Whomever sprayed herbicide on the three ornamental trees planted along East Phillips Street in Coaldale will likely be responsible for replacing them.

The trees were planted two years ago and are worth hundreds of dollars, said borough Councilwoman Nancy Lorchak.

Borough officials noticed the trees were dying and saw that they had been sprayed with the same herbicide that was used to kill grass and weeds in front of a vacant former factory at 155 E. Phillips St.

According to Schuylkill County property records, the building dates to 1878 and was purchased in 1985 by Born In The USA Inc., 408 Benner Rd, Apt 203 Allentown.

Lorchak at a public council meeting Tuesday said she believes the person responsible for killing the trees will be charged with replacing them.

In other matters, council agreed to send a letter to the Panther Valley school District urging the school board to support the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program. The school board at its June 28 public meeting tabled approval of contract renewals for the program's instructors.

Council was alarmed at the possibility the school board may jettison the program to save money. The U.S. Army pays half the costs of the program.

Also on Tuesday, council took another step toward resolving the problem of an abandoned, mold-infested house at 132 W. Ridge St. The owner, Lisa O'Brien, must be served notice that the borough is requiring her to clean up the mess. However, O'Brien, who was evicted from the house in April 2010, could not be found.

Now, it's been determined she is living in Lansford. Coaldale Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Nicholas, who drives a school bus, said he sees O'Brien every morning at a Lansford bus stop.

Coaldale solicitor Michael Greek advised Nicholas to inform the constable so he knows where to find O'Brien.

In other matters, council heard from resident and business owner Ruth Weiss, who is concerned that more people are going to trip over buckled macadam in the area of Tommy's restaurant, the Angela Theater, Maury's Music, and Nardini's on Phillips Street.

Weiss said she has fallen twice, injuring her ankle and head, and that two others have tripped.

Council decided to ask borough worker Kenny Hankey to take a look at the problem today (Wednesday). Councilman Joe Hnat said that cold patch probably could be applied to even out the area.

Weiss also said she has been told by several elderly residents that they want to attend public council meetings,/. but are unable because of lack of seating in the small meeting room. They are unable to stand for hours, and there aren't enough chairs to go around, Weiss said.

Also on Tuesday:

*Council agreed to pick up a large tree branch that fell onto Faith Richard's property on E. Miner Street. The tree is on property maintained by the borough;

*Marie Fedora told council that her basement has flooded since the borough paved Fisher Avenue. Council said it would send Hankey out to determine what's happening;

*Council gave permission for St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital to take down trees that are in the flight path to the facility.