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The Blue Ridge School Board held a combination workshop and business meeting on January 27- a Wednesday, unusual because the board has always met on Mondays. The Monday before, however, was part of a brief January thaw that saw heavy rain and temperatures in the 50’s, which led to flooding and early school closing.
Rescheduled, the evening actually began at 6:30 p.m. with a well-attended meeting of the Education and Curriculum Committee. Committee chair Laurie Brown-Bonner conducted a lengthy discussion with teachers and administrators about serious scheduling issues, focused in the Elementary School, that involve conflicts between special education requirements and available and properly-certified staff. Nothing was decided, but Ms. Brown-Bonner asked teachers, who “are in the trenches” for suggestions and recommendations. Clearly, one way to solve the problems is to hire more staff, but Ms. Brown-Bonner just as clearly understands the clash with the district’s budget that is just now being developed for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
The business meeting opened with an executive session, on a personnel matter that Board President Alan Hall said was a disciplinary issue. On the brief agenda, the board accepted the resignation of William Arthur as head coach of boys basketball. Brian Woodruff also resigned as the boys assistant and JV basketball coach, but that led only to his promotion to head coach, succeeding Mr. Arthur. The Board also accepted letters of intent to retire from Cheryl Manchester and Denise Theophila under the recently-adopted incentive plan.
Mr. Hall is intent on “holding the line on taxes” for the new budget. The board helped that along by committing itself through resolution not to increase tax rates beyond the index for Blue Ridge of 4.3% determined by the state Department of Education. The resolution allows the board to take its time creating a budget to meet the requirements. Otherwise, had the board decided on a larger tax increase, the district would have to ask voters for permission.
At the very end of the business meeting, Mr. Hall tacked on an additional item. The board decided to “terminate all services” and “sever all affiliation” with Dr. Armstrong. Dr. Armstrong was under contract with Blue Ridge to provide professional development services. Mr. Hall said later that the board would look to less theoretical approaches to teacher development, primarily through the Instructional Unit. There was, however, a difference of opinion on the board. Ms. Brown-Bonner and Harold Empett opposed the measure. Ms. Brown-Bonner said she had met Dr. Armstrong and thought she had something to offer the Blue Ridge faculty. But Mr. Hall said he thought the district wasn’t getting its money’s worth from the program.
The workshop was devoted largely to hearing preliminary budget requests from 2 of the 3 school principals.
Elementary Principal Matthew Button said that he hopes to keep his new budget within current limits, with a very small increase for food service (snacks) for the pre-Kindergarten program.
Both he and Matthew Nebzydoski, Principal in the Middle School, will be developing the FOSS (Full Option Science System) next year. FOSS is a so-called “inquiry-based” science program for grades K through 8 that promotes learning and engagement through “hands-on” activities that simulate scientific research. FOSS was introduced as a pilot program this year at Blue Ridge, fully funded by money from the federal economic stimulus legislation, ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). With another year to run, the ARRA funds will cover the introduction of the full program at Blue Ridge next year. FOSS materials will replace most science text books through the middle-school grades, some of the oldest texts in the district inventory, according to Mr. Nebzydoski.
Both schools will try to expand mentored after-school activities with homework clubs and the like. Mr. Nebzydoski said that many students participating in evening events don’t have enough time to go home and come back. A structured after-school program would make the time more productive.
Both schools will look to acquire more “technology” next year, to fully equip classrooms with the latest gizmos, including more “smart boards” and projectors, among other things.
Mr. Nebzydoski said that his budget would be about 2% higher than for the current year, at least in part due to additional requirements for the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. He would also like to take advantage of the services of a staff member who has acquired skill repairing musical instruments. He said that some students couldn’t afford to rent their instruments, and using this local service should help to save money and provide better service in the long run.
Mr. Hall called on the chairs of 9 board committees for reports on their activities.
For Athletics & Activities, Christina Cosmello reported that a “Battle of the Bands” is being scheduled to help raise money for Haitian Earthquake relief.
Along with a brief report on the earlier committee meeting, Ms. Brown-Bonner noted that teachers are reporting more concern about behavioral and emotional problems in the classroom. As the board’s legislative conduit, Ms. Brown-Bonner also reported on a study that gave barely passing grades to American schools in general, and Pennsylvania schools in particular. She said the report also noted a regression in educational achievement among low-income children. The report recommended that secondary schools offer not only more courses, but more difficult material, particularly for college-bound students, and especially in math and science. Blue Ridge, for example, does not require Algebra II for the scholastic population, let alone trigonometry.
New Board member John Ketchur, chair of the board’s technology committee, reported that the district’s network bandwidth is nearly saturated. His committee is trying to find more information - including pricing - from providers of internet services.
And Mr. Hall himself reported that the PSBA (Pennsylvania School Boards Association) has asked him to become its new regional director.
Harold Empett, chair of Facilities and Grounds, told his colleagues that the administration is working with architects to firm up plans for several projects slated for summer work.
And Vicki Drake, representing the Blue Ridge Parks Association (part of New Milford Borough), proudly reported a cash award of $80,000 for new facilities at the park in New Milford. She said that the award was only half of the requested amount, but still represents more than 4 years of local fundraising, and would mean only that more volunteer work would have to go into the project to build a new concession stand, rest rooms and storage facilities. The entire project cost of nearly $600,000 was paid for largely out of money provided by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a result of the flooding of June 2006. The new grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will also allow a walking track to be completed. Some Blue Ridge district teams use the ballfield at the park.
Ms. Drake also reported on the activities of the new Blue Ridge Parent Council, an independent group sanctioned by the school board, that tries to bring parents together to identify issues at the schools, and offer suggestions. Brought together last Autumn, the council discusses topics of broad interest, including discipline, dress codes, driver training and criteria for dealing with students who become ill at school. She said the council usually meets during the 3rd week of the month, at the cafeteria in the Elementary School. So far, she said, attendance by parents has been thin, and she encourages parents to attend. She and Lisa Lee are co-chairs of the group.
The next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board is expected to take place on Monday, February 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Committees often meet as early as 6:30 p.m. on the same nights. All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
Concerns raised by Chief Clerk Sylvia Beamer opened the Salary Board’s action by adopting a “2010 Miscellaneous Compensation Schedule,” followed by another adoption of “The 2010 Revised Holiday Schedule.”
According to The Chief Clerk the holidays paid and days off were not quite in alignment with the Union contract.
As Beamer related “The Union agreed that this is the way the holidays are to be handled so as per the Union rules, Susquehanna County will follow the contract the way it is written.”
The point is, Beamer said, is that “if The Union says you’d better follow it then you better follow it!”
The confusion will only throw a monkey in the trenches when a holiday happens on the weekend, which means that the county employees will have to get to work on the Monday following that holiday, (i.e. Sunday, July 4, 2010). Previously workers had the holiday off paid. They will be compensated for working on holidays, (those employees who must and those who are in on emergency circumstances).
Beamer relayed that Commissioner Giangrieco stated he wouldn’t doubt if he heard about the changes from employees.
The Personnel Policy in the contract has to be followed exactly for the County to be in compliance.
Second during the Salary Board Meeting was the replacement of Section F-Gift Policy, which is located in the Susquehanna County Personnel Policy and Practice Manual, which was adopted on November 22, 2006.
The new “Gift Policy” which is “No Gifts will be able to be accepted” will be effective January 27, 2010.
The 2010 Revised Holiday schedule will be available in the Commissioners’ main office.
The HVAC maintenance contract was awarded to Tri-Cities Temperance Control, Inc., Binghamton, NY. The amount bid was $15,394 for contract years January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011. Repairs beyond preventive maintenance services will be billed on a time and material basis with the billing rate being $82.00 per hour, and parts to be billed at cost plus 25%. Travel time will be billed at $123.00 per hour.
Commissioners acknowledged the hiring of Law Clerk Shawn P. Joyce, Moosic, by President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, to the open, full-time position of Judicial Law Clerk, 32.5 hours per week and benefits per the County Personnel Manual, effective January 19, 2010.
During the Salary Board Meeting, the salary of said Judicial Law Clerk was raised (from approximately $34,000.00 -$34,500.00) to $35,020.00 per year, 32.5 hours per week and benefits as per the County Personnel Manuel, effective January 19, 2010, as per the recommendation of President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans.
Dispatcher alumnus Paul Johnson, Montrose, has returned to the 911 Office after a short time away. Johnson will assume the Dispatcher full time, non-union position of Assistant 911 Communications Coordinator, minimum 40 hours per week, $23,500 per year, with a six month probation period and benefits per the County Personnel Manual, per the recommendation of 911 Coordinator Art Donato, with the starting date to be determined by Donato.
Emergency services throughout Susquehanna County will be happy to have the “professional and accurate” skills Johnson retains, again handling their dispatches and will feel at home with Johnson again at the 911 Dispatcher Office. Welcome back, Paul!
Resolution 2009-33A, a Resolution changing the amount of money being requested from DCED to $500,000.00 for the Scattered-Site Housing Rehabilitation. The original Resolution, 2009-33 was to request $407,000.00 for affordable housing activities.
Some appointments and re-appointments were made to The Susquehanna County Industrial and Commercial Development Authority: Jerry Franceski, term ending December 31, 2010; Dave Baker, term ending December 31, 2011; Gary Marcho, to fulfill an unexpired term ending December 31, 2012; Roger Doolittle, term ending December 31, 2012; Debbie Dissinger, term ending December 31, 2013; Rick Soden, term ending December 31, 2013; and Janice Bevacqua, term ending December 31, 2014.
The next Susquehanna County Commissioners meeting will be held on February 10, at 9 a.m. sharp.
Barry T. and Kathy Wheaton to Barry T. Wheaton, in Montrose for one dollar.
Robert J., Ethel, Leo and Sandra Purtell to Robert J., Ethel, Leo and Sandra Purtell, in Apolacon Township and Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Nicholas, Jr. and Mary Ann Sabuacak to Gary Sabuacak, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Victor J., III and Tamara Santarelli to East Lake Outdoor LLC, in Lenox Township for $25.00.
Gerard A. and Margaret J. Smith to Gerard A. and Margaret J. Smith, in Forest Lake and Middletown Townships for one dollar.
Ricardo R. and Kim E. Solano to Woodland Management Partners LP, in Ararat Township for $80,000.00.
Thomas G. and Jan Westfall to Jan Westfall (trust), in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Lawrence M. Grasso (trust by trustee & POA) to Raymond Scott and Dawn M. Dibble, in Great Bend Township for $10,000.00.
Oscar (by POA) and Priscilla Stone to Ronald and Geraldine E. Stone, in Thompson Township for $100,000.00.
Daniel J. McCafferty to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Edward Kazmierski, Jr. and Donna Doyle to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Montrose for one dollar.
Stanley and Stella Fiedorczyk to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Albin Joseph and Joyce Mae Ettlinger to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Robert D. Deasy, Jr. to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Kathryn M. Douglas to Pennsylvania Commonwealth - Dept. of Transportation, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Kurt Schultz and Sandy Hum-Schultz (AKA) Sandra Hum to Sandra Hum-Schultz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Charles and June Boman to Charles, Jr. and William Boman and Sandra Marvin, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Vincent R., Jr. and Cynthia M. Branning to David S. Branning, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Eileen Hecker to Albert E. Hecker, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Robert T. and Adriana M. Lalor to Adriana M. Lalor, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Norman N., Sr. and Tammy L. Norton to Bradley and Penny Strickland, William J. and Patricia Odell and Reynen Revocable Trust, in Harford Township for $250,000.00.
Eloise and George Canfield and Carol Grippen to Jacob L., John L. and Cheryl P. Tompkins, in Gibson Township for $70,000.00.
Donald T. and Carol Foley to Lynn G. and Timothy Polman, in Silver Lake Township for $362,500.00.
Lewis P. (AKA) Lewis and Margaret R. Plauny to Margaret R. (trust) and Lewis Plauny, in Montrose for one dollar.
Terry and Daniel Green to Kevin M. Zarnowski, in Union Dale Borough for $275,000.00.
Peter K. and Janet M. Hogle to Peter K., Janet M., Brett D. and Kurt D. Hogle, Tara L. King and Erika K. Canfield, in New Milford Borough and New Milford Township for one dollar.
James and Carol Zick to Venable Royalty LTD and Venro LTD, in Harford Township for $56,700.00.
Ruth E. and William Hess to Diane Hess Hodgeson, Sandra Hess Jackson, Laurie Hess Bulinsky and Carol Hess Champagne, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Cynthia H. and David Cicon to Gloria and Allen Smith, in Montrose for $88,000.00.
Patrick Hadley to Michael P. and Kathryn A. Ksenich, in New Milford Township for $146,000.00.
Richard Larocca (trust by trustee) to Beaumont Farm LLC, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Joseph Paterno (estate) to Peter and Nancy Blair, in Clifford Township for $72,000.00.
Kenneth H. and Lisa Schmidt to Samuel J. and Krystal M. Brown, in New Milford Township for $109,300.00.
Carol Lee Miller of Meshoppen vs. Otto Raymond Miller, III of Grateford, PA, married 1994.
Stacey Lynn Doty vs. Robert W. Doty, both of Tunkhannock, married 2005.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:41 a.m. on January 29, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, David Shawn Blaisure, Lisa D. Bollard, Joseph Bonavita, Mechele D. Bonciewicz, Howard A. Burns, III, Shannon E. Butts, Darryl M. Chaffee, James W. Donahue, III, Deborah L. Drish, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, George Graham, Jeremy J. Grick, David Haines, Jr., John J. Hall, Amanda L. Hendrickson, 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, Ronald N. Mitchell, Joseph C. Moore, Robert A. Muzzy, Steven Nannie, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Jeffrey A. Norton, Sheri Pabon, Amberly D. Payne, James E. Purse, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Ryan A. Rhoads, Timothy W. Rogers, Robert A. Ryman, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Michael Stark, Donald Louis Stocks, Garrett M. Thomas (AKA Staudinger), Keith W. Vroman, 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 Mountain View school board voted to accept a gas and oil lease agreement with Cabot Oil at the January 25 meeting. The no surface lease encapsulates 93.6 acres. Although the lease does not allow for drilling on school property, it does give the company the right to run pipes on the land with prior permission of the board. MVSD signed the lease at $5750 per acre, $538,200 total. The production royalty was set at 21 percent.
Dr. Chichura, during his report, had a special request of the press, to publicize the need for census workers and the effect the lack of these can have on the district. At the last census, the district lost a concentration grant for Title 1, representing a significant monetary loss over the last ten years. The reasoning behind this was the census report showing that the district went from 24% poor to 12% poor; 15% is needed in order to obtain the grant. Mrs. Voigt stated that with the free and reduced lunch population approaching approximately 42%, it does not make sense that the district would not qualify. The reasoning was that there were not enough census takers for accurate information to have been recorded. More then, are needed; it is hoped that with accurate figures the schools may be able to get this grant back. The loss of the grant ten years ago represented $30,000 per year for 5 years, before it leveled off.
Along the lines of grants, Mrs. Pipitone requested of the board permission to reapply for the pre-k counts grant, to continue the program. She told those present that a state representative had been to the district for an intensive review of the program. Perfect scores were given across the board, with the exception of a few documents which had been lost when the principal's files were wiped out recently. The reviewer was assured that they would be retyped and submitted. Even with this difficulty, the PRI score was still high, important because when a school reapplies it is asked to give the PRI score.
The pre-k program isn't the only area in which the elementary school met with grant success. The district was successful in obtaining the Science, It's Elementary grant, discussed at the second December meeting. The grant allows for a multi-discipline study of science, in which each student receives his or her own kit for exploration of that grade level's subject matter. Staff development, substitutes, and the materials themselves are all covered.
The Susquehanna County Red Cross contacted the district, Dr. Chichura reported, about running a fund-raiser for Haiti. The idea is for the elementary and high school student councils to collaborate on a program to collect donations. More information was not available at that time, because a meeting with the Red Cross had been canceled due to weather.
Dr. Chichura also presented the auditor's findings to the board. There were no new findings, though they did follow up on the prior audit where the district was cited for a certification violation. This, it was said, had since been taken care of.
Andrea Beeman, student council representative to the board, once again presented student happenings at the meeting. The Poetry Out Loud competition was held for grades 9-12, with Hannah Gow being elected to represent MVSD at the larger competition. Mrs. Voigt, Mr. Zick, and Mrs. Rinehart-Cowan were publicly thanked for helping to judge the event. FBLA did well at a recent competition at Binghamton University. Some of the students are now slated to compete at states in Hershey. Pow-wow had an artist in residence.
Graduation requirement changes were discussed. If the change were approved, it would effect the phys. ed and health departments. Two credits would still be required, but phys. ed would now be required for 3 years (9-11), at 1/2 credit each. There would still be 2 health classes, but each would only be 1/4 credit. This adds phys. ed to 10th grade; seniors could still opt to take gym their senior year.
Mrs. Voigt also had several items to present. The foreign language assistance program in Russian was set to begin; Russian having been the language for which there was the most interest, of those available. Eight students were to begin learning the language, from 3:00 to 3:50, three days a week, with Mrs. Voigt facilitating the on-line learning. EAP after school tutoring and elementary tutoring had also been scheduled. The Title 1 audit went well. Lexi Konsur began her term as the Classrooms for the Future coach, a position which was expanded to encompass grades 5 through twelve.
Mr. Doster asked permission of the board to bring a hypnotist to the secondary school, as an incentive. Originally conceived as a senior fund-raiser, it had been decided that in order to make money the tickets would need to be prohibitively expensive. Why, then, couldn't it be turned into a whole school event, paid for from the incentive fund, and opened up to the public for an evening performance? The board approved of the event, which it was proposed would be used as a PSSA break.
A very preliminary 2010/2011 calendar draft was brought before the board, though the faculty had not yet had input. The largest change which Dr. Chichura was proposing was the elimination of the 1:00 p.m. dismissals at the end of the year. In their place, the final exams would be held during the last few days, with an in-service day right before the students' last day. Theoretically, then, the kids could have their report cards to go home with that day; there would be no need to mail them.
On January 21 at 6:16 p.m., Timothy Anderson of Randolph, NJ was traveling north on SR 81 in the right lane. As he was about to change lanes, Anderson panicked ad swerved to the right, causing his Honda civic to exit the roadway to the right. Anderson then swerved the vehicle back to the left; it rolled over as it crossed both lanes before entering the center median and coming to a rest on its wheels. Anderson and one passenger were utilizing seat belts; a second passenger was not. Anderson and one of the passengers sustained major injury; he was taken to Wilson hospital and the back seat passenger was flown to CMC. The other passenger sustained minor injury.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CRASH
On January 21 at 7:50 a.m., an incident occurred between a Mack GU truck and a school bus, on State Hwy. 29 in Dimock Twp. The crash occurred as the bus was traveling northbound on 29, slowing down to pick up students. The truck was stopped at a stop sign on Hunter Road, preparing to turn right on that road southbound The unnamed driver failed to properly make the right hand turn, going partially into the northbound lane and striking the side of the bus with its let front bumper. Minor damage was sustained to the bus. The truck driver was not charged.
On January 22, at 6:41 p.m. Collin Ekholm of Allamuchy, NJ and two passengers were traveling eastbound on SR 374 in Herrick Twp. when a deer entered the roadway from the right hand side and crossed into the path of the Toyota Rav4. Ekholm struck the deer. All in the car were utilizing seat belts; no one was injured.
On January 26 at 6:29 p.m., Stuart Coon of Hallstead was traveling north on State Route 29 in Bridgewater Twp. when his vehicle slid on a large area of ice on the roadway, causing him to lost control. The vehicle entered a ditch, and then a creek, coming to a final rest once in the creek. Coon was taken to Endless Mountains Medical Hospital for further evaluation. The vehicle sustained heavy front bumper area damage and was towed by Vogel's towing.
On January 22 at 1:00 a.m., Travis Darrow of Hop Bottom was traveling southbound on SR 2039 when he lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a right hand curve, exiting the roadway and entering a creek bed. The vehicle struck several large rocks and rolled over, coming to a rest on its wheels. Darrow was not injured; he was utilizing his seatbelt. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Kozlowski Towing.
ARREST PRIOR TO REQUISITION
On January 24, at 2:55 a.m., Robert Wagner, Jr. of the Endicott area was found to be wanted by the Broome County Sheriff's Office. He was arrested as a fugitive from justice and remanded to the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility. The incident occurred at Mastersiero's Motel in Bridgewater Twp.
On January 12, at 1:30 p.m., Anne Casey of Little Meadows was traveling northbound on SR 858 when she failed to properly negotiate a right hand curve in the roadway, exiting off of the right berm and striking a utility pole. Casey was not utilizing safety equipment; she sustained moderate injury.
Between the 8th and 20th of January, unknown persons entered a residence on SR 492, in New Milford Twp., and stole several personal items. Anyone with information is asked to please call PSP Gibson.
On January 14, at 2:05 a.m., Kimberly Dudek of New Milford was traveling south on SR 11 when she exited the roadway and traveled onto the west berm, sideswiping a utility pole. The vehicle then continued a short distance after the initial impact and came to a final rest in a lawn in that borough.
On January 17, at 11:42 p.m., an unnamed driver was traveling south along interstate 81 in New Milford Twp. This driver switched to the left lane to pass a large truck, which then also switched suddenly to the left lane due to a roadside hazard on the right (a broken down vehicle). The first driver lost control of his Chevrolet Zr-2 due to slippery road conditions and exited off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle slid into the embankment and rolled onto its side. It was drivable after a tire change. No occupants were injured.
On January 18, at 12:20 a.m., Michele Fox-Snyder of Susquehanna was traveling southbound on SR 92 in Jackson Township when she drifted to the right to accommodate for an oncoming vehicle. Her suburban caught the icy build up at the edge of the road, Fox-Snyder lost control, and it spun out as it entered the opposing lane. The Suburban then hit a guide rail and continued spinning as it rolled over, coming to a rest on its roof facing south. Fox-Snyder was extricated by the Susquehanna fire company and transported to Wilson hospital. Her vehicle was removed form the scene by French's auto.
On January 17, at 3:00 a.m., Diana Seissen of Scranton was traveling southbound on SR 81 in Lenox Twp. when she failed to negotiate a right curve. Her vehicle exited the highway from the east berm, and the front end struck a guardrail end. After impact, it continued to travel, on top of the guardrail, approximately 125' before coming to rest facing in a easterly direction, still on top of the guardrail. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Kozlowski's Towing. Members o the Clifford fire department assisted at the scene. Seissen was utilizing a seatbelt; she sustained minor injury.
On January 8 an unnamed 33 year old male from Rochester New York was operating a Nissan Maxima with a New York registration was stopped on I 81 in New Milford Twp. for a motor vehicle violation. Indicators of criminal activity were present. A search of the operator's person detected a large sum of US currency in a jacket pocket. An additional search of the operator's vehicle yielded no additional contraband or currency. The money was seize and a cash scan performed by a trained narcotics detection dog, producing positive results. In total, 1,980 dollars of US currency in various denominations was seized pending forfeiture.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Some time between October 4 and 7, two rings were stolen from the property of Sherry Atticks of Great Bend. The rings are described as a 2 carat emerald ring with a gold band, and a ruby and diamonds baguette cut ring with a gold band. Anyone with information is asked to please contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
On January 9 43.01 gallons of gas were pumped from the Great Bend Sunoco station, without payment.
The Susquehanna County Eco Resource Economic Development Board met on January 28, after a brief meeting with “Chief Oil & Gas Company.” The company’s representative, Daria Fish, discussed natural gas highlights and presented information about the Chief Company to about 12 people in the upstairs meeting room of the County Office Building. She was also available after the Board meeting for any questions or concerns.
A reorganization election of officers was held with the seats remaining the same, John Kameen as Chair and Joe Andre as Vice Chair.
The Board’s resources group Central Bradford Progress Authority’s Brian Discroll and Executive Director, Anthony Ventello were on hand to discuss current and previous issues regarding progress within the Susquehanna County perimeters.
Activities performed by CBPA include business financing, site development, infrastructure and work force initiatives.
Drisoll reported that the 2009 year was not spared by the economic situation’s actions, with impacts on severe sales drops, and employment losses, and projected that Cornerstone Forest Projects had to close, as well as several downtown retail businesses who were “unable to weather the economic downturn.” He added that there had been a weak demand for bluestone.
Natural gas’ impact on the county is a positive opportunity and the Authority has been marketing the area for associated business opportunities.
Gas companies, energy companies and various sub contracting venues have been set up in the county and some of them are utilizing area commodities. Discussion was held with concern for how businesses can reach the gas companies to offer products, support and the like. Ventello reported that there will be an “expo” held at Troy Fairgrounds on June 26, to help business and gas companies come together.
The Progress Authority also anticipates “continuing growth with natural gas throughout the county for many years to come.” Ventello added that he felt the business of natural gas harvesting could be “around for 20 to even maybe 50 years.”
CBPA also emphasized the importance of its goals of supporting investment, with employments particularly critical and said that they will continue to support business development projects within Susquehanna in 2010 and beyond.
Highlighted projects within 2009 were listed including: aiding funding for Endless Mts. Health Systems; securing funding to Bridgewater Sewer Extension in Montrose; Robinsons’ Market, South Montrose was aided; Forest City Sewer Replacement funding; Vision 2000 Industrial Park, Forest City in several ways; Lackawanna County College in New Milford was helped develop a natural gas technology associate degree program; Rail Transload Facility in New Milford (the College will open for classes the first week of February) via CBPA working with local business leaders and the Susquehanna County Rail Authority to investigate the feasibility of a rail transloading facility along the Canadian Pacific Railroad in New Milford Township to service Marcellus Shale drilling activity.
Also the environmental cleanup and some redevelopment work on the site of the former Hallstead Foundry; The Hallstead Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority in Hallstead was awarded funding, aided by CBPA; Diaz Stone and Pallet in Kingsley purchased the business and property of the closing Cornerstone and expanded in to hardwoods, as well as their bluestone industry; Rock Ridge Stone, Montrose which recently completed construction on a new facility and acquired some new stone-sawing equipment; with acquisition of funds help from CBPA Energy Updates received some funding toward Susquehanna County Court House energy concerns.
Regarding the exploration of the rail transloading facility in New Milford, CBPA also acquired the $6,000.00 funding required for a study of the feasibility of positive impact on the county’s natural gas explosion via their RIM funds.
This study will be conducted by OnTrackAmerica and will be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up between Susquehanna County, CBPA and the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority.
Ken Bondurant of Rail Authority was on hand at the meeting to add his appreciation of the feasibility study and the idea that “all of us are together and now working on the same page.” He added that this study, if proven that a transloading facility were located could not only help businesses as well as natural gas and energy companies, but also aid the whole of Susquehanna County with the decrease of heavy trucks impact on the roads.
The CBPA also listed a proposed special analytical study for scope of work with Economic Impact of Marcellus Shale Development in Core Marcellus Counties, through Penn College and Penn State Cooperative Extension.
Discussion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, utilized by Susquehanna County which could help ensure that several problems on board could possibly be positively affected was held.
It is the commonwealth’s mission to ensure that as much Recovery Zone allocation as possible is used to affirm the division of Recovery Zone allocations to the various municipalities in Pennsylvania and explain the process allocation designees should follow to waive all or part of their allocation back to the Commonwealth.
The discussion included several areas where the funds could be utilized and the main feeling of the board was to utilize the funds where applicable.
It was reported that the Economic Board will be meeting the fourth Thursday of each month, all meetings in the EMA Conference Room, downstairs, with the exception of March 25 and October 28, which will be held in the Upstairs Conference Room, both located in the County Office Building.
The next meeting of the Susquehanna County Economic Board and Central Bradford Progress Authority will be held on February 25, at 10 a.m. The public is welcome.
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