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Judge Fills Vacancies on Wyalusing Borough Council

Wyalusing Borough Solicitor Jonathan Foster confirmed Tuesday that after reviewing resumes submitted by three candidates for the Wyalusing Borough Council, Bradford County President Judge Jeffrey Smith appointed borough residents Jean Reinhart and Jody Dake to fill two vacant council seats.

At their Monday night meeting. members of the borough council announced that Foster would submit the names of Reinhart, Dake and James F. Smith to Judge Smith.

Council President Gary Rouse said Monday that he hoped Judge Smith would act swiftly because the new councilmembers could play important roles in developing the borough's 2005 budget, a process which will begin later this month.

As of Monday night, however, councilmembers were unaware Judge Smith would fill the vacant council seats the following day.

Both Reinhart and Dake are residents of Wyalusing's Hill Section.

Reinhart, a borough resident since 1962, is a retired Wyalusing Valley High School business education teacher who served in that capacity for 30 years. She previously served two consecutive terms on council, including as council president during her second term. She was the first woman to be elected to the borough council.

Dake is employed by Procter & Gamble in Mehoopany. He served six years in the U.S. Army Reserves and was honorably discharged. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice at Mansfield University. Since moving to Wyalusing, with his wife Marci, Dake has been active in youth activities in the community, serving as flag football and t-ball coach. Dake's in-laws, David and Suky Burgess, are both former borough councilmembers

Last year council cut its size from seven to five members to deal with dwindling interest from borough residents willing to serve on council. Nevertheless, the five-member council was still short two people most of this year. Fears began to mount earlier this summer that the borough might be forced to dissolve because council appeared destined to reach a point where it lacked enough members to conduct official business.

Before turning the matter over to Bradford County Court, council had 30 days to fill the two vacant seats, but could not find replacements.

Other Council Business...

In other business Monday night, council discussed a wave of sidewalk construction currently underway in the borough.

Rouse said it was a $17,600 Community Development Block Grant that opened the door for many of the community's low-income families to construct sidewalks.

Other property owners who didn't meet the income guidelines for the grant have also rebuilt walk-ways, Rouse said.

Virtually every property on First Street has already or is in the process of building a sidewalk, Rouse noted.

On another matter Rouse said that council can finalize its order for new playground equipment at the borough park, and the equipment could arrive in time for installation this fall or early winter.

Other business discussed Monday evening included:

— Unanimously approving a motion to keep the borough insurance coverage package with Gannon Insurance.

— Agreeing to apply for a grant that would bring funding to improve building facades in Wyalusing's downtown business district. The Wyalusing Community Corp. would serve as administrator of the grant monies.

— Hearing that the logging at the borough's Brewer Hollow property is over half-way complete and that work to install over 16 acres of deer fencing will begin as soon as logging is complete.

— Unanimously approving a motion to cover payments to Wayne Felter's Act 205 pension should the state contribution fall short.

— Briefly discussing the Wyalusing Creek stabilization project and what's been dubbed as the Creek Park Project, which would restore the former Welles Mill Pond. Joan Cashin noted that the grant for planning the Creek Park Project has not expired as was previously thought.

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