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Several Peck Hill neighbors attended the June 3 New Milford Borough meeting to air their grievances in a public forum. Their complaints surrounded the activities of one resident who, they alleged, rented substandard shacks to occupants, stockpiled garbage, created his own roads, and altered existing roads and landscaping in a manner which caused flooding below. It was reported that he drove up the hill at excessive speeds, and those present inquired as to what the speed limit on that road was. When it was answered that, unless posted otherwise, it would revert to the standard 35 miles per hour, one woman related an anecdote of this particular man claiming he couldn't make it up the hill at that reduced speed. Certain of his tenants, some of whom allegedly live in sheds officially termed storage, also exceed the speed limit, allow their dogs to run wild, and greet their neighbors with flagrant disrespect and profanity. The visitors expressed concern over the children in the area, over the safety of their pets, over the lack of running water and sewage hookups in the residences, and over the large amounts of water running down the hill due to the filling in of diversion ditches, etcetera. They suggested several remediation strategies: that a cop patrol up there more frequently, that speed limit signs be posted, that private owners of half of the abandoned road fence it off, etc. They wondered why he didn't get in trouble.
Mayor Joe Taylor fielded many of these complaints, stating that the borough was working on the situation, but encouraging those present to file formal paper complaints. He even offered to deliver the complaint forms to those present personally. It was responded that they could paper the walls of the council room, so many would be returned. Mr. Taylor said that he had complained about the vegetation taken off the hill, which he blamed for part of the water problem, and DEP had gone up to investigate this. There also used to be a sluice pipe, he said, which was taken out by the resident, and the borough was addressing how to rectify the subsequent drainage issues, both because the residents of that road are taxpayers and because it is damaging the Borough's road. He assured those present that if they were persistent they could get some satisfaction. Council members reiterated this sentiment, stating that the Township's Sewage Enforcement Officer had been sent out to investigate, and the Codes Enforcement Officer was to be involved. The municipal authority had the right to investigate, COG could be contacted, and when the visitors said he was the only one who hadn't moved his mailboxes when asked, it was advised that those present go to the postal authority as well. The road cannot be fenced off, as no person living on it can be denied access to it, even after abandonment. However, the council did agree to assign the road the same speed limit as Church Street, a modest 15 miles per hour. The ditches would be cleaned out. The residents thanked the council and Mayor for listening, and were, for their part, encouraged to return and to bring photographic proof of whatever they could.
This led to talk of four wheelers in town, as they travel down that hill. They also, others at the meeting complained, travel all over the town pulling wheelies, making noise, and almost causing accidents. It was proposed that it is only a matter of time until someone gets into a fatal accident. Someone had spoken to a state trooper about it, who responded that they would not chase them because if there were an accident the police would be held liable.
A letter was read from PennDOT, asking for a meeting with borough and railroad representatives to discuss options regarding the current Montrose Street bridge and arch culvert. The work, however, will not begin this year.
The mayor gave a report about the park gazebo flooring. He reported that they had fixed the flooring for now, but that with a lack of proper air circulation it will only rot again. Also, he said, the stringers would rot out as well if something were not done. He recommended putting on composite flooring, arguing that it would be much less expensive in the long run than replacing stringers. There was some discussion regarding the cost, and where the money could come from. Vicky Drake recommended, if the current floor repairs could last a little while, that it be held off on until the next budget is created, and factored in.
Eleanor Lempke, Karen Gudykunst, and various honor society students were recognized for their work at putting flowers in front of the borough building (Eleanor) and the park (Karen and the students). Mayor Taylor also put flowers in front of the stone going into town, and mentioned a few businessmen who had donated supplies for this.
Vicky Drake gave a presentation on the parks and recreation grant, responding to a request at a former meeting that she appear. She clarified the incorrect notion, receiving significant treatment at that meeting, that as the grant was for only $80,000 the borough might become responsible for coming up with the remaining half of the $160,000 project. First of all, she held up the grant agreement, already signed by the council, and pointed out that there was nothing else to sign. The project, which included rehabilitating flood damage, putting the walking track back in, creating a new concession stand and storage building, and erecting lamp posts, had first of all been liberally budgeted. She said that much of it was probably marked up by 20%, as projects were bid with the knowledge that the work might be done a ways out and they were covering for economic increases. Also, the FEMA/PEMA work cost less than estimated. Even were the project to come to full cost, however, she took a sheet and went through the math, demonstrating that while only $80,000 was received from DCNR, the committee had $45,000 cash on hands and had received donations of either money or service for most of the rest of the cost. The blueprints were done for free by Jody Stanley, her husband had done the site plan, and Todd Schmidt had agreed to serve as the project's general contractor. She was serving as the consultant herself. The donation of all of this work, it was estimated, saved the project at least $20,000, leaving only $15,000 cost left. Tom Delongo offered to use his skid steer and auger for the project, so that the committee won't have to pay to lay wire, etc. The Triplets have agreed to give $3,000 for the cause, and the Little League may donate something. This leaves $3,500, which it is thought could be raised through the Midtown Festival and the sale of engraved pavement stones for the patio on the site. This is not even factoring in the donations of other local businessmen, who have offered to try and help get materials, etc. for free. After this explanation the council thanked Mrs. Drake for coming, and gave her permission to send in a form to request half of the grant money.
The Midtown Festival, planned for the Saturday after the meeting, was discussed. Events included a pie judging contest, a Chinese auction, venders, and a chicken barbeque.
There is a public hearing with Berkheimer to discuss the potential wage tax scheduled for June 23 at 7 p.m. It’s an “information gathering” meeting only. Mr. Ainey asked again what the council’s intentions were, saying that the only two reasons to enact a new tax would be to shift the burden or to create revenue. It was answered that the council is looking to maybe shift the burden away from the elderly (with rising property taxes) and to the working class, many of whom already pay the taxes to another municipality. The council once again reiterated, however, that this does not mean that the borough is going ahead with the plan.
Among other things, the Great Bend Borough Council meeting on June 3 was about celebrations and sewers. The little town is looking forward to a major event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its official establishment. “Great Bend Days” will take place on Friday and Saturday, July 16-17, is being organized by the Great Bend Fire Company, and will feature a parade on Saturday evening, beginning at 8 o’clock, followed by fireworks. Fireman and Council member Mike VanGorden said that the Fire Company will be organizing a “bucket brigade” starting about noon on Saturday. He is also urging residents with any historical memorabilia to contact him or his wife.
As is his wont, Great Bend Mayor Jim Riecke, noted a successful and moving Memorial Day weekend in town. He commended the “great job” done by “everybody who was involved,” singling out especially the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fire Company, and the Boy Scouts. He said that the local ambulance service was on the job, taking care of 5 people who passed out during the parade.
Councilman Jerry MacConnell has his own wonts, and edging sidewalks on Main Street is one of his favorites. He reported that several residents have already cleaned up their own areas, and is trying to contact a person who bid $2,500 to do the job for the Borough. He has urged the employment of another worker, and Council went into executive session briefly to discuss that.
Another of Mr. MacConnell’s favorite issues is “water on Washington Street,” a long-standing agenda item resulting from the flooding of June 2006. The Borough is preparing to replace a pipe in the area that will show how serious the town is about the potential recurrence of the problem. Council is trying to convince PennDOT and federal highway officials that the water comes from a sluice under the interstate, and that they have a responsibility to help out. He has drafted yet another letter to politicians, but the election-year situation may further delay any resolution.
The Borough is still pursuing the acquisition of playground equipment for Greenwood Park through a vendor who has promised information that will help the Borough apply for a grant to fund the project. Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan is also still looking for replacements for some of the swings in the parks that will meet regulations and aren’t too expensive. (Some asked why a rope and a tire aren’t good enough any more.) And the VFW will be helping to expand their eponymous park into the adjacent area known as the “Benedict” property, acquired by the town following the flood of 2006.
Ms. Guinan reported that the Area Agency on Aging that supports the Blue Ridge Senior Center operated by Barnes-Kasson Hospital at the Borough Building, has received a grant to install a small greenhouse at the building for seniors who like gardening. She is also developing a computerized list of addresses in the Borough, to be used first to send a mailing urging all residents to put up signs with house numbers so that emergency personnel can more quickly find someone in trouble.
As a Great Bend Township Supervisor, Ms. Guinan has been active with a group that has been studying the creation of a regional police force. She reported that she was the only one to attend a meeting scheduled for late May, and that the initiative seems to be collapsing, with the resignation of the committee’s chairperson. The Borough Council will get together again on Thursday, June 10, to discuss the issue further amongst themselves.
Council heard a detailed report from Bret Jennings on the sewer situation, in particular, the finances of the Hallstead-Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority (HGBJSA). It seems that the authority is beginning to have difficulty paying its bills, at least in part because the New Milford Municipal Authority - which joined the HGBJSA a couple of years ago when the sewer system was extended down Route 11 - hasn’t been paying its assessed fees. The New Milford unit was given a special reduced rate at the beginning, but since rates have increased, New Milford has declined to pay new, higher fees. Mr. Jennings said that New Milford is presently in arrears to the tune of some $70,000, and that missing money is putting a financial strain the system, which is already undergoing a major upgrade; the situation is also making it difficult for the HGBJSA to borrow. He said that the dispute is being discussed by attorneys from both sides, but he would favor a “dispute resolution” service as a quicker alternative; he said that he thinks New Milford “is using their lawyer as a stalling tactic.”
As summer settles on the great bend in the Susquehanna River, mark your calendar to celebrate the town’s sesquicentennial. You can also watch your Council in action at its next scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 1, beginning at 7:00 p.m. All meetings are held in the Borough building at Elizabeth and Franklin Streets.
Temple I. and Ann Marie Smith to Temple I. and Ann Marie Smith, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Jason J. (by sheriff) and Nichole M. (by sheriff) Gregerson to Pro Ko Properties, Inc. and Bear Creek Properties, Inc., in Jessup Township for $97,920.00.
Charlotte L. Irwin (by atty) to William and Vicky St. Clair, in Rush Township for $35,000.00.
Brenda A. Rockwell-Halesky (NKA) Brenda A. Rockwell to Scott A. Halesky, in Thompson Borough for $73,000.00.
Marie Cookson, Michael and Tessie (estate) Mechock and Beverly Hosch to Marie Cookson, Michael Mechock and Beverly Hosch, in Forest City for one dollar.
Katherine E. Brogan to Jeffrey D. and Carol J. Lau, in Herrick Township for $49,000.00.
John George Charles (estate) and William C. Chamberlain to William C. Chamberlain, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
William C. and Catherine Chamberlain to William C. and Matthew J. Chamberlain, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Earl R. Forwood (estate) to John L. and Kristie J. Congdon, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Jay W. Colwell of Susquehanna vs. Kelley Colwell of Charlotte, Nicholson, married 2004.
Joshua Singer vs. Nicole Singer, both of Hallstead, married 2001.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:03 a.m. on June 4, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Erika L. Back, Harold R. Bensley, Tonya S. Birchard, David Shawn Blaisure, Devin S. Brewer, Howard A. Burns, III, Frank J. Deriancho, Deborah L. Drish, David J. Fischer, Racheal L. Frisbie, George Graham, David Haines, Jr., Ceejay B. Halstead, James Karhnak, Erik E. Krisovitch, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Matthew S. Miller, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Anthony E. Olszewski, Sheri Pabon, James E. Purse, Arthur D. Quick, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., David J. Shiner, Richard D. Shoemaker, Duane Spencer, Garrett M. Thomas (aka Staudinger), Justin Thompson, Christina L. Trayes, Keith W. Vroman, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Karl D. Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
Gibson Barracks Report
On June 2, at 5:12 p.m., Mark Maroney of Susquehanna was traveling south on SR 171 when he failed to negotiate a curve, went off the right edge of the road and sideswiped a utility pole. The Ford F-150 XLT was disabled and needed to be towed from the scene. Maroney was uninjured. PSP was assisted at the scene by Susquehanna Fire and Ambulance.
HIT AND RUN
On June 1, at 3:16 p.m., an unnamed female driving a Dodge Caravan was parked in a parking stall at the Blue Ridge High School in New Milford. When the woman returned after going in to get her child she noticed that the vehicle was damaged. She stated that a small red car was parked next to her.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CRASH
On May 24 at 1:27 p.m., Allen Lasco was attempting to turn left onto Township Road 400 in Springville Twp. from a private road owned by the Russo family but leased to Cabot Oil when his Kenworth Y600 truck rolled over onto its side. Lasco was taken by helicopter to Geisinger Hospital for further evaluation. He was utilizing a seatbelt and sustained an injury of unknown severity. The truck had considerable damage to the tractor and was towed by the company. Springville Volunteer Fire Company responded to provide assistance. PSP weight and inspection team was called. Numerous citations were filed to the company and operator at District Court 34-3-01.
THEFT FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE
On May 31, sometime around 3 p.m., a cell phone, blue and silver in color, was allegedly stolen from a car belonging to Dawne Henry of Montrose, while parked on Keech Road in Rush township.
PSP Gibson is investigating two burglaries in Herrick Twp. A small red SUV type vehicle with a loud exhaust was seen leaving the scene at Arlo's Country Store with two occupants. One suspect is described as a small framed individual wearing a light colored t-shirt, approximately 5'-5'3" tall. The other burglary occurred at ESG SR 371 in that town.
On May 28, between 1:30 and 1:50 a.m., one or more arsonist(s) attempted to burn a residence in Gibson Twp., belonging to Ryan and Christie Krupovich. An ignitable liquid was ignited alongside the occupied residence. There were no injuries and damage was minimal. Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154 or the Troop R Fire Marshal Unit at (570) 963-4323.
SCATTERING RUBBISH / CRIMINAL MISCHIEF
On May 22, at approximately 1 p.m., Joseph Curry noticed that tires were being dumped on his property. Curry went to confront the persons responsible, but when he got out of his car and went to the rear of the perpetrator(s) truck to get the plate number the latter drove off, hitting his car. In all, 38 tires had been dumped. The driver of the truck is described as a white male in his twenties with a shaved head. The truck is a 1980's model Ford F-Series, gray in color, with rust on it. The tailgate was missing and it had no registration plate attached.
On May 20, between 7:15 a.m. and 3:10 p.m., a juvenile male from Nicholson, PA discovered that someone had cut the power steering belt on his truck. The vehicle was parked in the Mt. View School parking lot at the time, in Harford Twp.
On May 22, at 11:48 a.m., Justin Lee of Susquehanna was traveling west on Page's Road in Jackson Township. As he was traveling straight, Lee began to text on his cell phone, subsequently drifting to the right and hitting an embankment. The vehicle rolled over approximately 3-4 times, coming to a rest on its wheels facing a northerly direction. PSP was assisted at the scene by Thompson Volunteer Fire Company, Ambulance, and Fire Police. Lee suffered minor cuts and scrapes due to the use of his seatbelt. He was treated at the scene by EMS personnel and refused transportation to the hospital. Charges for the crash were issued at the scene.
THEFT FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE
On May 23, between 1 and 8 p.m., a green or blue tool box with miscellaneous hand tools, valued at $300, was stolen from a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado belonging to Arthur Stanley of New Milford, while it was parked at the Tractor Supply store.
On May 13, at 9:34 a.m., Ira Smith of Newark, NY was stopped while operating a Ford Fusion with New York Registration, for speeding. Indicators of criminal activity were present. Consent to search was requested and granted. The search yielded $5,000 of US currency. A k-9 trained in narcotics detection was summoned to conduct a cash scan. The scan was performed, with the k-9 hitting on the currency. The money was seized pending state forfeiture through the attorney general's office.
On May 22, between 12:01 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., an aqua, wooden patio chair was stolen off the porch of Brandy Price in Herrick Township.
On May 21, between 3 and 9 p.m., 65 percocet were stolen from the home of a Randolph Road resident in Great Bend Township.
Between May 2 and 15, at 5:00 p.m., 2 ATV's were taken from a place on Stevens Point Road in Harmony Township. The two vehicles belonged to David Reitz of Bucks County. One is described as a 1988 Yamaha Big Bear 350 4x4, blue in color, and the other as a blue 1988 Yamaha Moto 4 2x4.
Between the 17th and 18th of May, during the evening or afternoon, night, or morning, a blue genny 17 hp air compressor was stolen from a pad site near SR 29 in Springville Township. The item was the property of the Baker Corporation in Swedesboro, New Jersey apparently.
If you have information regarding any of these items please contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
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