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Titans take Cooperstown

Page 13

11 female prisoners boarded out
  • Updated

County commissioners announced at their work session on Thursday that 11 female inmates were currently being boarded out of county.

County Commissioner Tom Henry said that they were being detained in the Wayne County Jail, because there aren’t enough women CO’s to safely guard the inmates. Henry said it is costing the county around $1,000 per day to house the inmates in Wayne County.

“It’s very expensive, and becomes more expensive when you have to transport them for trials or medical reasons,” Henry said. “This could be helped with a couple more female guards. If anyone knows anyone who is interested, please tell them to apply.”

At the work session, the commissioners also allocated money last week to help residents in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

The county allocated $340,000 of a community development grant to Trehab to help fund the cost of drug and alcohol rehab for up to 17 individuals. According to Trehab Executive Director Dennis Phelps, there is currently a backlog of people in need of treatment throughout Wyoming County.

“This will help us greatly in providing countywide services,” Phelps said. “I personally want to thank the commissioners for supporting our mission by giving us these extra funds.”

The money comes from a community development grant allocated to the county during 2017. Henry said the county would lose the funding if it was not used by the end of the calendar year.

“Rather than completely losing this money, we thought we would reallocate it to someone in need,” Henry said. “We’re behind Trehab in every move they make and couldn’t be happier to support them.”

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Sunflowers by the thousands
  • Updated

The sight of bright yellow flowers has been lighting up a Lemon Township farm this time of year for 15 years now.

Sunflower season at Brown Hill Farms is officially in full swing. This year, the farm has nearly 15 acres of more than 100,000 sunflowers to pick, take some artsy photos, or walk around to take in the scenery.

Owner Michele Brown planted the sunflowers at the end of June, a little bit after tulip season had concluded. She said there were some points where the weather was not cooperative in letting the sunflowers grow.

“There was actually some delay in our bloom because of 14 straight days of rain that fell in July,” Brown said. “I think we’ll have a little bit more traffic towards the end of our season this year, but overall the bloom still came out very nice.”

Sunflowers only require around an inch of water per week during the growing season to fully bloom. Brown plants three different fields five days apart from each other. She said the last field is running a little bit behind because of the July rainfall.

That hasn’t stopped people from coming to the sunflower festival. Heather Cornell, of Laceyville, was walking through the field with some family and friends. This was the first time she had brought her granddaughter, Cecilia Colegrove, to see the flowers. Colegrove looked with a smile at all of the bright yellow plants.

“We’ve been out here taking some pictures,” Cornell said. “This is great scenery to come and get some pictures. My granddaughter loves it, she has been smiling all day.”

Brown Hill Farms opened for sunflower season on Aug. 7. Brown said the farm had a busy opening day and has still seen a good amount of traffic during the week. She also is looking to run some activities to go along with the sunflower season.

“We do sunflower yoga on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.,” Brown said. “We’ve also been featuring all sorts of craft vendors from throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. We want people to be able to showcase their homemade goods like we are showcasing our flowers.”

Brown expects sunflowers to be in full bloom until the end of August. Brown Hill Farms will switch over to their fall pumpkin patch for the end of September. The famous corn maze, petting zoo and farmers’ market will also return for the public’s pleasure.

“Between tulips in the spring, sunflowers in the fall and the fall festival, we are so blessed to receive so much support,” Brown said. “Even during the pandemic, people have still been coming out to pick their flowers or pumpkins.”

Brown Hill Farms is located at 405 East Avery Station Road, Lemon Township. General admission for the sunflower field is $8 for ages two and up. Sunflowers for picking are $1 per stem.

The farm is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. There may be some instances where the farm is closed due to inclement weather. Sunflower season is scheduled to run through Sunday, Aug. 22, but may be extended if there are still flowers available. Call 570-241-8430 if there is bad weather forecasted for updated hours.

Jail time for trespass and assault


A 22-year-old Meshoppen man who entered guilty pleas to criminal trespass for breaking into a Monroe Township home back in 2019 and simple assault for beating its resident with a baseball bat, was sentenced Wednesday to 4-23 months in county jail, $1,000 in fines and more than $13,000 restitution.

Dustin Dean Saul appeared with his attorney Joseph McGraw in front of Judge Russell Shurtleff, and his attorney noted there were two other family members involved in the incident.

Saul had spent four days in jail already and McGraw asked for a probationary sentence.

District Attorney Jeff Mitchell, however, asked for incarceration.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Shurtleff said it was in the aggravated range because Saul showed no remorse and offered no apology to his victim for his actions of April 29, 2019. He received 1-12 months for criminal trespass and 3-11 months for simple assault, to be served consecutively.

Others sentenced last Wednesday by Judge Shurtleff in the Wyoming County Court of Comonon Pleas:

Morgan David Brown, 28, of Edwardsville, was sentenced to 62 days-12 months in county jail and a $500 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia on July 15, 2020.

Brandon Jay Carter, 25, of Meshoppen, was sentenced to 4-12 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine for indecent exposure on July 6, 2017; and to 1-11.5 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine for simple assault on July 6, 2017; with sentences to be served consecutively

Francis Michael Kane, 49, of Scranton, was sentenced to 6 months probation and a $500 fine for DUI of a controlled substance on Aug. 15, 2020.

David Paul Kossow, 29, of Nicholson, was sentenced to 6 months probation and a $300 fine for DUI on March 18.

Bediako Mbaye, 34, of Hazleton, was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $500 fine for resisting arrest on June 12, 2020.

Jonathan Davis Miller, 38, of Lake Winola was sentenced to 65 days-12 months in county jail and a $500 fine for simple assault on Apr. 17, 2019; and to a fine of $500 and 12 months probation, commencing with 30 days house arrest, for possession of drug paraphernalia on Sep. 4, 2020, with sentences to be served consecutively.

Michael Daniel Munkatchy, 51, of Monroe Township, was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $500 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia on April 8.

Cassandra Leigh Smith, 32, of Scranton, was sentenced‘ to 3-12 months in county jail and a $500 fine for possession of a controlled substance on Aug. 7, 2020.

Kyle John Tighe, 27, of Dunmore, was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $500 fine for disorderly conduct on May 22, 2020.

Wesley Ryan Truchon, 35, of Sweet Valley was sentenced to 18 months probation and a $500 fine for simple assault on Dec. 4, 2020.

Bradley David Warner, 38, of Kingsley was sentenced to 4-12 months in county jail and a $500 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia on Nov. 12, 2020.

James Robert Weaver, 34, of LeRaysville, was sentenced to a $500 fine and 6 months probation commencing with 15 days house arrest for DUI on March 17.

Jason David Westbrook, 39, of Montrose, was sentenced to 16-60 months in state prison and a $1,500 fine for DUI, second offense, on Jan. 24, 2020.

Michael Scott White, 40, of Noxen, was sentenced to 44 days-12 months in county jail and a $500 fine for fleeing or eluding police on June 21, 20; to 18 months probation and a $500 fine for prohibited offensive weapons on Oct. 18, 1019, with sentences to be served consecutively; and to 12 months probation and a $500 fine for possession of a controlled substance on June 21, 2020, with latter sentence to be served concurrently to others.

Harford Fair returns

Page 10

TA support personnel get pay hike
  • Updated

The Tunkhannock Area School Board voted its support personnel a pay raise last Thursday.

The 3-year contract, according to board president Phil Farr, allows for a 75 cents an hour pay raise for 2021-22; a 55 cents an hour pay raise for 2022-23, and a 55 cents an hour pay raise for 2023-24.

It also requires the support personnel to pay one percent of their health insurance.

The bulk of the meeting was an opportunity for Superintendent Heather McPherson to address the upcoming school year which begins for students on Aug. 25.

She said that the Health and Safety Plan for the new school year that was discussed and approved at the previous board meeting is now on the website at

McPherson noted that students would be highly recommended to wear masks in school, but not required. They will be required to wear masks on the school bus.

She noted as of last Thursday, 74 students (across grades K-12) would be taking coursework via the district’s virtual platform Fusion C3. McPherson said that if others were planning to use the platform, she hoped they would let their intention be known by Aug. 20 so materials would be ready in a timely fashion.

The district is setting up a vaccination clinic on Aug. 19 at the high school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is open to anyone 12 and older, and it was important to register so they would know how much vaccine to bring. For those participating, a second dose would be given on Sep. 9.

It was also announced that breakfasts and lunches would be available free of charge to all students in all buildings.

Procedurally, McPherson noted that Wyoming County was in a substantial risk zone, although one metric showed it to be moderate.

She said she expected new guidance regarding heath protocols by the weekend, and recommended the public visit the district’s website to see how Tunkhannock Area students and staff would be affected.

The school board approved the following:

  • agreement with Rural Health Corporation of Northern Pennsylvania’s bid for dental services for 2021-22.
  • an intergovernmental agreement with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 for a 2021-22 DEA allocation; and
  • agreements with Children’s Service Center for Partial Hospitalization Services and Therapeutic Educational Programs for 2021-22.

From the superintendent’s report, the board

  • approved the resignation of high school physical education teacher Kellie Wynne;
  • approved the unpaid leave of Kim Loomis from Aug. 2021 to Feb. 2022;
  • approved employment of Amanda Golden and Lisa Truesdale in the TASD summer program;
  • approved some transfers or new appointments of nurses Crystal Meyers and Alyssa DeRobertis, food service workers Betsy Staff and Melanie Grow, district paraprofessionals Jordan Herbert, Tiffany Reynolds, Kathleen Flanigan, Raynele Traveny, and Karen (DePietro) Barbiarz.
  • approved the appointments of Paul Maleski, Brendan Tomaino, and Joseph Gaughan as school security officers;
  • approved technology interns Joshua Falzone, Logan Krause, and Aiden West;
  • approved the attendance by Charles Richter in the course CCNA1, which when successfully completed will make him eligible to teach Cisco Networking; and
  • adopted the bus/van driver list for2021-22.

With the latter matter, chief operating officer Shane Powers noted that because there were two board members who abstained on the bus contracts, the vote — with board members Rob Parry, William Swilley, and John Burke absent — was 4-0-2, which was a majority of those present, but not a majority of the board.

Parry was reached by phone, and added his vote for the bus/van driver list making for a 5-0-2 vote, which carried.

In an updqted superintendent’s report, the board also

  • approved Shelby Gallis, Amanda Curcio, Karen Stone and Rachel Vidumsky as grant-funded elementary teachers and Adam Benjamin as a grant-funded high school math teacher, all to address student academic needs due to COVID-19; and
  • approved Genevieve Farr and Jennifer James as long-term substitutes for 2021-22. (Farr is the daughter of board president Phillip Farr, who abstained on the vote, which passed unanimously.)

Gas coming soon to courthouse
  • Updated

Natural gas lines could be fully hooked up to county buildings by early winter.

At Tuesday’s Wyoming County Commissioners meeting, commissioners said they attended a meeting with consultant Lance Stange and representatives from UGI about the progress of the gas line installation project.

Commissioner Tom Henry said that if there are no future problems, they expect gas lines to be hooked up to the courthouse, emergency management building and county jail by sometime in the early winter months.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a while now,” Henry said. “I’m very glad we can see the finish line a little bit. It’s caused some headaches the past couple of years, but I think we can finally see the end of the road.”

Looking ahead to the November election, commissioners announced they approved of a contract with Clear Ballot Group Inc., for $7,500. The purpose of the contract is to perform routine maintenance on the county’s voting machines before the election to get ahead of any future problems that may occur with the machines. The maintenance will be completed before the General Election in November.

“This is only routine, necessary maintenance,” Commissioner Ernie King said. “We didn’t have any problems last election as a county, and we don’t want to have any problems moving forward.”

Commissioners continued to address the need for corrections officers at the county jail. Henry announced there are currently 46 males and 10 females in the jail, but the females are being held in other prisons throughout the area due to a lack of female CO’s. The county has received some applications in the past week that are currently under review.

“We are in desperate need of females, but we will take anyone at this point,” Henry said. “Housing inmates in other counties is costing us around $1,000 per day, so it is becoming a very expensive bill.”

Henry also said the jail is seeing some recent issues with stormwater management. He is meeting with representatives from the jail this week to discuss a plan on how to move forward with the stormwater issue.

In other business, commissioners:

  • accepted the resignation of Jamie Lopez as a deputy sheriff, effective Monday. Aug. 30.
  • hired Cory Comstock as a full-time deputy sheriff, effective Monday. Aug. 30.
  • appointed Bill Gaylord as the county administrator to environmental, social and corporate governance for future meetings about the natural gas line project.

Commissioners also read a proclamation honoring the 2021 Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association Woman of the Year, Colleen McAleer. McAleer is the current sports editor of the Wyoming County Press Examiner and a former substitute teacher in the Elk Lake School District.

“She has provided great coverage of all local high school sports teams in Wyoming County,” the proclamation read. “And has been an inspiration to her family and friends.”

Wyoming County Commissioners will next meet on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m., at the courthouse.