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If the regular meeting of the Montrose Area School District was noted for efficiently addressing agenda items, its work session that followed could not be considered inefficient, but it certainly contained a lot of discussion about a lot of topics. And these are the points of work sessions to hear opinions, gather information and gain knowledge about subjects that might be more formally addressed and voted on at its regular meetings.
But before the boards regular meeting, a few directors and administrators were outside the Lathrop school, talking with parents. The topic of discussion was whooping cough, and director George Gow brought up the subject at the work session. He received a call from a parent who felt that when a case of whooping cough is diagnosed for a student in the district, that all parents or guardians of children in all three buildings be informed of it. Ognosky reported that a student in the junior-senior high school has been diagnosed with the condition, and what the district did was to follow its safety policy that calls for contacting the State Health Department for guidance. This was, says Ognosky, to send a letter to the parents or guardians of all 7th and 8th graders informing them of the case and outlining their options as provided by the Health Department. Parents of students who may have had close contact with someone with whooping cough which the state describes as students who sit immediately in front of, in back of, or to the sides of someone with the condition, shares a seat on the bus, or participates in a sport were sent a second letter. Ognosky also reported that a pre-schooler who is the child of a Choconut employee also has been diagnosed with whopping cough as well. Vaccines are available to treat the condition.
At the start of its session, the group heard a presentation by Bob Brown and Earl Wooten of the Susquehanna County Community Foundation, who say they will make similar presentations to other school districts in the county. They were there to describe the benefits of using the Community Fund to administer and invest the districts scholarship funds, provided those who established the funds agreed to it. The Community Fund stressed that it would not get involved, in any way in the awarding of any scholarships; criteria for the awarding would remain the same for the district, which is to work with the guidance office in determining any award following criteria established by those who set up the scholarship fund. However, the Community Fund would function as a kind of "back office," Brown explained, in administering it. In addition, the Community Fund would invest the Montrose scholarship funds commingled with the funds from other county districts who buy in, and gain an investing advantage that comes with larger numbers. Each district would be separately accounted for and reported on. The cost to a school district would be a 1 percent administrative fee to Community Fund for its administrative services.
The board consensus was that it liked the idea, and the Community Fund will get back to it with a formal proposal that will be considered at an upcoming regular meeting.
Board secretary Lewis Plauny reported that he obtained quotes which are different from bids for covered walkways to connect the new modular units at Choconut and Lathrop to their main school buildings. Plauny described a simply beautiful walkway that came with a simply beautiful quote $67,500 for both from an outfit called Airtech Glass. Northeast Plate Glass was considerably smaller, but so was the work it would do, which did not include concrete footers and roofing that the walkways would need. Mesko Glass, working from a rough design submitted by the district for its quote, thought it could come up with a better one, so it sent off for one except that it wont be ready until next week. With colder weather coming up sooner than wed like, several board members were very concerned about the timing. They want to see formal bids go out now and work to start quickly. Plauny will see what he can do to speed things up. The district has $12,000 from the grant that got it full-day kindergarten that it will use, and will access other funds for a walkway they hope looks as good but doesnt cost as much as the state-of-the-art one. Its important to note that the board is looking to use a transparent, shatterproof material that is not glass for these walkways.
For information only, Plauny requested that these firms also provide a quote for covered walkways in two parking areas at the high school and about which board members and administration have gotten requests for. AirTech quoted $22,500 each (again, for something quite lovely), and Northeast Plate Glass did not even want to touch it.
Assistant high school principal Beamish next explained to the board the results of his research on school police and how the school would use it should the board decide to hire school police officers. He outlined a presence at dances, bonfires, rival games, football games and other athletic events to discourage unwanted activities and to detain individuals (who are sometimes not necessarily students) who do them until appropriate action is determined either by school administrators or, for criminal offenses, the state police. Board member Linda LaBarbera was emphatic about the need to have clear procedures to follow, not just what to do should an unwanted activity arise, but when and how the need to have a school presence at any event would be determined. Beamish will work to provide more detail and a plan at the groups next meeting.
Board members are commonly asked towards the end of a work session if there is anything they want to discuss. Director Sean Brown wanted to talk about what could be done about Meteor footballers getting run over and hurt by bigger opponents in game after game. He wanted the district to speak with the athletic league about more parity. There followed a lively discussion with Ognosky, who has been speaking with league members that include his counterparts from other school districts, and they have been discussing some of the same things. The Meteors do have some big, literally, competitors and one of them, Scranton, will be off their schedule next year. Other tough competitors, like Lakeland, are from districts smaller than Montrose. Arranging a schedule and competitors is oftentimes tough, because at any point in time, some district in the league doesnt want to play others and, of course, the strength or weakness of any program can change over time. Ognosky pointed out that, of teams Montrose plays, the Meteors have beaten five of them at least once over the last five years. This discussion seemed to have ended in a stalemate.
The last item discussed appeared to be confusing to all those who participated in it and a lot of the group did. And this revolved around illegal absences, legal absences and driving privileges and at the end of the discussion, there still didnt seem to be any clarification. Beamish, who tried to answer questions from several board members about the whole thing, will work to clarify procedures in a kind of point system that seeks to increase attendance statistics by discouraging those most often absent or late and these are students who drive to school.
The next work session of the board will immediately follow its next regular meeting which is scheduled for November 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
Some of those windmills punctuating the skyline along Moosic Mountain could turn out to be windfalls for the Forest City Regional School District if estimated assessment values being reviewed by Wayne County officials hold up.
John Nolan, chief tax assessor in Wayne County said he could not discuss the windmills because they have been the topics of executive sessions in the county. However, the county recently completed a reassessment program and some of the new numbers posted on the Internet indicate that Waymart Wind Farm, the largest wind farm this side of the Mississippi, could be looking at some sizable tax bills or some hefty payments in lieu of taxes.
An antiquated Pennsylvania law provides that any machinery used to manufacture a product in the Commonwealth is exempt from taxes. However, while they refuse to talk about it, indications are that Wayne County officials are only looking to tax those parts of the windmills that are not involved in the manufacturing process and, of course, the land the windmills are sitting on.
Directors on the Forest City Regional Board of Education did not say much about the situation at least weeks board meeting. However, Dr. Robert Vadella, superintendent of schools, seemed pleased with a recent meeting school officials had with Wayne County officials.
"We are in a much better situation for our district than it was," Dr. Vadella said. School officials are hoping that the county will assess the windmill farm using the same methodology it does in assessing other business and industrial enterprises in the county. Some reports indicate owners of the windmill farm would prefer a set monetary donation in lieu of taxes.
A look at the new assessment figures show that the current land assessments of seven parcels owned by Waymart Wind Farm and located in Clinton II, which is a part of Forest City Regional, could increase from the present $17,030 to $379,990. Improvements on some of these sites could mushroom from the present $4,370 to $234,920.
The school district could also prosper from some noticeable changes at the Mountain View Farm which is located in the district. New land assessments increased 132 acres of the farm from $17,030 to $379,990. Improvement assessments rose from $3,590 to $58,500.
There is also a sizable increase in the assessment of land owned by Forest City Partnership and located in Clinton II on the border of Wayne and Susquehanna counties. The new land assessment which takes effect in 2005 will be $46,000 compared with the current $4,850.
Most of the new dollar amounts are listed as estimated assessments and are not etched in stone. The landowners could appeal to the countys Assessment Board that has the power to lower the increases.
In another matter, board President Tom Baileys said that all school policy books were followed when an alleged narcotic problem apparently surfaced at the school.
Mr. Baileys comment came on the heels of a complaint from one parent who alleged that a student took narcotics into the school and was not suspended for it. She said it is important that the policy books be followed for all students and hinted at preferential treatment.
"The policy handbook has not been followed to the letter," she said.
Mr. Baileys said he could not discuss the matter without revealing names but that the school board is "convinced that policy had been followed."
"I was involved and we followed policy," Dr. Vadella said.
"Maybe we need to take a look at the policy book," Director Al Dyno said.
The board tabled action on setting daily rates for bus and van contractors. The move came after board President Tom Baileys said the bus drivers asked for reconsideration of the rates. He said the matter would be taken up in an executive session of the board.
After the meeting one bus contractor expressed surprise at hearing that drivers had asked for a change in the rates. However, he hinted that with the price increases for gas and diesel fuel a review of the rates might be in order.
At the request of Mr. Baileys, the board agreed to fly the flag at half mast in recognition of the death of Sgt. Andrew Brown who was killed in Iraq. Mr. Baileys described Sgt. Brown as a "distinguished graduate" of Forest City Regional High School.
Motions passed by the board included-
-approving the eighth grade class trip to Washington on April 14 and 15 with a nurse provided at district expense.
-appointing Linda Mendelsohn as advisor to Future Business Leaders of America for the 2004-2005 school year.
-abolishing the position of Special Education Department Head since the duties will now be assumed by Ann Driscoll, who was recently hired as supervisor of Special Education.
-adding Christine Kiehart and Melissa Curtis to the substitute teachers list and Mary Pevec and Marie Gulbin as substitute nurses.
-engaging the services of Rose Emmett as a consultant in the business office for 10-15 hours a week at an hourly rate of $35. She will remain as a consultant until Karen Forsette, district business manager, returns to full-time work. Ms. Emmett was the business manager in the district and left to accept a similar position at Western Wayne School District.
In last weeks Barracks Report we inadvertently transposed the names of principal drivers involved in an accident. The report should have been read as follows: a 2001 Pontiac driven by T. Newberry was driving behind a 1996 Chevy driven by R. Osterhout. When the Chevy (Osterhout) slowed for traffic, the Pontiac (Newberry) struck it from behind. We apologize for any inconvenience.
On the afternoon of October 10, Edward Sodon, 50, Montrose lost control of the Ford Escape he was driving on State Route 167 in Silver Lake Township, sideswiped a guide rail and then struck a tree. The Silver Lake Fire Company transported him to the hospital. The Silver Lake Fire Police assisted state police.
This accident occurred when Gordon Whitney, 35, Montrose, was driving his 1997 Chevy Cavalier downhill on State Route 706 in New Milford Township. He lost control of the vehicle on a right-hand curve and then traveled over freshly patched blacktop on the eastbound lane. The car then weaved across both west and east lanes and struck a guide rail with its front end. Whitney complained of back pain and was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital by the Montrose EMS after this accident that occurred on the evening of October 13.
William Long of Scranton was not injured and Susanne Smith, Union Dale, received minor injuries when Long ran a stop sign at the intersection of State Routes 2027 and 2012 in Clifford Township. Clifford Township Fire Co. and Greenfield Township Police Department assisted state Police in this accident that happened on the morning of October 9.
Unknown person(s) smashed the windshield of a 1995 Saturn owned by Nancianne Stevens, Springville, while it was parked in front of her home in the early hours of October 13.*
Early in the morning on October 11, Robert Micol, Ashbury, NJ, drove his vehicle to the Penn Can gas station in Harford and told the cashier he would be paying by credit card. The cashier turned on the pump. After pumping his gasoline, Micol fled the scene without giving his credit card or paying for the gas. He was stopped on the Interstate by the State Police, after which he returned to the scene to pay for the gas.
Shortly after midnight on October 10, a 1993 Ford sedan driven by Jon Dockens, 21, went off State Road 1009 in Harmony Township and struck a telephone pole. The car continued to travel and rolled over an embankment, coming to rest on its roof. The Ford was totaled, and Dockens received minor injuries. Assisting at the scene were the Susquehanna Borough Fire and Rescue.
William Culnane, Susquehanna, reported that someone broke into his garage and stole money sometime between the evening of October 8 and the following morning.*
At around three in the morning on October 10, Stephen Peet, 20, with passenger George Stone, 35, in the vehicle, both no address given, failed to make a left turn from Lackawanna Avenue to Wellington Street in Hallstead. His vehicle left the roadway and traveled through the yard of a home on Dayton Avenue, and struck the home belonging to John Kelleher. Peet then fled the scene of the crash. Two blocks from the crash, on Route 11, his vehicle became disabled as a result of the crash.
Dennis Payne, Denver, PA, was at the McDonalds restaurant in New Milford Township on the evening of October 5. He moved to another table to talk with another person and left his IBM ThinkPad laptop computer at the table. Upon his return to the table, he discovered that it was missing.*
Between October 1 and 5, an unknown person(s) entered the 1995 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer owned by Marsha Lewis which was parked at Marvs Garage in Great Bend Township. The person removed a CD player from the dashboard and fled the scene.*
Emmette Harper, Great Bend Township, reported to the state police that an unknown person(s) took several tools from Harpers garage sometime between August 15 and September 12. Stolen items include a Schumaker plasma cutter; Alamite wheel balancer; Airco cutting torch; welding torch and regulator; and a Wilton machinist vice.*
CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD
This incident happened between September 4 and October 6 when Leon Cameron, Lenox Township, started receiving phone solicitations from a person who represented himself as an employee of a major credit card company. The supposed representative asked for Camerons Social Security information, which he declined to give. On October 6, Cameron again received a similar call and when he was put in touch with a live operator, he said the operator asked for his personal information. When the operator abruptly terminated the phone call, he contacted the PA State Attorney Generals Office and reported the incident. The Gibson Barracks conducted its own investigation which was then turned over to the Criminal Division of the Attorney Generals office for further action.
This accident occurred on the morning of October 11 when a 1990 Pontiac sedan driven by Sue Burch, Montrose, struck a John Deere farm tractor driven by Eric Wright on State Road 3023 in Rush Township as the tractor was making a left turn. Burch was attempting to pass the tractor on the left. Wright was uninjured, and Burch received minor injuries and was transported to Endless Mountains Health System via ambulance. He car was moderately damaged and towed from the scene.
Both Cindy Lovuolo, Susquehanna, and Basdeo Heeralal, Ontario, were attempting to turn right into a parking lot on Route 11 in Hallstead. Heeralal did so from the right side of the fog line and Luvuolo from the lane of travel. Their vehicles crashed in the entrance of the parking lot on the morning of October 11.
Someone known to Robert Allen Heeman, 37, Montrose, stole Heemans Ruger 357-calibre revolver. Charges are pending in this incident which was reported to have occurred between September 10 and October 9.
Someone took a toolbox from a vehicle belonging to Terry Stark, Oakland Township, on October 1.*
The Rock Creek Golf Course in Harford reported the theft of a 1998 Yamaha G-14A golf cart sometime between August 22 and September 20.*
AGGRAVATED INDECENT ASSAULT
Wallington Matthew Simpson, 78, South Montrose, was formally arrested on October 7 and charged with aggravated indecent assault, two separate accounts of indecent assault, three counts of corruption of minors, three counts of endangering the welfare of children and indecent exposure. The victims were three juvenile girls, and the time of the incident is reported to be from January 1, 2003 to July, 2004. Simpson was arraigned before District Justice Dayton and released on unsecured bail.
FALSE REPORTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES
On September 28, Gerald Francis Morcom, 72, Carbondale, called the State Police and reported that his house trailer in Gibson Township had been stolen when, in fact, the investigation revealed that he never owned the house trailer which he reported stolen.
Someone damaged property belonging to Janice Lee Stewart, New Milford Township, on the afternoon of October 8 by apparently shooting at the property with a pellet gun. Total value of damaged property is approximately $140.
Sometime between October 7 and 9, unknown actor(s) apparently shot two calves belonging to David and Ann Hart, Montrose, that were on a farm in Dimock Township. Total loss is $1,000.*
Raymond Dick, Kingsley, reported damage to his ornamental lawn flags sometime between September 21 and 22.*
At the intersection of State Roads 2012 and 2023 in Clifford Township, a car driven by Bradley Janney, Union Dale failed to yield right-of-way after having stopped at an intersection. He collided with a Dodge Ram driven by Eileen Wilbur, also of Union Dale. Wilbur was treated and released from Barnes Kasson as a result of this accident that happened on September 27.
Jose Rodriguez, 33, no address given, was arrested after a fight in which he assaulted Christopher Phillips, 36, New Milford, at the Parkview Hotel in New Milford borough on the evening of October 4. Phillips suffered multiple broken bones and lacerations. Rodriguez was taken into custody shortly after the fight and placed in the county jail on $5,000 bail.
MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION
A 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Michael Hyland, Hop Bottom, on Route 11 in Franklin Township left the road off the west berm, hit a culvert and then a tree and rolled over early in the morning of September 25. Hyland was taken to Endless Mountains Health Systems in Montrose for treatment of moderate injuries and the Explorer received major damage.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Thomas P. Carden and Mary C. Carden to Dennis Federico and Susan Federico, in Herrick Township for $175,000.
Mark Wilcox to Debra Wilcox Whalen, Wayne Wilcox, Keith Wilcox, Anthony Wilcox, in Forest City for one dollar.
Matthew D. Allen to Mary Katherine Johnston and Nicholas A. Shursky, in Clifford Township for $153,000.
Helen L. Raub (estate) to Keith M. Bowman and Michelle M. Bowman, in Gibson Township for $125,000.
John T. Casper (estate) to Lisa Schneider Rivers and Steven J. Rivers, in Herrick Township for $135,000.
Curt Allen Sparks and Susan Sparks to Curt Allen Sparks and Susan Sparks, in Thompson Township for one dollar (correction deed).
Edmund S. Beautz, Carol S. Beautz, John G. Keating Jr. and Amy W. Keating to Alan Trichilo and Colleen Trichilo, in Herrick Township for $60,000.
Bernard W. Doran and Su Doran to James L. Yachymiak and Jenny L. Payne, in Brooklyn Township for $31,423.
Dennis Federico and Susan Federico to Seymour Barget and Roberta Barget, in Herrick Township for $85,000.
Betty Bronzo to Mary Louise Wozniak Kessler, in Clifford Township for $1,000.
Lawrence M. Grosso (trust by trustee) to Michael R. Therriault and S. Jennifer Therriault, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
John J. Liepinis Jr. and Adele Liepinis to Christopher T. Tracy and Cathleen A. Tracy, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
John W. Burnard to Michael D. Morone, in Oakland Borough for $25,000.
John E. Gaynor to Kathleen M. Gaynor, in Gibson Township for $10.
Kirk S. Hinkley Jr. and Barbara A. Hinkley to Kathleen A. Hinkley and Kirk S. Hinkley III, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
William E. Wilcox and Priscilla Wilcox to Marcie A. Henderson, in Montrose, for one dollar.
Thomas Lopatofsky and Donna Fekette to David M. Bunchalk and Randi M. Bunchalk, in Bridgewater Township for $31,000.
Peoples National Bank to Mark H. Sherman and Penelope K. Sherman, in Jackson Township for $54,500.
Ivan B. Payne Jr. and Tammy J. Payne to Michael Zahora and Katherine B. Zahora in Silver Lake Township for $30,000.
Joel B. Adler and Laura S. Adler to Joel B. Adler, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Andrea L. Paccio (nbm) Andrea L. Cranage to Andrea L. Cranage and Ronald Cranage, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Norman N. Norton Sr. (aka) Norman N. Norton, Tammy Norton (aka) Tammy L. Norton to TNT Partnership of PA, in New Milford Township for $1,394,490.
Locust Hill Bible Church to Larry E. French and Marjorie E. French, in Greant Bend Township for $1,000.
John S. Shellenberger and Margaret M. Shellenberger to Maple Highlands, in Clifford Township for $200,000.
York Catholic High School to Maple Highlands, in Clifford Township for $7,780.
Walter L. Goodwin Jr. and Cynthia A. Goodwin to Walter L. Goodwin Jr. and Cynthia A. Goodwin, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
William J. Siegle and Sandra Siegle to David A. Rose Jr., in Thompson Township for $72,500.
Jon V. Peterson and Patricia Peterson to Jon V. Peterson, Patricia Peterson and James Freeman, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Skip M. Tracy to Kenneth F. Spangenberg and Lynne R. Spangenberg, in Forest Lake Township for $45,000.
David R. Hall and Marilou Hall to Vincent Scalzo in Silver Lake Township for $105,000.
Donna M. Fekette and Thomas J. Lopatofsky to Ralph G. Brenneman, in Lathrop Township for $195,000.
Harold A. Loch and Nancy P. Loch to Christopher Dodge and Elvira Brown, in Springville Township for $27,000.
Harold Ely and Frances Ely to Joseph P. Demchak and Billie S. Demchak, in Bridgewater and New Milford townships for $400,000.
Christina Orlando to Christina Orlando, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
John Krupa and Zandra Krupa to Karessa Mia Giambrone, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Linda Frisbie (aka) Linda Hupchick and Jeffrey S. Hupchick (estate) to Linda Frisbie, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Girard W. Donahoe and Johanna H. Donahoe to Alan Crawford and Carolyn Crawford, in Herrick Township for $96,000.
Fox Enterprises Inc. to Deborah A. Frye, in Oakland Borough for $74,200.
Alison Mays, J. David Mays, George Steidel, Valerie Steidel (nbm) Valerie Heitchew, and William Heitchew to Ralph Jenkins and Patricia Jenkins.
Francis J. Pinkowski nad J. Parker Properties to Sean T. Granahan, in Montrose for $80,500.
Foster Oakley and Helen Oakley to Mark F. Oakley and Terrie A. Oakley, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
William L. Dittmar, Sharon Dittmar, Frederick R. Kulikoswki, Cheryl Kulikowski, to Clayton T. Hinkley and Jesse J. Hinkley Jr. in Harford, Gibson and New Milford Townships for $160,000.
Paul Allan Johnson, PO Box 497, Montrose, and Amy Michelle, 36 Grow Avenue, Montrose.
Martin David Pemp, Valo Road, Factoryville, and Amy Joan Lawrence, RR3, Factoryville.
On Election Day, November 2, registered voters and other residents and taxpayers of Harford Township will have an opportunity to mark a ballot that will help to decide the future of the Odd Fellows Hall (otherwise known as the Town Hall) in Harford village. The poll will be separate from the "official" election, and will be held in the garage next to the township office on Route 547.
The deed transferring the building and property to the township contains some clauses that define how it can be used and managed, as an asset for all the people of Harford. One of those clauses requires a vote of the electorate to "dispose" of the building. The county Board of Elections has rejected a request by the township to include a question on the matter on the official ballot. So the township Supervisors are sponsoring this special ballot to elicit the opinion of the public. It was the major topic of discussion at the Harford Township Supervisors meeting on October 9th.
Details are not yet available, but it appears that the question on the special ballot may be something like this:
"Do you favor removing the restrictive covenant to the deed conveying the Town Hall in Harford village, otherwise known as the Odd Fellows Hall, which covenant includes 5 numbered subsections and begins: 'THIS DEED is given to the ELECTORATE of Harford Township without consideration but subject to the following covenants ...' with the understanding that the said Town Hall and adjacent deeded property will subsequently be the responsibility of Harford Township through its elected Board of Supervisors?"
The township's auditors, Jean Bonham, Connie Breese and Bob DeLucca may be asked to tally the votes. The Supervisors would like to poll everyone in the township. Those who are not registered to vote in the official election will be allowed to vote on this question on a ballot printed on paper of a different color.
Should the majority of votes on the question be in the affirmative, the Supervisors would then presumably be able to take the question before a judge to have the restrictions removed from the deed. The Supervisors have not declared their intentions for the future of the building, but concede that the weight of popular opinion so far is to demolish it. A vote on a question of this sort would not decide the ultimate fate of the structure, but would offer the responsibility for the decision to the township's government, that is, the Supervisors.
The meeting did cover other matters. The Supervisors renewed the township's annual agreement with the Fire Company, which designates the Harford Volunteers as first responders in return for a share of taxes. Property tax for the fire company remains at 0.75 mills.
Roadmaster Bob Simons was named agent for Harford Township under the Emergency Assistance Act, the measure that can provide Federal financial assistance to help with repairs from the effects of September's hurricanes.
The worst such damage occurred along Lower Podunk Road, where Butler Creek actually changed its course. Supervisors expressed their gratitude to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for an emergency permit that allows the township to put the creek back into its banks and to take measures to try to keep the flooding from happening again.
After the Odd Fellows Hall, the biggest issue facing the Supervisors over the next two months will be the budget. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that the township is already over budget this year for road materials, due to the extremely wet summer weather. The Supervisors hope to have a budget to present to the public by their meeting on November 13th, for final passage in December.
Want to hear more about the Odd Fellows poll? The next Supervisors' meeting will be on Tuesday, October 26, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
It was a lot of business as usual at the regular monthly meeting held at the Lathrop School on October 13 by the Montrose Area School board of directors. The usual bills were paid and budget transfers and treasurers report approved.
Also usual was the recognition of good things that are happening in the district, and this month they were very good things indeed. Superintendent Mike Ognosky pointed out the restoration better than ever of the baseball field at the Lathrop Street school. Many Meteors remember it, as does director Chris Caterson, as the premier place in town to play ball when they were younger. Thanks to a grant and the efforts in terms of time and labor of a group of volunteers led by resident Sami Bourizk and which included students, the field is a beauty. It will be open in the spring to T-ball and for Little League and for a new generation of Meteors. As Caterson told Bourizk, who was at the meeting on behalf of the volunteer work crew, "You brought it back to its former glory."
Students also represented themselves and the District very well, reported both Ognosky and board president Ken Gould, at the PSBA Education Excellence Fair recently held in Hershey. Ognosky explained that the PSBA solicits all the school districts in the state to submit the names of student organizations known for their achievements. The group selects 30 organizations from these responses, and two of them were from Montrose. Students representing the staff of the award-winning Meteor Chronicle and the Student Liaison Committee (which liaises with the board and other administration), along with their advisers, set up an exhibit at the conference and were eager to share what they do and answer any questions posed by school administrators throughout the state about how they do it. Caterson and board secretary also attended the meeting in addition to Gould and Ognosky, and all received excellent feedback from their peers about these good things that are happening in the district and the students who are making it happen.
Also being singled out by the board was the Montrose Country Club for all their help in the community and working to accommodate students who use its tennis and golf facilities.
The group made several decisions regarding items on its agenda. It awarded bids to the following: $14,800 to Degler-Whiting, Inc., Frazer, Pa., for safety wall padding the Choconut Valley school with work to be done over the Christmas break; $12,850 to Andre & Son, Montrose, for softball field drainage and infield renovation at the high school which will begin this week; and $19,000 to GC Wall, Wyoming, Pa., for 100 lockers for boys and girls locker rooms at the high school, which will be installed over the Christmas break.
It appointed the following as coaches: Matthew Oleniacz as junior high assistant soccer coach at a salary of $770, and Larry Delong as junior high assistant wrestling coach at a salary of $1,320. Debra Andre was appointed senior high student council adviser at a salary of $1,800. And with its award-winning Video Club now 48 members strong, the board approved John Koloski and Edward Luecke as co-head club advisers at salaries of $1,000, and David Wood as assistant club adviser at a salary of $500.
Several students were hired beginning September 27 through the summer following their senior year at the rate of $5.15 an hour and as part of the districts Cooperative Occupational Experience program. They are Daniel Wilbur, Jr., custodian for a maximum of 4 hours a day and 20 hours a week; Corey Jones, custodian, same maximum hours; and Paul Travis, technology works, for 3 hours a day to a maximum of 15 hours a week. Ognosky noticed that there is still an opening in Choconut Valley and it will be posted.
The districts Electronics Devices policy is being revised and the board will begin its first reading. The policy addresses the use of laptops, cell phones, PDAs (such as Palm Pilot) and other electronic devices. Ognosky explained that it was okay to bring a cell phone to school but it had to be turned off during the course of the regular class day. Both students and parents were requesting their use in situations that needed them such as the picking up after an extracurricular activity or other travel arrangements. Laptops were all right, too, but only when used for instructional or classroom activity.
Before it adjourned, it heard a request from an audience member. Her two grandchildren are now living with her and attending school and she wanted a school van to pick them up at a location closer than the one where they now wait for the bus, as it did when her daughter was in school. Safety and transportation director explained that the grandmother had two choices as to where the children could be picked up one less than a mile from where they lived, and another a bit more than a mile. He added that state law requires that elementary students be picked up no further than a mile and half from where they live; high-schoolers, no further than two miles. It is a policy that other parents and guardians accommodate. And while board members could understand the request, they did not want to change policy.
The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for November 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
The Mountain View School District Board of Education October 11 meeting was called to order and roll call taken. Those present were Bryce Beeman, President, John Halupke, First Vice President, Kevin Griffiths, Second Vice President, John Beeman, Susan Christensen, Ronald Phillips, Sondra Stine, James Zick, and Carolyn Price, Secretary. Absent was Ordie Price, Treasurer. Also attending the meeting were Arthur Chambers, Superintendent, Eliza Vagni, High School Assistant Principal, Margaret Foster, Elementary School Principal, Karen Voigt, Curriculum Coordinator, George Barbolish, Art teacher, and Matt Panasevich, student leadership council representative.
The minutes of the September 27 meeting were approved. John Beeman gave the Treasurer report and the cafeteria report in the absence of Mr. Price. Beginning balance in the General Fund checking account as of Sept. 1, 2004 was $2,639,320.342; Receipts totaled $1,790,056.28 and Disbursements totaled $1,044,655.02 for an ending balance on Sept. 30, 2004 of $3,384,721.58. The report was accepted. A public member questioned a number of high cost items listed on the General Fund Accounting Check Summary including equipment purchases, contracted professional services, golf course fees, and travel costs. Equipment costs were for elementary audio-visuals and for high-school business software. Professional services for for special education. Golf fees were for the golf teams use of the course and travel costs were lumped in with tuition reimbursements.
Regarding other financial items, the board approved a number of routine disbursements for payroll, transportation, cafeteria, and miscellaneous bills, along with budget transfers and bus contract changes. The amount of increase in mileage for the bus contract changes were questioned by a public member and the slight increases are to be noted in the meeting minutes. The driver education car contract was approved to be awarded to Simmons Rockwell of Hallstead, PA at a monthly rate of $300.00, with the cost of insurance and brake change-over the responsibility of the district, effective Oct., 2004 through Oct., 2005. A motion was approved to advertise for bids on computer equipment and supplies. Following up on purchases questioned at the last meeting, Mr. Zick explained that 24 chairs had been purchased for Mr. Barbolishs art room.
Mrs. Voigt provided an overview of the Compass Learning contract extension. Compass is a computer program for K-6 math, reading, and language arts. Benefits of extending the contract include that it will provide a free library feature, allow home access for student assignments, track achievements by students, and function according to the PSSAs and State standards. Costs will be approximately $47,000 with an additional $1,500 - $2,000 for the service contract. Mrs. Voight indicated that there was leftover federal grant monies to fund the Compass program. Mr. Halupke urged that a new, formal contract be signed, and to not just extend the present one.
Mr. Halupke reported on the human resources, policy and labor committee and the board approved 1.) one addition to the substitute list, several intramural coaching positions as supplemental salaries, 2.) the creation of a temporary part-time clerical position, and 3.) tenure for Robin Phillips and Patricia Brown, elementary teachers, and Gail Aquist and David Jagger, high school teachers.
The policy committee presented a new student ID badge policy for a first reading. The policy will be presented to the board at the next meeting for a second reading. Mr. Halupke said there was nothing to report with regards to negotiations.
The report of the building and facilities committee was postponed, pending the outcome of a meeting to be held next week to follow up on issues concerning the Annex building.
Miss Foster provided an overview of the elementary assessment performance report (PSSA Results). Fifth grade reading scores have improved significantly with the percent of students testing as advanced and proficient in reading for 2004 up approximately 5 percentage points since 1999. Fifth grade mathematics scores have also showed a steady improvement and are up about 10 % from 1999 to the present. In addition, 70% of 6th grade students achieved proficiency in writing. Miss Foster attributed these achievements to new curriculum, better texts, and improved quality of instruction by the teachers who are using a team approach to focus on better learning.
With regards to the education committee, the board approved the adoption of a new anatomy and physiology book for the high school, numerous conferences for employees and teachers, and field trips for students and teachers. The school board accepted the actions of the majority of the Hearing Committee in the matter of a student disciplinary action.
A special resolution was ratified honoring George Barbolish on the occasion of his selection as Outstanding Secondary Art Educator for 2004 by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association. Mr. Barbolish accepted a plaque from the board and thanked them for their support for the Arts at Mt. View.
Superintendent Chambers indicated that a PA School Board Association workshop was attended by the school board on October 5, on "Building Community Support". The conference focused on the development of partnerships between the school district and the community. Many ideas in support of this focus were obtained and include: increasing the timliness and frequency of publication of the school newspaper, completing the updates and enhancements to the school Web site, and holding "town-hall" meetings in various townships to solicit community input on building and improving school district-community relations.
Matt Panasevich reported that the Student Leadership Council continues to work towards their goals, and cited the success of the First Annual Alumni dinner, at which student members participated. Homecoming activities were reiterated. The meeting with Representative Sandra Major was also a success.
A comment and question was posed at the second hearing of visitors regarding an incident involving the revocation of a high school students driving privileges because it was discovered that the student had received a speeding ticket several miles away from the school. The commenter raised several issues connected with penalizing the student who already paid a fine and suffered the consequences of points placed on the drivers license. It was pointed out that there was no specific indication in the school handbook of a penalty of revocation of driving privileges in the event of a traffic violation. The question of how the school would monitor all student drivers driving records in order to apply the penalty of driving privilege suspension equally to all was raised. Also, other issues of potential liability were brought up. The board indicated that the policy committee had met for an initial review of the matter. Mr. Halupke noted that there is a general clause in the handbook regarding legal infractions or violations of the law, for which the school can take disciplinary or other actions. Mr. Chambers agreed that the policy committee could further look into the matter of the school policy in this regard.
New Business/items of interest included
A member of the public brought to the school boards attention a new government report, "Preventing Childhood Obesity" by the Institute of Medicine and provided copies of the reports executive summary to board members. It was noted that the report included several specific recommendations for schools with regards to preventing obesity. Namely, schools are encouraged to support healthy eating behaviors through health education and the provision of nutritious foods, and through regular physical activity by incorporating a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity into the school day. Also, in addition to assessing students height and weight annually, the report calls for the calculation of body mass index. The board was asked to review the report to discuss the possibility of adopting these recommendations at a future meeting.
In a similar vein, another public member then complained that the high school lunches were not sufficient for growing students, especially athletes. The board agreed to consult with the food service manager in this regard.
The meeting was then adjourned.
What started out as business as usual at the October 14 meeting of the Oakland Boro Council covered several topics. The minutes of the September meeting were approved, as were the treasurers report, the bill list, and employees time sheets.
Council welcomed CEO Shane Lewis, who reported that the first committee meeting had been held to proceed with the boros shared codes enforcement services program; the boro had joined with Susquehanna Boro in a grant application which would allow both boros to increase codes enforcement. The committee will meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. All costs involved will be split at the agreed upon ratio, and the committee is in the process of working out a budget.
Several ongoing codes violations in the boro were discussed; in one it was agreed to notify the boro solicitor that an impending hearing should be dismissed, as the property owner has complied with the courts orders. Mr. Lewis will follow up on a second case, where some progress was reported but some items of concern have not been addressed. In a third case, which had been the subject of many discussions at prior meetings, Mr. Lewis will notify the solicitor to proceed with an order to have the property vacated as time limits to address specific items of concern have not been met.
In answer to a question, Mr. Lewis stated that a property owner is responsible for vehicles parked on that property, even in cases where they are left there without the owners permission.
He also outlined the requirements for handrails that must be placed at a handicap-accessibility ramp; this was in response to a question from council member Leon Dubanowitz, in regard to the Canawacta Rod and Gun Club building on State Street. Council and the club had been discussing changing the boros polling place from the boro building to the clubs facility as the boro building is not handicap accessible, and the club is.
Mr. Lewis reported on an inspection he had conducted at a site that will potentially house a day care center. He had requested that the business owners insurance company send a representative to meet with him to go over any items of concern, to ensure that all requirements on both partys behalf are met before the business opens.
Several complaints by council members and residents about codes violations were discussed; it was agreed that the codes committee would review all of these and compile a list, in priority order, for Mr. Lewis to investigate.
And, in response to a question from a resident, Mr. Lewis explained that, under state law, the assessed value of a property could be used to determine whether a home can be rehabilitated or if it should be condemned. If the estimated cost of repairs to bring it up to code meets or exceeds the assessed value, this would be determined to be "unreasonable" costs and the structure could be condemned. This law had been put in place to address the number of homes that are bought at a low price, and then sold (without meeting codes) or just left to "sit," with no further improvements. Buyers, he said, should be aware of these facts.
Mr. Lewis suggested that council set up a work session to review the boros ordinances and bring them up to date.
Permission was given for the Windwood Hill Dance Academy to host a haunted house on October 29 at the boro building; the academy students hold the annual event as a fund-raiser, with proceeds to be used for their costs for competitions (costumes, etc.).
Trick or Treat time in Oakland will be on Sunday, October 31, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In response to a question that had been raised at last months meeting in regard to payment that had been made to a laborer, Mr. Beavan stated that, some time ago council had approved this expense for improvements to the boro building, in particular the office. Council had agreed to hire someone to do the work in the event that council member Chad Crawford was unable to do the work himself (Mr. Crawford was not present at last months meeting to answer this question). Mr. Crawford added that the expense had been included in this years budget, and that he took advantage of the fact that secretary Flo Brush had been temporarily working out of her home while recovering from an injury so that work could be done without disrupting boro business. And, the laborer was covered under the boros liability policy for the time he was completing the work. Mr. Dubanowitz questioned whether Mr. Crawford should have approved hiring of a laborer without (other) council members approval. Mr. Beavan reiterated that council had approved this some time ago.
Even though public comment is usually heard after all other items on the agenda are addressed, several residents who were attending the meeting were apparently under the impression that they could say what they wanted, when they wanted, and for as long as they wanted; in fact, one stated that as a taxpayer, he had the right to do so. Another commented that she had come to the meeting "to see how you do things," but persisted in interrupting councils discussions, rather than waiting for the public comment period. A number of allegations/complaints were voiced by the residents, concerning potholes that had not been fixed, whether or not the boros streets employee was qualified to do his job, whether it was necessary to hire outside help for road repair, the quality of work done by a resident who had volunteered to help out with cleaning ditches, allegations that one of the above named individuals spent his lunch hour at a local bar and speculation on whether or not he was in a condition to work after his lunch break.
Another resident who was visibly shaken by the turn the meeting had taken commented that residents who had legitimate complaints should make it a practice to come to meetings on a regular basis, and to get involved in things that were going on in the boro, especially positive efforts to improve it.
During what can only be described as a shouting match, several efforts were made to calm things down. Mr. Beavan attempted several times to call things to order, but was ignored or personally insulted. Mayor Towners attempts to get things moving along were ignored. Council member Dave Dibble tried diplomacy; he stated that he had initially run for a seat on council because he had not been happy with the way things had been done, but, once in office, he had realized that there was a very different view of what could be done and how, and valid reasons why some things had to be done the way they were. By this point the meeting was still being disrupted and this reporter made the decision not to stay.
When contacted after the meeting, Mr. Beavan reported that topics discussed after this reporters departure were a letter from Oakland Township; council had contacted the supervisors regarding potholes on High St., part of which is in the township. As the boro had, for a number of years, plowed and cindered the entire road during the winter, council had requested that the potholes be taken care of. The supervisors letter stated that the boro should discontinue any such activity on any township roads unless an agreement for such activity were to be put in place. The letter went on to say that the supervisors understand councils concerns, but it is the supervisors opinion that the road must be completely rebuilt from the base up in order to provide a stable base that will not require excessive yearly surface maintenance, the cost of which would be prohibitive, considering that the road serves as access to only one parcel in the township. And, the supervisors will be considering the issue at their next meeting (October 12), and would welcome a representative from council to attend and provide input on the matter.
Other business discussed was a request from the Montrose Minutemen, to designate them as primary responder for Advanced Life Support services; no action was taken. Plans had been drawn up and submitted for councils approval for replacement of a retaining wall on River St.; approval was given for the project to be put out to bid. A resolution was approved for changing the boros polling place to the Canawacta Rod & Gun Club, providing that facility meets handicap accessibility requirements. A resident has expressed interest in serving as the boros Emergency Management Coordinator. The budget committee will meet to work on the 2005 budget. Council approved secretary Flo Brush to proceed with purchase of new carpeting for the boro office and to use her discretion as to which of several concerns will provide the best price. Council noted that many improvements have been going on at the boros park, largely due to the efforts of the Parks and Rec. Committee and the number of residents who have been getting involved. And, resident Wendy Dudley has submitted an application for grant funding for improvements to the park; many pledges of donations and/or commitments of time have been forthcoming.
The next meeting of the Oakland Borough Council will be on Thursday, November 11, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
The Starrucca Borough Council conducted its regular October meeting at the Starrucca Community Hall on October 4, 2004, starting at 7:10 p.m. Council president Mary Ann DeBalko presided.
Members present were Brigitte DAgati, Lou Gurske, and Helen Haynes. Also in attendance was Mayor Frank Mroczka. Absent were council members Andy Bennett, Paul Everett, and Robert Weldy. Audience members included Gay Keyes, Gail Cook, Alice Rhone, Leanne Rhone, and Ruth Mroczka.
Council unanimously approved the minutes for the September 7 regular meeting. The treasurers report and authorization for the payment of bills were unanimously approved. The Civic Association has offered to pay a limited amount for an electrician to work on the Community Hall.
Persons to Be Heard
Gay Keyes presented an updated map for a subdivision of Williams property, complying with suggestions of the Planning Board for Wayne County. Council unanimously approved the subdivision.
The Borough received an offer from the Wayne County Job Training Agency offering laborers and equipment for clean-up from disaster (flooding as the result of Hurricane Ivan). The borough will apply for their help.
The Wayne County Redevelopment Agency will consider proposed projects for block grants. Council members were asked to submit their lists of projects for councils consideration to council president before the next regular council meeting.
The Wayne Conservation District has approved a grant for improving sluices on Jacobs Ladder Road. Half of the grant amount is expected in mid-October. The second half of the funds cannot be released to the Borough until after all work is finished and inspected. Council unanimously approved a motion to begin the project and, if need be, to take out a short-term loan for half the grant amount in order to pay the second half of the cost before receiving the second half of the grant.
A letter was received from the Thompson Township Supervisors regarding their decision to temporarily close Erk Road. Wording of a response was unanimously approved by council. Discussion followed regarding council members and residents efforts to address the Buck Bridge problem.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) sent an application for public disaster assistance. Council unanimously approved a resolution designating Mrs. DeBalko the boroughs agent in dealings with PEMA and completed paperwork enabling electronic funds transfers.
The borough received two checks from the Volunteer Fire Relief Association, one to replace a lost check for 2003 and one for 2004. The funds received will be paid to Thompson Hose Co., which provides fire-fighting services for the borough.
The council president reported sending invitations to bid on sluice improvements on Jacobs Ladder Road to three contractors. One declined to bid. One did not respond. The bid from Como Construction was accepted unanimously. Funding for this road project comes from a Dirt and Gravel Road Grant.
A questionnaire has been distributed to all borough households for the purpose of determining eligibility for Pennsylvania Community Development Block Grants. The survey asks for number of persons, total income above/below cutoff levels, ethnicity, and race classifications.
Penelec notified the borough that it would not provide electrical power to new construction or alterations if they were not UCC-approved.
The Wayne County Board of Elections requested use of the Community Hall as a polling place on November 2, 2004. Council unanimously passed a motion giving permission.
The Northern Wayne County Library requested a borough representative for their Board. Ruth Mroczka will contact the library.
The Wayne County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes sent a report of taxpayers who appealed their reassessments.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has granted a quarrying permit for Mr. Petroski on the Soden property in the borough. The Wayne Conservation District has approved a related plan for erosion and sediment control.
No new permits were requested. An add-on fee was collected for a deck on a previously approved permit for Robert Nikitopoulos.
Mr. Gurske and Mrs. DAgati were asked to contact Penelec about malfunctioning streetlights.
Council unanimously passed a motion to allow the option of using Michael Lehutsky as legal council as needed regarding new issues.
Borough solicitor, Mr. Schloesser, was contacted about an ongoing sewage problem. He sent a letter to the owner of the problematic property, who indicated to Mr. Schloesser that he would appear in person at the October council meeting. He did not appear. Council will pursue a resolution.
Northern Wayne County Council of Governments (COG)
The borough received a bill for operating expenses for 2004 from the COG. Council was reminded that this is in addition to the $200 already paid to join the COG and that additional fees will be requested for 2005. Council unanimously approved a motion to pay the $200 bill to COG.
Council was pleased to learn that Pete Downton will install a metal door in the Hall at his convenience. Construction of the record storage room will continue. Council heartily thanks Renee Warden and council members Mary Ann DeBalko, Brigitte DAgati, and Paul Everett for their efforts to clean up the Hall following the flooding by Hurricane Ivan.
Mr. Gurske and Mr. Mroczka were assigned to monitor the sluice project on Jacobs Ladder Road, including tracking the funds and overseeing the work. A load of 2A modified stone has been dumped on Kellogg Road. Funding has been requested for Buck Road, TR671. Flooding by the Hurricane Ivan has damaged an embankment near the new Shadigree Creek Bridge. Residents of the borough are urged to help their neighbors clear debris left by the flooding.
At this point, council members went into executive session.
Upon resumption of the regular meeting, the council reluctantly accepted the resignation of the borough secretary/treasurer, Peter Wynne. An advertisement will be published for the position. Mr. Gurske made a motion to appoint Ruth Mroczka as temporary borough secretary/treasurer, which carried unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 9:33 p.m. Following adjournment, Mayor Frank Mroczka administered the oath of office to Mrs. Mroczka.
Starrucca Borough Council meets the first Monday of each month, 7 p.m. at the Community Hall.
Council members Mike Matis and Pat Frederick were not present at the October 12 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council; all others were present.
President Ron Whitehead opened the meeting by thanking fellow rail committee members Roy Williams, Pat Frederick, Shane Lewis and Bill Kuiper as well as his daughter, Briana, for their efforts in putting together a "haunted house" at the boro building on October 9, during the Pumpkin Fest sponsored by the Susquehanna Community Development Association. The effort raised $120, which will applied towards restoration of the rail cars acquired by the boro.
Secretary Collins reported that Penelec has been notified of streetlights that are in need of attention. The Susquehanna Branch Library has requested an increase in the yearly donation they receive from the boro, from $660 to $1,000 to help cover a 37% decrease in state funding. As this years budget allocation has already been set at $660, council agreed to consider an increase in the 2005 donation.
Information received from the county United Way will be made available to all boro employees who are considering donations to that fund through payroll deductions. Council approved Mrs. Collins attendance at a Liquid Fuels seminar (cost $15.00) and a PSATS training on Developing and Managing Your Municipal Budget (no cost). Mrs. Collins will be working on an application for a Community Development Block Grant for the coming year. Council will discuss possible projects to list on the application. A letter has been sent to Oakland Borough in support of their application for grant funding to be used for improving their park. A list of volunteers who regularly give their time and services to the boro has been compiled and forwarded to the boros insurance carrier. And, Dave Sexton, who works for the boro through the Experience Works program has put together a final analysis on information received through a survey council and the SCDA recently conducted.
Mayor Hurley reported that she and Chief Golka had attended a Counter-Terrorism Symposium, with chief speaker Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security. An overview was given on what different agencies are doing to prepare for emergency situations; it was stressed that all should be watchful for dangerous materials being transported through the area. It was suggested that Neighborhood Crime Watch programs are important. And, municipalities will be notified of seminars that will be held in the future for emergency responders.
On October 22, the police department will be hosting a visit from students at the elementary school. With parents permission, the children will be fingerprinted and given a lesson on how (local) government works.
Requesting time on the agenda was Lori Martin, of Martin Works, to update council on the boros new website. Mrs. Martin said that the site is ready to be made available to the public. Information has been gathered from all boro departments, although the police department has encountered some (technical) problems in supplying the information, which should be available shortly. Councils consensus was that the site looks very nice; permission was made to activate it. Mrs. Martin relayed that the SCDA will be promoting the site, which will include links to other entities in the county to provide more information. And, council approved a link from the site to "Freedoms Heroes," which provides information on support groups, sending care packages to troop members, and other topics of interest to military families.
Mr. Lewis reported that he and streets commissioner Steve Glover have been unsuccessful in contacting LTAP for help with an engineering study needed to prohibit trucks from making right-hand turns from Main Street onto Erie Avenue. At their next meeting, council will decide whether to continue trying to seek help from LTAP if no progress is made by then, or to find a way to fund the study.
Amendments to the boros sidewalk maintenance ordinance have been drawn up and have been sent to the solicitor for review. It was noted that the boros existing ordinance dates from December of 1894.
The big discussion of the evening was damage done by Hurricane Ivan, and how frustrating it has been for council and residents as well to get help. Mr. Williams reported that no word had been received from DEP, for a permit to repair damage to Drinker Creek. Many phone calls he had made had not been returned; after completing and submitting all the necessary paperwork, the only response had been yet another packet of paperwork that needed to be filled out. In the meantime, more rain was forecast for the coming weekend; would this cause more flooding of Drinker Creek? "I just dont understand," he said, "Weve done everything thats been required of us, and were just getting nowhere." He speculated that the process has been purposely made difficult to discourage municipalities from following through. Mr. Whitehead suggested that officials on the county and state levels be contacted, as well as the news media if necessary, "Whatever it takes." Mr. Williams agreed, "Well take care of it one way or another."
Mr. Kuiper told a "disturbing" story about a resident he had spoken with, who had 35 bags of refuse after their basement had been flooded and many of their possessions ruined. One refuse hauler had given a price of $3 per bag, and another a price of $2. After the resident had paid to have the refuse taken away, Mr. Kuiper had found out that a local hauler had a roll-off available for this situation, where there would be no charge for disposal of flood-damaged goods if residents were to bring their refuse to the site. The service was being funded through the state, to help clean up after Hurricane Ivan. Why, he asked, was this information not made available when it was needed. "Did we flub by not letting residents know about it, or did they flub by not informing us?" It was an unfortunate situation, apparently caused by a lack of communication.
Mr. Lewis reported that the first meeting had been held with Oakland Boro, to oversee the shared grant funding that had been received by the two boros for codes enforcement; the committees first task is getting a budget in place.
Another disturbing topic of discussion was a recent incident, where a mail carrier and a child had been attacked by a dog on West Main Street. Although the dogs owner had been issued a citation in this instance and had received prior warnings, what, it was asked, could be done about the dog itself in a situation like this? The boro does have an ordinance pertaining to nuisance animals, but it does not include a provision on what is to be done with the animal. In some cases, the county Humane Society has responded but, what can be done when an incident occurs when the shelter is not open? If the police are called, what steps could they take to remove the animal, without a place to take it? Council had sent a letter to the dog warden in response to earlier incidents, but had received no response. It was acknowledged that the warden is "spread too thin," as he has a lot of area to cover. After discussion, it was agreed to send a letter to the county commissioners outlining the incidents that had occurred as well as what actions had been taken.
And, Mr. Lewis reported that a zoning violation hearing has been scheduled for October 19, regarding a Franklin Avenue property.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 26, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
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