sheriff’s Department (statewide) to access firearm applications over the computer, thus making it a faster (and easier duty) to handle. It is supposed to give Susquehanna County Sheriff’s Officers almost instant access to statewide computer use for firearms applicants.
The Commissioners wished all a Happy New Year.
The next Commissioners meeting will be held on January 27, 9 a.m. sharp. The Susquehanna County Commissioners meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.
Lois M. and Lorraine M. Bennett to Lois M. Bennett, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Skip Michael Tracy to Scott J. and Phyllis M. Ferenczi, in New Milford Township for $78,000.00.
Francis Ohara to Francis X. and Barbara J. Ohara, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Howard, Jr. and Merna Colwell and John N. and Kristy L. Bleck to John N. and Kristy L. Bleck, in Great Bend Township for $50,000.00.
Edward R. Quon (by sheriff) to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, in Auburn Township for $1,519.67.
Joseph P. Moore, Jr. to Elk Herrick Properties LP, in Herrick Township for one dollar
Helen Demmer to Dorothy Demmer, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Kailish and Nancy Mathur to Nancy Mathur, in Herrick Township for $100.00.
Walter J. (estate) and Annette Luger to Walter G. Luger, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Walter J. (estate) and Annette Luger to Walter G. Luger, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Elaine B. Corey to Elaine B. Corey, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Michael and Bonnie McHale and Karen White to Karen White, in Franklin Township.
Darlene L. Bayuk to David L. and Alyson M. Thomas, in Great Bend Township for $88,000.00.
Choconut Creek Apartments Limited Partnership to Choconut Creek Housing Corporation, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
James P. and Paul J. McIntyre to James P. and Paul J. McIntyre, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Peter P., Sr. and Catherine M. Coyle to Patcat Enterprises LLC, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Keeven and Cheyanne L. Kenyon to Trudy K. Botts, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
James R. and Mary M. Klock to Gary L., Jr. and Sarah Stumbo, in Susquehanna for $50,000.00.
Montrose Municipal Authority to Montrose Borough, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 2:40 p.m. on January 15, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, William D. Barton, Keith B. Beach, David Shawn Blaisure, Lisa D. Bollard, Joseph Bonavita, Howard A. Burns, III, Robert B. Carrier, Darryl M. Chaffee, Christopher J. Clark, Deborah L. Drish, Christina Elmy, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, George Graham, David Haines, Jr., John J. Hall, Suzanne R. Hansen, Amanda L. Henderickson, William N. Hendrickson, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Joshua Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Patricia J. Marrero, Bradley W. Megivern, Joseph Mershon, Kimberly L. Mershon, Joseph C. Moore, Robert A. Muzzy, Steven Nannie, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Sheri Pabon, Amberly D. Payne, Jesse R Rhinebeck, Jr., Ryan A. Rhoads, Timothy W. Rogers, Robert A. Ryman, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Donald Louis Stocks, Garrett M. Thomas, Keith W. Vroman, John Wansacz, Jr., Donald L. 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.
The first regular meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors for 2010 on January 12 yielded some resolutions. These weren’t the kind of New Year’s resolutions we’re accustomed to, however.
One resolution was required by the county to allow a local business of the Morales family to operate a private sewage facility. It seems the Morales family is passing along the business to another generation.
The other resolution, also requested by the county, was to allow the township to adopt the countywide emergency operations plan as its own.
All three supervisors were in attendance, but chairman Terry VanGorden asked his vice, Garry Foltz, to preside. Mr. Foltz guided the meeting through a busier agenda than usual for Harford.
Mr. Foltz reported that the supervisors agreed to increase employee wages at one or both of two executive sessions held earlier. The wages of the Roadmaster and Township Secretary were also recommended to the auditors to determine. He was unwilling to discuss details in a public session.
He also reported that application for a grant from the county to repave School Street in Harford village was submitted by the deadline of December 31, 2009.
The Supervisors agreed to opt out of insurance coverage for terrorism as too expensive and unnecessary.
And they approved a list of 9 fire police recommended by the fire company. Mr. VanGorden, who is also member of the fire company, said that the fire police maintain perimeter security and control traffic during operations by the fire department. They can only be “activated” by the county communications center in emergency situations.
Township employees will be reimbursed at a rate of 50¢ per mile for use of their private vehicles, based on federal IRS guidelines.
Mr. Foltz told the meeting that the Supervisors decided to have business cards printed showing contact information for various purposes. He said they would not be individualized cards, but would be available to employees to distribute when asked for information about township services.
He also said that each of the Supervisors will get a township credit card through Peoples National Bank. The application process required each to provide substantial private information, although the cards would be used only for township business. He said that some purchases could be cheaper and more timely through use of a credit card than waiting for a check to clear. He said it would also offer a more efficient means to track costs in some cases.
Mr. Foltz has also been filling in as Roadmaster while Mr. VanGorden is recuperating. He reported that the crews are out every day, scraping the roads and applying anti-skid gravel material, sometimes very early in the morning, to be ahead of the school buses. They are coping with minor breakdowns and hoping for a timely thaw.
The next scheduled meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will be on Tuesday, February 9, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the township building.
January is School Board Director Recognition Month. During the January business meeting, Forest City Regional Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella presented certificates to the school’s board members, thanking them for their “time and effort.”
At next month’s school board meeting, the “student of the month” program will be reinstated, recognizing students for their contributions to the school district.
Christine Acevedo, high school principal, praised several students for an “exceptional job” in various activities, including Allison Wenk, who was named “regional artist of the month.” Thirteen Forest City Regional students will advance to the FBLA state competition, and two students, Andrea Burleigh and Kaitlyn Schott, will attend district band.
An Activities Accident Report procedure and form was approved as an addendum to the Forest City Regional student handbook.
Pending approval from the local teachers’ association and the state, Forest City Regional will apply for the “Race to the Top” grant, which provides funding for school reform.
The Susquehanna County Rail Authority Meeting was held on January 8, beginning with a motion to keep all the seats from 2009. The motion passed and the meeting encompassed any updates in the previous 6 months.
Ken Bondurant remained President with Joe White, Vice President and Robert McNamara remaining Secretary/Treasurer. The Treasurer's report remains at $50.38.
In attendance were members: Bondurant, McNamara, Don Button, Dave Darrow; and also Tony Ventello from Central Bradford Progress Authority, Robert Templeton from Susquehanna County Planning, Mr. Robert Wert from (SCEDAC) Susquehanna County Economic Development Advisory Council, Inc., former members Rowland Sharp and Thomas Wooden.
A decision was made to schedule meetings for each month, and if needed, a meeting could be cancelled or rescheduled.
No current news has been reported on the I-81 Corridor, but members are constantly checking the status.
SCEDAC offered the accounting services of Todd & Todd, to take care of the upcoming audit. "Although SCEDAC is not a government entity, it aids County residents by helping applying for and acquiring grants, financial and other resource types, brings together and works with elected and appointed officials, including individuals, business, governmental, educational, professional, religious and other entities which have an interest in the economic and cultural development of Susquehanna County, for the benefit of all residents, without adversely impacting in any significant way, the natural beauty and environment of the region."
Ventello reported that he had communicated with the Susquehanna County Commissioners, as well as SCEDAC, railroad entities including OnTrackAmerica, and other interested parties, including some businesses, individuals, gas companies and more.
Ventello stated that the Commissioner's "were good with it," in regards to moving ahead, by allowing Ventello to use the required $6,000 for OnTrackAmerica's engagement proposal for the county, which includes a study regarding railway in Susquehanna County. The monies are from a regular investment fund of The Bradford County Progress Authority.
This proposal is to provide a market assessment for the need of a bulk transloading facility in New Milford, PA.
"The purpose of this initial engagement is to assess the marketplace need and gross revenue opportunity for a potential bulk loading facility in New Milford, PA. This information can be instrumental toward determining if further work on a business plan and environmental analysis should be contracted.”
The overall keys to project success, "are to provide a needed service, base a decision on a business-oriented plan; make accurate assessment of long-term viability of Marcellus Shale development; do no harm to the environment; partner effectively with the private sector; and benefit from as many of the potential generators as possible and customer focus."
OnTrackAmerica also has listed strategic project tasks to complete their studies.
The idea of the projects includes: Thomas F. Erickson, Jr., as project Manager. (Erickson was in charge of Conrail's (railroad) network of bulk transloading terminals for ten years); inspect the New Milford site and meet in person, with knowledgeable stakeholders; coordinate with and leverage the existing know how and capabilities of The Rail Authority Board (Ken Bondurant) and Central Bradford Progress Authority's Tony Ventello; conduct an organized set of dialogues with a sampling of potential customer base, including these conversational notes in their final report; meet and/or conference with Canadian Pacific Officials to discuss and identify business prospects as well as CP's needs and survey existing literature, industry and academic experts and private sector regulators to Marcellus Shale mining in Susquehanna County.
It is proposed that the completed report can be delivered seven weeks from the acceptance of the proposal.
Michael Sussman is the President of OnTrackAmerica and will be in constant contact with Ventello.
Former Secretary Thomas Wooden suggested that the information concerning the $6,000.00 be put in writing to assure that all entities are "on the same page."
Ventello said that it would be more applicable to write a "memorandum" for all involved to sign, to insure everyone is in agreement. He will have this ready at the next meeting.
Bondurant said "this is not going to be a slam dunk procedure, but I am happy with the steps being taken." He was echoed by the others in attendance.
Available land was also discussed, as part of the proposed land purchase in New Milford (Sommersville) has already been sold. The area of land which has been the best site of the has not yet been sold.
Ventello will be working on bringing all to a meeting soon and will report back to Bondurant and the Rail Authority.
Bob McNamara reminded everyone to "keep it simple" in the aspects of where they are going, rather than cover unneeded information or confusing repore between the parties; Commissioners', The Rail Authority, SCEDAC, and Bradford Central Progress Authority combined with OnTrackAmerica.
Ventello also reported he had received communication from area businesses, individuals and had spoken with some of the natural gas companies.
Ventello said that there will be a meeting January 28 at 7 p.m. for the Bradford County Progress Authority, if anyone from Rail Authority would like to attend.
On a positive note, according to the "Wyoming County Examiner," "rail traffic booms from gas drilling."
Reading & Northern Railroad's, (serves the main line from old Coxton yards to Mehoopany and even down to Reading) President, Wayne Mitchell, reported that he "expects 2010 to be even better than 2009, thanks to the new traffic related to the Marcellus Shale."
He also stated that his line business increased steadily in 2009 and he gave his employees the credit. In fact, as a celebration, he is giving full-time employees an extra week of vacation and a paid trip to their choice of several popular locations, including Disney World, as a way of saying "Thank You!"
He added that "the company transported by rail 100 cars of sand to be used in the fracking process, just in December, and he thinks that it will add thousands of cars in the years ahead, as the gas drilling boom flies into high gears.
Jim Raffa, Vice-President of marketing and sales for the Lehigh Railway, acknowledged that “a single railroad car could handle the same load as four tractor-trailers."
This business in Wyoming County and surrounding areas is "trying to partner with their communities and make them better," Raffa said. "Our job is to create jobs in the area." (Reporter's note: *This information has been taken from the January 6, 2010 edition of the Wyoming County Press).
Susquehanna County roads are already experiencing problems cracking and giving with the weight of such trucks and rigs required constantly by the Marcellus Shale Business. It is hoped a transloading facility could help Susquehanna County Municipalities and residents save money, an relieve their heavily burdened roads.
The next meeting of the Rail Authority will be held February 12, at the Susquehanna County Office Building at 10 a.m.
Following is the list of names drawn to serve as Petit and Traverse jurors to appear in the Court of Common Pleas, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, on the first day of February at 9:00 a.m.
Apolacon Twp.: Jo Walter.
Auburn Twp.: Shane Bonavita, James Franklin, Barbara Parr, Kelly Robbins, Maren Visavati.
Bridgewater Twp.: Allen Bloomfield, Olga Gallagher, Paul Gere, Edward Kays, Eleanor Manz, Lynn Nesta.
Brooklyn Twp.: Penny Alden, Patrick Durland.
Choconut Twp.: Leroy Campbell, Rot McGrann.
Clifford Twp.: Leland Caraballo, Warren Obrien, Ruth Spencer, Thomas Virbitsky, Sherri Arnold, Ralph Foote.
Forest Lake Twp.: Dan Acker.
Franklin Twp.: Aaron Booth, Frances Donovan, Debra Martyn.
Gibson Twp.: Brian Goble, Leroy Marshall, Joy Rood.
Great Bend Boro: Loretta Soller.
Great Bend Twp.: Lucille Darrow, Mark Gnade, Judith Haley, Nancy Sienko, Valerie Wescott.
Hallstead Boro: Angela Benedict, Ryan Stone.
Harford Twp.: Rita Jennings, Stephen Pennay, Maureen Whitaker.
Harmony Twp.: Amanda Wheeler.
Herrick Twp.: William Paulin.
Hop Bottom Boro: Kelly Taylor.
Jackson Twp.: Rita Dropp, Edward Green, Nancy Miles, John Mininger.
Jessup Twp.: Joseph Reynolds.
Lanesboro Boro: Gerald Gow.
Lathrop Twp.: Delores Baker, Carl Johnson, Francis Spalding, George Steinmetz.
Lenox Twp.: Jennifer Fries, Diane Mundy, Ruth Taugher.
Liberty Twp.: Debbie Bajkowski, Frank Benacquisto, David Oney.
Montrose Boro 1W: Suzanne Breese.
Montrose Boro 2W: Luther Giordano, Michelle Osborn.
New Milford Boro: Melody Phillips.
New Milford Twp.: Fawn Forsyth, Joseph Hendricks, James Schaffer.
Oakland Boro: Shannon Crawford.
Oakland Twp.: Robert Parkinson.
Rush Twp.: Helen Barlow.
Silver Lake Twp.: Patrick Capwell, James Eldred, David Greenough, Laurie Laskowski, Todd Peters, Laura Shuta.
Springville Twp.: Ashley Norville.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: Roger Crawford.
Union Dale Boro: Anna Wolfe.
Since October of last year, a group of people have been discussing options for local police in the Great Bend-Susquehanna area. The threat of house bill 1500 had some concerned that without a local police department, the state would start assessing municipalities without their own police a lot of money for the privilege of state police coverage.
The immediate threat of the new state legislation has subsided at least for now, but there is still an interest in getting more local law enforcement. A meeting in late November decided to bring together official representatives of the various interested communities to further discuss the possibilities. Chief - then Assistant Chief - of the Susquehanna Borough Police Department, Lance Penzone, offered some cost figures for consideration, and indicated that his department would be interested in forming the core of a new regional police force. Everyone agreed to get together again in January.
So, on January 13, representatives of Great Bend Borough, Great Bend Township, Oakland Township, Oakland Borough, Lanesboro and Hallstead Borough gathered to discuss the next steps. Conspicuously absent was any representation from Susquehanna Borough.
One option discussed in November was contracting for services from Susquehanna, but the mood of the participants seemed more inclined to a regional operation. It now appears that Susquehanna Borough may be less interested in the idea of a regional consortium.
The cost of a “regional” police agency would presumably be more acceptable to each of the participating communities as more of them sign on. The state is encouraging such “multi-municipal” efforts with more financial support - or had been, at least until the recent budget problems.
Oakland Borough and Lanesboro already have their own part-time police departments, complete with vehicles. Together with Hallstead Borough, however, they are just sitting on the sidelines listening in on the conversation for the time being, unsure of support in their communities.
The informal group informally organized itself into a committee to look further into the idea. They decided to hold any future meetings on Wednesdays, as most convenient to all, and they selected Jamie Rodriguez Chilewski of Oakland Township as chair, and Jim Riecke, mayor of Great Bend Borough as vice chair. They will try to get a representative of the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to attend the next one to present options and discuss the next steps, date dependent on the availability of someone from DCED. They agreed that meetings would begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Borough Building in Great Bend.
The January 11 Montrose school board meeting, held in the newly renovated large group instruction room, opened, as usual, by featuring positive achievements at the school. That evening there were three items, a library leading lad, an automotive academic, and two schools scholastically centered.
Third grader Cullen Duke was recognized at the meeting, after having been randomly selected by Scholastic as a winner in the “What I Read This Summer” sweepstakes. Mrs. Renee Hare, the Choconut Valley Elementary librarian, was also acknowledged. Mrs. Hare had asked students in grades 3-6 to do reading log pages. The children read, it was said, various numbers of pages, and Cullen was chosen by Scholastic as a winner out of the entrants. As such, he received a 25 book library from the company for his classroom, as well as a 25 book library for himself at home. Each student in his class was also able to chose one book to keep. Cullen and Mrs. Hare were presented with certificates, and the attendant handshakes, by the board.
Silas Chance and Ken Kiefer, students at the secondary school, were selected to be members of the National Technical Honor Society for their studies at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center. While Silas was not in attendance at the meeting, both boys were commended for the distinction. It was stated that a relatively small number of students are selected to be members of this organization, out of the many who attend the career center. Mr. Tallarico spoke briefly about the boys, calling them “terrific kids” who excelled at what they truly loved, and whose parents should be proud, as the school was. Ken, who came to the meeting with his parents, is in the automotive program, and hopes to go to a tech school after graduation to be an automotive technician. He also received a certificate and several handshakes.
Finally, Choconut Valley Elementary School and Lathrop Street Elementary School received Keystone Achievement Awards, as they have for six years. These awards are presented by PDE to schools which met AYP for subsequent years. Both schools, it was stated, had excellent scores on the previous year’s Pennsylvania assessment tests.
The board itself received some attention at the meeting, as a letter was (requested to be) read aloud regarding January's status as school director recognition month. The letter, read at the behest of PDE, extolled the virtues of school board members. Each member present that evening received a packet in acknowledgment of the event.
The district resolved not to raise taxes above the PDE 2010-2011 approved index of 1.85 mills. By state law, if it were to attempt to raise taxes above this index, a referendum would be required at the May election.
The recent audit was alluded to, performed for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The auditors apparently had no negative findings, and expressed their opinion that the district had committed itself to financial excellence for years, and participated in sound fiscal planning.
The support staff had attended the last few meetings as a silent force. Most of this contingency was absent from the January meeting, perhaps because the matter found resolution. The board voted to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement between the district and support staff union. (In other words a contract was approved.) Mr. Caterson pointed out the presence of a small subsection of this group, and publicly thanked them for their hard work, expressing his opinion that they ought to be pleased. They received, he said, the best agreement possible at this time. Business manager Michelle Lusk and those on the board and administration's end of the negotiations were acknowledged for their part in the resolution as well.
During the administrators' reports, various items of note were highlighted. Mr. Addams mentioned work in the community the Lathrop Street Choir had done, and publicly acknowledged Mr. Bennicci and the kids in the choir for their work. He also spoke of the small group of sixth graders (and their advisor) who run the bi-weekly Friday morning show. The students write the program themselves. The pie in the face competition raised $650 for angel baskets, in conjunction with the high school. The Lathrop kids and the high school were also collaborating for the big brother big sister program.
Mr. McComb outlined a program funded by the Choconut Valley Wellness Fund and the box top program, which might leave district residents in the cold, positively. A group is slated to come into the school to present to the students the sport of snowshoeing. A chance to try is then scheduled for after school that day for faculty and district members to give it a try.
A select section of sixth grade students at that school will also get to enjoy the winter season in another way. Those who missed no assignments in the last marking period, 25 in number, were to be presented with a trip to the BCC ice rink.
Choconut students, it was reported, weren't only going to be focusing on snow and ice however. The PTO was planning another movie night, to show Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The cost for this culinary camaraderie would be a can of food.
The school based behavioral health program, being piloted at the elementary schools, was reviewed. It was said that this family counseling program was off to a great start. Mrs. Staats cautioned, however, that as the kids age sometimes the parent involvement in such programs falls off. She expressed her hope that the district could find a way to latch on, and keep the program running as the students aged.
Ms. Lusk brought to the meeting blueprints for the new administrative building. The proposed plans, being Kitner's answer to the call for floor plans, were passed around for the board and administration to consider. A discussion was then held regarding some of the particulars. Mr. Caterson asked what the fall back plan would be if the board were to bid and the project end up blowing its budget. This might be something the board will have to consider as the process progresses.
HIT AND RUN
On December 27 at 8:05 p.m., Stephen Hamholtz of Brooktondale, NY was fueling at the Great Bend Exxon Gas Station. Upon completion of this process, he backed out of the fueling island and struck a vehicle driven by Dierdre McDonald of Wolfe Island Twp. in the right rear side. Hamholtz then fled the scene without providing proper information to McDonald.
On January 9, at 9:41 p.m., an unknown person allegedly pumped $40.01 in gas from the Great Bend Sunoco station and fled the scene.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Joshua Bond and Bryan Guarino of Harpursville, NY have been charged with stealing restaurant supplies and $1,015 in cash from Maloney's Irish Pub in Hallstead, which restaurant belongs to Dennis Maloney of that town. The incident apparently occurred on December 21 at 2:30 a.m.
On January 13 at 8:05 a.m., Kevin Benedict of Nicholson was towing a disabled vehicle on SR 0848, when his vehicle struck a pedestrian, Jeffrey Benedict of Tunkhannock, who was directing traffic at the time. Benedict sustained major injury Montrose ambulance and life flight transported him to CMC Hospital in Scranton.
On January 10, at 11:30 p.m., Evelyn Conklin of Susquehanna was attempting to turn left onto T701 in Jackson Twp. but failed to negotiate the turn. Her vehicle exited the roadway off the south berm, drove through a yard, and struck a bolder. Neither Conklin nor a passenger sustained injury; both were utilizing a seat belt.
LOST LICENSE PLATE
On December 4 a license plate was lost or stolen off a Pontiac Sunfire owned by Shane Wolf of Susquehanna. The incident occurred somewhere between Susquehanna and Hallstead.
On January 12 at 4:45 a.m., James Pearson of the Hallstead area was traveling in the left-most northbound lane of I81 in New Milford Twp. when he lost control of his vehicle, which rotated clockwise and came into contact with the driver's side of a tractor trailer driven by Nick Swartz of the Millerstown, PA area. Both units were towed from the scene. No injuries were reported with this collision; both drivers were utilizing seatbelts.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF/DISORDERLY CONDUCT
On January 8 at 10:30 p.m., Michelle Roberts of the Vestal, NY area manifested herself at the White Tail Bar in Little Meadows Borough and engaged in an argument within that establishment. She was ejected by the management of bar, and proceeded to cause damage to vehicles located in the parking area, owned by Jacob Cope and Joseph Keefe, both of Little Meadows.
On December 28 one or more unknown perpetrator(s) believed to be driving a black F350 tow truck took a 1987 Dodge Ram charger from the property of Michael Lenz in Nicholson.
HIT AND RUN
On January 6 at 2:00 p.m., Aaron Lewis of Vanetten, NY was traveling northbound on I81 in New Milford Borough, in the right lane. At this time an unknown driver was entering the highway from the 223 entrance ramp, and struck Lewis' trailer on the right side, causing damage to the door latch and handle. The unknown driver then fled the scene bound north. Lewis was utilizing a seat belt; he was not injured. The offending vehicle is described as a white box truck with unknown registration. Anyone who witnessed this crash is asked to contact PSP Gibson.
On December 28 at 4:00 am Tadd Haney of Union Dale was traveling northbound on T730 Lowe Lake Road in Herrick Twp. Haney lost control of his vehicle and exited the road off the east berm, entering a ditch and striking a mailbox. The 2001 Chrysler Sebring then caught fire, burning up entirely. Haney was blessed to exit the vehicle prior to the fire. He was taken into custody for DUI and the investigation was continuing at the time of report. PSP was assisted on the scene by Union Dale and Clifford EMS and Fire and Kozlowski towing.
HIT AND RUN
On December 18, at 11:30 p.m., Allen Hurt of Pittsburg was traveling south on SR 3020 in Dimock, approaching the intersection with Teel Hill Road. His vehicle failed to make a right hand turn onto Teel Hill Road and traveled off the west berm onto the Teel property, continuing until it struck a hay bail conveyor and rolled onto its left side. It made a complete roll and landed upright on its wheels. Allen then fled the scene without making proper notification to the land owner.
On December 22, sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wayne Kelley of Little Meadows reported, a set of black painted forks for a new Holland Skidsteer were stolen from him.
HIT AND RUN
On January 1, at 10:00 p.m., an unknown driver was southbound on Main Street in Hallstead Borough when he or she side-swiped a legally parked vehicle on Main Street, causing damage to its left front bumper, grille, and light. The offending vehicle then fled the scene.
On December 22, at 9:40 p.m., old Halloween decorations were set on fire in Friendsville. The decorations belonged to Edward Dorak of Friendsville, pa.
On December 31, at 1:50 p.m., a Dodge Durango, the driver of which was not named in the report, was eastbound on SR 1037 (Dubois Street) in Great Bend Township. The driver had moved the vehicle to the right due to an approaching plow truck, coming in the opposite direction. The driver, however, pulled too far to the right, and the Durango's right side wheels went over the edge of an embankment, which the vehicle slid down, ending up in a ditch.
On December 31 at 11:30 a.m., a driver unnamed in the report was operating a Toyota Camry northbound on I 81 in Harford Twp. The driver attempted to pass another vehicle and lost control of the Camry on the snow/slush covered roadway. The vehicle went off the right shoulder and up an embankment, sustaining body damage.
On December 31, at 10:49 a.m., Dennis Loch of Sanborn, NY was traveling north on I 81 in New Milford Twp. when he lost control of his Chevrolet equinox, which exited the roadway, struck several reflector sticks, and then impacted with a guide rail. The vehicle then spun around don the interstate, coming to its final uncontrolled rest in the median. Vogel’s towed the equinox from the scene. No fire or ems responded. Neither Loch nor a passenger was injured; both were utilizing seat belts.
If anyone has information regarding any of these incidents, he or she is asked to please contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
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