The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 7, 2013

Riverside street splits congressional districts

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— RIVERSIDE — It’s not only Jay Street in Riverside that separates Tom Schneider and Joseph R. Shepperson. After redistricting and the redrawing of congressional maps, the neighbors have two different U.S. representatives.

On the northern side of Jay Street, Schneider’s side, it’s Tom Marino, of Cogan Station, a Republican representing the 10th Congressional District. On the southern side of Jay Street, Shepperson’s side, it’s Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, a Republican representing the 11th Congressional District.

“Really?” Schneider asked Friday afternoon. “You’re kidding me. That’s crazy. It’s just more proof of how government can screw up.”

Across the street are the Sheppersons.

While the homeowner, Joseph R., was at work, his father, Joseph B., was house-sitting. When told that the house across the street had a different congressman, he too was puzzled.

“Why would they do that?” he asked. “I had no idea.”

Neither, apparently, did Riverside’s judge of elections, Ann Thomas, when the lines were redrawn.

“No one told me about the three families that are now in Marino’s district in the borough,” she said. “It was absurd.”

It made for quite a problem when those registered voters came to vote during the November election.

“They thought they were voting in the 11th District,” Thomas said. “We had even been sent a unique voting machine — we had three for the 11th — and one for the 10th District. I wondered about that at first.”

The state had to send someone over to explain the situation.

Riverside is believed to be the only borough in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties to have two congressmen, one of whom — Marino — represents three constituents.