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Issue Home November 17, 2010 Site Home

Blue Ridge Offers Incentive
Commissioners Dispense Business Quickly
Lease Possible For Oakland Dam
Oakland Twp. Contracts Police
Housing Authority Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
MASD Seeking Additional Guidance?
Courthouse Report
Gas Company Comes To Harford
ELSD Accepts Expansion Bids
FCR Discusses Academic Performance
Clifford Township Police Report

Blue Ridge Offers Incentive
by Ted Brewster

Harold Empett's Activities Committee opened the evening on November 8, meeting in advance of the Blue Ridge School Board's business meeting with a discussion dominated by color. The evening closed with a more common preoccupation: money, and the Finance Committee's anticipation of a new budget.

Board President Alan Hall has long been perturbed by the proliferation of apparel that does not feature the schools' primary colors, red and white. "I'm 'old school,'" he told the Activities Committee; "I believe in the school colors." Some groups of supporters would like to offer a wider variety of clothing for fundraisers and the like, offering catalogs and options that they think will have greater appeal among students and in the community. In the end, they agreed that team uniforms will be red and white. Clubs and booster groups will be encouraged to use colors dominated by Raider red and white, and perhaps "athletic gray" in some cases, with black accents.

The Board's business meeting began with High School Principal Scott Jeffery introducing two of his seniors. Brooklyn Welch is into health care: having already been trained as a nursing aide, she expects to attend the University of Scranton as a first step toward medical school and a career as a trauma surgeon. Eric Onyon wore his Sabers Football shirt exhibiting his pride in the accomplishments of his championship teams. His plans aren't so definite yet, but may focus on business.

The Board's business meeting opened with a hiatus for an executive session. Mr. Hall announced that the teachers' union has filed a claim of unfair labor practices, and official grievances related to 2 positions. These actions of the Blue Ridge Education Association presage the start of negotiations on a new contract, expected to begin early next year.

The Board proceeded to approve a 22-point agenda in short order. Most of the items were routine personnel matters. Among the other items:

The Board approved an "affiliation agreement" with Baptist Bible College, providing the college's education students with opportunities for practice teaching.

The Board adopted some changes to its policy manual related to admission of students, computing class rank, and time-clock procedures for classified staff. Early kindergarten entrance requirements were removed. Children are eligible for pre-kindergarten if they become 4 years old before September 1. Class rank computations are now weighted for honors and advanced-placement work. And "non-exempt" classified staff are now subject to detailed procedures for recording their work time. Following a 30-day review, another policy amendment will standardize the way staff are notified of changes in school hours for weather or other emergencies.

Two students will enter the pool for distribution of a $500 allocation to support special activities. Junior Amanda Reese hopes to attend the National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington. Sophomore Adam Ferg-Demopoulos requested assistance participating in a People-to-People Student Ambassador trip to Europe next summer.

The Board appropriated $425 for a license from Music Theater International for a high school production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live” in February.

The Board will purchase brand-new playground equipment for the Elementary School for $24,259 from Bitting Recreation.

The Board accepted a revised agreement with Trehab for student assistance services related to drug and alcohol programs. The revisions were required by new state regulations.

The Board adopted a memorandum of understanding with a 3-year term with the B/S/S/T Foster Grandparent program. The volunteers will be provided with lunch and any required clearances, and the program is given a donation of $200.

The district will conduct a silent auction for miscellaneous surplus equipment (sewing machines, treadmills, desks, tables, etc.) at a date yet to be determined. At the request of Mr. Empett, consideration of the sale of a tractor by sealed bid was tabled for a month.

Transportation contracts were approved for the current school year.

Theresa Whitehead, Student Representative to the Board, said that the student council wants to become a more effective student government, "a voice for the students," under its new advisor, Mary Button. She said that it should become more meaningful than "just another club," and members would attend student council conferences when possible to share ideas with students at other schools.

Elementary School Principal Matthew Button reported that 20-30 students and families attended math and reading night. And he thanked the Board for the new playground equipment. Middle School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said that 8 families had "graduated" from the Strengthening Families program offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Mr. Jeffery reported that his school is gearing up for holiday-focused activities, including the annual Feed-a-Friend and coat drives. The community is also invited to participate in the Red Cross blood drive. He said that his school has received a Federal Title I achievement award of $3,000 for sustained improvement in the PSSA standardized tests, particularly in math. The High School also received a $750 grant from Exxon/Mobile.

Joel Whitehead, the Board's representative at the North-Eastern Instructional Unit #19, reported that a national search is under way to replace the IU's executive director, whose retirement package has come under scrutiny recently as extravagantly generous.

Following another executive session, the Board considered 2 additional items. The district will be outsourcing its substitute calling procedures to Frontline Placement Technologies, "a privately-held Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, [that] automates the process of filling schedule openings and managing employee absences."

The Board also approved a retirement incentive plan for teachers. Teachers who announce their intent by December 23, and who agree to retire under the plan, will receive 40% of last-year salary over 5 years. They may also choose to participate in one of two health-care options. One of the options, a pro-forma offering required by law, would require the retiree to pay the full cost of participation in the BlueCare PPO plan. Under the more attractive managed-care option, retirees may be fully covered under single-coverage premium; the district will pay 50% of a 2-person premium; spouses will enjoy full dental and vision coverage. Health coverage will continue for 10 years, or until the retiree becomes eligible for Medicare.

Mr. Hall called a meeting of the Finance Committee following the business session. He asked Business Manager Loren Small to begin preparing budget figures for the committee to consider at another meeting following the next workshop. Mr. Small said that the $760,000 the district received from federal "stimulus" funds this year would leave a large hole in the budget next year. Moreover, he said he didn't expect state support to increase at all. Enrollment continues to decline, with the number to fall below 1,100 soon, perhaps as early as next year. The silent elephant in the room will be the teachers' contract, up for negotiation with the new year.

The Board will hold a workshop on November 22 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Empett announced that the Facilities & Grounds Committee will meet the same evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. Laurie Brown-Bonner said that her Curriculum Committee would also meet that evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Priscinda Gaughan said that the Wellness Committee would meet on November 30 at 4:00 p.m. All meetings assemble in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.

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Commissioners Dispense Business Quickly
By Susan E. Gesford

Susquehanna County Commissioners MaryAnn Warren, Leon Allen and Michael Giangrieco dispensed with business matters quickly at the November 10 meeting.

Seminar requests were approved for employees in the Corrections, Probation, Soil Conservation and Assessment departments, with a total cost to the county of $367.

An agreement with Maximus Consulting Services was authorized at a cost of $4,600 per year for 2010 through 2012. Maximus advises the county on the value of every square foot of the courthouse and county office buildings. The information is important when deciding the allotment of space to individual departments, and when requesting grant monies.

The following were appointed as County Conservation District Board of Directors: George Gardner, public director; Wesley Parks, farmer director; and MaryAnn Warren, Commissioner director; for Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011. Commissioner Warren abstained from the vote on approval.

The termination of Phyllis Sheldon from the Register & Recorder of Deeds office, effective Nov. 4, was acknowledged.

November 19 through 25 has been designated Farm City Week in Susquehanna County. This yearly proclamation recognizes the importance of cooperation between the urban and rural areas of the county. The annual Farm City Feast is set for 7:30 p.m., Sat.. Nov. 20 at Mountain View High School. Contact the county extension office at 278-1158 for information.

During public comment, Frank Pinkowski, of Forest Lake Township, brought forth two subjects he wished the commissioners to take under consideration. Pinkowski has been in contact with Susq. Co. Planning Director Bob Templeton regarding the revision of an ordinance governing compressor stations in the county. After the revision is put forth and reviewed, Pinkowski urges the commissioners to vote favorably for the revision, which will diminish noise pollution in the station areas. Commissioner Giangrieco stated that Windsor, NY, recently adopted a stringent noise decibel level ordinance, which companies are complying with. "I expect our ordinance will match theirs very closely," he said.

Pinkowski also suggested the county website be updated, suggesting links to information about the Oil and Natural Gas industry, as well as environmental concerns.

Toby Anderson was again present at the meeting representing the Susquehanna County Library System. He dispersed information stating that children who have experienced a book-rich environment prior to pre-school and kindergarten have a significantly better chance of success in school and life. The county library system offers a wide array of programs for children from infants to teens. For information contact the main library at (570) 278-1881 or visit the web,

The next Susquehanna County Commissioners public meeting is 9 a.m., Wednesday, November 24, in the downstairs conference room of the county office building, 81 Public Avenue, Montrose. The Commissioners' office may be reached at (570) 278-4600.

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Lease Possible For Oakland Dam

Oakland Boro Council meetings usually take place at the Lanesboro Community Center, but the November 11 meeting had to be relocated to the Oakland Township building, due to a massive power outage in Lanesboro.

At the meeting, a motion carried to hire police officer Cy Phonechanh.

Council reviewed Jeff Wayman’s monthly road work report as well as a fall road plan. Mr. Wayman said that his department is ready for winter, the trucks are ready, the materials have been delivered, and a carport has been purchased for storing anti-skid. He is getting estimates for spring paving; plans are to do Third Ave. and Wilson Ave. An area of High St. will be fixed in the spring by the contractor who paved it.

Council had sent a letter to PennDOT asking about restricting parking at an intersection after complaints had been received about vehicles blocking the sight distance at the Westfall Ave./State St. corner. PennDOT said that in this instance, which is a “T” intersection, the parking would not be a hazard, but the municipality does have the option to pass an ordinance prohibiting parking during specific hours of the day, or all day long. Signs would have to be state approved, on break-away posts and would be the boro’s expense. After discussion, it was agreed that this process would be somewhat expensive and that the boro’s police should enforce the state laws covering parking near intersections and issue tickets when necessary.

Work on the park improvement project is moving along with the help of volunteers. There are some aspects of the project that would require the services of a professional contractor, and one, Eric Page, was present at the meeting to discuss what is involved. He agreed to write up an estimate for council’s consideration.

River Bounty is in the process of negotiating a lease for the hydro electric plant on the Susquehanna River.

Council agreed to renew their membership in the PA State Association of Boroughs, and to continue their participation in the PSAB unemployment compensation plan, as it is substantially less expensive than other plans and is also more paperwork-friendly.

Council passed two resolutions relating to approving a grant application by the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority to install a sewer line on West Main St.

A motion carried to approve the annual $50 cash bonuses for all of the boro’s longtime employees.

Lastly, the 2011 budget was discussed. A number of residents have expressed the opinion that the boro should have its own building, and that they would like to see increased police coverage even if it means higher taxes. Both items were discussed at length. A building fund could be started with this year’s budget and council could start planning for one, choosing a site, a size and some of the major details. As for police coverage, this year $8,000 was budgeted; it was agreed to increase next year’s allocation to $15,000. Also discussed was giving the police officers raises, to $13.00 per hour for Officer Robert Sweet, who has been doing all of the department’s paperwork, to $11.00 per hour for the other officers and a $.50 per hour raise for Jeff Wayman (his would be split between the boro and the water system). All of this would necessitate a tax increase, possibly three mils. The proposed budget will be discussed at the next meeting, and a special meeting will be held before the end of the year to pass it. The water budget was reviewed; residents will see an increase in charges of $5.00 per month.

Council meetings are now held at an earlier time, 6:30 p.m., and the next one will be on Thursday, December 9 at the Lanesboro Community Center.

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Oakland Twp. Contracts Police

Oakland Township has contracted with Oakland Boro for sixty hours per month of police protection. At their November 5 monthly meeting, the Oakland Township Supervisors heard a report from Officer Robert Sweet for the month’s activities. There had been roughly 34 calls; Officer Sweet thought that number might actually be a bit higher; the number might not be exact as this is the first month of the township’s coverage. He reviewed some administrative procedures with the supervisors. Also discussed was the need for internet access to utilize information systems; splitting the cost with Oakland Boro would be discussed with the boro council.

In other business, four of five possible sewage violations were tabled, as the SEO is looking into them; he is working with the owner of the fifth property.

A meeting will be arranged with the township’s tax collector to discuss the amusement tax; the solicitor has sent a letter to a business owner regarding delinquent payments.

A resolution was adopted designating Supervisor Cy Cowperthwait as the township’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program agent; the program deals with the buyout and demolition of properties within the flood plain.

A motion carried to retain Attorney Francis X. O’Connor as the township’s solicitor for the year 2011.

A resolution was passed approving the county Tax Claim Bureau to sell two properties currently in repository.

A motion carried to approve advertising of the 2011 budget, at the same tax rate as this year. It will be adopted at the December 14 meeting.

During approval of the bill list, there was some discussion about two items, one for donation of a door prize for the recent township officials’ meeting, and one for purchase of a voice recorder (used for meetings). Supervisor Cowperthwait did not approve of payment for these two items, but the matter was brought to a vote and passed, two to one.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m.

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Housing Authority Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Susquehanna Housing and Redevelopment Authority hosted a ribbon cutting at the new Emerson Southgate Apartments on Sunday, November 7. The building is for low-income persons age 62 years or older, and consists of 22 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units. The afternoon’s program began with a welcome by Housing/Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors Chairman, Joseph Matis. Mr. Matis introduced the authority’s Executive Director, Karen Allen.

Cutting the ribbon on the new Emerson Southgate Apartments are members of the Susquehanna County Housing/Redevelopment Authority’s Board of Directors and several employees, County Commissioners Leon Allen and MaryAnn Warren, Hallstead Boro Council President Michelle Giangrieco, and representatives from A&E Group, Mullin and Lonergan and Trade Eastern, Inc.

Mrs. Allen gave a short rundown of how the new building came to be. There had been, she said, a consistently long waiting list for the Howard J. Emerson apartments (next door). The authority had first looked into adding an annex of ten or twelve additional apartments and formed a development team in 2007 to look into it, but funding was not available. Funding was available through the Recovery Act to subdivide and erect a separate building. The funding came through in May of 2009, $3.5 million from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $1.5 million from the PA Housing Finance Agency, and $100,000 from the county commissioners (Act 137), and construction began in December of 2009. Hallstead Borough, where the complex is located, cooperated in the project by approving a tax abatement program for the project. As of November 1 of this year, tenants have started moving in.

Members of the Housing/Redevelopment Board of Directors were present and were introduced, Joseph Matis, Robert Bartron, Jerry Cronk Paul Lukus and James K. Adams.

Many of those involved with the project were present and were introduced, from county commissioners Leon Allen and MaryAnn Warren, to Housing Authority employees Bobbi Jo Turner and Kristi Lunger, project manager Ann Rogers, Dean Butler of A & E Group (architects), Hallstead Boro Council President Michelle Giangrieco, Doug Trumbower of Trade Eastern, Inc. (contractor), and representatives from consultants Mullin and Lonergan.

Following the ribbon cutting, a luncheon was hosted by Trade Eastern in the new community room, with an overflow crowd in attendance.

The printed program for the event included a very appropriate quotation, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

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MASD Seeking Additional Guidance?
By Melinda Darrow

At the Montrose 11 Montrose School Board meeting, prior to other business being done, Mr. Wilcox spoke of the elementary students from the two Montrose Elementary schools who were able to participate in the choral program in Honesdale. He then announced that the director of the IU who was appointed resigned, and that there would be a special meeting the following evening to establish a procedure to do a search. Input from superintendents and board members on the executive committee was being sought. He discussed this matter, calling the process thus far rocky but expressing hope that this meeting would make things run more smoothly.

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Julie Humphrey from Region One, Montrose Borough and Jessup Township. It was again reiterated later in the meeting that this acceptance was with regret.

The December school board meeting, per state requirements, is to be held on December 6 for reorganization purposes. Districts are required to do this within the first week of December each year.

Mr. Ognosky was going to get some feedback to Mrs. Staats regarding the class of 2013, the sophomore class. This had been discussed at a prior meeting. Both classes above them have around $10,000 in their accounts, the sophomores have $1500 in theirs. It was stated, however, that they now have advisers who will be looking to remedy this situation.

A motion was made to award a three year contract to Allegheny Energy Supply to serve as the district's electricity provider. This was discussed briefly prior to a vote. It was reported that the district had looked at various companies prior to working with Keytex, which company went around and shopped for the district and brought information back for consideration. Allegheny's rate was 6.671 cents per kilowatt hour. Currently the district averages 6.28 cents per kilowatt hour; Penelec would be around 7.4 cents. The district uses 2.4 million kilowatt hours per year on average. This is a three year contract, which is as far as a contract can go. Also, Allegheny, though the other companies had similar prices, was the only company which wouldn't penalize them for using less or more energy than allotted. The average cost, by the time the district gets the electricity to the site, is between 8 and 11 cents. This is due to having to pay Penelec for transporting the power. Other districts in the area have also adopted the same action. The board agreed to do so.

The data backup system problem discussed at a prior meeting was resolved that evening, as a bid was awarded to Northeast Data, Inc. of Tunkhannock, PA for the purchase and installation. The price quoted was $27,956 in total. Mr. Ognosky spoke about how it was to be paid for, as this had been a discussion of the past. The district had some federal money, which could be used to pay for computers which had been bought, freeing up the current technology budget for the backup system.

Several resignations were accepted with regret during the discussion of extracurricular activities. These included Daniel Snee, Thomas Lucenti, Nicholas Pappas, (all from the Junior High Football Team) and Polly Henry (from Wresting Cheerleading). Mary Gesford was appointed to the Junior High Girls Basketball Coach position, Justin Marbaker to a Junior High Boys Basketball position, and Joseph More to a wrestling coach spot.

A school bus contractor attended the meeting representing a group of contractors, requesting supplemental compensation. Three of the last five years they did receive extra. He said that if the board desired more information he and a committee of his peers would meet with them to explain that this was needed and deserved. He said that of the surrounding districts it had been discovered that many paid more and no one paid less. It was decided that this could be discussed at an upcoming transportation committee meeting.

A pipe had apparently been broken under the cafeteria. The pipe was a sewage pipe, and the dirt pit absorbed some of the smell. It was announced that on Friday, when there was no school, the grease pit was to be replaced with a new one. The stuff had been pumped out, but the odor lingered.

During the principal's report, Mr. Adams spoke of the Veteran's Day assembly which was to be held that Thursday. Also, the mobile ag lab was scheduled to come to Lathrop Street the week after the meeting, with an open house being planned. Mr. McComb spoke of both elementary schools having their children attend a dress rehearsal of Cinderella, which, he said, was nice of the high school to offer. Choconut, he said, does not do a Veteran's Day program due to difficulty getting veteran's to attend with the Lathrop Street and high school programs already being held that day. This year, he said, they would once again be doing the wall of honor where children decorated bricks in honor of friends and family. This had been done the year before, and had gone quite well.

The plants in the now enclosed entryway at Choconut Valley were going to have to be moved, it was said. The water was leading to moisture problems. Mr. Ognosky said that he would have to speak to the garden club about the problem. Mrs. Mordovancy suggested that perhaps some of the plants could be moved to the secondary school greenhouse. Some other suggestions were made. Mr. Ognosky said that they had tried to work around this, but couldn't see a way. The lack of a double entryway had been one of the things which consistently came up in safety audits, but now that there is a double entryway other problems have arisen.

The student council at the high school had run a pink out. It was suggested that the board could have the students present the check in December.

The Veteran's Day program at the high school would be again held on that holiday. This year it was being planned by the AP government class.

A tribute was to be held for Danny Arnold; a flag had been given to the district. It was decided that it would be presented to the Arnold family, and then hung in memorial in the school. The discussion had been held to make that a memorial wall, should others approach the district wanting their loved one honored.

Meghan Walker was to sign a letter of intent to Auburn University, on a full academic and athletic scholarship. The signing was to go on in the library.

Doctor Golden reported that in October president Obama signed a resolution that the term mental retardation would no longer be used.

Mr. Ognosky broached the subject of the use of facilities policy. There had been some issues, including the utilization of the gym by select teams, teams which didn't have tryouts. These teams had children from the district, but there had been discussion in the past regarding whether such teams should be allowed to hold practices there. After the community advisory committee meeting the overall consensus was that although these groups do not necessarily have only district students on them the children were there. It was suggested that the problem arose when the groups holding tryouts with only district kids could not meet due to these other groups having already scheduled the time. Mr. Ognosky suggested that it be made a rule that in order to use gym time, for instance, requests had to be in by a certain date. At that point all of the requests would be looked at and the principals would assign time. Mr. Ognosky said that there were enough slots of time, groups might not get the time they wanted but there was enough time. Mr. Adams said that he felt it was becoming more about the exclusivity of some of these teams than it was about gym time, and people wanting prime time rather than available time. There was support for the deadline option.

One of the community advisory committee meeting members felt very strongly that the high school needed another guidance counselor, Mr. Ognosky said. His idea was that one counselor then could focus on helping kids get to college. Mr. Ognosky said that any such decision would have to wait to see how the district stood financially; this would be a professional position and would require a professional salary. It was suggested that perhaps the current guidance staff could be looked at, for instance in the summer when their time is less. It was felt that perhaps the children could use more direction, but it just wasn't necessarily felt that new staff would be the way to go. It was suggested that perhaps a greater emphasis on parental knowledge could also be a big benefit to the students. The guidance counselors in place now are very busy, dealing with counseling matters, schedules, problems in school, discipline matters, and college concerns.

There was some discussion regarding varsity jackets and qualifications for this. The cost of this tradition is rising as the number of jackets given increases. It was decided this would be discussed at the next extracurricular meeting. It was suggested that perhaps a level could be set school wide which would take the onus of decision off the coaches and equalize things.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren Price Ficarro


Kevin G. and Teresa M. McNamara to Kevin G. McNamara, in Jackson Township for $6,300.00.

Carol Hathaway Ludington to Todd and Bryan Hathaway and Hope Gillette, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.

Barbara J. Fenescey and Michael J. Burke to Scott and Corina Starr Nier, in Harmony Township for $50,000.00.

Joyce Mason (estate) to Edward W. Mason, in Rush Township for one dollar.

Ronald E. and Nancy C. Regan to Roger I and Pamela J. Scales, in Silver Lake Township for $5,500.00.

Joyce A., James D., Anne A. and Thomas M., III Holmes and William H. Ziegler to James D., Anne A. and Thomas M., III Holmes and Frouke Dequillettes, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Mary L. Yakely to Christina Ann Yakely, in Union Dale Borough for one dollar.

Milan J. and Cecilia M. Hibbard to M&C Hibbard Partners Limited Partnership, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Milan J. and Cecilia M. Hibbard to M&C Hibbard Partners Limited Partnership, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Milan J. and Cecilia M. Hibbard to M&C Hibbard Partners Limited Partnership, in Dimock Township for one dollar.

Patricia A. Sjostedt to Patricia A., Daniel, Michael, Eileen, Charles A., III and Karen Danielle Sjostedt, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.

Sally J. Caverly (estate) to Michael A. and Corrine Farrell, in Silver Lake Township for $60,000.00.

Thomas S. (AKA) Thomas F. and Linda L. Shupp to Thomas F., Linda L. and Jenny Rebecca Shupp, in Harford Township for one dollar.

Shawn and Julie D. Burns and W. Cooper VanCott to Todd W. and Tammy L. Heller, in Susquehanna for $10,500.00.

James P. and Mary Louise Keenan to Katherine and Thomas J. Keenan, in Middletown and Choconut Townships for one dollar.

Fred A. and Dorothea A. Lewis to Montrose Bible Conference Association, in Montrose for one dollar.

Georgia Jennings (estate) to Ronald J. and Keith D. Jennings, in New Milford Township for one dollar.

Edward R. Donahue, Sr. (estate) to Edward R. Donahue, Jr., in Rush Township for one dollar.

Ann E. Titta, Ann E. and Luke B. Gorham to Ann E. Gorham, in New Milford Township for one dollar.

Robert M. and Mary Jane Squier to DG Strategic II LLC, in Great Bend Township for $162,000.00.

Eileen Rincavage (estate) to John Rincavage, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

Eileen M. Cost (estate) to James and Heather Clark, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

Hartwell P. and Nancy G. Morse to Sean D. Brady and Patricia M. Curtin, in Silver Lake Township for $200,000.00.

David A., Jr. and Michael A. Rose to Michael A. Rose, in Thompson Township for one dollar.

Judith Armbruster to Howard P. Armbruster, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Judith Armbruster to Howard P. Armbruster, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

Howard P. Armbruster to Holly M. Singer, in Bridgewater Township for $12,000.00.

Mary Josephine (estate) and Lucy A. (by POA) Parrillo and Paschal J. (by POA) and Carl Parillo to Dale Howell Enterprises, Inc., in Susquehanna for $26,000.00.

Dennis F. and Cynthia L. Stang to Stang Partners Limited Partnership, in Rush Township for $1,000.00.


Jessica S. Hall of Hallstead vs. Christopher Kingsbury of New Milford, married 2009.

Richard G. Bloxham of Forest City vs. Erin Bloxham of Scranton, married 2003.

Michele L. Thomas vs. Michael Thomas, both of Montrose, married 1995.

Philip A. Lewis vs. Darlene M. Lewis, both of Great Bend, married 1976.

Edmund V. Koenig of Forest City vs. Mary C. Koenig of Waymart.


The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:40 a.m. on November 12, 2010.

Craig J. Anderson, Erika L. Back, Keith Bryant Beach, Harold R. Bensley, David Shawn Blaisure, Allen S. Bowman, Howard A. Burns, III, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Jonathan S. Guzy, David Haines, Jr., Keith G. Harms, Jason R. James, Erik E. Krisovitch, Casey J. Lawton, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Jennifer M. Miller, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Brian T. Phillips, Arthur D. Quick, Michael S. Rieman, David J. Shiner, Richard D. Shoemaker, Sinon C. Smith, Sr., Justin Thompson, Robert J. Twilley, Keith W. Vroman, Roderic R. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Steven G. Wormuth, Karl D. Zantowsky.

Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.

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Gas Company Comes To Harford
By Ted Brewster

Four large strangers took seats along the wall in the tiny township office at the start of the November meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors on the 10th, piquing the curiosity of the Supervisors and the few local observers. Their curiosity was satisfied only toward the end of the meeting, when the four introduced themselves as representing Southwestern Energy Company, and Elexco Land Services, Inc. The latter have been negotiating leases in the North Harford area. One of the Elexco representatives who attended the meeting helped to negotiate a lease for this reporter with Southwestern for land near Tingley Lake.

The four announced that Southwestern was preparing to begin operations in Harford Township and wanted to establish a relationship with township officials. They offered a draft agreement (not available to this reporter) that they said should address some of the concerns the township might have about the roads. They said the agreement was similar to one used in Bradford County, and they asked the Supervisors to review it at their convenience.

The energy company representatives indicated that operations in Harford are not imminent, and that plans are changing all the time. They showed a map marked with highlighter showing areas of interest. The map covered most of Susquehanna County. When this reporter asked to see it, Supervisor Garry Foltz took exception, so details could not be determined. However, the discussion with the Supervisors seemed to focus on an area of North Harford around Plank Road and White Road. The Southwestern team said that a single well pad could host multiple wells, as many as 4 to 6. They said they generally develop a pad to accommodate up to 6 wells.

Mr. Foltz asked if Southwestern expected to trade blocks of leased land with other companies, since Southwestern’s leases in the Harford area are surrounded by leases held by other companies such as Cabot Oil. The company representatives said that this is going on all the time.

Earlier, Mr. Foltz spoke again of his intention to create a more specific noise ordinance that would be more or less targeted at controlling the noise that would be generated by large compressor stations, should they be established in the township. An earlier ordinance addressed noise issues in a more general way, without referring to specific decibel levels, for example. Mr. Foltz did not broach the noise issue with the people from Southwestern Energy.

Mr. Foltz reported that the township requested, and has received, one half of the grant funds promised for the project to replace a sluice under Richardson Road in an environmentally sensitive area. The township also received an extension from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - to June of next year - on the completion date for the project, which is expected to begin in the Spring.

Mr. Foltz also said that the legal wrangle involving the sluice under Stearns Road at the outlet of Tingley Lake is “in the hands of our solicitors.” Seven property owners at the lake have sued the township to have the flood potential caused by the collapsing and clogged sluice removed. Mr. Foltz said any work on the sluice is a “dead issue” until the township has the opinion of its lawyers. He said he thought “it could be the responsibility of the landowners” at the lake. He did meet with a representative from Penn State to review various issues around the township, including Stearns Road, to try to come up with some alternatives.

After the Southwestern representatives departed, the Supervisors dug into the township’s budget for 2011. The budget is actually developed in 3 parts. The “township budget” is based largely on local funds, including property taxes, and covers most general maintenance and operations. The “state budget” is supported exclusively by funds provided by the state from liquid-fuel subsidies and some “turn-back” funds, and can be used only for road maintenance. The “sewer budget” is funded entirely by fees paid by subscribers to the sewer system.

Mr. Foltz would not allow this reporter to see a copy of the proposed budget in advance, but it will be available for public examination until the next meeting on December 7. Several items were prominent in the discussion, however. Shortfalls in the sewer and township budgets will be made up from accumulated fund balances, including bonus payments for a gas lease on township property, and the township is not expected to increase tax rates or sewer fees in 2011.

Given the difficulties with dust this past summer, the budget draws some funds from other areas such as pipe and stone to increase the amount available for the AEP oil that seems to be most effective for controlling dust. However, Mr. Foltz said that oil would not be applied to “no-outlet” roads. He said that the township “can’t afford the luxury” of treating dead-end roads.

Mr. Foltz would like the township to purchase a new 4-wheel-drive truck. He said the extra traction is important when plowing, but he wants to keep the weight within limits so that the township would not be forced to find another CDL-qualified driver. Approximately $6,000 is also allocated in the budget for new radios that can reach all areas of the township. And the allocation for legal expenses was doubled, to $5,000, which Mr. Foltz said would be used primarily for dealing with gas-related issues. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that she expected revenue to the township budget to be about the same as for 2010, and she is expecting additional grant money for “special projects” such as Richardson Road and School Street. The gas lease bonus from Cabot Oil on township land has been received; a new control panel for the sewer system will be purchased from the part of the bonus that is allocated to the sewer plant property on Burns Road.

For 2011 the township budget expects to receive $369,811 in revenue, and spend $401,584: revenue up by 19.8%, expenses up by 21.8% from 2010. State budget revenues are flat (down by a miniscule $6) at $173,960; expenses will be down by 3.3%, to $180,500. Sewer revenue is unchanged at $100,300; expenses expected to be up by 7.6% to $141,806.

The gas company representatives and Mr. Foltz agreed that their goal should be to keep the community informed. You can do that yourself, by attending the next meeting on December 7, beginning at 7:00 p.m. All meetings are in the township office on Route 547.

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ELSD Accepts Expansion Bids
By Melinda Darrow

The November 9 Elk Lake and SCCTC special school board meeting could have been long and argumentative, given the subject matter. This was not the case however, as the (mostly) amicable meeting passed with relatively few comments from present visitors. It lasted an hour or less.

A letter was read thanking the school board for allowing Elk Lake to host the district meet. The event was described in glowing terms, by both the team (writing the thank you note) and the school board president and administration. The team also thanked the board for their new uniforms. Dr. Bush stated that District 2 was waiting for a letter from the district stating that they would like to host it again. The board approved this.

Mr. Mallery announced that on Saturday both the boys and girls teams won the cross country state championships. This hadn't been done, it was said, since 1982 perhaps. Mr. Mallery commended the coaches and the runners, and pointed out the trophies displayed in the library. An assembly was scheduled on the following Friday and Monday where it was planned that media would attend. The team also had had a welcome back party. Mr. Place spoke up, saying that the district had, he thought, five state championships, of which three were over the last three years. Dr. Bush said that the district would also like to have the cross country teams in to a dinner, and would like the board to attend.

Somewhat surprisingly, there were no visitor comments at the beginning of the SCCTC meeting. Dr. Bush opened the discussion of the expansion project by stating that bids had been accepted on October 12, and had come in below expectations. The general contract bid came in at $3,787,000 (Mar Paul), the HVAC at $844,120 (Master Mechanical Corporation), the plumbing at $258,686 (Bognet) and the electrical at $548,000 (Leber and Bonham) total. The bids were considerably lower than originally estimated - $5,437,806 all together. The estimate had been $7,442,412, approximately $2,000,000 under what had been anticipated. The specific motion, which was required by PDE, Dr. Bush explained, would be to accept the bids according to Plan Con F. Mr. Kropcho, the district's architect, was in attendance, and Mr. Place asked him whether he was comfortable with the low bids and the people involved in them. He responded to the affirmative. Dr. Bush reported that while looking at and opening the bids there had been 35 to 40 different vendors who had submitted the bids, and all of the ones which came in were competitive. One gentleman had commented when he walked out that they would not make any money with the project. Probably a third of the contractors, he said, were from New York. In this economy people were looking for work. He said that the bids were coming, consistently, around 27% under estimates. Mr. Tewksbury asked for confirmation that the reimbursement rate would be in the district's favor. Dr. Bush explained that yes, this was so, as it had gone from approximately 43 cents on the dollar to 53 cents on the dollar. Mr. Tewksbury said that this would represent some savings for the tax payers. Mrs. Teel asked for clarification, if the bids were accepted, when construction would begin. Mr. Kropcho responded that it would start in the beginning of December. When Mr. Place asked for the completion date of the project, May 30, 2012 was cited. When the motion went to a vote, the approval was unanimous. Mr. Place did point out that this was the construction part of the project, and there would be more to be done as it continued.

When the second visitor section was offered, a visitor asked the board if, with the bids coming in so low, the project would be expanded or kept the same. Mr. Place said that this remained to be seen, when the numbers were further crunched. Mrs. Teel stipulated, however, that the bids approved this evening were per the original design. A second visitor also asked for clarification about the board being two million below estimates. A male visitor, emphasized the logistics of the board accepting the bids but not stipulating that they were going to begin the project. He then expressed his displeasure with the idea that the district would receive reimbursement from the state, when there is a new government in place and he felt this to be rather uncertain. He said that he hoped the board would look out for the people's best interests and not just the schools' best interests, as without them there wouldn't be a school. He urged the board to look deeply into their hearts to ensure they were making a good decision not just for the school but for the community. The discussion then verged off into real estate, with the visitor telling Mr. Place not to even try to answer one of his questions and cutting him off. He was disappointed that he had to pay as much in taxes as he did currently, saying that he lived in this area so he wouldn't have to pay high taxes. Mrs. Teel asked Mr. Kropcho then if it had ever happened that a school didn't get the reimbursement due to a change in administration. He said that, in his 40 years of doing such jobs, he had never seen a project's funding cut once it was approved in Harrisburg. This project has been approved so far.

A visitor asked how the project was being funded. Dr. Bush explained that it was funded by the sending districts, and it was clarified that the only portion Elk Lake district taxpayers would pay was their slice for their students attending. The SCCTC, it was reiterated, is not a taxing entity.

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FCR Discusses Academic Performance
By Stephanie Everett

When the Forest City Regional School Board met on November 8 for its monthly board meeting, recognizing September’s “Outstanding Seniors,” Cree Townsend and Chad Paulin, was first on the agenda. Also recognized were Cassie Erdmann and Matthew Terry, “Outstanding Seniors” for October.

During public comment, an individual attending the meeting expressed concern about high school academics, stating that there are “Many concerned parents” who feel that there is “more to be done” to improve academic performance at Forest City. Concerning PSSA scores, the woman stated, “This year’s seniors, when they were in fifth grade, were at the top; in eleventh grade, they were at the bottom.” Upon question, Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella assured the woman that a data team is in existence at Forest City Regional, with the high school principal, department heads and others, serving to monitor student academic performance. Vadella added that restructuring the curriculum is in process to accommodate PSSAs and Keystone Exams.

“I would like to know when we will be having AP courses” at Forest City, the woman continued.

Vadella responded that the school is operating a “year-by-year phase-in [of AP courses]” for the purpose of “getting students and teachers ready for the program.” Vadella expects that Forest City will begin offering AP courses within three years. “We are moving forward. It’s just a matter of trying to be deliberate and not rush it,” he clarified.

Another individual stated that honors teachers should be taking AP training courses now, in preparation for teaching the more advanced material. Vadella stated that Forest City offers teachers a generous tuition reimbursement program and added that should a teacher wish to pursue the training, he felt that the board “would be very quick to make those approvals.”

In his report, Vadella announced that on Monday, November 22, Forest City Regional will host a follow-up to a flu clinic previously held at the school. The event will take place in the school’s health suite from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Both the general flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine will be offered.

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Clifford Township Police Report


On October 4, at 5:00 p.m. a hit and run occurred on SR 0247 in the area of Elkview Dive. A resident of Forest City fled the scene but later was caught in Forest City. Charges pending.


On October 22, at 5:15 p.m. an auto traveling on SR 0247, while attempting to turn onto Buffalo Road, collided with a resident of Clifford Township while stopped at a stop sign. No one was injured.


On October 30, at 11:00 p.m. a Dunmore resident was stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence after he failed to stop for a posted stop sign near the intersection of SR 0374 and Lake Idlewild Road. He was placed into police custody for DUI and transported to Marian Community Hospital for a blood alcohol content of his blood. Investigation is not complete.


On October 18, at 10:30 p.m. a resident of Clifford Township received several harassing phone calls and text messages from her ex husband of Old Forge. Charges pending.


On October 10, at 12:05 a.m. while monitoring traffic in the area of SR 0106 and SR 0374, officers noticed a vehicle traveling east on SR 0106 make a left turn onto private property. While turning their car around in a residence yard they fled at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was stopped on SR 0374 west near Osweld Johnson Road. The vehicle was occupied by one female and five males. The driver, of Pittston, was placed into police custody for suspicion of driving under the influence. All passengers were of age and highly intoxicated. The driver was transported to Marian Community Hospital for a blood alcohol content. Charges pending.


On October 25, at 2:00 p.m. officers were dispatched to the Extremities Day Spa. The owner of the business reported missing money in the register. Money was missing over a period of a few weeks. Currently under investigation.


On October 31, at 1:10 a.m. officers noticed a vehicle traveling west on SR 0106 near the intersection of SR 0374 driving erratically. The vehicle, occupied by two individuals, was stopped near the area of SR 0106 and St. Pious Church. The driver, age 20 of Carbondale, showed signs of impairment. A field sobriety test was given, driver failed. A vehicle search was conducted with the consent of the driver. Drug paraphernalia was found, along with a small amount of heroin, marijuana, alcohol and prescription pills. The passenger of Clifford Township was also in possession of drug paraphernalia, prescription pills and heroin. The driver was placed into police custody and transported to Marian Community Hospital for a blood alcohol content. The passenger was also placed in police custody and transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released to his parents. Charges pending.


On October 9, at 6:40 p.m. a Bucks County, PA resident reported, when he arrived home, Red Abbott Road, Clifford Township, he noticed a basement window smashed. He called 911. Police cleared the residence; one handgun and one rifle were found missing. Investigation pending.


On October 16, at 9:30 p.m. a Clifford Township resident reported two shots fired from a vehicle in the area of Dundaff and SR 0247.


On October 16, at 9:50 p.m., on routine patrol in the area of 2020 Airport Road and Whites Mobile Home Park, officers were flashed by a small group of juveniles. Juveniles fled into the mobile home park. Unfounded.


On October 20, at 4:15 p.m., a report from a concerned citizen about mailboxes being vandalized in the area of Tinkerbrook Road, Clifford Township. Investigation pending.


On October 22, at 7:05 p.m., a Clifford Township resident was reported to be harassing the employees of Extremities Day Spa, SR 0106 Clifford. The individual was ordered to leave the property and stop harassing the employees.


On October 7, at 4:15 p.m., a resident of SR 0374, Clifford Township, reported a loose pit bull in the area. The owner was located and dog was contained. Officers made contact with landlord of the dog owner; per landlord’s order the dog was not allowed on the property. The dog owner removed the dog from the residence.

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