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Pending requirements provided for Keystone Exams

DALLAS TWP. – Dallas School Board members received an update about the pending Keystone Exam state requirements Monday evening.

Paul Reinert, director of curriculum and instruction and assistant superintendent, told the board the exams are “a moving target,” and officials aren’t quite sure what the testing procedures will be for graduation requirements for the class of 2015 and future classes.

Reinert said students will either need to take the tests in 10 courses – algebra I, algebra II, geometry, English literature, chemistry, biology, world history, U.S. history and civics and government – and have the score count for one-third of the students’ overall grades in each course, or take the exams separately, without having any weight on a student’s course grade.

In the first option, students will need to at least pass the exam, and in the second, students will need to score proficiently or they will not be able to graduate.

The class of 2015 will need only to take four exams to graduate – algebra I, English literature, composition and biology.

He also said there is an option for districts to administer their own tests and not utilize the Keystone Exams, but these locally created tests would need to be validated as proficient by the state department of education.

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 23 in the administration building.

Rain slows road repair, says Fairview Twp. official

FAIRVIEW TWP. – Chairman Russ Marhold on Monday told residents who had issues with the pothole patching and paving work in the township that the recent rainfall has the efforts backlogged for two weeks.

“Mother Nature is creating havoc and is winning,” he said about the roads at the supervisors’ monthly meeting.

The supervisors did approve a motion to pave a part of Main Street and Garden Avenue.

Resident Mark Zurek told supervisors that Dale Drive and a section of Memorial Park need resurfacing as soon as possible. Zurek warned that if they are not paved soon, it would be very costly to the township because the entire road would have to be completely dug up and repaved. Marhold was sympathetic but said the road done soon due to money issues. “Fuel prices have a direct effect on paving our roads and we are doing what we can right now,” he said.

To assist in the backlog of paving, the board moved hire a temporary road worker, Harold Kahley, for $12 an hour.

In other matters, the board accepted resignations from Zoning Hearing Board member John Dougherty and IT Generalist Scott Novatnak. “Their services will be missed,” Marhold said.

David Hourigan, president of the annual fundraiser and drive for Mountaintop Hose Company No.1, is taking donations for the drive through May. He also said that the company can take donations any time of the year.

Marhold reminded residents the summer recreational program that starts June 20 will charge $50 for the first child and $40 per additional child.

Motions were accepted to allow Russ Marhold, Al Spaide and Tom Kline to attend a Dirt and Gravel Road Seminar at Dushore Conservation District on June 15th and 16th. The board appointed Keith Gould to the township planning commission for a three-year term; approved Joseph Donofrio as alternate planning commission member; agreed to donate $2,000 to the Mountain Top Council of Government, which is the remaining yearly contribution, and voted to hire Mesko Glass to furnish and install a new front door at the municipal building at a cost of $2,750. Motions were also approved to execution of the “consent to assignment” of the Service Electric Co. TV franchise for the township.

Flood control project draws criticism in Swoyersville

SWOYERSVILLE – The flood control project came up for discussion at Monday night’s council meeting.

Resident Bill Hooper of Brook Street said the project is progressing inconsistently and has failed to unfold according to plan. He said he was frustrated with oversight in the project, saying that although the state Department of Environmental Protection is in charge, it deferred to the borough council in regard to concerns about a timeline for completion.

“Who exactly is in charge of the project and when will it be completed? We have been patient, but at this point we cannot plant a garden or cut our grass because of water overflow on my property,” Hooper said.

Borough coordinator Gene Breznay admitted the project was behind schedule because of weather-related issues, but he said the project is expected to be completed mid-summer. Council agreed to continue to monitor the project.

In another matter, Randy Melton, of Poland Street, expressed concern in regard to an abandoned building adjacent to his home. He said that rodents surrounded the property and that people had illegally entered the property to steal such items as copper wire.

“My concern is for the children of the neighborhood. I would hate to see the kids be bitten by a rat or to be hurt when playing around the building,” Melton said.

Solicitor Joe Yeager said he would file appropriate paperwork with the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas to establish ownership of property and make it possible for the borough to raze the property.

Yeager said that because the owners of the property reside in New Jersey, it made the process more difficult having to ascertain who owned the property, because the original owners had died.

After the council meeting, the board met in executive session to discuss "personnel issues."

Council is scheduled to meet again on June 6.

Wilkes-Barre Twp. fills opening for council secretary

WILKES-BARRE TWP. – The resignation of Becky Dotzel has created an immediate need for a new council secretary and council member John Quinn made the motion Monday night at the township council meeting to appoint Juliet Price as the new secretary.

Her appointment was unanimously approved.

In new business, the council voted to honor a request by the Earth Conservancy for a donation of $2,000. The township uses its compost center from April through November and had agreed to donate $4,000 yearly for the support of the compost center, which is shared by several municipalities. The amount was already included in the township budget, and the motion passed unanimously.

Quinn suggested the township consider an ordinance similar to one in Plains Township, where a $50 fee for those posting political signs is charged.

Township Solicitor Bruce Phillips objected to the idea.

“Those ordinances are patently illegal,” Phillips said. “You cannot charge a fee for putting up a political sign.”

He added that it was legal to cite a property owner if a sign is left up too long.

Council President Mary Yuknavich said the recent ordinance that bans posting political signs on PPL poles seemed to be working.

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