Shamokin council, Shoch talk AOAA
SHAMOKIN - Northumberland County Commissioner Richard Shoch, who was an invited guest at a special meeting of Shamokin City Council Wednesday night, believes the city should have proper representation on an authority being established for the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA).
The commissioner said interviews for five candidates for the authority are scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. today at Brewser's Sports Bar and Grille, Coal Township. Shoch, who may not be able to attend the interviews because of another meeting, said Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy, who have clashed with him over the controversial proposed recreation park, are expected to interview the candidates. Clausi has proposed creating a five-member authority, while Shoch believes there should be 11 to 15 members on the board.
Echoing the views he expressed about the authority at Tuesday's chaotic 2 1/2-hour commissioners' meeting, Shoch told council members, "I feel the authority should be discussed further."
"We must be willing to talk with other parties who may be interested in serving on the authority. I believe the AOAA will benefit the communities in the area because there is a big market for it. It will improve the land, reduce dumping and have an overall positive impact if it is developed and maintained properly," he said.
'Measure twice, cut once'
Noting there are concerns about the AOAA, including potential hunting restrictions, Shoch said an ongoing dialogue needs to be established with officials from municipalities that will be affected by the AOAA.
"The City of Shamokin definitely should have voter representation on the authority, which I think should contain 11 to 15 members," he said. "We must be careful on how we select the members. I don't think the commissioners should control the authority and AOAA. The authority should represent people with diverse interests. We can't cram this down people's throats, but I think that's the direction the majority of the board wants to take."
To make sure things are done right and not rushed, Shoch said the commissioners should "measure twice and cut once."
The commissioner believes a special meeting should be held later in the year to appoint AOAA authority members. In the meantime, he recommended a special evening meeting be held for the sole purpose of discussing the AOAA.
Mayor George Rozinskie agreed with Shoch's views about the AOAA and formation of the authority and again expressed his displeasure with the county leaving the city out of the loop regarding the AOAA. "We felt Shamokin wasn't included in anything," the mayor said.
Longtime Councilman R. Craig Rhoades added, "The city gave the county a letter of support for the AOAA, but then we didn't hear anything about it. I think the commissioners need the support of all the communities the AOAA affects."
City Clerk Steve Bartos, the former county planning director who was initially involved with plans to develop the AOAA, claimed certain groups were intentionally left off the AOAA steering committee.
Graverobbers, zombies raise money
Council granted permission to Coal City Revitalization Inc., a non-profit organization, to conduct Halloween-theme fundraising events.
The Grave Robbers Run in Shamokin and Coal Township will begin with registration at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the bandstand at Claude E. Kehler Jr. Community Park, Third and Arch streets. The event will combine problem-solving challenges with tests of physical endurance and is modeled after the hit CBS reality television series, "Amazing Race."
It's based on the history of the missing head found in the Coal Run area just after the turn of the 20th century. The victim was an Italian man whose business in the Shamokin area remains a mystery, as does his beheading.
The Grave Robbers Ball will be held at 5 p.m. the same day at Independence Fire Company.
The Zombie Sprint, a 2.7-mile run, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in Shamokin. The event, which will begin in the municipal parking lot at Rock and Independence streets, will involve people dressed as zombies chasing normally-dressed citizens around the community.
Eric Scicchitano, one of the chief organizers of the events, told council members, "We want to make the Zombie Sprint a spectacle while raising money to spur economic development in the city."
Council members agreed to have Coal City Revitalization covered under the city's insurance policy for both races.
Mill Road Square
Council accepted two bids for review for renovations to the lone remaining rental unit available at Mill Road Square on North Franklin Street. Bognet Inc., Hazle Township, submitted a bid for $162,765, while Moore Renovations of Coal Township submitted a bid for $118,980.
A contract for the work is scheduled to be awarded at Monday night's regular meeting.
Parade, 'trunk or treat'
Council reported the annual Shamokin Halloween Parade co-sponsored by First National Bank and The News-Item will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Claude E. Kehler Jr. Community Park. The rain date for the parade is Oct. 25.
Council approved a request by Citizens for a Better Community to hold the first "trunk or treat" event from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the municipal parking lot at Rock and Independence streets. Children will be provided treats from vehicles decorated in Halloween garb while safely walking through the parking lot.
Rescue Fire Company's request for a bean soup sale to benefit its truck fund was approved for Nov. 3.
Other city officials in attendance at the special meeting were Councilmen William Strausser and Michael Snyder, solicitor H. Robert Mattis, treasurer Brenda Scandle, community development director Lynn Dixson, code enforcement officer Rick Bozza and Chief of Police Edward Griffiths.