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After several recommendations from teachers, Jordan Underwood was named Outstanding Senior at Forest City Regional for the month of February. During the March 8 school board meeting, Forest City Regional Principal Christine Acevedo praised Underwood for “exemplifying everything we want here at Forest City.” Acevedo quoted a teacher as stating that Underwood is an “extremely diligent worker,” regularly spending extra time at the school, despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The teacher added that Underwood “drives us to do our best as teachers.”
Underwood thanked the high school faculty for “helping me get through this year.” He added that he hopes to be physically able to participate in sports but is putting a special focus on academics.
Dr. Henry Nebzydoski, president of the school board, told Underwood, “[You are] an inspiration to your classmates for your determination. …I really admire your grit a lot.”
Next, Brady Kuruts, a junior at Forest City Regional, described his graduation project, which involves acquiring a “Weather Bug” system for the roof of the school. Since the cost of the system is about $20G, Kuruts has been raising funds and applying for grants; currently, he still must raise about $2,000. At present, there are over 8,000 Weather Bug schools in the United States. Weather information collected at Forest City Regional will be transferred to a computer and broadcast on WBRE. Besides aiding in science instruction at the school, the Weather Bug system can help promote safety during outdoor events by detecting lightning and severe weather conditions.
Richard Priebe, a language teacher at FCR, provided details about a proposed 7-day trip to Puerto Rico in June, 2011. The trip will be open to ninth through eleventh grade students participating in Spanish Club or taking Spanish class. By utilizing the Smithsonian Student Travel Agency, Priebe explained, rates will be comparatively affordable - about $1,893 per student, and a tour guide will be present with the group 24 hours a day. During the trip, students will also receive medical coverage and professional overnight security. Finally, Priebe highlighted the travel plan, which includes a visit to the El Junque Rainforest National Park. Students will also tour San Juan, Ponce, and the Tibes Indian Center, among other destinations.
Lastly, the president of the Forest City Rotary Club received permission to use the gym for a Basketball Shootout to benefit the Easter Seal program. Some high school students may be recruited to assist, but the event is geared for elementary participants.
The biggest snowstorm of the season, the night and days of February 25-26, put a lot of stress on Harford Township road crews and their equipment. Officially, the snowfall was about 14 inches, but to many it must have seemed like much more. And it was a major topic at the Supervisors’ meeting on March 9.
Supervisor and Roadmaster Terry VanGorden said that township equipment suffered two breakdowns, including a truck that rolled onto its side after sliding backward down Charles Road from the intersection with U.S. Route 11. The driver was not injured, but was taken to a hospital for examination just to be sure. “If something could go wrong in this storm, it did,” said Mr. VanGorden.
The Supervisors met on February 23 to hire someone for “casual labor,” who in fact was put right to work a couple days later, during that storm.
Mr. VanGorden offered effusive thanks to everyone who helped out during and after the storm. New Milford and Gibson Townships each helped with equipment, crews, and even materials. In other cases, roads were plowed by persons as yet unknown. One resident of the Blanding Lake Road area said that he regularly plows 8 miles of road, and offered some suggestions for arranging crew schedules for such events.
Supervisor Garry Foltz asked his colleagues to consider sub-contracting plowing in three areas next year. He said that it just isn’t cost effective to move equipment to the short stretches of Appleman Ridge Road, Charles Road and Old Route 11, all in the same area, yet covering no more than a mile and a half altogether.
But Spring is on the way, and the Supervisors are planning to take advantage of some training on Spring road maintenance, and on the issues involved with the use of heavy trucks on local roads, something the township will soon begin to experience as gas drilling ramps up.
In fact, the township received notice that Southwestern Energy has been issued a permit to withdraw up to 997,000 gallons of water per day from Martin’s Creek, the boundary between Harford and Brooklyn Townships.
Mr. Foltz said that he will obtain a copy of the gas lease recently adopted by the Mountain View School District. However, he will remove all of the addenda that refer to surface activities, which will not be permitted on Harford’s 3 small parcels, should they be leased. Supervisor and township Secretary Sue Furney confirmed that such a lease must be solicited by bid.
One of those small parcels is the baseball field in back of School Street in Harford village. Representatives of the Harford-Lenox Baseball Association, including President-elect Doug Higgins, attended the meeting to solicit a contribution. He told the Supervisors that the association’s treasury had been depleted last year to pay some $16,000 for a renovated infield. He said that Lenox Township had already pledged $1,500, a not-too-subtle hint that Harford might do the same. Which, in fact, they did.
Baseball activities at the field serve some 58 youngsters, according to Mr. Higgins. The association does get some volunteer labor, and mowing the field, which might cost as much as $4,000 at retail, costs them only about half that. The infield dirt is also refreshed each year. The quality of the field is a far cry from the experience of some at the meeting, yet the field still cannot host tournaments because it doesn’t have an outfield fence, a project for another year, said Mr. Higgins.
In years past, Harford Township has contributed $500 in cash, but hasn’t been solicited for the past couple of years. Last year the township provided 2 truckloads of stone for bedding drainage piping, and the Supervisors were willing to match Lenox this time, with the understanding that it wouldn’t necessarily be an annual contribution level.
The Supervisors opened bids for road materials for the year. Suit-Kote won with a low bid of $1.443 per gallon for AEP oil for dust control (compared to $1.159 last year). For a maximum of 35,000 gallons, the total cost would be just over $50,000.
The only bidder for stone, Eastern Industries, was awarded the contract to supply up to 2,500 tons of $67 anti-skid for winter traction at $10.70 per ton, delivered; up to 4,000 tons of 2RC stone for $7.36 per ton, delivered; up to 300 tons of gabion stone at $10.68 per ton; and up to 200 tons of 2B stone at $11.20 per ton. The prices for anti-skid and 2RC, the most generally used products, is generally lower this year.
All this is paid for with taxes. The local tax collector provided a list of people who should be “exonerated” from paying the $5 per capita tax, because they are students, deceased, or for some other obvious reason. 39 such individuals were identified, for a total of $195 stricken from the tax rolls.
The Supervisors also reported that 2 bridges in the township, both over Butler Creek, would be subject to inspection this year.
And the County Commissioners, on behalf of the Susquehanna County Bi-Centennial Committee, are asking residents for photographs and other materials covering the last 50 years of the county’s history.
Not exactly township business, yet Mr. VanGorden took the opportunity to complain about a recent change in prescription policy on the part of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Pennsylvania. He received a letter from his insurance carrier urging him to purchase his prescriptions through the mail from a supplier affiliated with the insurer, rather than allowing him to patronize a local pharmacy. The policy so far does not affect township employees under the township plan, but change is in the wind.
The next public meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will take place on Tuesday, April 13, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Snow is not unknown in April in Harford, but warmer weather is expected.
Eathel James and David Bennett and Eathel B. Cafferty (estate) to Eathel Jane and David Bennett, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Eathel Jane and David Bennett to Eathel Jane Bennett, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Alfred and Winifred D. Liberatore, Dorothy A. Brodhead and Wendy D. Liberatore/Meale to EZ Timeshare Solutions, Inc., in Herrick Township for $100.00.
Sarah Louise Williams (estate) to Barbara J. Fish, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Sarah Louise Williams (estate) to Laurie A. Salamone (NBM) Laurie A. Christofaro, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Michael G. and Tammy Darling to Robert N. Shaffer, Jr., in Rush Township for one dollar.
Anthony J. and Sandra J. Tolerico to Stephen Tolerico, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Florence Thomas, Anthony J. and Sandra J. Tolerico to Stephen Tolerico, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Chester E. Kilmer (estate AKA) Chester Kilmer, Jr. (estate) to Janet Kilmer, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Ronald S. and Dale Kuznetz to Rondale Corp., Inc., in Ararat and Gibson Townships for one dollar.
William J. (AKA) William, Stephanie and Teresa Ann Coppola to Daniel E. and Margaret B. Diskin, in Ararat Township for $200,000.00.
Joseph Calamari and Laurie Scott to Joseph Calamari, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Joseph Calamari and Laurie Scott to Joseph Calamari, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Joseph Calamari and Laurie Scott to Joseph Calamari, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Wilma J. Kelsey to Wilma J. Kelsey, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Seadrift Vista View LTD to James A. and Lisa J. Hinds, in Franklin Township for $45,270.00.
Michael, Jr. and Joanne Swaha to Joanne Swaha, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Kathryn M. Pagano to Brian M. and Nicole M. Crawford, in Susquehanna for $110,000.00.
Timothy P. Bray to Timothy P. and Mary Bray, in Franklin and Great Bend Townships for one dollar.
Albert E. Rutkosky to Philip J. and Barbara Pass, in Gibson Township for $8,000.00.
Veronica Kolibab to Bonnie Lee Read, in Herrick and Gibson Townships for $10,000.00.
JT Spano LLC to Portable Playhouse, Inc., in Forest City for $80,000.00.
Alfred F. and Faith A. Rotelle to Wayne A., Deborah S., Craig J. and Jill P. Rotelle, Frederick T. Badgett and Ksryn L. Garcia-Badgett, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Steven, Sr., Rosemary, Steven, Jr., Pamela, Nicholas and Amy Carinci to Craig T. Roe, in Hallstead Borough for $192,500.00.
Genute Trust (by trustee) to Lillian M. Genute, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
John J., Lawrence T. and Thomas J. Benio to John J., Jr., Lawrence T. and Thomas J. Benio, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Joseph J., Jr. and Janet L. Donovan to Janet L. Donovan, in Montrose for one dollar.
Merrion Oil & Gas Corp. To Fossil Royalties LLC, in New Milford Township for $100.00.
Robert M. (trust by trustee) and Madolyn S. (trust by trustee) Fischbeck to Robert M. (trust) and Madolyn S. (trust) Fischbeck, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Patricia C. and Herbert Edwin (estate) Bowers to Deborah Bowers Flood, in Harford Township for $10.00.
Edward W. (estate), Paul and Pauline Fallon to Helen Fallon, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Helen Fallon to Paul and Raymond L. Fallon, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Peoples State Bank of Wyalusing to Nathan R. Place, in Montrose for $90,000.00.
Robert E. Carvin vs. Tina D. Carvin, both of Susquehanna, married 2006.
Carol Ann Lewis vs. Mark R. Lewis, both of Montrose, married 1997.
Patrick V. Milos of Susquehanna vs. Angela M. Milos of Forest City, married 2001.
William A. Smith of Montrose vs. Elizabeth A. Smith of New Milford, married 1971.
Janet Donovan vs. Joseph J. Donovan, Jr., both of Montrose, married 1998.
Cynthia L. Fisher of Harford vs. Timothy D. Fisher of New Milford, married 1989.
Mark Sturdevant of Hallstead vs. Beth Sturdevant of Port Crane, NY, married 1999.
Thomas F. Gunderman of Little Meadows vs. Eileen M. Gunderman of Johnson City, married 1982.
Joanne M. Swaha of Hallstead vs. Michael J. Swaha, Jr. of Montrose, married 1992.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 11:26 a.m. on March 12, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, Erika L. Back, David Shawn Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Howard A. Burns, III, Darryl M. Chaffee, James W. Donahue, III, Deborah L. Drish, David J. Fischer, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, George Graham, David Haines, Jr., John J. Hall, Amanda L. Hendrickson, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Patricia J. Marrero, Bradley W. Megivern, Kimberly L. Mershon, Ronald N. Mitchell, Robert A. Muzzy, Anthony Neri, Sheri Pabon, James E. Purse, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Robert A. Ryman, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Christina L. Trayes, Keith W. Vroman, Donald L. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
The Starrucca Borough’s February 1 meeting was called to order by President Jack Downton at 7:00 p.m. Pledge to flag. Tony Palonis absent.
The January 4 meeting minutes were read and the motion to accept minutes carried.
The January 14 special meeting minutes were read and the motion to accept minutes carried.
Treasurer Report: Robert Martin noted that the deposit of money was from William Owens’ return for audit of $2,900.00, Jack Downton for copies and tax collector. Robert Martin made motion to accept treasurer’s report, Michael Martin seconds the motion. Motion carried.
Bills: The motion to pay the following bills carried: Penelec, Jeffrey Treat, Wayne Independent, PO Box $40.00, Pa. State Association $121.00, Rhondra Baldwin salary and office supplies of $15.37 (ink cartridge for computer).
Borough Council Association for $25.00 and Barry Anthony tabled until next month’s meeting. The motion was made not to pay Laura Travis $5.54 for a certified letter sent after her resignation. Michael Martin seconded the motion. Art Kopp and Robert Buck opposed.
Correspondence: Regarding Jack’s copies, Barbara Glover asked if Jack had received his copies he had paid for; he had not. Maryann DeBalko will call Laura and check on the copies.
The motion to accept Tracy Fisher’s resignation, pending she get the information to the county carried.
New tax collector: Donald Potter is interested in becoming the new tax collector. The motion to acknowledge Donald Potter as new tax collector, once Tracy’s paperwork is accepted, carried.
Starrucca Borough Seal: Jeffrey Treat, Solicitor will be able to get a new seal, with a copy of the prior seal for around $30.00. The motion for the attorney to get council a seal carried.
Missing checks were put on old business for next month. Erban Travis suggested to Jack that they check with Laura because she keeps them in a safe and she may have over looked them. Maryann Debalko will ask her that also.
Barry Anthony’s letter was read regarding minutes for binding with a bill to be signed. The motion was made to send the work order back with a copy of November 24 minutes that 2009 Council authorized the work done for the price stated. The motion was seconded by Michael Martin. Art Kopp and Robert Buck opposed.
Letter of release from William Owens & Jeffrey Treat. Motion was made by Robert Martin regarding a letter sent to Kirk Rhone requesting an explanation why he picked up & delivered those records when he wasn’t a council member at that time. Second by Michael Martin. Art Kopp and Robert Buck opposed.
Discussion on the letter to Tony Palonis from Laura Travis with paperwork that was sent to him from her. Motion carried for Secretary to call Tony and see if he has the paperwork.
Emergency Management Coordinator: Gale Williams Reddon interested in EMC. Motion carried to accept Gale for the position of EMC for Starrucca Borough.
Motion made by Robert Martin to send a note to the auditors that the 2009 Council paid themselves for a meeting that they had previously agreed not to take payment for. Michael Martin seconded the motion. Art Kopp opposed and Robert Buck abstained.
Scott Township: Robert Martin made a motion to send note to auditors that the billing and paying of Scott Township winter maintenance bill for the years, 2006, 2007, 2008 at the 12/09 meeting was inappropriate. Michael Martin secondedthe motion. Robert Buck and Art Kopp opposed.
Barbara Glover made a motion to send Scott Township a letter questioning them on this billing and asking to get a monthly statement. Robert Martin seconded the motion. Art Kopp and Robert Buck opposed.
Ordinance Book: tabled until next month meeting.
COG: Motion carried to name Robert Martin as COG Rep. and Maryann DeBalko alternate.
Bank of Records: Motion carried to name Pennstar Bank of Susquehanna the bank of records for financial accounts for Starrucca Borough.
Stephano Bridge: Maryann DeBalko spoke with Steven Knash, under contract with Timothy Coors, regarding steel beams for the bridge being ordered. Once he gets the beams and weather permitting he will start the project. Maryann was concerned about the $20,000, secretary will check into this to see if it has been paid.
Auditors; Motion carried for auditors to be paid $50.00 for 2009 audit.
Ordinance for audit: Motion carried for solicitor to draft an ordinance for Starrucca Borough audit to be completed by elected auditors. Barbara Glover seconded the motion.
Fema Agent: Motion carried for a resolution to nominate Michael Martin as Fema Agent.
Petty cash: Motion carried for Rhondra to create a petty cash fund of $100.00 for office supplies and when that runs out to do it again.
Roads: discussion tabled until next month.
George DeBalko suggested a letter be sent to DCED converting from one system to another for an extension for the audit to be completed. Audit to be completed March 15.
Public commit: Paul Everett questioned old bill from Scott Township, he did not understand it. Jack Downton explained it to him. Suggested not only an informal phone call to Tony Palonis to follow up with a certified letter but to Tony on these documents.
Erbin Travis’ response to the Scott Township billing was a changed road master back in 2006 and nobody realized that they were charging Starrucca Borough until they brought up the contract in November, which had to be signed again for 3 years. Laura went back through the records and said we haven’t been charging them and that is where she found them. Jack Downton informed Erban that Laura was handling Scott Township and getting bills from Starrucca Borough for years and she wasn’t aware of this. Erban stated it’s an oversight on her part, just like those checks council was talking about, they are in a fire proof safe and she may have over looked them.
Motion carried to contact Tony Palonis by phone and follow-up with a letter requesting any borough material still in his possession.
Kathy Downton asked about the 3 years of bills from Scott Township. Council made a motion to put a note in for auditors that this was inappropriate. What do you want the auditors to get out of it? What are you looking for? Response from Robert Martin was that this is not normal practice to let this slide for 3 years. Kathy responded that should be in the note.
At their March 11 meeting, the Oakland Boro Council passed the ordinance necessary to join COG and the COG Codes Committee, which will mean that as of April 1, COG will be the boro’s agent for building permits. The boro had been using a private firm but there had been some dissatisfaction with the firm the boro had been using; Oakland has terminated their agreement with that firm, which will be canceled as of March 31.
Mayor Glover reported a quiet month, with police activities including traffic stops and responding to an incident of youths setting off fireworks in the park. The boro police had been looking into complaints about an individual regularly riding a lawn mower on the boro streets, but in the meantime, the State Police had witnessed an incident and had taken care of it.
There was a continuing discussion of the offer the boro had received of donation of a small lot on State St., next to where the old bridge to Susquehanna used to be. The owners were willing to donate it to the boro, and the boro could possibly benefit from income from the billboard that is on it. Research shows that the tax the boro receives from the .06 acre parcel is $43 a year. The agency that had been leasing the billboard was contacted, but their lease has expired and they will not be renewing it. There was some discussion as to whether a “Welcome to Oakland” sign could be put on the billboard, and the excess space rented out, but there was also concern that the sign could also be a liability to the boro as it would need to be maintained. After discussion the matter was tabled for the time being.
Mayor Glover had asked council for their thoughts on what action the boro would like to take if they were asked by the court to take on community service workers. There was a lengthy discussion covering both sides of the issue, both for and against. On the negative side, the boro’s insurance carrier says that the boro would be liable if any of the community service workers were to be injured during service, even if the workers were to sign a waiver. In cases where the courts sentenced individuals to community service, they tended to rule in favor of the workers in incidents where there was an injury. On the positive side, the law limits the work assignments such workers can be given; it cannot entail use of machinery like lawn mowers or weed whackers, but they can be used for such things as sweeping, cleaning and painting. One comment was that it could be a good deterrent for some of the area youth to see their peers performing community service. No action was taken, but the boro will check with their neighboring communities to see what their policies are in such situations.
A motion carried to hire Robert Sweet as a part-time police officer, bringing the boro’s roster to three. Officer Sweet will begin his duties as soon as a (boro) badge is obtained.
Public comment included an inquiry as to whether or not the boro has a tax assessor; there have reportedly been people moving into and out of the boro with that information not being recorded. The tax assessor is reportedly in the process of moving out of the boro, but has not officially resigned. Council will contact the county offices in Montrose for information on how the situation should be handled.
There was a question about surveys that had been sent out relative to a grant application the boro is seeking to submit for paving projects. It had been reported at last month’s meeting that not all of the surveys sent out had been returned; they are needed for the grant application, which will not be accepted without them as the grant is contingent on the income level of the residents in the immediate area. Those in the specific area had been sent surveys, and a second mailing had been sent out to those who had not responded.
Another comment concerned the actions of one of the boro’s police officers. A youth had been involved in an incident, and the officer had reportedly told other boro youths and their parents that kids should not be “hanging out” with this individual, as he was “trouble.” The youth’s parents asked why an officer would be doing that, and added that they had been advised to file a complaint with the county district attorney. They agreed not to so until Mayor Glover could look into the allegations.
The 2009 boro audit has been completed and will be duly advertised.
Walnut Street, which is closed during the winter, is now open, but residents are asked to use discretion if weather conditions turn icy and find an alternate route.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session. After the executive session, council reconvened briefly and carried a motion to appoint Mayor Glover as the boro’s representative to a committee to pursue the possibility of combining police services with Oakland Borough, Oakland Township and Lanesboro. Gary Boughton was appointed as alternate.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 8, 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.
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 fifth day of April at 9:00 a.m.
Ararat Twp.: Astrid Glodek, Ivy Nobel.
Auburn Twp.: Paul Adelsberger, John Benscoter, Shane Bonavita, Terri Tyler.
Bridgewater Twp.: Karen Dubofsky, Patricia Oleniacz, Laura Weaver.
Choconut Twp.: Brian Neureuter.
Clifford Twp.: Eugene Cicco, Virginia Connor, Christopher Jones.
Dimock Twp.: Douglas Heitsman, Tammy McCauley, Marda Wells.
Forest City 2W: Helen Franceski.
Forest Lake Twp.: Sandy Griffis.
Franklin Twp.: Frank Fischer, Jane Scott, Amy Wood.
Gibson Twp.: Sigrid Perry Gustinucci, Winifred Soden, Jennifer Whitenight.
Great Bend Boro: Jamie Heaman, Harold Thatcher.
Great Bend Twp.: Everett Setzer, Linda Tompkins.
Hallstead Boro: Theodore Brewster, Barbara Lewis, Colleen Tierney.
Harford Twp.: Kristine Cross, Craig Stout, Maureen Whitaker.
Harmony Twp.: Clair Cook, Todd Heller, Joan Janicelli, Cyrena Kuss, Robert Thomas.
Herrick Twp.: Bernard House, Jeanne Lawrence.
Hop Bottom Boro: Jean Corbin.
Jackson Twp.: Tom Aldrich, Jason Bedford, Neil Price.
Jessup Twp.: Elizabeth Janoski.
Lenox Twp.: Anna Ayres, Nancy Gerfin, Jason Henke, Tina Horrocks, Frank Jennings, Tracee McEvay-Kilmer, Jason Perez, Thomas Stoddard, Jeff Stone.
Liberty Twp.: Carl Gelatt.
Middletown Twp.: Deborah Weidow-Lepay.
Montrose Boro 1W: Grace Kays.
Montrose Boro 2W: Lynn Barlow, Eileen Gehris, Amy Hartman.
New Milford Boro: Warren Kramer, Justin Seamans.
New Milford Twp.: Marilyn Cavanaugh, Karen Grubb, Francis Haslach, Audrey Kerr, James Marcy.
Oakland Boro: Lauren DeWitt.
Oakland Twp.: James Russell.
Rush Twp.: Helen Barlow, Gary Douglas.
Silver Lake Twp.: Tyler Blackman, David Grier, Margaret Miller.
Springville Twp.: Tina Decker, Rita Hallock, Jason Wadlington, Gloria Williams.
Susquehanna Boro 1W: Michael Lindquist, Carrie Lurie, Eva Schwartz.
Susquehanna Boro 2W: Amy Landry.
Thompson Twp.: Claire Baker, Erma Lee, Catherine McNamara.
The Blue Ridge School Board meeting on March 8 had several phases. The Facilities & Grounds Committee began the evening early, hearing updates from Business Manager Loren Small on several items. The projects that the Board is considering for the summer (parking lots, Elementary School entrance, chemistry lab renovation, etc.) are on track so far. Although the district won’t be reimbursed by the state for the work, since it will cost considerably more than $10,000, the district is still required to file a form with the state Department of Education (PDE). Mr. Small told the committee that several contractors had already been around measuring and considering. Bids will be due by April 13. The full Board approved the submission of the form during the business session.
A couple of months ago a parent asked the Committee to consider creating a larger weight room for the district’s athletes; the old weight room was turned into the fitness center some years ago. The Committee’s chair, Harold Empett, said that with so much going on already, the weight room would have to … wait. Mr. Small suggested that, since the architects are around anyway, why not have them consider the weight room while they’re here?
Mr. Small also reported that recent legislation requires the district to create a formal “Safety Committee,” that will have to be certified by PDE. The committee will initially be composed of half administrators and half staff. Its first duty will be to develop a comprehensive safety policy. The committee and safety plan are covered in one of the changes to the policy manual approved later during the business meeting.
A generous group of parents and well-wishers gathered for the board’s business meeting, which opened with a brief concert by the girls of the 5th Grade Select Choir; the boys would be performing the following evening for the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) meeting. Recognizing Music in Our Schools Month, Kristen Small led the group in 3 selections that were warmly appreciated by everyone. Ms. Small thanked the Board for its support of the arts at Blue Ridge.
The girls of the 5th Grade Select Choir led by Kristen Small.
Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski next presented 4 members of a group, under the supervision of Guidance Counselor Jamie Torrence, that offered a PowerPoint presentation on an anti-bullying campaign. The students researched the topic, discussed ideas and approaches, and proposed some ways to mitigate bullying in their school.
Middle School students presenting results of their anti-bullying study.
And High School Principal Scott Jeffery presented two of his outstanding seniors for recognition. Carissa Carpenter and Michael Romano are both members of the National Honor Society and are both headed to college. When Mr. Jeffery later enumerated the newest inductees to the Honor Society, Board member Joel Whitehead suggested he forward the list to local newspapers, to which he readily agreed.
Board President Alan Hall shortened the business meeting somewhat by calling for a vote on all 16 agenda items together. One of the newest board members, Shane Rumage, asked to have two of the items handled separately. On those two items, both lists of appointments to substitute and coaching and activities positions, Mr. Rumage voted No. Later he said that his vote was a “matter of principle,” without explaining what the principle was, although it seems that he objected to one or more individuals on those lists.
Among other routine matters, the Board accepted the resignations of Debbie Starks, and of William VanCott as Junior High Track Coach. William Rupakus will take over the track coaching position. Joseph Kempa was named Head Coach for Track & Field, and accepted a warm welcome in person. Adam Palmatier was also present to accept his welcome as a personal care aide for elementary and middle school special education students.
The Board approved an in-kind donation in the amount of $200 for meals to the Foster Grandparent program for last fall.
Members also approved “affiliation agreements” with Mansfield University (for music only) and East Stroudsburg University. Under these agreements, education students at the universities may participate in “practicums,” or student teaching, as part of their university programs. The affiliation agreements do not include any financial terms. The Board renewed its “Memorandum of Understanding” with Lackawanna College for next year supporting the “dual enrollment” program under which juniors and seniors can take college-level courses at Blue Ridge.
The Board also gave final approval to a large package of policy amendments, covering several aspects of work with students with disabilities; bullying and “cyber-bullying;” evaluation of temporary employees; safety; and service animals in the schools. A policy on “Citizens Advisory Councils” was tabled for the time being.
The Board formally accepted a new budget for the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit #19 (know as “the IU” or NEIU19), which Mr. Whitehead, the Blue Ridge representative to the IU, said earlier was modestly higher than for the current year. The IU is a consortium of school districts through which they share some services.
The Board adopted “A Resolution urging legislative action on school employee pension reform” that calls on the state General Assembly to find another funding source for the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), whose board has recommended steep increases in district contributions to the teachers’ pension program. According to the resolution, the increases would cost Blue Ridge taxpayers an additional $3 million over the next 4 years. The resolution recommends adoption of House bill 2135 or Senate bill 1185, each of which creates of PSERS a hybrid system that might allay the long-term cost issues.
Administrators reminded the Board that the Regional Band event would be making use of the district’s exceptional facilities Thursday through Saturday, March 25-27.
Elementary School Principal Matthew Button noted that Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten registration would begin April 20-22.
Mr. Nebzydoski announced a grant of $50,000 for technology in his Middle School, that will allow all classrooms to be upgraded to the latest equipment. The additional $25,000 for a Classrooms For the Future (CFF) coach for the remainder of this year would allow the staff to take best advantage of the equipment. Coach Nicole Farrell offered a plan for intensive professional development through June of this year.
Superintendent Chris Dyer presented each board member with a binder covering professional development activities from 2008 through the current year. He said that he is hoping for additional grant money to take over from the “stimulus” money used for this purpose so far. All of the administrators remarked on the value of several sessions on autism, including the one offered by the unofficial Parent Council. Mr. Dyer also commented on the student-led “Help Haiti” band program that will augment the contributions already collected for relief following the earthquake in Haiti.
Following the business session, the board heard presentations by each of the principals on their results in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) testing program, a core part of the schools’ evaluation under the federal No Child Left Behind act. The statistics are quite dense, but each of the schools was able to show some progress, particularly in the Middle School, in both reading and math; Mr. Nebzydoski hopes to get his students above the 80% proficient mark. The charts differentiated the levels of “proficient” performance by separating out the “IEP” (special education) population. An enormous volume of information and statistics on PSSA is available at the PDE website that begins at www.education.state.pa.us. For the past several years the Elementary and High Schools have received awards for “Adequate Yearly Performance” (AYP), each covering 2 years.
The principals also summarized the actions they will take to maintain and boost performance. These include “inclusive practices” and “co-teaching;” progress monitoring and “benchmarking;” mentoring; focus on literacy in grades K through 5; increased instruction time; and enrichment through “differentiated education” and VLINC computer-aided instruction in the high school. They hope to make instruction more consistent throughout a student’s career at Blue Ridge, so that improvement can be seen through the grades.
And finally, Laura Brown-Bonner said that her Curriculum Committee would be recommending the hiring of a “Life Skills” teacher. A couple of years ago Blue Ridge added an Emotional Support teacher, to bring that program into the district from the IU. The district used to have Life Skills program as well, but it was abandoned when the number of students dropped. Recently, Life Skills has been covered only by aides. Mark Fallon, Director of Special Education, seconding the recommendation of the committee, said, “we haven’t served some of these lower-level students very well” with a staff of aides alone. “Life Skills” covers instruction of children with the most intractable disabilities, including those suffering with autism.
According to Mr. Fallon, the district at the moment identifies about 5 students who would benefit from such a program. He said that the state allows up to 12 per teacher; the number is more commonly about 8. A Life Skills program would be offered primarily in grades K through 3, although additional support in later grades would be desirable.
Mr. Fallon and Ms. Brown-Bonner said that no local schools offer such a program to students outside of their own districts. Mr. Fallon said that it would cost upwards of $20,000, plus transportation, to help these students outside of the Blue Ridge campus. They said that a dedicated Life Skills teacher (and supporting aide) would also be available to the rest of the staff as students are integrated into the regular curriculum.
With the next year’s budget in preparation, adding staff is always a difficult issue. Hear more at the next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board on March 29, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Several committees have also announced plans to meet that same evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
Corenna Stormes of Dingmans Ferry, PA is accused of using her step brother’s ID, belonging to Joseph Hendershot of Montrose, to open an account with Frontier phone company. The alleged incident occurred on March eighth of two thousand and seven. Due to the statute of limitations, no prosecution is warranted.
On March 10, at 8:32 p.m., Brian McCarthy of Montrose was traveling north on SR 3001 when deer ran in front of his vehicle. While attempting to avoid contact, McCarthy exited the roadway and his Tracker rolled onto its roof off of the roadway facing south. Montrose EMS responded along with Elk Lake Fire. Forces towed the vehicle from the scene. McCarthy was utilizing a seatbelt; it was unknown on the report whether or not he was injured.
On March 6, at 4:00 a.m., a complaint was received from an employee of McDonald’s in Great Bend that a male was passed out in his vehicle in the drive-through lane. Upon arrival on the scene, the trooper encountered Daniel Blackman of Montrose asleep behind the wheel with his vehicle running and in gear. Blackman was taken into custody for DUI and transported to the Endless Mts. Health Care Facility in Montrose for a blood alcohol test. The investigation was continuing as of the time of report.
On March 8 at 8:55 a.m., an unnamed driver operating a Mercury Tracer struck a building on US HWY 11 in Great Bend borough. Little other information was included in the report.
On March 7, at 4:30 a.m., Daniel Eckert, Jr. of Friendsville was traveling south bound on SR 858 when he failed to negotiate a right hand curve in the roadway in Middletown Twp. and exited the roadway off the east berm. The vehicle traveled down an approximately fifteen foot embankment, striking a tree and boulder before rolling over and coming to rest on its wheels. Eckert was transported to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, NY via Little Meadows Ambulance for treatment. He was utilizing a seatbelt; he sustained an injury of severity unknown at the time of report.
On March 4, at 12:22 p.m., Andre Aiken of Bronx was operating a red Acura with NY registration on I81 southbound in Lenox Twp., and was stopped for a motor vehicle violation. Upon making contact with the suspect indicators of criminal activity were present. Permission to search was obtained and the search yielded $43,185 of US Currency. A cash scan was performed by a K-9 trained in narcotics detection. The K-9 hit on the money. The money was seized pending forfeiture proceedings. The suspects, Aiken and passenger Lascells Thompson, also of Bronx, denied knowledge of the money within the vehicle.
On February 21 at 12:05 a.m., George Paterno of Susquehanna was traveling eastbound on TR 641 in Jackson Twp. when his vehicle was driven from the roadway and made impact with a tree. At the time of the collision the roadway was snow covered from a snow weather event. Post impact the vehicle caught fire. A passenger sustained minor injuries from the collision and was transported to Barnes and Kasson Hospital. The vehicle was towed from the scene by French's towing.
On February 23 at 10:50, Patricia Holden of Hallstead was traveling eastbound on SR1010, approximately 2/10 miles south of SR 11 in Great Bend Twp., when her vehicle exited the roadway over an embankment. The roadway was snow covered at the time of the incident. Holden was utilizing a seatbelt; she reported no injuries. The vehicle was towed form the scene by Marv's towing.
On March 2, at 4:14 p.m., an unknown person pumped $30 worth of gas into his vehicle from the Montrose Pump and Pantry, then drove off without paying.
Sometime during the night of March 1 the windshield on a vehicle belonging to Alexandra Taraskus of Montrose was smashed with an unknown object. The incident occurred at The Tire Farm in Birchardville.
On March 2, in the early morning, Richard Wheat of Palestine, TX was traveling northbound on SR 3023 in Lathrop Twp. when his vehicle's right side wheels exited the roadway into a snow bank along the east shoulder. The Ford F150 traveled approximately 210' before traveling down an embankment and rolling over into Tarbett Pond. Passenger Wesley Wymore of Murchison Henderson, and passenger Adam Garza of Anson Jones, TX were able to exit the truck and call for help. Wheat and passenger Keith Fisher of Mineola Wood, TX were removed from the vehicle by members of the Nicholson and Hop Bottom Fire Departments. Wheat, Wymore, and Fisher were transported to Community Medical Center, Scranton, for treatment. The vehicle was removed from the pond by Clark's Towing of Factoryville. It was unknown in the report if the injured parties were utilizing seatbelts; minor injuries were sustained. Garza was not injured; he was utilizing a seatbelt.
On March 6 at 8:43 p.m. a traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle of Robert Mabry of Binghamton. During the stop numerous indicators of criminal activity were observed by troopers. Consent to search the vehicle was requested and granted by Mabry. The search revealed that Mabry was in possession of 270 grams of crack cocaine and $1,620 of suspected drug money. The drugs and the cash were seized and Mabry was taken into custody for drug trafficking. On March 7 at 1:30 a.m. Mabry was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Hollister. Judge Hollister placed Mabry in the Susquehanna County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
On March 7 at 11:20 p.m., damage was done to the front window of the Bottom Bargain Consignment Store in Hop Bottom Borough. Said damage was inflicted by means of the throwing of a projectile through the glass panes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police and reference the above incident. The investigation was ongoing as of the time of report.
On February 28, at 3:55 p.m., Albert Oleksza of Little Meadows allegedly pointed a gun at Mark Lepay of Friendsville, after a dispute about his blocking the roadway with his truck near Lepay's residence. A black pistol was later located, and it was determined that Oleksza did not have a license to carry a firearm. It was determined that the accused was eligible to possess a firearm, but did not possess a license to conceal. The accused was processed and subsequently released to a friend as per rule 519. Charges were filed at District Court 34-3-01 as of the time of report.
On March 3, at 7:12 p.m., Terrence Kennedy of Allentown was traveling south on I81 when a deer ran out in front of his vehicle. Kennedy struck the deer, killing it. No fire or EMS responded. Kennedy and a passenger were utilizing seatbelts; they were not injured. Kozlowski towed the Windstar from the scene.
HIT AND RUN
On March 5, at 10:10 a.m., an unknown driver was traveling north on SR 92 when he or she struck a parked vehicle on the road. The offending driver then continued traveling north.
COMMONWEALTH VEHICLE CRASH
On February 23, at 6:00 a.m., Rebecca Cunfer of Lehighton was traveling westbound on Griffis St. in Montrose when she lost control of her truck while negotiating a left hand curve on a descending grade. The vehicle exited the roadway off the south berm and struck a utility pole guide wire casing damage to the vehicle's left front bumper. Cunfer was not injured and the truck was driven from the scene.
On March 4, at 11:30 a.m., a self propelled crane unit went onto the right shoulder of the roadway on State Hwy 706 in Rush Twp. and struck a telephone pole, causing damage. The phone company, Frontier Communication, was notified by the crane company.
HIT AND RUN
On February 25, at 12:02 a.m., Sheila Resch of Bernhards Bay, NY was following an unknown driver in the right lane of SR 0081 northbound. A third vehicle cut in front of that driver from the left lane and exited the highway from exit 217, causing him or her to swerve to avoid an impact. This vehicle then continued to serve back and forth between the left and right lanes. Resch attempted to avoid this vehicle, but collided in the left lane. The left front corner of her Tracer struck the right rear corner of the other vehicle. Resch brought her unit to a controlled rest north of the point of impact, but the other driver fled the scene without stopping.
Sometime during the night of February 27 a decorative solar light was removed, and a mailbox damaged, at a location off SR 706 near Fairdale.
If you have information regarding any of these incidents, please contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
A new business, a flea market, will soon be starting up in Oakland Township. At their March 9 meeting, the supervisors reviewed information to pass on to the business owner. The county Planning Commission had been contacted; no building permits would be required unless a building is constructed. As there is an existing driveway on the property in question, a new driveway permit would not be required. Portable restroom facilities are permitted, but the township must be furnished with copies of receipts for regular maintenance. And, sale of food would require permits from the state Department of Agriculture.
The supervisors also discussed another inquiry that they had received from an individual interested in opening up a coffee shop in the township. This, too, would require permits from the Department of Agriculture as well as meet any planning commission requirements. Any construction would also require the necessary permits.
In other business, the supervisors went over a list of codes violations; the property owners were sent letters, and, in one case, charges will be filed.
A meeting was set with the Sewage Enforcement Officer to discuss violations.
A spring road review will be conducted soon and estimates of repairs drawn up.
The process to adopt a (road) weight limit ordinance is in progress.
And, as with every other municipality in Pennsylvania, the supervisors are concerned that some version of House Bill 1500 will become law in the near future, and are exploring the possibilities to obtain police protection for the township. At least one supervisor has been attending the regional meetings with Susquehanna, Hallstead, and Great Bend Township, as well as meeting with Lanesboro and Oakland to discuss combining with them for coverage, and will continue to do so.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m.
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