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Waverly School District mourns loss of second-grade student

WAVERLY — The Waverly School District is mourning the loss of one of its own this week following the weekend death of a second-grade student who went to the Elm Elementary School.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Eric Knolles reflected on Jagger Roberts-Wright’s time with the district and said, even though the boy was at the district a short time and located at the elementary school, he still remembered the boy as standing out in the crowd.

“Any time you lose an eight-year-old, it kind of makes you question everything,” he said. “He was really active. He played football, baseball, wrestling — all at Waverly Rec. He was always wanting to do something and just brought a lot of positive energy to our classroom.”

Knolles added that the district’s crisis team has been working since Sunday to put in place an action plan for staff and students, and grief counselors are in place to help.

“Sadly, we’ve done this before, so we’ll move forward,” he said. “It’ll be different, though. We were a better school Friday than we are today, but we’ll push through it.”

Roberts-Wright lost his life as a result of an ATV crash that occurred at a New York Offroad Association event over the weekend.

According to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office, the accident occurred shortly after 10:45 a.m. Sunday during a race, which was when Roberts-Wright struck a tree with his ATV and was ejected from the vehicle.

Police said the boy was transported to Schuyler Hospital via ambulance, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police added that the Montour Falls Fire Department assisted at the scene.

editor / Pat McDonald/Morning Times  

Sayre Borough resident Lisa Horton (left) casts her ballot as Melissa Post, Judge of Elections for Sayre’s Fourth Ward, talks her through the process on Tuesday afternoon.

McLinko, Miller cruise in commissioners race; Salsman takes DA in Republican primary

TOWANDA — Incumbent Bradford County Commissioners Doug McLinko and Daryl Miller cruised to victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

McLinko had the most votes with 4,983 votes or 40.9 percent. Miller finished second with 4,570 votes or 37.51 percent. Challenger Dale Bowen, an Athens resident, had 2,516 or 20.65 percent.

That means McLinko and Miller will join fellow incumbent Ed Bustin, a Sayre Democrat, on the November ballot. Bustin had 2,106 votes or 84.38 percent.

The question is will there be another Democrat, or possibly Bowen, on the general election ballot. There were 390 write-in votes cast in the Democratic primary and there is an extra spot in the November election up for grabs.

If Miller or McLinko received the most write-in votes on the Democratic side, then it would mean the three incumbents would not be challenged in November.

In the race for District Attorney, Chad Salsman picked up the victory with 3,546 or 52.14 percent of the vote. Al Ondrey finished with 3,245 votes or 47.71 percent.

There were 483 write-in votes for District Attorney on the Democratic side, which means if Ondrey received the most votes he would be on the general election ballot.

editor / Ric Sinsabaugh/Morning Times 

Chase Sinsabaugh earned his first ever victory at Chemung Speedrome last weekend as he finished first in the Bandits division of the INEX Bandolero series.

Tiffany wins in Litchfield

In Litchfield Township, incumbent Supervisor Jeffrey Agnew was challenged for the Republican nomination by resident Frederick Tiffany. Tiffany won the Republican nomination with 91 votes, with Agnew coming in with 74 votes. There was no Democratic candidate listed for this post.

In Ulster Township, incumbent Supervisor Boyd Rowe was challenged for the Republican nomination by resident Gerald M. Slater Jr. Slater Jr. won the Republican nomination with 95 votes, while Rowe came in with 32 votes. There was no Democratic candidate listed for this post.

The remainder of the races in the Valley area were uncontested for the May primary. They were:

  • Athens Borough Council with four Republican and four Democratic nominations. Republicans: incumbents Scott Molnar with 178 votes, Walter Chaykosky with 164 votes and Robert Williams with 166 votes. Democrats: incumbent Scott Riley with 125 votes and resident Matthew Davidson with 130 votes. This will be a contested race in the November general election.
  • Athens Township Supervisor with one six-year and one four-year position. Incumbent Susan K. Seck, Democrat, ran unopposed for the six-year position with 167 votes, while appointed Supervisor Tressa Heffron, Republican, ran unopposed for the four-year position with 375 votes.
  • Sayre Borough Council with four four-year positions. Democrats: Incumbent Irene Slocum had 191 votes, with residents Jessica Meyer gaining 206 votes and Cori Belles with 203 votes. Appointed Councilman Patrick Gillete, Republican, had 240 votes.
  • Ridgebury Township Supervisor with one Republican and one Democratic nomination. Incumbent Supervisor Percy Talada ran unopposed for the Republican nomination with 157 votes, while resident Pat Scala ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination with 34 votes. This will be a contested race in the November general election.
  • Sheshequin Township Supervisor with one six-year and one four-year position — Incumbent John Smith, Republican, ran unopposed for the six-year post with 121 votes while appointed Supervisor Aaron Holdren, also a Republican, ran unopposed for the four-year position with 124 votes.
  • Smithfield Township Supervisor with one six-year position — Incumbent Jacqueline Kingsley, Democrat, ran unopposed with 40 votes.
  • South Waverly Borough Council with two four-year positions — incumbents Leo Bentley Jr., a Democrat, and Cori Lasco, Republican, ran unopposed. Bentley had 66 votes and Lasco had 71 votes.

Tioga, Waverly school budgets approved

The school budgets for the Waverly and Tioga Central school districts were both met with approval from voters once all the votes were counted on Tuesday.

Waverly Central School District

In Waverly, residents approved the district’s 2019-2020 spending plan of over $32.8 million with 270 voters approving the measure versus 72 residents voting “no.”

While the budget raises the local tax levy by 1.5 percent — short of the state tax cap of 1.88 percent — it will also add several positions, including three teachers, a full-time and part-time teacher aides, two family student advisors and a counselor.

Residents also officially voted in two school board candidates who were running unopposed to the two open five-year positions. David Ackland received the most votes with 302, and Janel H. Golden received 251 votes.

Voters also approved the installment contract and possible purchase of four 66-passenger buses and two 30 passenger buses at a cost not to exceed $115,000 per for a maximum of five years.

Tioga Central School District

Tioga’s election day ended with a shake up on the school board once the polls closed and all the votes were counted.

Out of the four candidates running for three open seats on that board, the incumbent — board vice president Shane Mills — was left as the odd man out, garnering the least amount of votes amongst the four.

That means that the three open board seats will be filled by former district superintendent Scot Taylor, and district residents Gregory Schweiger and Joshua Whitmore.

Because two of the three board positions were opened due to resignations by former board president Ryan Bombard and board member Maureen Zorn, only the top vote-getter will serve a full five-year term.

That means that Schweiger, who earned 290 votes, will serve that five-year term, while Taylor, who earned 245 votes, will serve the unexpired three-year term. Whitmore’s 215 votes means he will round out the board and serve the unexpired two-year term, while Mills garnered a total of 149 votes.

For the district’s nearly $20.3 million budget, voters approved the measure with 249 “yes” votes to 84 “no” votes.

While the budget will increase the district’s local tax levy by 0.39 percent, the spending plan will also at a full-time counselor and part-time social worker.

Voters also decided to authorize the district to purchase two new school buses and one Minotaur bus for a gross sum not to exceed $345,000 with votes of 75 against and 258 in favor of the measure.

Tioga, Pa. man arrested on felony drug charge

ATHENS TOWNSHIP — A Tioga, Pennsylvania man is in the Bradford County Jail after he was charged in connection with a drug-relation investigation that began last May in Athens Township.

Roger D. Hurd, 22, has been charged with manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, a first-degree felony, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to Athens Township Police, Hurd was seated in the driver’s seat of a black, two-door sedan with two passengers on May 29, 2018 when an officer arrived at the Walmart parking lot.

There was no inspection sticker on the car which had a Pennsylvania registration plate, according to police. Hurd explained they were waiting to pick up a friend at the Microtel, which is next to Walmart.

Police explained Hurd was “making furtive movements and appeared very nervous” when speaking with the officer.

As the suspect was getting out of the car, the officer observed Hurd put something in a small compartment to the left of the steering wheel, the affidavit states.

Hurd then dropped a hypodermic syringe on the ground as he pulled up the shorts he was wearing, police said. The suspect was then patted down and had a scale in his shorts.

The officer retrieved the item from the compartment of the car and discovered it was “a plastic baggie containing a white crystal substance that later field tested positive for methamphetamine, which weighed in at 3.9 grams.

Hurd was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Larry Hurley on Friday, May 17 and was remanded to county jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on May 28.