July 11, 2008

No Word on New Officer in Ashland

By John E. Usalis, The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa.

Jul. 11--ASHLAND -- It will be at least another week before Ashland Borough Council finds a replacement for retired Ashland Police Officer Joseph Groody.

During Wednesday's meeting, borough council tabled without discussion the agenda item to hire a new full-time officer. The meeting started late due to an executive session that lasted 65 minutes as council discussed the personnel matter with apparently no consensus found in replacing Groody, who served on the police force for 31 years.

Council President Michael Groody asked for a motion to hire, but after no motion was offered, he called for a special meeting for the sole purpose of hiring an officer. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at borough hall. Council will first meet in a closed-door executive session, after which it will hold the open meeting to hire.

Council officially thanked Officer Groody for more than three decades of service to the borough.

"We lost a very good member of the police force in my brother Joe," said Michael Groody, who invited his brother to the front of the room. Presentations of a certificate and gifts were made by Michael Groody and Mayor Dennis Kane.

"I'm a little short for words tonight," said Joseph Groody. "I'd like to thank borough council, chief of police, mayors and borough managers for the past 31 years. It's been great working for the borough and especially the citizens of Ashland."

The outside of borough hall will get a new paint job in the very near future thanks to the inmate work program at the Schuylkill County Prison. Councilwoman Mary Catherine Flannery provided details about what will be provided by the prison and what the borough will need to supply.

According to Flannery, the value of labor that the inmates will provide and what the borough will save is about $10,000.

Kane commented on the recent death of resident Harry Strouse, who passed away at age 96 and was still working as an attorney one week before his passing.

"Speaking as a friend, two weeks ago we lost a really good friend in attorney Harry Strouse," said Kane. "He was a long-time borough solicitor. If someone could be named 'Mr. Ashland,' I think Harry Strouse would fit that description."

Kane noted that Strouse was instrumental in the founding of Pioneer Tunnel, improvement in the Brock Cemetery and founded Ashland Trusts, which is now the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation (SACF).

Council granted permission to Ashland Downtown Inc. to paint the parking meter poles and street sign posts black to match the street lights. ADI volunteers will also renumber the meter posts during the painting project, which has not been scheduled.

Groody and council recognized the contribution of local contractor David Kramer in making repairs to borough hall and museum. Groody pointed out that Kramer donated the labor and materials at a total cost of $134.50 and thanked him for his community involvement. Kramer is a resident of Butler Township.

Council also approved two community activities requested by Kane. The Ashland Elks Lodge 384 Antlers, which is the lodge youth organization, will hold a car wash and tag day at the lodge from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23. Rain date will be July 30. Proceeds will go to the SACF trust fund used to maintain and make improvements at the Mothers Memorial.

The other council approval was for the annual DARE Race, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 27. The race is sponsored by the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department.

Council appointed John A. Schreffler to fill the vacancy on the Ashland Area Municipal Authority board left by the resignation last month of John Misiewicz.

Ann Marie Groody informed council that three SACF grants were approved for use at three borough parks.

Deputy Health Officer Barbara Lyden reported that 12 dilapidated properties owned by absentee landlords have been identified and efforts will be made to contact the owners.

Kane also thanked members of the American Hose Company, the ladies auxiliary, fire police and others who contributed to a successful fireworks display Thursday, July 3, despite the inclement weather.


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