Council pushes to keep office open
-A letter from the Court of Common Pleas regarding the 22nd Judicial District was an important topic of discussion during the monthly meeting of the Waymart Borough Council. A copy of the letter was sent to all municipalities in the county explaining the changes that will be coming due to the re-districting of magisterial district courts. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, municipalities included in District 22-3-03 under Judge Farrell will be split between District 22-3-01, District 22-3-02 and District 22-3-04. Those municipalities include Waymart and Prompton Boroughs, Clinton, Canaan, South Canaan and Lake Townships. District 22-3-01 under Judge Bonnie Carney will now include Hawley Borough, Palmyra, Paupack, Salem, Lake, Sterling, Dreher and Lehigh Townships. District 22-3-02 under Judge Ted Mikulak will now include Honesdale, Prompton and Waymart Boroughs, Texas, Cherry Ridge, Canaan and South Canaan Townships. District 22-3-94 under Judge Ron Edwards will now include Starrucca and Bethany Boroughs, Scott, Preston, Buckingham, Mount Pleasant, Manchester, Lebanon, Damascus, Oregon, Berlin, Dyberry and Clinton Townships. The Magisterial District Court office under Judge Edwards in Lakewood will be re-located to the O'Neill Store on Route 247 in Mount Pleasant Township. The Magisterial District Court which belonged to District 22-3-03 under Judge Jane Farrell on Belmont Street, Waymart, will be closing. All of these changes will go into effect come Jan. 1, 2014. “We realize this will cause driving distances to judicial offices to increase for some,” stated Court Administrator Linus Myers in the letter. “We believe any negative impact will be minimal and efforts were made to position offices in such a manner that serves both population and commercial bases. Other factors involved balancing existing caseloads to make workloads of the magisterial district courts more equitable.” Maps of the former districts and re-aligned districts may be viewed on the Wayne County website at www.co.wayne.pa.us using links for “Departments,” “Court of Common Pleas,” then “Maps” at bottom of the Common Pleas page. After discussing the letter, a motion was made to write a letter to the Court of Common Pleas requesting that the Magisterial District Court office in Waymart stay open. “We should also add in the letter that it's for the sake of the police department,” said councilwoman Jane Varcoe. “This is an inconvenience for our officers.” The motion was approved unanimously to send a letter out “as soon as possible.” Other business Mayor Jack Millard wishes to remind residents not to throw snow into the roads. “We are cleaning the roads and the snow is getting put back in,” he said. “It's also illegal to do that.” • Police chief Fred Glavich stated there wasn't a physical police report because their computer crashed and is “in repair.” He mentioned that there wasn't much activity “because of the cold.” Council recommended the police get an external hard drive to back everything up. • Glavich also needed approval to get the mandatory state updates. The cost is $59.40 per officer, making it around $297 for all five to get the training. He also needed approval to get qualifications, a cost of $699 to $750. This would bring the total amount needed to approximately $1,100. It was voted on and approved by council. • Eric Smith, president of Laurel Highland Total Communications, the company that acquired South Canaan Telephone Company on Nov. 5, came to the meeting to introduce himself. He said Laurel Highland is a rural telephone company based in southwestern Pennsylvania, “with many similarities to South Canaan.” The company has been around for more than 100 years, almost as long as South Canaan Telephone Company was. “Phone, television and Internet services are the core of our business, just like South Canaan,” Smith said. “Laurel Highland offers state of the art fiber optic technology to 100 percent of our customers.” He said today Laurel Highland's TV is 60 percent digital, adding that by 2014 it will be 90 percent and in 2015 it will be 100 percent digital. There will also be 85 high definition channels and a total of 230 channels. He said they also offer Internet speeds up to 30mg. “Laurel Highland's goal is to offer phone, Internet and TV technology on a par with any city in the country,” Smith stated. “What we have done in our rural communities in southwestern PA we intend to do here in northeastern PA. We are in the process of evaluating South Canaan's Internet and TV offerings and can't provide any timetables yet.” He said that South Canaan Telephone and Waymart's success is “tied together” and added he hopes to partner with the borough in the future. “I'll be looking to communicate with you in the weeks, months and years ahead,” he said. Council welcomed Smith and his family to the area and thanked him for sharing some information about the company. • Millard also thanked the police department for their work during the outage that took place the last weekend in November. “They provided their assistance as best they could,” he stated. “I also want to compliment the police and Jane for their help at Laurel Place.” Varcoe also made comments regarding the outage. “I want to thank Wayne Woodlands for their help during the power outage,” she said. “They had lights and heat and willingly took people in who wanted to evacuate Laurel Place who were without power.” Wayne Woodlands Manor and Laurel Place are two of the nursing homes in Waymart. Varcoe said Marion Swencki, director of long term care at Wayne Woodlands Manor, was the one who said they would take residents from Laurel Place. “I want to thank the police department and fire department, who went to every tenant to make sure they were all okay.” She said the emergency lights at Laurel Place only last two hours and that they were out helping “for 11 hours.” She added that “no one answered” the emergency numbers either. “I appreciate the help we received and I want to thank everyone who helped,” Varcoe said. “It was thrilling to see the turnout of folks.” • Council accepted the resignation of AJ Gaudenzi from the board, as he was sworn in as a member of the Western Wayne School Board earlier this month. “I've enjoyed working with all of you,” Gaudenzi said. “I wish you all the best.” The motion was made “with regret” and was approved. • Council also offered Gaudenzi the opportunity to be the emergency management coordinator for the borough, which he accepted. • Council discussed the water main restoration and pipe replacement project for Center, Marion and Florence Streets, which has been talked about for several months due to concerns from the council as to what Aqua Water Company will do after the project is complete. Roswell McMullen, who represents Aqua Water Company, has been present at meetings several times to discuss the issues and trying to move the project forward. During the meeting, council president Chip Norella read a letter from Aqua about paving for the project. The letter talks about Leeward Construction, who was awarded the bid for the project, regarding their plan for pavement restoration. It says, “Aqua will pay Leeward the bid price of $18,000 to use for repaving the streets. Aqua further understands that Leeward intends to eliminate the temporary paving and reduce the permanent trench paving depth from 3” binder to 2” depth binder.” It adds that the change is “acceptable to Waymart Borough” given the trench will be “backfilled with 2A modified stone full depth.” Due to these changes, Leeward's pavement restoration “will not be in accordance with Aqua's specifications and therefore, Aqua will not be responsible or liable for Leeward's restoration work or maintaining the affected roadways after construction.” After the letter was discussed, a motion was made to accept the letter and the modifications. It was passed unanimously. “I'd like to thank Ros for coming back to several meetings and working with us,” stated Varcoe. “Thank you,” McMullen said. He added that he isn't sure when the work will be done. Council said they are working out the details. • The 2014 budget is now available for review at solicitor Chris Farrell's office and at The Wayne Bank. The expected revenues and expenditures are $273,845 apiece. A special meeting will take place on Dec. 23, 5:30 p.m. at the borough building, for adoption.