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The business meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board got off to a late start on September 13. The unusually large crowd waited nearly a half hour for Board members to return from an executive session that Board President Alan Hall said was for personnel and legal purposes, without further elaboration.
Once the meeting did get under way, everyone seemed upbeat with the start of the new school year already behind them. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski described the opening as “excellent;” not to be outdone, High School Principal Scott Jeffery said it was “wonderful.” And brand-new Superintendent Robert McTiernan simply said “thanks for the warm and professional welcome.”
Alan Wilmarth was recognized at the start of the business meeting representing C.A.F.E. (Creative Adventures For Education), the local volunteer group that organizes and conducts the annual 6th-grade trip to Washington, DC. Mr. Wilmarth once again highlighted the “respectful, dignified and attentive” behavior of the youngsters on the trip, recalling an incident on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the evening when the class spontaneously began signing the national anthem. Mr. Wilmarth thanked the Board for its continued support, and accepted the thanks and warm applause from the Board for C.A.F.E.’s contribution to the schools and the community.
Mr. Jeffery then introduced his senior standouts of the month, Ben Hepler and Rebekah Harris. Mr. Hepler himself listed his activities and accomplishments, heavily focused on the environment; he said he likes “to be outside.” Ms. Harris was playing a volleyball match and couldn’t attend, but Mr. Jeffery ran down a long list of this class president’s activities, and her objective of biomedical or chemical engineering at Princeton, Rochester or Wilkes. Both seniors are members of the National Honor Society.
Once into the business agenda, Mr. Hall disposed of most of its 23 points in a single motion. One item, the appointment of a new High School English teacher, was tabled because the Personnel Committee wanted more time to review the large number of qualified candidates. Among the others:
The Board approved an agreement with New Story to “provide educational services for the 2010-2011 school year.” New Story operates a group of state-licensed private schools. According to their web site, “New Story is comprised of schools and supports that help children with the most serious and/or complex educational and behavioral challenges.” Public school districts contract with New Story to supplement special-education services.
The Board approved a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Trehab “to provide services to In-School Youth under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998.” Trehab is a Susquehanna-County-based social services organization. WIA provides a structure and some funding to help develop workforce skills in cooperation with local industry.
The Board also renewed a “Student Assistance Agreement” with Trehab. Under this program, students identified with drug and/or alcohol problems can be referred for counseling and other services. The 25-year-old Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) “is designed to assist school personnel in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student’s success.”
The Board revised some policies, including admissions policies for Kindergarten and Pre-K; the computation of class rankings, particularly for honors and advanced placement programs; and time-clock procedures for classified staff.
The Board accepted the resignation of Tricia Gilboy as High School Student Council Advisor. Ms. Gilboy’s letter of resignation describes an uncommonly lengthy list of Ms. Gilboy’s other responsibilities to which she has added teaching a class for Keystone College this year.
The Board adopted a calendar for the Big Brother/Big Sister program for the current school year, and appointed Krista Treible as school “liaison” for the popular program that brings together High School and Elementary School students.
The Board approved an agreement with Contour Construction “regarding paving issues during 2010 summer projects.” According to Mr. Hall, the district is not satisfied with the paving done this summer and is withholding about $40,000 from the contract until the shortcomings are rectified. Under the agreement, the paving will be re-examined next Spring, and any deficiencies corrected next Summer.
The Board redesignated the Dean of Students, Lynn Parker, as “Discipline/Student Safety Coordinator,” to conform more closely with state regulations, and approved his authority to issue citations for disorderly conduct at the recommendation of the local District Magistrate.
The Curriculum Committee met before the general meeting under the leadership of Board member Laurie Brown-Bonner to consider proposals to add staff. Special Education Director Mark Fallon made a strong case for adding speech and language pathology staff, as well as a social worker and “crisis counselor.”
Mr. Fallon said that the current speech therapist is overloaded, and the student population is “underserved.” (Curiously, he later said that he wanted to avoid use of the word “therapy.”) Questioned closely by Mr. McTiernan, he said that Blue Ridge currently has about 60 students with speech-related IEPs (Individual Education Plans), with nearly 30 other students served on a less formal basis. Mr. McTiernan noted that that would mean as many as 10% of the entire student body is getting speech-therapy services.
With the budget getting tighter every month, the Board and administration are trying to find ways to cut without impacting service and education. Since the district can apply for state reimbursement only for students with IEPs, perhaps more of those with needs can be “identified” and made eligible. Mr. Fallon reported later that the number of special education students had decreased by 12 over the prior year. He offered several options for providing the extra staff. Another full-time speech pathologist might cost as much as $67,000 per year. Contracting for the services from the IU (the Northeastern Intermediate Instructional Unit #19) would cost about $54,000 per year. Hiring at the part-time substitute rate would be the cheapest option, but it would probably be difficult to find anyone to take such a position. In the end, Mr. Fallon and the committee said they would prefer to hire private contractors, which might cost as much as $44,000 per year.
The committee is also recommending adding a social worker/crisis counselor to the staff. Currently the district contracts with the IU for such services for 2 days per week. Mr. Fallon says that the workload has “almost doubled” with the addition of a second “emotional support” class, that autism has become more prominent, and that other comparable schools support such staff. He said there could be some legal liability for underserving those with needs. Contracting with the IU costs about $30,000 per year. A full-time staff member in this role would cost the district approximately $67,000 per year. Privately contracted services could cost nearly $100,000. Mr. Fallon said that with a full-time staff member, some costs could be recovered through the School-Based ACCESS program billing system.
Mr. Hall said he would refer the committee’s recommendations to the Board’s Personnel and Finance Committees for further review. He has said that additions to the staff in one area may require offsetting cuts elsewhere. He reported on meetings in Harrisburg, and the fact that the state has already cut about $27,000 from the funds the district had expected at the beginning of the fiscal year in July.
He also said that with moves in the legislature to produce revenue through a natural gas extraction “severance” tax in the Marcellus shale area - including Susquehanna County - the district’s effort will be to try to get more of the revenue directed to local coffers rather than to the state’s general fund. On the other hand, Mr. Hall doesn’t expect much of anything to be done in Harrisburg before the first of next year.
The Facilities and Grounds Committee will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, September 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m. to review proposals by Johnson Controls for a major energy conservation project. The next scheduled meeting of the full School Board will be on Monday, September 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (usually preceded at 6:30 by other committee meetings). All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
Superintendent Bronson Stone gave the Susquehanna Community School Board some good news at their September 15 meeting. The district received its annual test score “report card” from the state department of education, with some outstanding results. In reading, three of the seven grades tested achieved marks above the state average. In math, six of the seven grades were above the state average, and in science, all three of the grades tested scored above the state average. And, eleventh grade test scores in writing exceeded the state average. One area, fifth grade writing, needs improvement, Mr. Stone said, but the faculty has been hard at work to improve those scores. The detailed results of the “report card” are posted on the district's website.
Students have been undergoing assessments, to track their current levels as well as any regression that may have occurred over the summer. Mr. Stone said that parents are encouraged to keep their children physically and mentally active over the summer vacation.
Mr. Stone commended the maintenance staff for their contributions to a smooth transition into the new school year, with several construction projects having been completed during the summer break.
The district's open house was well attended, with approximately 67% of students' families taking part.
The district will be hosting their annual night football game on October 1, and after school tutoring is set to begin on October 1 and run through the end of April.
The (local) audit of the 2009-2010 year is in process, and transportation was said to be running smoothly.
There is some concern that some state reimbursements are slow to be approved, but allowances are being made in the budget to cover the gap should the funds be delayed considerably longer than had been expected.
The board approved a percentage based grade scale conversion table to a four-point scale. Many colleges prefer students' grades to be on a four-point scale rather than a percentage, and the table allows for consistent conversion. For example, a grade of 79 would be a 2.2 grade point average, and a 100 grade would be a 4.0.
Other items approved by the board were as follows.
- A TREHAB Student Assistance Agreement for the 2010-11 school year.
- Gifted Student Screening, Identification and Placement Procedures.
- Homebound instruction for two twelfth grade students.
- Transportation drivers for the 2010-11 school year.
- Tenure for teachers Richard Emmons and Andrea Sanders.
- Substitute personnel for the 2010-11 school year.
- A leave of approximately 45 days, beginning October 12, for Jill Holleran.
- Hiring of the following for the 2010-11 school year: after school tutoring coordinators Carolyn Homer, Debra Stone, Jennifer Rockwell, Daniel Maurer and Stephen Nayduch; scorer/timer/ticket takers Jennifer Lawson, Raymond Testa, Jr., Richard Emmons, Lawrence Tompkins, Justine Ord, William Szili, Debra Benson, Debra White, Robin Carmody and Carol Bushong.
- Two volunteers, Fran Lipshutz, Life Skills and Autistic Support Class and Shawna Alleman, Marching Band.
- A HVAC/refrigeration service agreement with L.J. Bogumil, Inc.
- The resignation of Dennise Yankauskas, Junior High Girls' Basketball Assistant Coach.
- Hiring Ingrid Hower, 45-day elementary teacher.
- The customary list of activities and fundraisers.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
Robin Bebla (by sheriff) to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, in New Milford Borough for $2,742.55.
Henry John (AKA) H. J. Tallardy to Gerald B. Franceski, in Clifford Township for $28,000.00.
Ann L. Noble to Jean Levenson, in Silver Lake Township for $500,000.00.
William Dahm to Hill Billie Natural Gas LLC, in Rush Township for $300,000.00.
Ricky A. and Lisa A. Burger to James and Vesta Adriance, in Dimock Township for $91,400.00.
James and Vesta Adriance to Ralph Bunnell, in Dimock Township for $96,400.00.
Vincent J. Pagano (estate) to Susquehanna Community Development Association, in Susquehanna for $37,000.00.
Leonello J. (AKA) Leo J., Jr. (AKA) Leo, Jr. (estate), Leo and Nicole Distefano to Leo Distefano, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
John P. and Laura A. Watts to Kim E. and Anne Bode, in Brooklyn Township for $206,000.00.
William J. Cooksley (rev trust) to William J., III and Alan B. Cooksley, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Anna Elizabeth Kaufman to Brian W. and Melissa N. Kaufman, in Clifford Township for $35,000.00.
Robert F., Wendy A., Mark D., Kristine R., Scott C. and Carol Cross to Robert F. and Wendy A. Cross, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Johanna H. and Thomas Smith to Susan Manley, in Lenox Township for $106,000.00.
Henry L. and Mary S. Spering to Henry L. and Mary S. Spering, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Cletus R. Beam (estate) to Gary A. and Mary Linda Slick, in Lenox and Lathrop Townships for $94,400.00.
Cletus R. Beam (estate) to Emily, Pamela J., William and Mary Hocking and Gary A. and Mary Linda Slick, in Lathrop and Lenox Townships for one dollar.
Carole K. Rose, Christine K. Lathrop and Kathleen K. Pascoe to Carole K. Rose, Christine K. Lathrop and Kathleen Pascoe, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Carole K. Rose, Christine K. Lathrop and Kathleen K. Pascoe to Carole K. Rose, Christine K. Lathrop and Kathleen K. Pascoe, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Timothy D. and Dayna M. Hornick to Timothy C. and Jayne M. Stoll, in Choconut Township for $389,900.00.
Quarles Living Trust (by trustee) to Gerald and Rebecca Evans, in New Milford Township for $145,000.00.
Patricia A. Wilber to Pamela E. and Blake A. Kelly, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Mary Judith McGuane (estate) to Judith Ann Ficarro, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Theresa N. Hartz to Theresa N. and Brian Hartz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Leo G. Peters to John C. Lackey, in Little Meadows Borough for $145,000.00.
James Morcom to Gerald and Margaret Kibble, in Lathrop Township for $40,000.00.
Bethel I. (AKA) Bethel (by atty) and Charles S. Dodge, Cheryl A. Wiles, Susan O. Ball, Reid D. Carter and Jane Pierson to Charles S. Dodge, Cheryl A. Wiles, Susan O. Ball and Reid D. Carter, in Auburn and Rush Townships for one dollar.
Barbara B. Evans to Aaron P. Rockwell and Alyssa A. Dooley, in Harmony Township for $100,000.00.
Kevin D. McGee and Melodie R. Huston to Philip G. and Kathleen Hunt, in Liberty Township for $148,936.00.
Patrick M. Welk of Old Forge vs. Nicole L. Welk of Lenoxville, married 2005.
Norma J. Brewer of Binghamton vs. Robin D. Brewer of Tallahassee, married 2008.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:30 a.m. on September 17, 2010.
Erika L. Back, Keith Bryant Beach, Harold R. Bensley, David Shawn Blaisure, Ryan T. Brooks, Christopher J. Clark, Deborah L. Drish, Robert W. Evans, Jonathan Fathi, Shawn Fiorentino, David J. Fischer, Jason Gardner, David Haines, Jr., Keith G. Harms, Anthony D. Hibbard, Sr., James Karhnak, Erik E. Krisovitch, Casey J. Lawton, Joshua S. Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Jennifer M. Miller, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Brian T. Phillips, Arthur D. Quick, David J. Shiner, Richard D. Shoemaker, Sinon C. Smith, Sr., Duane Spencer, 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.
The New Milford Township meeting on September 15 ran much according to its wont. Only three visitors were in attendance, one of them being press. Also at the meeting were supervisors Don Shibley and Jack Conroy, and secretary Julene Graham.
It was announced that the supervisors were working with the sewage enforcement officer to obtain and retain all recent and future sewer permits issued within the township. The originals would stay with the SEO, but the township would hold a copy. Jerry Bevans wondered aloud why the supervisors had followed Mr. Briechle's advice, and not retained a copy in the first place. Mr. Conroy explained that regardless, they had checked with PSATS, who had told them it would be alright either way. The supervisors had decided then that a copy should stay in the township. One reason this was a good idea, it was discussed, would be in case the SEO’s files were ever destroyed.
Someone asked how the sewer project at Page's Lake was progressing. Mr. Shibley said that the supervisors hadn't heard anything about the matter in probably six months.
Mr. Bevans asked a question about the purchase of a loader. Mr. Conroy explained that they had procured a case loader, at $73,000 in trade. This was to replace the old one, which Mr. Conroy explained, when asked, had been used a lot since its purchase in 2004 and had reached the point where it either had to be traded or the township would take a loss.
The success of the sock hop was questioned. Ken Bondurant replied that it went pretty well, and had been rather well received. He said that it was hoped it could be run again next year, though perhaps a different date would be considered, maybe earlier than September.
It was stated that the water had washed out the pavement where someone would turn to go up to Franklin Hill. In response to a comment about the danger of this site, the supervisors responded that it had been filled in.
Mr. Bevans asked if there were any speed limit signs on dirt roads, as his concern was for the trucks speeding on them. Mr. Shibley answered that they did put signs out, but enforcing them was another matter.
The meeting broke up around fifteen minutes after it began. Everyone parted amicably.
During a brief Forest City Regional School Board meeting held September 13, a question was posed about what the school did in response to a tornado warning issued earlier in the day. Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella responded that students were moved to the hallways for about seventeen minutes, until the danger passed. “All went very well,” Vadella commented, stating that he was pleased with the way the faculty handled the situation.
Parents of one to six year-olds should note that in cooperation with Penn State University, the Susquehanna and Forest City School Districts will be hosting a program called “Discipline is Not a Dirty Word.” The program will be held in two parts, with the first session on Thursday, October 14 and the second on Thursday, October 21; both sessions will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Topics covered will include discipline principles, child growth, development and behavior, as well as strategies that parents can use to manage stress and care for themselves. Although the program is free, registration is required; interested individuals should call the Penn State Cooperative Extension at (570) 278-1158.
Vadella noted that Keystone College has dropped its dual enrollment fee to seventy-five dollars per class. Previously, high school students received a discounted rate of seventy-five dollars per credit.
Financial assistance was also received through Farm to School Pilot Grant funds awarded to Forest City Regional as part of Project PA. The funds must be used to promote farming and will serve Forest City kindergarten and pre-K students. Expenditures will include field trips to area farms, purchasing supplies for gardening activities and purchasing food for nutrition education in the classroom.
The tiny Harford township office was jammed on the evening of September 14. More than 20 people crammed the room, taking up all the available chairs, and then some. Most of them were there to talk about the roads, and the choking dust, and most of those were sure they had the solution.
The meeting lasted more than 2 hours, more than 90 minutes of it a sometimes rancorous debate about the condition of the township’s roads and what to do about them. Roadmaster and Supervisor Terry VanGorden, and his colleague Garry Foltz, put up a brave defense, outnumbered but unbowed. In sum, they said they were doing the best they could with the available resources.
But first the Supervisors had less controversial business to conduct. As the Supervisors’ unofficial primary spokesman, Mr. Foltz did most of the talking.
During discussion of the Treasurer’s report, an observer asked about the “infrastructure” account. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that the township borrowed $500,000 interest free from the state to help pay for the replacement of the bridge over Butler Creek on Pennay Hill Road that was washed out in the flood in the summer of 2006. The Butler Creek bridge project was fully reimbursed from federal and state emergency management funds.
Part of the original intent of the loan was also to help pay for reconstruction of the sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake, but the Supervisors have not been inclined to use it for that since it would have to be repaid out of tax revenues. Mr. Foltz said that he was still pursuing grant money in Harrisburg. “We’re not leaving it die,” he said. But he is hoping to find a way to do the work without building a temporary bypass that was a large part of the $200,000 estimated for the project by the engineering company contracted to design it.
There were also questions about the condition of the sewer budget. Mr. Foltz said that the sewer fund balance (end-of-year surplus) has been declining by about $7,000 per year for the past several years, even including the rate increase that took effect two years ago. He said that residents of neighboring communities with comparable systems are in some cases paying nearly twice the Harford rate.
Mr. Foltz said that the sewer plant needs a new main control system, estimated to cost upwards of $10,000. He said the township has applied for another grant to help refurbish the 15-year-old plant. Because of increasing costs and the aging of the system, he said more revenue will be needed: “We’re going to be forced to raise the rates again.” In the meantime, the Supervisors expect to pay for the new controls from a gas lease bonus, and they decided to advertise for bids for the controls.
Last month the Supervisors signed leases with Cabot Oil covering the three properties owned by the township. One of those is where the sewer plant is located, on Burns Road. The share of the total value of the lease bonus accounted for by that property is just over $10,000. As Mr. Foltz said, it “will take all of the gas money for that property” to pay for the new controls.
Mr. Foltz also reported on a painful prospect for the township’s 5 employees. Even with new federal health care legislation, the cost of covering the employees is anticipated to rise by about 20% next year. The Supervisors - two of whom are also employees - decided to pass along the entire increase to the employees themselves, presumably to spare the taxpayers. Even at that, the Supervisors also decided to increase the employee deductible from $500 to $1,000, to keep rates as low as possible.
Ms. Furney reported the receipt of a letter announcing that Southwestern Energy has applied for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to draw water from Martin’s Creek between Brooklyn and Harford Townships. The letter wasn’t specific, but Mr. Foltz said it appeared that the location would be in the Alford area, perhaps the old Alford Pond.
With the increase in natural gas drilling activity in the immediate area, Mr. Foltz urged anyone holding a lease to read it carefully and to stand firm. At least two drill pads appear to be under construction in the township already.
The heavy equipment used in gas exploration and exploitation will add traffic and burden to the township’s roads. And the roads were what most of the people attending the meeting were there to discuss. Using phrases like “pathetic, “ and “the roads are terrible,” among others, the dry summer has residents eating a lot of dust and pretty angry about it, too.
Mr. Foltz outlined the measures the township has taken, and the methods that have been tried, to control dust on the township’s 67-some miles of dirt roads. He said that calcium chloride “just doesn’t last.” He said the township has some 400 tons of asphalt shavings from a reconstruction of the Interstate that might help, but can’t find a way to get it ground up into a spreadable form. The best solution they’ve found so far is AEP oil. But the cost of the oil jumped almost doubled this year, so there wasn’t as much to go around. So then, of course, they were asked why these people got it but those people didn’t.
There was a lot of talk about “berming,” how to do it, when to do it. Specific locations and situations were debated. In the end, however, without talking much about taxes, it comes down to how much money there is to spend on dust control, along with all the other costs the township bears. Mr. Foltz suggested that in some places basic road maintenance is performed by the municipality, but dust control is charged directly to those residents who are willing to pay for it. He wasn’t recommending that Harford take that approach. Nevertheless, the township budgeted $38,000 for dust control oil this year, and the money ran out before the miles did.
With Autumn in the air, the dust will settle for a while, both inside and out. The Supervisors can be expected to begin tackling next year’s budget soon. Perhaps as early as the next month’s meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 12, beginning at 7:00 p.m. You may have to bring your own chair.
On August 6, Mr. and Mrs. James Montonya, living in Forest Lake Township, reported that their camping trailer had been vandalized while they were out of town on the weekend. This incident is still under investigation.
On August 4, Forest Lake Township supervisors reported that road material had been taken from a township road and was used at a private residence. This incident is still under investigation.
On August 5, Jeffrey Walter, in Silver Lake Township, reported that his identity had been used in an attempt to open a credit card at a city retail store. He had been notified in time to curtail the activity.
On August 5, SLTPD was called for two runaway dogs in the vicinity of Franklin Forks and a vehicle had already struck one. Upon arrival at the scene in Franklin Township, the caller stated that the owner had been identified through dog tag identity, and she had already been at the scene and retrieved both dogs that had inadvertently escaped their home area.
On August 6, a wallet, money and a stereo system were taken from two different vehicles while they were parked at the Homan residence in Silver Lake Township.
ASSIST OTHER AGENCY
On August 6, SLTPD was called to assist with a domestic call involving a man with a gun who had fled the scene. While in route to the scene the individual was spotted and apprehended and held until Montrose PD arrived to handle the situation.
On Sunday, August 8, at 11:39 hrs., Shawna Geertgens, of Montrose, fell asleep while driving her 2001 Dodge on the North Road. The vehicle went off of the roadway and crashed into several small trees. The vehicle was severely damaged and Mrs. Geertgens was transported to a nearby hospital with back and neck injuries.
On August 8, a dispute and confrontation at the Forest Lake Baptist Church parking lot in Forest Lake Township was settled without further incident after SLTPD interviewed both parties and an agreement was made over once shared business property.
On August 11, several residents in the Arrowhead Lake area reported hearing many gunshots fired around 2 a.m. in the morning. An investigation showed that a disgruntled resident had fired shots in an attempt to scare away what he thought might be individuals who had followed him home from a tavern.
On August 11, seismic test personnel were reported trespassing on property at South Lake Road near Silver Lake.
On August 13, Melinda Doud, living in Brackney, reported that her former boyfriend Michael Smith of Hallstead is harassing her via phone calls. She was advised as to her course of action.
On August 17, a Silver Lake Township resident reported that raw garbage had been placed into his mailbox on SR167.
On August 14, a Silver Lake resident reported damage to his camper, which had been done by a contracted service company. This incident is still under investigation.
On August 18, a Silver Lake Township resident reported that his van had eggs smashed on it causing paint damage while the vehicle was parked at his residence on Quaker Lake Road.
On August 23, a Williams Oil Truck, driven by Donald Vanness, slipped off of the roadway on Cobb Hill Road off of Stone Street in Forest Lake Township. The truck had moved over for an on-coming vehicle. Kozlouski Towing recovered the truck.
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE
On August 23, Lisa Difabritus, a Forest Lake resident, reported that her former boyfriend, Keith Urfer, had taken her vehicle without permission and left the area. He also had no driver’s license. She subsequently procured a PFA against Urfer. On August 25, Urfer returned to the residence and was arrested by the Susquehanna County Sheriffs Department and Probation Department and taken into custody.
On August 26, Tom Brewer, on Booth Road in Franklin Township, reported that someone had smashed his windshield and side mirror on his F-350 Ford dump truck. The investigation showed that the damage was probably done with a bat or metal pipe type instrument. He stated that he had similar damage done to property previously where a lock was broken off and a trailer was entered.
On August 27, Bob Naramore reported that his mailbox had been smashed with a heavy object on Valley Hill Road, Forest Lake Township.
HARASSMENT BY COMMUNICATION
On August 31, a Silver Lake Township resident reported harassment by phone. SLTPD intervened and charges will be filed if the activity continues.
On August 31, a KLX motorcycle driven by John P Fiori of Vestal, struck a deer while traveling south on Hawleyton Road. A nearby resident assisted the seriously injured Fiori until help arrived. Fiori was transported to Wilson Hospital with serious injuries.
Any information or questions for Silver Lake Township Police, please call 570-278-6818 or e-mail email@example.com. All information will be held strictly confidential. You can also visit the Silver Lake Township Website at silverlaketwp.org to see all of Silver Lake Townships’ news, profiles and resources, including the police reports.
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 fourth day of October at 9:00 a.m.
Apolacon Twp.: Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, Susan Kany.
Auburn Twp.: Fred Harding, Beatrice Pilling.
Bridgewater Twp.: Jennie Grisafi.
Brooklyn Twp.: Michael Crowley, Robert Ord.
Clifford Twp.: Thomas Cramer.
Dimock Twp.: Rachel Barton, Melvin Blaisure, Cambria Ely, Mark Galvin, Marie Hall, Carol Jones, Sherman Wooden.
Forest Lake Twp.: Anne Kveragas, Shirley Potts, Brett Wambold.
Franklin Twp.: Kathy Anderson, John Barbee, Stephen Olszewski, William Overfield.
Gibson Twp.: Ervin Hancock.
Hallstead Boro: Alan Bielucki, James Kinsley, Dorotha Maida, Irene McCarthy, Aretha Wood.
Harford Twp.: Timothy Allen, Oleh Posnachiwsky, Noreen Wallace.
Harmony Twp.: Robert Wade, Alford Wayman.
Herrick Twp.: Susan Maxted, Joseph Svecz, Stephanie Westgate.
Hop Bottom Boro: Patricia Evans, Faye Hendricks.
Jackson Twp.: H. Cottrell.
Jessup Twp.: Judy Daly, David Tiffany.
Lanesboro Boro: Sharon Phillips.
Lathrop Twp.: Robert Rosser.
Lenox Twp.: Jeffery Karp.
Liberty Twp.: Richard Osborn.
Little Meadows Boro: Charles Barnum.
New Milford Boro: David Canfield, Jodi Gerdes-Fiore, Angelia Houghton, Donald Marshman, III.
New Milford Twp.: Richard Goff.
Oakland Boro: John Amrein, Jason Trevarthan.
Oakland Twp.: Kyle Cordner.
Rush Twp.: David Baltzley, Cheryl Larue, Tracy McCarey.
Silver Lake Twp.: George Capwell, Thomas Hanna, Duane Hickok, Emma Varcoe.
Springville Twp.: Tammie Graves, Richard States.
Susquehanna Boro, 1W: Carole Klym.
Susquehanna Boro, 2W: Thomas Walker.
The September 13 Montrose Borough meeting was unusually well attended, requiring the procurement of extra chairs. Despite the inclement weather, many people came to discuss the business of the borough.
During the street's department report Mr. Ken DiPhillips stated that they are ready for the surface treatment program. Also, he said, they are in the process of taking care of a few more water issues, minor ones, and that then they would be ready to start landscaping the borough property and installing curbs. He pointed out that the time to place a lighted flagpole or sign would be prior to the installation of a sidewalk. Council agreed to this action.
He then opened a discussion on the furnace tanks. The year prior problems had been had with water getting into the fuel oil tank. He was trying to remind council that this had been discussed in the past. David Darrow discussed the bids, and a motion was made to go with Birchard if he could still do it.
Laughter erupted when Mr. Diphillips called the new truck wonderful, elaborating that it steered and the windows rolled up and down. The idea of the skating rink was broached. Mr. Craig Reimel explained that the Lions' club would assist with $1500 off the top, and suggested that other assistance might be able to be gathered as well. He recommended that council go ahead and begin moving on the matter.
He spoke about the same area maybe being used for a modular skateboard park in the summer, registering people's skateboards with a sticker on the boards. In the winter it would be a skating rink. He discussed how some people were disgruntled with the attitude of the skateboarders, and suggested that the police and other employees could visit the skateboarders and discuss with them the park would be a place they could skate if they took care of it. A visitor asked about the liability. Mr. Reimel said that this has been the question, which was why it hadn't been done before. He said that this time, however, the insurance company has worked with other municipalities and felt it could be done with under $300 extra premium, with restrictions. Mr. Reimel hoped that it could be moved on within the next several weeks, before the weather turned. The council was discussing the leveling of the area for the skating rink, to bring it up to level. It was hoped that pavement would take care of the problem as holding water had been a problem in the past. It was decided that quotes could be obtained.
It was discussed during Mr. David Darrow’s code enforcement report about a section of Locust Street, part of which was a town street. He asked the resident how he would feel about council vacating that part of the road, and it had been responded that he would be ecstatic. It would probably have to be a joint right of way, which seemed okay with the man. Todd Chamberlain suggested that the matter be researched further prior to the next meeting, so a decision could be made. He was wondering if it would be able to be reopened after that, should an area further down be developed. There was some discussion as to whether or not it would even be the council's responsibility to reopen the road, or if it would have to be the onus of the new developer.
Mr. Reimel expressed the thanks for the project the restoration committee had just completed, new planters on Public Avenue, Maple Street, Church Street, and South Main Street. David Darrow said that there were extras which could be brought to the council. Compliments were received.
Dale Smith, Police Chief, next gave his report. He said that he had met with some other accredited agencies’ chiefs, and that Montrose was thinking of pursuing accreditation. The force is actually already partially in compliance, he said, but it would require joining the association. He said that to do this would be to open doors and lower worker's compensation. The council motioned and approved the idea.
A complaint had been lodged regarding barking dogs. Apparently that was part of the reason for the large attendance. The first woman to speak lived on 90 Laurel street, and, she said, had animals herself, which she cleaned up after. She said that her neighbors had a number of dogs she had lost count of. The dogs she said, when outside, had no food or water, and they just barked consistently. She said that she had lived with it for five years. A second woman was also in attendance, who had written a three page letter to council. Having lived in that neighborhood for five years, on the corner of Ridge and Laurel. The people formerly on 23 Ridge Street, she said, had beagles which would bark, and they had a scanner, so that when the cops were called they would take the dogs in. Those people were no longer there, but she wanted to know what could be changed in the ordinance to allow people to enjoy their homes. Different people heard different dogs, it was said, and not everyone complained of the same situations. Ms. Waddington agreed, saying that the dogs she heard were out from eight in the morning to eight at night. The humane society has been called, as the dogs weren’t cared for properly, and the situation posed a health risk. She said that the family she was referring to had anywhere from five to eight dogs, plus three to five cats. She said that the stench permeates even to the front of the home. She suggested that maybe a letter be sent to this home stating that they would contact other agencies, if necessary. The first speaker agreed with her; the animals, she said, were unhealthy. The SPCA from Wilkes Barre was just there, and had removed one animal from the home. A third visitor asked if there was a limit to the number of dogs someone could have before they got a kennel license. This caused debate: some present felt that was something which had to be changed as well, but others felt that it would punish responsible owners with multiple dogs. The idea of condemnation of the house was suggested. It had apparently been done in the past. After the SPCA had gone into the house and removed the animals, the codes enforcement officer had looked at the house and it had been condemned. It was stated that the current family being spoken of might listen to an authoritative voice, and as multiple homeowners had filed a complaint a letter ought to be sent threatening a fine. Solicitor O’Malley suggested that the CEO and a police officer go to the house and request permission, per concerns, to see the home. Mr. Darrow didn't feel there were enough grounds to condemning the house, as the SPCA had just been there. At the other house (the one condemned in the past), it was explained, they had called it a public safety health hazard, and moved from there. It had been a pretty extreme case. Mr. Randy Schuster said that current ordinance stipulated two separate households complaining, and tonight there had been multiple complaints, which was enough to enforce the ordinance and threaten to levy a fine.
Sean Granahan had asked if more ordinance was needed, or if the current one just wasn't being enforced. Mr. Darrow pointed out that in some situations, if only one person is home, there may not be two complaints. Mr. Reimel explained that the town separate households stipulation had been written in to alleviate the chance of a vendetta playing out where there was no real nuisance. He felt, though, that council should look into the ordinance further. Ms. O'Malley explained that there was another option for complainants: this is a nuisance matter, and civil action could be pursued should the residents choose to pursue council and a lawsuit. Mr. Granahan asked if there was a pen ordinance. Several of the people in this area, Ms. Waddinton pointed out, rest in the afternoon due to their work schedules and sleep schedules.
A woman asked how anyone in Montrose knew what the etiquette for owning a dog was. She had suggested in her letter that those who registered dogs received a letter explaining what was expected of them as a dog owner in the town. If then, they refused to abide by this, the ordinance could be enforced. However, if someone moved in and didn't know about it, it would be possible for them to err in ignorance. Ms. O'Malley then rebutted that if there was a complaint the police then would make them aware. Also, the violators could request and receive an ordinance. She felt that for council to have the responsibility of educating society would be unwieldy. She then asked if it could be written about in the paper. Press pointed out that it has been in the past. Mr. Chamberlain pointed out that he felt people moving in had to understand that they were moving into a zoned community, and there would be regulations.
Mr. Chamberlain summed up the matter by stating that there were two person's complaining, which means that the CEO and the police could pay a visit. If another complaint was lodged, then the fine system could go into effect. He then asked if it was desired for Mr. Darrow to look into what other dog ordinances are out there, and it was responded that yes it was. However, Mr. Riemel cautioned, more expanded ordinances had been considered which council hadn't been able to agree on, and it was pared down. Mr. Reimel felt, also, he said, that putting out a letter to all dog owners would offend the responsible owners and the ones it was targeted to would probably not even read it. He said he did feel the ordinance needed to be revisited, and suggested checking with PSAB to start. It was also suggested that barking dogs might be examined under the auspices of the noise ordinance.
Others here, it was then said by a visitor, attended to discuss Cherry Street, and the heroic trucks which careen down the road trying to turn their children into pancakes (his words, not the reporter’s). The CEO said that PennDOT is supposed to change all the four digit state routes to having a ten ton weight limit, which may help. Mr. Reimel said that stop signs had been looked into, but this hadn't worked. Chief Smith said that there is free training from PennDOT for a trooper to undergo regarding motor carriers. Mr. Granahan pointed out that a lot of trucks drive in the early morning to avoid weight limits. He agreed, then, that training cops in this and expanding the skills of the force would help. It was pointed out that a jake brake ordinance was on the agenda for the night.
The visitor continued to state that the speed and volume of traffic was another problem. He said that he could sit and wait like ten minutes to cross the road. He felt there needed to be better traffic control. He complimented the police, but felt that there needed to be a comprehensive plan as to how traffic moves through this town. He said that he couldn't even back into his driveway because he didn't have time to back in without someone barreling down on him. On the 30th of this month, Mr. Chamberlain said, PennDOT would have a meeting at the new borough chambers regarding the 706 project. Cherry Street is a state road, it was pointed out, and he encouraged people to attend, stating that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Someone asked about restricting it to local deliveries only, no trucks. It was reiterated again that it was a state road, and the borough cannot control it. That is up to PennDOT.
The council went to appoint Tom Lamont to council. However, Solicitor O'Malley protested that, though she hated to hold up the action, the time frame was such that they needed to petition the court first. It was decided, then, that a motion be made to petition the court, which was approved.
A public hearing was held for the adoption of a skateboard ordinance at 8:30 p.m. A visitor asked if the registration of skateboards would be an income generating or free service, and it was clarified that these were two separate matters. The ordinance for which the hearing was being held was the one restricting where skateboarders could go. It had been properly advertised. The park project, it was said, still had quite a ways to go before it was approved by council.
The ordinance was passed, and the restrictions officially put in place. Mr. Darrow asked if signs needed to be erected, and the solicitor responded that it would be more effective but it was not required. It was proposed that notification could be sent to the affected parts of town, so that they knew that they could call the police then.
A hearing was then held for the adoption of the jake brake ordinance. Hearing no complaints, the hearing ended and it was approved.
Martha Cuomo from the Women’s Resource Center attended to request permission for the domestic violence walk, on October 2. It begins at the Methodist church , runs two miles, and ends at the church. It isn't really a Women Resource Center event, she said, it is put on by the Alliance of Faith and Advocacy. It is on a Saturday, and a police officer usually stops traffic to allow them to cross over. It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Last year, there were about 35 to 40 people in attendance. Chief Smith said that it hadn't caused a traffic problem the year previous. It was approved that the police could help this worthy cause again.
Debbie Nagle spoke up then, to request money. Ten thousand visitor brochures had been made up again this year. She said, when asked, that maybe only a hundred were left over. She was requesting money to do this again. As it was decided that it was getting the word out, the money was approved for the bill to be paid
Mr. Granahan gave a quick update on the audit, and when they would be working on this. It was decided that they could come and get the quickbooks first, and after looking at these some field work could be begun, and discussions had. He also spoke about fiscal policy drafts that were being worked on.
Finally, an open house for the new building was discussed. It was suggested that council wait until some landscaping was done out front, but Mr. Reimel felt this might take people at least through December. He suggested that maybe a picture could be hung of what the finished project might be, and suggested perhaps in October when the trees were still beautiful. It was suggested that perhaps it be tied into the Columbus Day weekend and perhaps some artwork be displayed.
Mr. Darrow requested permission to put signs at the city borders describing the need for a peddling permit. It was said that there were already signs in place stating no solicitation without a permit. Mr. Darrow suggested that they raise the cost of a peddler's permit, which currently costs $50 a year, as some peddlers have said that they pay significantly more in other areas.
Hallstead Boro Council approved a proposed change to the new concession stand/storage building at the Route 11 ball field at their September 16 meeting. The original building had been two floors, but the proposal would eliminate the not-needed second floor and would add two bathrooms to the building. The change would also decrease liability on the boro's behalf, since there would no longer be stairs to contend with. And, the new plan would not increase the cost of the building. Council gave their support of the new plan, but it would also have to be approved by DCNR, as the funding for the project was obtained through a grant from them.
Council has not yet filled the seat vacated by the passing of Joseph Franks; as it has been vacant more than thirty days the boro's solicitor has been contacted to determine what the correct procedure is to fill it.
A motion carried to approve David Callender as the new vice president; Mr. Franks had also filled that position.
The Bridging Communities sidewalk project on Main St. was expected to begin this week or next.
There was some discussion about drainage work being done in the boro, and of some that needs to be done.
The new garage doors council had approved at their last meeting were scheduled to be delivered on September 27.
A budget meeting was scheduled for Thursday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m., to be followed by the regular monthly meeting.
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