DANVILLE — Montour County commissioners hope Google Earth will soon update its maps to include new addresses in Montour County, Riverside and Rush Township.

"Hopefully we will have a fix soon," Commissioner Trevor Finn told Barb Kriner, Riverside council member, at Tuesday's commissioners meeting.

Kriner shared the frustration of Southside Fire Company Chief Nick Fowler from Monday night's Riverside council meeting. Fowler is concerned about the fire company not going to the right location during an emergency and someone getting hurt or worse.

"I share your frustration deeply, especially as a first responder," Finn told Kriner. Finn is also a Danville firefighter.

A total of 97.2 percent of home and business addresses in Montour County, Rush Township and Riverside were changed in conjunction with the consolidation of 911 centers in Montour and Columbia counties, so first responders wouldn't be confused when dispatched to an emergency. New street and road names were assigned where there were duplicate names in municipalities or unnamed streets and roads.

Only 2.8 percent, or 300 addresses, were accurately listed and didn't change among 10,500 addresses as of last August.

 

'We're on this'

Finn said the commissioners are working with the geographic information system, or GIS, based in Columbia County. The GIS is a mapping and analysis software tool used by commercial and government entities.

Finn said the commissioners met last week with U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, whose staff had called and sent a letter to Google Earth. A GIS representative emailed data to Google Earth and spoke with a Google representative Monday afternoon, Finn said.

"We're on this," he said.

Commissioner Chairman Ken Holdren, who was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting, said last week that the current address for the courthouse on Google Earth "takes you to the borough building."

In Riverside, which is in Northumberland County, about half of the residents use Danville addresses and get their mail delivered through the Danville Post Office and not the post office in Riverside.

A spokesman at the Riverside Post Office said he was aware of one customer having delivery issues.

Danville Postmaster Denise Zerbe said Tuesday the postal service is working with the town and community to facilitate the conversion.

"Most address changes were seamless and disruption minimal," Zerbe said. "We have experienced some anomaly occurrences but are working to resolve those issues as they are identified. Any customer who is having difficulty with address identification is urged to contact the Danville Post Office for resolution." 

 

Post new, old numbers

In Mahoning Township, where complaints were received about people not receiving mail, Supervisor Chairman Bill Lynn said Monday, confusion may result from some people not yet posting their new street number along with their old number. 

He said UPS changed a driver, who delivers in his area, in the middle of the address changes, but he understood the previous driver is now back on that route.

Finn said last week the postal service should be able to deliver to addresses since they were given to the postal service by the GIS office, which was in charge of the readdressing. "There was no problem with junk mail being delivered," he said.

As for the consolidated center, the East Central Emergency Network, Finn said, the advisory board — five members from Columbia County and five from Montour County, including a commissioner and representatives from the fire service, the police and emergency medical services — has not met yet.

During a late January network board meeting, law enforcement and fire representatives said the lack of portable radio communication jeopardized officers and public safety. The network board is made up of commissioners from both counties.

 

'New system is coming'

While Montour County fire companies and the Southside Fire Company in Riverside have received some funds raised by the commissioners for new portable high-band radios, former borough Fire Chief John Moyer said they are in the process of getting them programmed. "It's now kind of a mess," he said last week.

Columbia County units use high-band portable radios with Montour County fire companies using low-band radios.

"A better system is coming," Danville borough Fire Chief Ken Strausser said.

Fred Hunsinger, director of the consolidated center in Bloomsburg, said Monday dispatchers continue to provide emergency responders with both the old and new address of a location.

He said GIS Director Tim Murphy contacts Google Earth often about the status on updating of addresses. Murphy was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

The model used with the GIS is 10.56 feet between addresses in town and 26.4 feet between addresses in areas not as urban as Danville but not as rural as Mayberry or Anthony townships, Murphy said. The mathematical measurement for rural areas is 52.8 feet between properties, Murphy previously said.

"We have given them all the data," he said of this nearly nine-month saga since the center began operations.

Murphy said only six addresses in Danville borough remained the same. The borough has a total of 2,945 addresses. The municipality with the least number of address changes was Limestone Township with 137 changed among 401 addresses, he said. In Mayberry Township, only two addresses didn’t change, he said.

Hunsinger, who has worked in communication-related jobs for 41 years, will retire at the end of June. He has worked for Columbia County for 7 1/2 years after retiring as Williamsport's deputy chief of operations, working for the state and running a public safety program for a community college.

Holdren said last week Hunsinger has done "a fantastic job." 

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com. Follow Karen on Twitter @KLBlackledge.

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