SHAMOKIN — Complaints about trash, citizens being overtaxed and allowing Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) riders to operate in the city highlighted Monday’s meeting of Shamokin City Council.
Council members also accepted the resignation of code enforcement officer Rick Bozza, effective July 19. Bozza, who served in the position since Aug. 23, 2011, has accepted another position.
Bozza didn’t attend Monday’s meeting, but informed council via a letter last week that he planned to resign.
No comments were made about Bozza’s service to the city after Mayor John Brown and council members Charlie Verano, Barbara Moyer, Scott Roughton and Dan McGaw accepted his resignation.
Council agreed to advertise for a full-time code officer.
As he did last month, former councilman Gerald Bogetti complained about trash throughout the city causing a serious health issue.
During a tour of several wards in the city, Bogetti said he noticed trash ordinance violations, including garbage bags thrown on sidewalks, broken garbage cans and cans without lids, and junk stored on front porches for a long time.
Bogetti also complained about the high percentage of delinquent property taxes owed to the city and residents being forced to pay an additional 5 mills in property taxes every year.
Former councilman Raymond Gerald Splane also expressed displeasure with tax millage increases and claimed citizens have been paying an illegal millage increase for almost 30 years.
Shamokin resident Bill Miller said he has safety and noise concerns about AOAA riders traveling city streets, which he claims is illegal. He said city officials should “think twice” about allowing the riders to travel the streets on special dates.
Later in the meeting, the AOAA was unanimously granted permission to use pre-approved designated streets in the city for rides on Aug. 10, Sept. 21, Oct. 26 and Nov. 9.
Joey Leschinskie agreed with Miller and said council only caters to certain businesses by allowing special AOAA events within the city.
Leschinskie also complained about trash being rampant in the city, including properties next to his home at 520-522 E. Pine St. that he said contain 3 1/2 feet of garbage.
Landlord Robert Gilligbauer questioned why intruders caught “red-handed” breaking into three of his properties have not been arrested.
John Bucanelli, an engineer with KPI Technology, which is the Community Development Block Grant engineer for the city, discussed work done on the wading pool at the Lawton Shroyer Memorial Swimming Pool to make it handicapped accessible.
Bucanelli told council landscaping work will be completed at the pool and rebar sticking out of the ground that holds up a fence at the pool will be removed to eliminate a potential hazard.
Council awarded a street paving contract totaling $128,364.40 to New Enterprise Stone and Lime, of Winfield.
Other bids were received from M&J Excavation Inc., of Bloomsburg, ($146,563.85) and Glenn Hawbaker Inc., of Montoursville, ($225,517).
Council granted permission to VNA Health System to hold its annual butterfly release at Claude Kehler Community Park at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.
Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities was authorized to hold a duck drop at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Liberty Street bridge near Rescue Fire Co.
Christian and Missionary Church was granted permission to hold a kids festival Saturday, Aug. 10, at Claude Kehler Community Park.
Council authorized National Night Out to be held at the community park Tuesday, Aug. 6, starting at 5 p.m.
McGaw, director of parks and public buildings, said the Shamokin Area Lions Club will hold a summer block party at Claude Kehler Community Park from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday with music by R.A.T.L. at 7:30 p.m., and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday with music by Lunasea at 7:30 p.m.
He said the event will raise funds to repair and restore playgrounds and equipment.
Prior to the meeting, council presented certificates of achievement to the top five honor students from Shamokin Area and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional high schools.
Top students from Lourdes include Frances Czeponis, Melissa (Huong) Nguyen, Jared Stewart, Madison Margaret Mengel and Thomas Schultz.
Top students from Shamokin Area are Marshall Buggy, Abigail Nye, Robert Rebuck, Spencer Balonis and Lauren Wagner.
At the beginning of the meeting, a moment of silence was held for former longtime city police officer Vince Stefanowicz, who passed away Monday morning.
ELYSBURG — While traveling along Route 54 in Elysburg, drivers have a handful of potential food and drink options, no doubt. But one business in particular proudly boasts that it not only is locally owned but also works in conjunction with area farms.
Profile Coffee and Roasters Inc., 185 S. Market St., provides its customers with a dazzling array of food and drink options, with an emphasis on high-quality goods and a deep sense of community.
“The importance of this coffee shop, especially to a region such as this, is that it builds a strong sense of community and provides a high-quality product that may not be available otherwise,” said general manager Bryan Glass. “Here we are, as a local-owned establishment, doing craft-coffee and micro batches, we’re able to explore different regions of coffee that may not be be available with the larger chain coffee shops.”
Profile works with local farmers too, he said.
“Our beans come from micro-lots or individual local farms,” Glass added. “We continually work toward cultivating relationships with area farms so that it’s sustainable for everybody.”
There’s a big difference, he said, between “commodity coffee” and “micro-coffee.”
“Commodity coffee is what the large companies use — Folgers, Starbucks, etc. — they buy huge plots of land and just harvest all the coffee on that land,” Glass said. “Micro-lots range from a 5x5 plot to a couple acres — and it’s just the coffee on that plot that is harvested.”
The primary difference is that Profile Coffee and Roasters works hand-in-hand with the local farmer more directly.
It’s been three-plus years for the business at its Elysburg location, which is owned by Andrew and Michelle Bower, whom Glass noted are very committed to providing the locale with quality goods and service coupled with helping area causes.
“Profile Coffee and Roasters is very community-minded,” he said. “We recently did a food drive for the Elysburg Food Pantry, based out of Elysburg United Methodist Church; have a presence annually at All Home Days; and also work with Toys for Tots each year.”
The shop offers a vast array of different drinks: Espresso, lattes, macchiatos, in-house cold brew coffee, chai tea, smoothies, hot chocolate, matcha and horchata are some of the thirst-quenchers available.
Glass provided a sniff test of coffee beans from Brazil, Cameroon and Ethiopia and each were wildly robust and flavor-filled.
There are also various sandwich and salad options that can be made to order.
“Our breakfast sandwiches are a big hit, with fresh local eggs, a New York bagel and a choice or meat or veggies,” Glass said with a smile on his face.
The establishment also offers keto-friendly and gluten-free items.
“(We are) one of very few places locally to have those options,” Glass added, noting the shop is a valued destination for those looking to find dining options that fit their particular respective diets.
The rustic layout and wifi availability are icing on the proverbial cake.
“It’s the perfect spot for meeting up with friends or even catching up on homework after school,” Glass said.
TREVORTON — At Monday evening’s Zerbe Township Board meeting, a resident displayed evidence of what she claimed was a deliberate act of targeted vandalism that was done to her vehicle, following comments she made concerning off-roaders riding dangerously on township streets near her property.
According to Tara Kluge, on June 12, a day after media reports were made about her concerns over off-roaders operating their vehicles in a reckless manner, she found a large plastic bolt positioned underneath the front tire of her vehicle.
She removed the bolt, but three days later, Kluge said, she did not see another bolt — this time a metal one, along with a metal gasket used to keep it positioned upright — deliberately placed under the center of her rear tire. When she ran over the bolt, it immediately punctured the tire, resulting in a flat for which she had to pay a repair bill.
“This was a deliberate act of targeted vandalism, and I believe it happened during the day,” Kluge told the supervisors.
Anyone with any knowledge or evidence of the crime is asked to call Zerbe Township Police at 570-797-4637.
A letter was received from the Line Mountain Field Hockey Boosters, thanking the board for allowing the use of the Foundry field in May for a Field Hockey Frenzy tournament.
Solicitor Roger Weist presented a copy of an initial draft of the township’s new parking permit ordinance to the supervisors. The ordinance would allow businesses to pay for a permit and signage to restrict parking for their customers only.
Supervisors Mike Schwartz and Jerry Bulchie indicated that verbiage needed to be added to include authorization from the property owner themselves, provided that a business does not own the property or building where it’s located.
A motion from Schwartz was approved for the public advertisement of street paving bids to be announced this week, with a special meeting to follow at 6 p.m. July 25 to discuss the awarding of contracts.
Zerbe Township Chief of Police Mike Kreischer said the department received 85 police calls and patrolled 830 miles during June.
Code enforcement officer Martin Sowers, of Light-Heigel, provided the board with an update of blighted properties and violators in the township currently under surveillance. They include:
A National Night Out event, which allows the public to interact with local law enforcement, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the Trevorton Recreation Area.
In addition to food and games, Heath’s Gym Dance Crew will perform at 6 p.m. Following the dance crew, The Codi & Joe Show will provide entertainment until the close of the event.
Trevorton’s first car show will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at the Zerbe Township Recreation Area football field. Live entertainment will be provided from 7 to 9 p.m. by the After Hours band.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction with automotive-related prizes, along with food vendors.
The rain date is Saturday, Aug. 17.
WATSONTOWN — Watsontown’s close proximity to the under-construction Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation project (CSVT) was a key factor in the Luzerne County Community College’s (LCCC) decision to open its seventh branch campus in the community, according to the president and CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce (GSVCC).
Bob Garrett, who also serves as chair of the Susquehanna Community Education Project which has been working to bring a community college to the area, updated Watsontown borough council Monday on the plans for the college to open a branch campus Sept. 3 at the former Watsontown Elementary School building.
“(Watsontown’s) location at the end of the CSVT makes it highly accessible to the core of the Greater Susquehanna Valley,” Garrett said.
The LCCC previously announced it would be utilizing five classrooms, two computer labs, an office area and student lounge in the former elementary school building. Classes in English, math, speech, biology, sociology, art, computer information systems and CPR will be offered.
According to information provided Monday by Garrett, high school students will be charged $64 per credit to take classes. Residents considered “in county” will be charged $130 per credit, while “out-of-county” residents will be charged $260.
Garrett said the difference between “in-county” residents and “out-of-county” residents will be determined by which counties offer funding to support the campus.
Garrett told council that he, along with Warrior Run Superintendent Dr. Alan Hack, Dr. John Kurelja of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) and local business people will be meeting commissioners from several surrounding counties in an effort to secure funding to support the campus.
Meetings have been scheduled for July 23 with the Snyder County commissioners, July 30 with the Union County commissioners and Aug. 6 with the Northumberland County commissioners. Meetings are also pending with commissioners from Montour, Clinton and Lycoming counties.
Garrett said $100,000 is needed to cover costs associated with utilizing the former elementary school building for the campus.
Hack previously said a $10 per credit fee and a $30 per credit capital fee will be charged to all students taking classes at the center. Those funds will go to the Warrior Run district.
However, Hack noted that those fees will be waived for residents of counties supporting the college campus.
Garrett told council he has “high hopes” the Northumberland County commissioners will pledge funds to support the campus.
Council also heard from Ken Smith, a volunteer with the Sounds on the Susquehanna Drum and Bugle Corps competition.
The competition was held recently at the Milton Area High School and was termed by Smith as “a big success.”
He extended thanks to Watsontown council for allowing the Hawthorne Caballeros to use the Watsontown Memorial Park for practice while they were in the area for the competition.
Smith said a third edition of the drum and bugle corps competition will be held in 2020.
SHAMOKIN — Shamokin City Council will hold an executive session at 4:30 p.m. today at City Hall with state-appointed labor attorney Lars Anderson to discuss the status of Shamokin Patrolman Scott Weaver, who last month charged the wrong person with possessing cocaine relating to a Nov. 13 incident outside the Shamokin Area Annex building.
Mayor John Brown, who oversees the police department, said Weaver is entitled to his due process rights regarding the erroneous arrest.
He said council may, or may not, take disciplinary action against Weaver after conferring with Anderson. He said a special meeting will be held if disciplinary action is taken.
He said Chief of Police Darwin Tobias III submitted a report to him about the incident involving the false arrest and Weaver responded to the report Monday.
Weaver, who is still working, has been a member of the police force for more than 19 years.
Shamokin Administrator Robert Slaby said Tobias has made a recommendation to the mayor, who in turn, will make a recommendation to council.
Weaver has been suspended three times in the past few years. The suspension resulted from Weaver committing the following acts:
• Driving under the influence of alcohol relating to an accident in Ralpho Township.
• Accidentally discharging a firearm while on duty in the city.
• Allowing a robbery suspect in his custody to escape from the police station.