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Cory Needs Poll Workers
Infrastructure Occupies Borough Council
Members Hear CCDC Report, Five Year Plan

Most of the attention of the Coraopolis Borough Council in its July workshop and voting meetings was devoted to streets and roads. But Council began the July 7th workshop meeting with a presentation by Cara Mason, Director of Economic Development for the Coraopolis Community Development Corporation.

Mason (photo, below) speaks from a strong background. She came to Cory after 13 years in the nonprofit sector. She worked for the Heinz History Center as a grant writer and event and development staffer. She earned her degree in Mass Communication from Point Park. She walked Council through the CCDC's view of Cory's current status and then spoke of its five year plan.

She portrayed a growing business district which serves a town population of 5424 but also draws customers from Neville, Groveton, Moon and Robinson Townships. She spoke of the Food Pantry, which is operating at over 100% capacity, and a Community Garden (bottom photo) with all plots active and lots of vegetables being produced.

During the next five years, she talked of growing the downtown even more, of setting up Coraopolis as a Small Business Incubator in conjunction with Robert Morris University and Carnegie Mellon University. She envisioned leveraging the restored Train Station into a commercial corridor two blocks down to Riverfront Park which is curently under development. She saw the need to tackle residential blight in some neighborhoods as houses and garages have been allowed to fall into disrepair. She saw the need for a strong communication platform and networking to make sure all residents knew what was happening. She saw the need for a social service outreach to schools, Scouts and other agencies. And she saw the need for an Arts & Culture Initiative.

As Council moves beyond COVID, members and spectators are again present in the meeting room, with masks optional. The attorney and engineer attend remotely via Zoom, visible to members and the audience on the screen, as shown at right.

Jason Chazer was nominated, voted in, and sworn in, as Councilman for the Third Ward, replacing Lucinda Wade. He will serve until November, when a full term Councilman will be elected.

The Borough Engineer and Borough Manager presented a long list of street and road projects, some of which are currently in progress, and some of which are planned. Vine Street above Vance Avenue, especially up to and around Tompkins Corner, is being repaved at $112,000. As soon as work on Vine Street is complete, workers will move to the Ferree Street Steps, where new steps and railings and a bike track along the side will be built. Vance Avenue's 1400 block, where the street drops to cross McCabe's Run ("The Dips"), will be repaved. Pine Way between Main and Mill and between Mill and Mulberry will be repaved at a cost of $63,000. Wood Street is scheduled for paving from 7th Avenue to Hiland Avenue at a cost of $450,000. $284,000 has been received from the American Recovery Act. Coraopolis is also receiving $567,000 as part of the Biden Stimulus Package, via Governor Tom Wolf.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported that in June the Department received 1386 emergency phone calls, completed 125 criminal investigations with 12 arrests, recovered $16,123 in stolen property, cited 51 motor vehicle violations, and checked out eight alarms. Denbow cautioned residents that fraudulent unemployment compensation claims, in which someone hijacks someone else's information and files a claim pretending to be them, are on the rise, and have even affected some Council members. He urged people to contact Police immediately if this happens to them.

Mayor Shawn Reed reported that due to retirements and other factors, Cory is in need of poll workers for the November elections. He urged any one interested to call Ray McCutcheon at the Borough Office.

Rudy Bolea reminded everyone of the annual St. Joseph's Parish Festival beginning Thursday, July 15 and running through Saturday, July 17. This is the first Festival held under the new Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, which is a merger of St. Joseph's, St. Catherine's of Crescent Township, and St. Margaret Mary of Moon Township.

George Mihalyi reported that he had been receiving complaints about several dilapidated garages in town. Most are the small garages that were built early in the 20th Century.

Ed Pitassi reported that all Library employees have been screened and cleared to work with children. He also mentioned that Library patronage had been high since the building was reopened last month.

Ray McCutcheon told Council that 86% of 2021 taxes are in.

Mike Harris raised the issue of abandoned shopping carts, abandoned cars in yards, and public trash receptacles old and damaged and in need of replacing. Mike Dixon asked if citizens could hold a fundraiser to buy the new trash receptacles. New ones cost $600 plus shipping.

Bids Requested For Line Relocations

Friends of Pittsburgh Professional Soccer is soliciting bids for relocation of existing public utility services associated with PennDot State Route 51 05A road improvement project, located in the Borough of Coraopolis in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

The work includes Waterline Relocation (relocation of 725 linear feet of 6" D1 pipeline, valves and appurtenances). It will include tie ins and traffic control.

The work also includes Sewerline Relocation (relocation of approximately 235 linear feet of 15" SDR 35 PVC). It will include two precast manholes, bypass pumping, tie ins and traffic control.

PennDot To Close I-79 For Weekends

I-79 Northbound will be closed from Friday evening through Monday morning so work crews can work on the pavement and paint the bridge.

Traffic will be rerouted onto Route 51, through Coraopolis, across the Sewickley Bridge, through Sewickley, back up the Ohio River Boulevard, and onto I-79 north of the river.

This will be done on several weekends until the maintenance is finished.

Two lanes of traffic come north on I-79. Often, even with the two lanes, traffic backs up, especially during the Summer when families are heading to Erie for vacations. Now, those two lanes must narrow to one lane on Route 51 and across the Sewickley Bridge. 4th Avenue coming through Coraopolis has two lanes and the Ohio River Boulevard across the river has two lanes each direction.

Columbia Gas work crews along Route 51 have promised to stop work on weekends to avoid making the problem even worse.

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Sheetz To Upgrade Neville Truck Depot

Visitors from Sheetz Corporation presented their proposal for a complete upgrade to the existing Sheetz Truck Depot near the Emsworth Dam to the Neville Island Commissioners Thursday night.

As seen at right, the representatives set up maps and diagrams to explain their proposal. They answered various concerns which had been raised earlier, read a few letters and answered those, then took questions from the Commissioners.

The proposal had been rewritten to account for compliance issues.

To be named the Sheetz Neville CLI Facility, the project will include dismantling the current building and replacing it with a new, larger, more modern structure. The parking lot will hold 40 Sheetz gasoline trucks, most of them there between shifts. There will be two wash bays and four maintenance bays. An office building and two guard shacks, one at each entrance, will be erected. A chain link fence will enclose the entire area, with gates opened only to admit or allow exit for trucks.

The current facility is shown at left. The diagrams the men displayed showed a much larger building. This is not now and will not be a loading facility. The trucks load the gasoline elsewhere, as seen below.

The facility will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with three shifts. At peak hours there will be 21 workers on site.

Geese will be an issue. At any time of day, a large flock of geese inhabits the current depot and the vacant lots surrounding it. Here and elsewhere on the island, attempts have been made to encourage the geese to move on. Loud noises, human activity, spraying the grass and ground with chemicals which irritate geese feet, and other strategies have all failed. The Sheetz representatives are hopeful the bright lights, noise of the large trucks, and lots of human activity, will all persuade the geese to abandon the area.

The Sheetz representatives acknowledged that the 80 year old site has what they call "legacy issues." Old water lines, sewer lines and other utilities need to be rerouted and brought up to 2021 code compliance. A new hydrant will be added and an old fire water line decommissioned. A Dumpster complex will be reduced in size and brought into compliance.

The new facility will have two entrances, one from the South along the railroad tracks, and the other from the North. Both entrances open onto a side road, which crosses the tracks and joins Neville Road.

The land rises slightly just behind the North entrance. From that ridge a visitor looks directly down onto the Emsworth Dam and Locks.

Trucks from this Depot serve Sheetz gas stations and stores in Allegheny County and parts of neighboring counties.

Council again wrestled with the problem of the railroad crossing near the intersection of Neville Road and Grand Avenue. PennDot wants the crossing upgraded to an electronic signalized crossing meeting 2021 compliance standards. The current crossing apparatus is 50 years old. PennDot is concerned with the traffic flow on Grand Avenue, especially since many of the trains crossing here are tank cars filled with flammable liquids. IF the traffic light on Neville Road stopped traffic on Grand Avenue, it could easily back up onto the railroad tracks. If a train were then approaching, the traffic would be trapped on the tracks. PennDot wants the traffic light coordinated with the railroad crossing lights and gate so that if an approaching train activated the crossing it would also automatically change the traffic light to green to let the vehicles escape the tracks. Because of the computerized circuitry, the new pole and wiring PennDot wants would cost Neville $273,000. That is approximately two years streets and roads budget.

Council has been arguing that the railroad owns the crossing and PennDot owns the traffic light and intersection, so in effect none of the intersection or crossing should be Neville's responsibility. The Commissioners agreed to seek grants for the project but warned that if they do not acquire the grants they simply do not have the funds for it, especially since this is a siding not a main track, only one train a day crosses the road there, these may be tank cars but they're only moving at 5 mph, and in history there has never been an accident. Commissioner Kerr reminded PennDot that this project has been proposed before and Neville never had the money for it so it was not done.

Concerns were voiced about the Veterans Banners now being erected along Grand Avenue. They are parallel to the street rather than perpendicular as in other communities, so cannot be read while driving. Each hanging includes two banners rather than just one. And they are too low, so will be vulnerable to high trucks. As one Commissioner asked, "Which of you volunteers to phone everybody who bought one and tell them it's been two or three years and theirs got knocked down so now they have to buy a second one" ?

The Commissioners reminded everyone that from Friday until Monday the I-79 Bridge will be closed for maintenance and painting. Traffic will be detoured through Coraopolis, across the Sewickley Bridge, through Sewickley, and back up the Ohio River Boulevard to the I-79 Bridge. From two lanes on I-79 down to one lane on the detour, there are bound to be plenty of backups and short tempers.

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Satcho Makes Dean's List At Potomac State

Chance Satcho, a Montour High School graduate, has been named to the Dean's List at Potomac State College in Keyser, West Virginia.

Satcho, an infielder on the Catamount baseball team, is a Business Administration major.

A 5-11, 185 freshman, Satcho graduated from Montour in 2020. He appeared in eight games for Potomac, getting three hits and driving in one run. The Catamounts fielded a veteran lineup, finishing 35-8 and reaching the regional semifinals.

Potomac has slightly over a thousand undergraduates and is part of the University of West Virginia system.

Satcho played baseball and football at Montour. He also played baseball for the Flood City Elite, a travelling all star team.

To make the Dean's list, a Potomac student must earn a 3.0 or higher grade point average with no Ds, Fs or Is.

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Neville Board Resists RR Crossing Demands

The Neville Island Board of Commissioners is officially opposed to the demands of PennDot and CSX Railroad in the replacement of the Grand Avenue - Neville Road crossing. PennDot wants the crossing redone to meet current standards. It wants Neville to replace the pole, install a new circuit box, and install cable from the next nearest crossing so they can be coordinated. As Township Manager Jeanne Creese explains, "The County owns the road and the railroad owns the tracks and crossing equipment. So we're being asked to bear the cost of repairing something we don't own any part of." Creese pointed out that the total cost would exceed $300,000, which would be Neville's entire streets and roads budget for the next two years. Penndot claims Neville "owns" the poles and circuits. The pole is 50 years old and needs replaced, which would cost $150,000. "How does a simple pole, no matter how sophisticated, cost that much?" asked one Commissioner. In a time when no level of government wants to raise taxes, the federal government is handing down responsibilities to states, which are handing them down to counties, which are handing them down to local communities. And companies don't want to raise prices, so they're pinching pennies and trying to shift costs to government. "But we don't have the money, either, and we can't raise taxes, either," one Commissioner said.

The CSX line, the old Neville Island Railroad, serves a dozen industries on the east end of the island. Trains only run 15 mph, about once a day, and this is the only major road crossing. Although still opposed to being responsible for the funding, the Commissioners voted to apply for a $273,751 grant to cover the costs. If they don't get the grant, they will insist PennDot and CSX cover it because Neville simply does not have the money. One Commissioner asked why PennDot could not use some of the funds it is receiving from President Joe Biden's Infrastructure Plan.

In other business, Waste Management has informed the Commissioners that it is having trouble finding drivers and may be forced to miss pickup days. The Commissioners were not pleased with the idea of garbage all over the island sitting for extra days or a week in the hot Summer sun. "Don't we have a contract?" one asked. "What penalties could result?" asked another. It was agreed the Island would seek recourse if needed.

The Engineer reported that developers have had workers showing up without proper permits. They are not being allowed to proceed with paving, construction or other work until water lines and other utilities are in compliance.

The Commissioners voted to ban large trucks from Spring Alley, which is not large enough to handle them.

Several valves along Grand Avenue are leaking. The packing deteriorates over time and once this happens valves cannot be repaired. They must be replaced.

The Board Attorney reminded the Commissioners that utilities are exempt from the open records laws due to a ruling by the Department of Homeland Security.

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Cory Needs Library Staff, Laws On Containers

As the Coraopolis Library emerges from the pandemic, it needs two new aides (and possibly three) to meet the expected increase in users. Council authorized Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon to advertise for the part time positions. The Library is now fully open with regular hours.

But in a more complicated issue, Council addressed the problem of shipping containers and old tractor trailers being permanently parked on borough streets and used as business offices or business warehouses. The men doing this are not registering as businesses, have no address except a post office box, and thus pay no taxes. The problem is, as Attorney Richard Start reminded Council, they cannot pass a new ordinance prohibiting or regulating this and then enforce it on businesses or their containers already in place. Council must find existing laws which they can enforce. Council determined to resolve this by its July meetings.

75% of 2021 real estate taxes have been recived and 32% of 2021 expenditures have been spent.

Council reluctantly approved 3rd Ward Representative Lucinda Wade's resignation, necessary because she and her family are moving out of the Ward to another part of Coraopolis. Wade assured Council she would remain active in community affairs and would help in any way possible. A special meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 16th to fill Wade's seat.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported 115 criminal investigations, 18 accidents, two injuries and a rash of thefts of the contents of unlocked vehicles.

The June "Second Saturday" will be held this Saturday, June 12th.

Council approved monthly invoices for $141,543.98 and the monthly payroll of $120,825.38.

As usual, derelict property demolition was discussed. This time, homes at 1528, 1530 and 536 5th, 1730, 1013 and 1110 Montour, and 617 and 623 7th Avenue, and 202 Broadway, were mentioned. The 1530 5th Avenue house, which sits next to McCabe's Run, was badly burned, but the owner is contesting Borough condemnation because he says the house can still be salvaged, although no visible signs of salvaging efforts can be seen. Grants were not approved for the two Montour Street properties so they will not be demolished at this time. McCutcheon explained to Council that condemnation approvals and grants are getting harder to obtain because of asbestos and other environmental concerns. The legal procedure for each piece of residential property now averages 18 months. One small house demo averages $9500.

In another issue which Council discusses every month, street and road repair and infrastructure maintenance, McCutcheon reported that work on Riverfront Park, Main Street sidewalks and Euclid Avenue (above the pumphouse on Devonshire) are proceeding. He told Council he had just walked the Main Street project earlier that day and it looked very good. Pine Alley from Main Street to Mulberry Street was placed on the list of priorities for 2021. The Duquesne Light Streetlight Project will see 100 new lights installed at a cost of $106 per light. These will go on Hiland, Vance, Ridge, 6th and 7th Avenues. McCutcheon also reported that he had personally inspected Vine Street and suggested it be moved up on the priority list. "It's in really bad shape with very large holes," he informed Council. He spoke of one particularly bad 118 feet long section at "the corner," a sharp turn halfway up the five block long street, just before it reaches the Cliffs. He recommended that section be totally redone to a 10 inch depth, which he estimated would cost $112,000. But, he emphasized, it has to be done this Summer, before Sacred Heart and Cornell buses resume using it in late August, because the work would totally close Vine Street.

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No Parade But A Historic Dedication.....

For the second year in a row, COVID restrictions cancelled Coraopolis' annual Memorial Day Parade. But the Coraopolis Veterans of Foreign Wars gave the community something memorable anyway : the dedication of its "new" VFW Foreign War Memorial at the corner of 5th Avenue and Mulberry Street.

This Memorial has actually been in place for over a year. It was supposed to be dedicated in 2020. But COVID restrictions prevented that.

After a year of masks, social distancing, bar and restaurant closings and sports played before empty stands, the ceremony was like a celebration of a return to normalcy.

State Representative Anita Kulik and Congressman Conor Lamb were there, as was Coraopolis Mayor Shawn Reed.

In a sense, it was a celebration of the VFW post itself. Chartered in 1922, the Post met in rented quarters for 20 years until 1942, when it moved into the brand new building pictured at right. Named for two Coraopolis residents killed in battle, the Keith Holmes Post grew into one of the most successful in the area. Over the years many groups have rented the large auditorium inside for events, including weddings, receptions, dances, parties and exhibits.

After 80 years positioned in front of the high school, and then, when the high school closed, in front of the library, the famous Doughboy Statue shown at left finally came home to guard the VFW Building.

The original statue cost $3500 but today it's valued at $75,000. It's made of copper. It was mass produced in the 1920s to honor World War I (1914-1918) veterans, and distributed to any town raising the price.

Originally, 300 Doughboy Statues were produced. The Smithsonian Institute keeps an official record of them. Each statue has a serial number. Cory's is #259. 134 remain in place in cemeteries, parks, town squares, in front of high schools and city halls, and at the entrance to bridges. The Coraopolis Doughboy Statue is one of only 12 remaining which have the official bayonet still in place. The nearest Doughboy Statues are in Aliquippa (#278), McKees Rocks (#287) and Lawrenceville (#231).

Plates below the statue display the names of Coraopolis residents killed in World War I and World War II.

Behind it, pedestals also commemorate military campaigns in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The plaza between the Doughboy Statue, the pedestals and the building is paved with bricks. These bricks can be engraved with the names of local veterans who served in one of those wars. The price of commemorative bricks will help pay for the Memorial. The updated plaza cost $110,000. $44,000 of this was paid for by VFW fundraising, mostly the bricks. They cost $250, $300 and $500. Many people who saw the ones Monday said they would buy one for their own relatives who served.

The Plaza stands at one of the town's main intersections. Surrounding it are a hardware, restaurant, coffee shop, beauty shop, medical center, ballet school and art gallery. 5th Avenue, running right past it, doubles as Route 51 and is packed with traffic during rush hours each morning and evening. So the Plaza will receive plenty of visibility.

The dedication ceremony lasted 45 minutes. VFW Commander Mike Blair called everything to order and Steve Miller delivered the opening remarks. The VFW Color Guard both presented and, later, retired the flag. The Ohio Valley Community Band, sponsored by the VFW, played the Star Spangled Banner and several patriotic melodies.

Keynote Speaker Colonel John Pippy, who himself has served 29 years, was the keynote speaker.

A gun salute was performed in the middle of 5th Avenue, and a bugler played Taps from the corner opposite the VFW.

A sizeable crowd attended, including children, young adults, families and older residents. Two food trucks did a brisk business.

Mayor Shawn Reed (coat and tie, left) was not an official speaker, but he chatted with various dignitaries, including local favorite Danny Larocco (in uniform, left), who served in the infantry in the Philippines and Korea. "I lied about my age and forged my parents signatures and enlisted at age 16. I dropped them a postcard just before I boarded the train. I was gone for three days before they found out where I was."

He had some narrow escapes. "The LSTs were dropping us off at the beaches. We had to hold our guns over our heads and wade ashore. But they assumed everyone was six feet tall and the boats could only come in so close. I was short. I had that heavy pack on, and the gun. I was in way over my head. I came close to drowning. Some guys around me held me up and towed me to shallow water."

As they invaded the islands, one by one, there was hand to hand combat. Larocco shows a vicious looking wound on his left hand and wrist. "One of the Japanese soldiers got me with his bayonet before I killed him. We were in battle. There were no medics. I just wrapped it with a handerchief and kept going. Later on, medics came around and asked if anyone was in need of medical attention. I didn't even say anything. It took a while to heal, but since I got out of the army it hasn't given me any trouble."

Larocco made it home safely and became a long term Coraopolis Council member. He recently turned 92.

The Memorial Day Parade will resume in 2022. In 2019 Coraopolis held its 89th consecutive Memorial Day Parade, making it the second oldest in Pennsylvania, behind only the one in Lawrenceburg. But both those two parades have been cancelled the last two years due to COVID restraints.

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Mancinis To Sell Cash Market

The inevitable announcement no one has wanted to hear finally came last week in Coraopolis when Jim and Trudy Mancini made it official : They're selling the Cash Market and retiring.

Once the couple made the decision to sell, they spent time seeking a buyer who would agree to two conditions : (l) He would keep the grocery store in Coraopolis and (2) He would retain all current employees.

The sale is not yet final. The Mancinis and the buyer are working out the details of transfer.

But employees have been notified, and Trudy posted an announcement online.

"We're trying to ensure a smooth transition with limited interruptions. We absolutely did not want to leave Coraopolis without a grocery store or our employees without a job."

The Cash Market has become a Coraopolis landmark. It was founded in the 1950s by Albert Mancini as a Meat Market. In those days, there was a Giant Eagle at Montour Street and State Avenue and an A & P on Fourth Avenue. Mancini's was on 4th Avenue right next to Pete Myl's Chrysler Plymouth Dealership.

First Giant Eagle closed, and then A & P. So the elder Mancini saw the opportunity to expand.

And that was made possible when Pete closed his Chrysler Plymouth Dealership. "He'd been promising us that when he retired, he'd sell the building to us," Jim recalls. "And he kept his promise. That gave us room to expand." He shows a reporter how across the back of the Cash Market, facing the loading docks and rail road tracks, the Pete Myl Garage sign still stretches all the way across the building. Jim stops and points around. "Right here," he says. "This was the original store. The Meat counter was right over there."

Jim Mancini stands in front of a produce rack in his Coraopolis Cash Market and shakes his head. "The grocery field is more difficult right now that's ever been," he admits. "It's difficult enough for the big chains, the Krogers, Food Lions and Giant Eagles. For us little guys, the family owned, small town, single outlet groceries, it's a real challenge."

Mancini's costs have kept going up. Utilities, wages, taxes, the prices he has to pay for meats, vegetables, beverages, everything. But he can't raise prices.

"We've had a loyal local customer base," he says. "They've shopped here to avoid the long drive out to Giant Eagle, Sam's Club, Costco, Target, WalMart or KMart. As long as we have the same prices. But if we raise our prices, they'll go ahead and make that drive. They'll spend five dollars in gas to save three dollars at the grocery."

The big chains buy billions of dollars a year from growers and distributors. So they can threaten to take their business elsewhere unless the suppliers give them rock bottom prices. "We can't do that," Mancini explains. "We don't buy in enough volume to threaten anyone.So we have to think carefully."

He turned and pointed down the long rack of shelves behind him.

"We divide our stock into three categories. The Meats we take great pride in so we continually shop for the best quality. Our customers are willing to pay a little more for high quality meats. The general items like potato chips, soft drinks, snack foods, etc., we just look for the best deal. But all the rest of our stock --- Dairy, Fruits, Vegetables, Juices, Canned Goods, everything, we purchase from a single buyer. That allows us to buy in a very large volume. Those big chains divide down their purchasing. They buy Milk one place, Leaf Vegetables one place, Root Vegetables another place, Fruits someplace different, and so on. So by concentrating all our purchases in one supplier, we can nearly match the big chains in volume."

He admits to keeping a close check on his rivals, especially Giant Eagle. "Dad used to take me with him when he'd walk their shelves looking at prices. I don't do it as often as he did, but I do it pretty often. We don't worry about the places where you buy in bulk. But we make sure we're competitive with the others."

Back by the Deli, he held up a package of Isaly's Chipped Ham. Long a favorite of Coraopolis when Isaly's was a popular Mill Street business, Mancini still stocks the item even though Isaly's actual stores have been gone for 50 years. Now Isaly's is just a supplier.

"Did you know Isaly's also created the Klondike Bar?" he asked. "We still carry those, too."

Walking around the store, Jim can't get very far without someone coming up to him, saying hello, shaking his hand, hugging him and exchanging a few stories.

Once the sale becomes official and a date is announced for his final days at the store, he expects many of those exchanges to get emotional. "We'll truly miss all of our loyal customers and employees very much. We sincerely appreciate everyone's business over the years," Trudy says.

"One thing about a small grocery," he smiles, "We can cater to what our customers want. If they want a particular kind of Bread, or Meat, or Ice Cream, we'll get it. There are people right now shopping in this store that were shopping here when I was a little kid."

As a full service grocery, the Cash Market offers baked goods, and even does a lot of baking in house. They sell Apple or Cherry Turnovers, their own store made Pizzas, even Snickerdoodle Muffins. But still, from that original opening, they offer the best Meats in the Western Hills.

"Those methods Dad used to prepare Sausages and Meats were brought over from the Old Country. He loved working with Meats. He took great pride in knowing how to do everything, including cutting it properly."

Jim feels fortunate to have had Dave Cook as his Butcher for a long time. "He worked for Giant Eagle, but was working with us part time. When he retired from them, he just kept working here. People don't realize how a good Butcher can make or break a cut of Meat."

That's Mancini on the left and Cook on the right, standing in front of the very long Meats Counter which is the heart of the Cash Market.

There aren't many businesses which last 70 years and become landmarks. Montour Hardware, Deramo's Beverages, Segneri's Restaurant, and the Cash Market did. Locals are keeping their fingers crossed the new owner fulfills his promise to continue the tradition far into the future.

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Area Residents VOTE Tuesday

Residents of Coraopolis and the Western Hills once again can gain a say in their local government by voting Tuesday. In Coraopolis, this is an especially important election because, once again, a new Mayor will be chosen.

The popular and dynamic Shawn Reed surprised almost everyone back in January by announcing he would not run for a second term. Reed, who has almost certainly been the most successful Mayor the town has had in the modern era, brought a professional marketer's instincts to the office. He has spearheaded the railroad station restoration project and several other initiatives. He is pushing a cooperative movement with Robert Morris University and Carnegie Mellon University to develop Coraopolis into a small business incubator. And he has ceaselessly promoted the town as a hidden jewel, an unappreciated treasure, a great place to live or start a business or relocate an existing one.

But Reed insists he never intended to seek a second term. "I'm not a career politician," he says. "There were certain directions I thought the town should go in, and I thought being Mayor would help me push it in those directions. But it's now headed in those directions, and there are others who can continue that work. I'll continue to spearhead the train station project and certain other initiatives. But my own business career is taking me out of town more often, and I need to attend to that."

The first candidate to replace Reed is Robb Cardimen, seen in the photo at left. Cardimen was born and raised in Coraopolis and lived here all his life. He has served the town in several capacities, most visibly as a leader of its Volunteer Fire Department, and as a member and then Chairman of the Borough Council. Back in the 20th Century, he was also a member of the Police Department as a Dispatcher. Cardimen has arguably been the best Council Chair the town has had in recent memory. He presided over an economic resurgcnce and a move to a new Municipal Building. He approached the position with no agenda except the betterment of the community. During his tenure, the town finished in the black every year and invested hundreds of thousands annually in upgrading streets and roads. While across Pennsylvania and the nation other towns, many larger than Coraopolis, have lost their Police and Fire Departments and Libraries and have allowed their streets, roads and downtowns to deteriorate, Borough Council under Cardimen has kept taxes steady while upgrading their Police and Fire Departments and Library and nurturing a slow but consistent growth in the business district and tax base.

"I have agreed with Reed's vision and want to continue his various initiatives," Cardimen says. "One area I might emphasize more is keeping the downtown cleaner and more presentable. We need to sweep the streets more often and keep trash bins and dumpsters emptied."

The newcomer in the race is Michael Dixon. He's not from Coraopolis, having moved here with his wife Heather in 2015. He hasn't been on Council, or served in any other capacity. So he's an outsider, very much like Reed was when he ran. But he does love the town and also supports the ideas for it Reed introduced. Dixon is a software engineer who did under graduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned his Masters Degree from Robert Morris University. He's worked for PPG, Thomson Reuters, Aderant, Citigroup and now Dick's Sporting Goods. His other college major was Political Science. Dixon sees the office of Mayor as an enabler, finding out what people want and then moving in that direction. "A servant of the people" is how he phrases it.

"I want Coraopolis to be a community where people want to live, shop and maybe start or relocate a business."

As a Robert Morris graduate, Dixon would be well positioned to continue the Shawn Reed initiative where Coraopolis leaders and Robert Morris leaders work together to develop an atmosphere in which businesses can start and flourish.

Neither Cardimen nor Dixon are traditional politicians. Neither seems to have ambitions to use the Coraopolis Mayorship as a springboard to run for anything else. They both appear to have the best interests of Coraopolis at heart. They both appear very bright, very open minded, and very forward looking. It could be a very close race. Which means every vote will count. With the dangers of COVID behind us, residents are urged to go to the polls Tuesday and vote.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Delinquent Properties Frustrate Cory; $400,000 Budgeted For Streets & Roads

Coraopolis Borough Council once again spent time at its May workshop and voting meetings discussing delinquent, abandoned and/or unmaintained properties within the community.

Allegheny County Court proceedings are running a year behind. Laws prevent Council from just taking over property without owners or descendants being given due process. But neighbors continue to complain, with good reason. Once grass and weeds grow high, animals and insects can move in. Allergy and asthma sufferers are affected. And the unkempt appearance lowers neighboring property values. The houses themselves become problems. They can be homes to colonies of feral cats or other animals. Sometimes homeless people, drug users or neighborhood kids break in. If neglected too long, the homes can begin to collapse, posing a hazard to neighbors or anyone walking down the sidewalk. Or they become fire hazards, often sitting dangerously close to other houses on both sides. Yet Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon and Council members are stymied in their effort to resolve these problems. They have been trying for five years to gain control of the Van Balen property on 5th Avenue. The owners won't improve it, but won't sell it, and hire attorneys to keep court action tied up in delaying tactics.

The latest locations to pose such problems are the former Scappi property below the tracks and an abandoned home on 7th Avenue above the tracks. No one will accept ownership. Taxes are 10 years delinquent. Occupants have died and no descendants can be found. Banks deny responsibility.

Coraopolis is not alone in facing this problem. Every old river town struggles with it. As a matter of fact, Cory has done a better job than most in acquiring title and dismantling old properties. But it is an ongoing effort, and neighbors are understandably impatient. The Henderson and White properties on Hiland Avenue are next in line for demolition.

In other matters, Council has $400,000 in street and road projects budgeted for and scheduled halfway through 2021. Work is in process all over town. It includes downtown parking lot resurfacing. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon reminded Council that the costs of asphalt and other construction materials are up significantly.

Water flushing began this week. The day to day schedule can be found on the Savvy Citizen website.

Ed Pitassi's Shade Tree Commission tree planting project continues. The next targeted areas are Edgewood Avenue, Ridge Avenue at the dead end above Route 51, the new Borough Building, and Mill Street. The Borough planted trees along Mill Street in 1980 and, after 40 years, for whatever reason, they are dying. Pitassi and his crew will consult with property owners along Mill Street about replacing the trees.

With the Governor opening everything Memorial Day (although masks will still be required indoors), the Coraopolis Municipal Building will be opened to the public June 1. But Council meetings will still be online. And the Municipal Building will need more intense cleaning with people coming and going.

Melissa Wade announced her resignation from Council effective June 1.

The Coraopolis Library will be opening up completely as of June 1.

Jordan Tax Services will take over delinquent tax collection.

Bliwas Field, home to the Coraopolis Little League, still needs repaired after extensive storm damage.

Rite Aid is giving COVID shots. But an apppointment is needed. The shots are much in demand and many residents have already been vaccinated.

Council noted the opening of a Zoomba Yoga facility in Coraopolis.

Mayor Shawn Reed informed Council that after a year's delay due to the COVID crisis, the joint effort with Robert Morris University to develop a business incubator atmosphere in Coraopolis is resuming.

The Police Report included 1434 calls, 277 complaints,six arrests, 102 investigations, 25 accidents, 90 traffic citations and 13 alarms gone off.

Since there is no Memorial Day Parade this year due to COVID, Council voted to give its annual $700 parade supplement to the VFW to defray the costs of the upcoming awards event.

Council reminded residents to vote Tuesday.

Help Wanted

Graff's Auto Service Center

Auto Mechanic ---------------Must Be ASE Certified

Brakes, Tires, Emissions, State Inspections, Etc.

General Auto Repair Services

Starting Wage $18 hour

412-264-9733

Neville Considers Billing Companies For Fire Dept. Costs

At their May workshop and voting meetings, Neville's Commissioners discussed the high costs the Fire Department incurs when fighting a chemical fire. Water cannot be used because the hydrogen and oxygen in it actually feed and intensify the fire. Suppressant foams are used to cut off the oxygen and suffocate the fire. But the foams and the equipment to use it are too expensive for a small volunteer department. So the Board discussed billing companies if chemical fires have to be fought on their premises. Overall taxes could be raised to cover the problem, but that would require that everyone pay more because a few companies did not guard against chemical fires. No decision was reached. Commissioners will discuss this matter again at future meetings.

47 Veterans banners are up and more applications have been received. The banners are in alphabetical order on both sides of Grand Avenue. More poles may be needed.

Efforts to locate owners of the Riverfront Park RR right of way have been unsuccessful. The $250,000 grant to work on the park has been filed.

Two Commissioners mentioned a problem with drivers ignoring school bus lights and passing buses stopped to load or unload children. The problem does not involve Cornell buses. Police cars follow those on their twice daily routes. But other buses hauling students to private schools are not followed by police and drivers are violating the law.

Complaints are coming in about high grass violations. These are hard to prosecute. Court is one year behind on such cases.

The Commissioners approved a $65,000 bid by Independent Enterprises for the Mayflower sewage lines and manholes, a $318,750 bid to repair sinking asphalt on Nebraska Avenue, and a $17,000 bid to flush the water lines.

Volunteers are needed for the Annual Neville Green Flower Planting Event - Saturday, May 22, 2021. Volunteers should meet at 9:00 AM at the Neville Island Fire Station, 5300 Grand Avenue.  Please call 412-262-3620 to register or with any question.

Pittsburgh Motor Speedway

Pennsylvania's Finest Dirt Track Racing On The Big Half Mile

Sprint Cars - Late Models - Sportsmen - 6 & 4 Cylinders

Every Saturday Night : 7 -11 pm

Just Beyond Robinson Town Center On Route 22/30

Council Hesitant To Switch Associations

At its April workshop and voting meetings, Coraopolis Borough Council wondered about the advantages and disadvantages of moving from one association of communities to another. Currently, Cory belongs to the Char West Council of Governments, which includes Bridgeville, Carnegie, Collier, Crafton, Crescent, Green Tree, Ingram, Kennedy, McKees Rocks, Neville, North Fayette, Oakdale, Rosslyn Farms, South Fayette, Stowe and Thornburg. It has been proposed that Cory move to SHACOG, or the South Hills Area Council Of Governments. SHACOG, as can be seen in the map at right, has Baldwin, Bethel Park, Brentwood, Castle Shannon, Brentwood, Dormont, Elizabeth, Findlay, Heidelberg, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Peters, Robinson, Scott, South Fayette, South Park, Upper St. Clair, West Mifflin and Whitehall.

There are eight of these co-ops in Allegheny County. Their advantages are financial. The co-op can bid for commonly used goods or services and get a better price since it deals in greater volume. It can also purchase highly specialized equipment, such as road line painting machines (photo below), that make no sense for an individual community since it might only be used occasionally. It can also fund and train special units, like a Swift Water Rescue Team, or a SWAT team, that would not be cost effective for a small community.

Since SHACOG has become a much larger Council, it can offer more than CharWest. It particularly offers more services for Police and Fire Departments. Moon recently moved from Charwest to SHACOG.

However, one large disadvantage of SHACOG is the distance Coraopolis Council members would have to drive to meetings. Instead of driving to Crafton or Carnegie, members would be driving to Peters Township, West Mifflin or Elizabeth, a comparison of 20 minutes to over an hour, late at night, on rainy, icy or snowy roads. Several Council members announced Wednesday night that they, personally, would not be willing to make that drive, so if Cory made the move, someone else would need to be willing to do it.

One of the advantages of CharWest is the grants it has been able to obtain to help communities acquire and dismantle abandoned properties. 1403 5th Avenue (the Van Balen Laundry), 1528 5th Avenue, 1730 Montour Street, 1424 and 1731 Highland Avenue, and 536 5th Avenue are examples of properties CharWest is helping Coraopolis take down. These grants are critical because, due to asbestos and other toxic substances, demolition has become much more expensive. Only a few years ago it might cost $10,000 to dismantle a building. Now it takes $40,000 for a house (see photo below) and even more for a commercial building.

A Council of Governments, such as CharWest or SHACOG, can obtain grants more easily than individual communities because it has trained grant writers and carries more political influence.

In other issues, Council adopted the Allegheny County Hazard Mitigation Plan. Mill Street will be closed from noon to 4 pm on June 12, July 10 and August 14 for Second Saturday activities. Cobblehaus Brewing Company was granted a six month food truck permit, for Friday and Saturday evenings.

COVID restrictions have curtailed the Robert Morris University / Carnegie Mellon Business Incubator discussions but they will resume in June with Mayor Shawn Reed leading the effort.

Vine Street remains a persistent problem. Council acknowledged that it might be necessary to close Vance and Edgewood Avenue intersections and launch a major reconstruction project. Repeated patchwork attempts have not been successful.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon noted that Gazette 2.0, a newspaper in McKees Rocks, named Coraopolis the best town in the Western Hills.

PennDot is scheduled to widen Route 51 at the Soccer Complex in August, a project which will include relocating utility lines. However, PennDot has also announced that it will close the I-79 on ramp on Neville Island this Summer and detour the traffic through Coraopolis around to the Groveton on ramp. While this detour is in effect, PennDot will not be able to begin the widening project because it would cause a horrific traffic backup. Other upcoming street projects are the 900 block of Ridge Avenue, the 700 block of 6th Avenue, and Watson Street from Ridge Avenue to Alder Alley. Columbia Gas will work with the Borough on line replacement. The Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled for the second straight year due to COVID restrictions. However, the VFW will hold a Memorial Service from 11-1 Monday, May 31. The National Day of Prayer was authorized to use the Gazebo and parking lot for its annual activities. Handicapped parking spaces were approved for Sally Nelson at 504 West End Avenue and William Swoger at 814 Maple Street.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Maintenance, Skate Parking Occupy Neville Board

Neville Township's Board of Commissioners worked through a full slate of issues at their two April meetings.

The first was a delicate problem involving parking and "hanging out" in the neighborhood of the Neville Rollerdrome. The famous skating rink has become a victim of its own success. Since others have closed, only two rinks remain : this one and one in McKeesport. Skaters are driving in from all over Beaver, Butler, Allegheny, parts of Washington County, and even from Ohio and West Virginia. Parents will drop kids off and come back for them after a few hours. But due to COVID limits, only so many at a time can be inside. While waiting their turn, or waiting to be picked up, kids have nowhere to go but the neighborhood, primarily 2nd and 3rd Streets. Some are even lingering along both sides of very busy Neville Road. And adults coming to skate, especially on Thursday night all adult sessions, overflow the small parking lot and park along neighborhood streets. Neighbors are complaining and asking that something be done. But the Commissioners cannot outlaw parking, walking or gathering on a public street or sidewalk. They agreed to study the issue further.

A long list of completed and proposed street, road and waterline projects were discussed. Columbia Gas has completed work on 3rd Street. Bids were invited to repair a sag in pipeline alignment at Mayflower Place. In 2020 24,000 gallons a day were leaking from the Neville Road waterline and most of that problem has been resolved. Two pumps have been sent out for repair.

The Board approved replacement of aging waterlines along Utah, Idaho and Arizona Streets and North Alley B. This project will cost $980,000. To cover this, Neville has submitted a grant application through U.S. Representative Conor Lamb's Office with support of Pa. Rep Anita Kulik. If the grant is received, Neville would pay a match of $200,000.

Two of the companies which have had multiple service lines coming in have combined those into one larger, newer line each, which will eliminate leaks and make maintenance much easier. The Board approved the Shields Asphalt Paving bid of $63,381 for South Alley and Spring Alley.

PennDot has proposed a railroad crossing signal near the Neville Road - Grand Avenue intersection. Neville would maintain it.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Neville Needs Relocated RailRoad Easement;

Million Gallon Leak Occurs On Neville Road

As part of its plan to develop its Riverfront Park, the Neville Township Commissioners need to relocate a railroad easement once owned by the Neville Island Railroad. The tracks were pulled up long ago and all that remains is a grassy strip owned by the Pittsburgh & Ohio Valley Railroad, which took over the assets of the Neville Island Railroad. Neville needs to legally move that right of way so they can build an access road into the park.

Meanwhile, a water line break at 5100 Neville Road leaked a million gallons since there was no shutoff valve accessible. The Commissioners emphasized that this company and all others must bring their equipment into alignment with modern standards to avoid such mishaps. There was also a water line break on Nebraska Avenue but it was quickly shut off.

Neville approved a new contract with Valley Ambulance Authority. The window bids came in well under estimates, and will cost only $15,244 for aluminum frames for the entire first floor. 50 tons of road salt have been ordered. Street sweeping will resume April 1st, and annual line flushing will begin soon thereafter. New owners of the former Kings site propose combining parcels and moving water and gas lines.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Council Discusses Trails, Food Trucks, Sound System

Coraopolis Borough Council at its March meetings discussed the trail system, food trucks, and the municipal building sound system. It also renewed the contract for Valley Ambulance Authority.

As of Spring 2021 the trail system includes a basic mile loop beginning and ending at Frank Letteri Stadium, with numerous side trails. It circles 55 acres. The main ("Wildcat") trail passes the site of the former Girl Scout Lodge, drops to Brook Street, heads up McCabe's Hollow, follows the base of the Wildcat Cliffs, and climbs the hill to "The Grove" picnic shelter behind the school. It then descends to the Stadium. Ultimately plans are to link into the Power Line Trail, which would cross Montour Street and drop down to the Montour Trail, and go the other direction, cross Maple Street and descend Thorn Run Hollow. A new map is being created and copies will be provided at trailheads at the Stadium and on Brook Street. Signs will also be mounted for the main trail and side trails. Even though it's only a mile long, because of its steep descents and ascents the trail is a great workout and preparation for longer hikes.

Coraopolis has had a contract with Valley Ambulance Authority for 50 years and voted to renew that contract for the foreseeable future.

Council continues to struggle with the Food Truck issue. If a truck parks in a driveway or on private property no permit is needed. It could use a parking lot as long as it kept feeding coins in two meters. But locals are requesting blanket six month permits to roam the whole town. Given the heavy traffic going through town on 4th and 5th Avenues, and a shortage of parking spaces, those permits are not possible. Cobblestone brings in food trucks on Friday and Saturday nights, but always notifies Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon in advance of which trucks are coming and when. Council agreed permits would continue to be issued only for very specific times and places.

Riverfront Park details are coming into sharper focus. The long strip will be developed in three phases : West, Center and East. It will include rain gardens and restrooms.

Councilman Rudy Bolea proposed that Council begin seeking sponsors for an amphitheater. The name of the sponsoring company could be placed on the amphitheater.

This would allow Coraopolis to build a much nicer structure than it could afford with its own funds or with a grant. The goal would be a very nice small amphitheater suitable for small concerts or shows, as seen in the photo at right in another community.

Construction plans were approved for 2021 to include the Ferree Street Stairway, Main Street, Euclid Avenue, Riverview, Ridge Avenue, 6th Avenue, Watson Street and potholes at the Vine Street - Ridge Avenue intersection. The Ferree Street Stairway should be done by September. On the last three projects, the bricks would be pulled out, concrete poured, and a "mill and overlay" process used. Utility companies would participate since gas, water, sewer and electric lines would all be affected. Councilman Ed Pitassi reminded everyone that the Coraopolis Library was still operating on a pickup only basis until the COVID restrictions are lifted. The sound system continued to cause problems for townspeople trying to listen to meetings by phone, since no in person spectators are allowed. Hollowood will be installing new wiring in hopes of solving this. Stormwater fee bills are not being received by residents. Jordan Tax Services is investigating.

Help Wanted

Graff's Auto Service Center

Auto Mechanic ---------------Must Be ASE Certified

Brakes, Tires, Emissions, State Inspections, Etc.

General Auto Repair Services

Starting Wage $18 hour

412-264-9733

Neville Reviews Park Plans, Infrastructure

At its regular February meeting, the Neville Board of Commissioners reviewed plans for its Riverfront Park, the property behind Speedway it hopes to develop. The Township will apply for a grant to defray as much as 50% of the $1 million cost, but Manager Jeanne Creese warned that the Council had offended the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by applying for and receiving, then turning down a grant last time. "We must explain to them that we had extenuating circumstances and we also have new board members this time," she explained. The new park would allow fishing, canoeing and picnicking on the river.

The Solicitor recommended that a paragraph be added to the standard property development form to require developers to add landscaping in compliance with the Stormwater Runoff Regulations. The Board agreed.

The Commissioners approved the Pine Road Waterline Replacement Project. Applications for grants will be filed. Work on Arizona, Utah and Nebraska Avenues and Alley A and Spring Alley were added to the list of priorities for 2021. Council also approved replacement of the first floor windows in the Muncipal Building (photo, right) at a cost of $22,000. The new frames will be fiberglass.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Council Approves Police Pensions, Policies

Coraopolis Borough Council at its February meeting approved a new pension program for local Police and voted to hire Lexipol Company to monitor and manage Police Department policies. This service will cost $14,000 initially and $6000 annually. Lexipol serves thousands of Police departments nationwide. It verifies that all policies and procedures comply with current laws and guarantees that all officers are familiar with all of them. This becomes critical in potential lawsuits.

Council also authorized Hollowood Music & Sound of McKees Rocks to upgrade the municipal building sound system, particularly the receivers and microphones. Concurrently, it also authorized purchase of a new computer to serve the sound system. This is needed for teleconferences but will also help people listening to meetings over the phone or on TV.

In routine business, Council approved $285,487 in invoices and $136,633 in monthly payroll. It renewed the annual Jordan Tax Services contract and the Waste Management Company special collection agreement. This includes TVs, paint, old tires, electronics, etc. It was noted that Jordan can also handle delinquent taxes, liens, letters, etc.

Members were informed that Policemen, Firemen and some residents over 70 had been vaccinated for COVID. The Savvy Citizen Network is working fine and adding subscribers. Council discussed complaints that old vehicles, some with flat tires, some actually under repair, were cluttering borough streets.

Various bids for road and street work and demolition bids for properties on Montour Street and Fifth Avenue were approved. Again a contract for the Ferree Street Stairway Project was approved. A $157,000 grant will help cover costs. Council agreed that aluminum railings would be used.

The Police Report listed 1293 calls, 264 complaints, 10 alarms sounded, 181 civil actions, nine arrests, 12 accidents, two injuries and 84 motor code violations.

Food Truck permits were discussed at length. Jordan Donuts is requesting a permit. Current Cobble Haus permits limit trucks to certain days and times. Several members worried about granting long term permits, especially given how busy 5th Avenue and the main parking lot are during the days. Council decided to send two members to discuss the situation with Jordan Donuts.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

OLSH Dramatists Stage Virtual Christmas Show

Sacred Heart's Drama Program has faced the same problems as everyone else during this year of COVID restrictions. And they found a unique solution.

Under Director Dolores Manuel and her staff, Sacred Heart staged their annual Christmas Show before an empty auditorium, filmed it, and aired it online for family, students and friends to watch.

It wasn't the traditional performance. This one was an hour long variety show featuring short skits, solo performances and a few scenes from past OLSH Christmas plays.

You can see it at www.olsh.org/apps/pages/upcomingperformances.

Several Sacred Heart graduates, some from more than a decade ago, came back to help with the technical aspects.

"I was disappointed this was not going to be our traditional show," said senior James Benke. "But we all finally realized it was a blessing to still be able to perform despite the pandemic."

For the seniors, the performance was especially important since they won't have the opportunity to come back after the pandemic and do it again.

"Performing virtually was definitely different," senior Maddie Fiedler explained. "There's a certain energy we get from acting in front of a live audience, and that was missing. But our directors made this different kind of production super easy."

Even rehearsals were conducted mostly online. Both staff and students had to be flexible. None of them had ever participated in anything like this before.

"Getting to watch the show later at home with my family was great," senior Grace Gartley recalled.

Students were allowed to write and direct segments themselves as part of the production process. In all, 20 students took part.

Having done this once, OLSH figures it can do it again. The Spring musical Working will be performed in March. While Manuel is hopeful the parents of cast members might be admitted to the theater, the musical will also be filmed and made available in some form online. Copyright restrictions will be an issue, but it will be livestreamed somehow.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Savannah Antolic Makes Chatham Dean's List

Savannah Antolic has been named to the Chatham University Dean's List for the Fall 2020 term.

Savannah graduated from Cornell High School in 2019 with honors.

She is the daughter of Jill Zawinski.

Miss Antolic is majoring in Public Policy and Law. She is currently a sophomore at Chatham.

To make the Dean's List she had to earn a Grade Point Average of 3.5 or above.

Earning that high average was especially difficult during this pandemic year. Due to COVID restrictions, Chatham is holding a mix of in person and online classes. This makes labs and discussions more complex than usual. Travel restrictions have limited field trips, guest speakers and other typical college experiences.

Although Chatham dorms are open, the campus is currently on a Raised Alert Status, meaning quarantine and isolation policies are in effect and frequent testing is required.

All of this has imposed an extra layer of stress to the already stressful college experience of tests and research papers.

 

Help Wanted

Graff's Auto Service Center

Auto Mechanic ---------------Must Be ASE Certified

Brakes, Tires, Emissions, State Inspections, Etc.

General Auto Repair Services

Starting Wage $18 hour

412-264-9733

Waterline, Calgon Occupy Neville Meeting

The Neville Road Waterline and landscaping at Calgon Corporation were the major issues discussed by the Neville Commissioners at their January meeting.

The 16 inch waterline is a replacement for an older line. Among the many properties the new line crosses is a two parcel tract owned by Backchannel LLC. The owners did grant an easement for the installation of the line but have not granted the easement needed to continually service the line. If owners do not grant the easement, Neville may have to go through condemnation and that will require an assessment to determine value, and will require legal authorization.

Calgon has recently completed a 5000 square foot expansion. New State and County regulations require that trees, grass and shrubbery be planted. But a fence fronts the property on Grand Avenue, and just behind the fence is a paved parking lot. A railroad track and fence front the property on Neville Road. Calgon sent its Engineers and Environmental Consultants to the meeting to explain that they do not own the tracks and the fences are for safety and security. Council asked that Calgon move the fence back and landscape the strip between the fence and Grand Avenue. Calgon reluctantly agreed.

In other details, work is underway to repair the Neville Chemical riverbank erosion. A January 7 waterline break on Nebraska Avenue has been repaired. The Commissioners approved a $47,800 share for maintenance on the sewer lines suspended from the Fleming Park Bridge, and for $92,246 to Iron City Construction for waterline work completed.

Banners for local veterans have increased in cost by $10 each.

New pumps have been installed at two stations along the water lines. The old ones had begun to leak.

PennDot is still planning to work on the railroad crossing at the Neville Road - Grand Avenue intersection.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Robb Cardimen Steps Down From Council Chair

Robb Cardimen, who presided over an economic resurgcnce and a move to a new Municipal Building, stepped down as Coraopolis Borough Council Chairman at its January meeting. Cardimen may have been the best, or at least one of the best, Chairperson in Cory's modern era. He approached the position with no agenda except the betterment of the community. During his tenure, the town finished in the black every year and invested hundreds of thousands annually in upgrading infrastructure. While across Pennsylvania and the nation other towns, many larger than Coraopolis, have lost their Police and Fire Departments and Libraries and have allowed their streets, roads and downtowns to deteriorate, Borough Council under Cardimen has kept taxes steady while upgrading their Police and Fire Departments and Library and nurturing a slow but consistent growth in the business district and tax base. Cardimen will continue on Council as Vice President. He is succeeded as Chairman by David Pendel.

The rest of the January meeting was mostly devoted to routine clerical details as Council begins a new year. Council honored Greg Sundin, who is retiring from the Police Department after 26 years. Council approved continuing service agreements with Amato, Start & Associates for legal services; Lennon Smith & Souleret for engineering services; Mark Turnley for accounting services, and the Beaver County Times for print publication of official announcements. Council approved a move to First National Bank as its bank of deposit. Workshops will continue to be the first Wednesdays and official meetings the second Wednesdays

Appointments were approved for George Mihalyi on the Water & Sewer Authority, Robb Cardimen on the Civil Service Commission, Don Haney on the Zoning Board, Orlando Falcione on the Sanitary Authority, Ed Pitassi on the Shade Tree Commission, Dallas Stewart on the Property Maintenance Board, and Henry Bobro on the Vacancy Board.

Jonathan Short was approved as a new Police Officer. Mayor Shawn Reed read a proclamation on Human Trafficking, reminding everyone that it has reached epidemic levels, even here in Pennsylvania. Carter Spruill of the Coraopolis Chapter of the NAACP reported that the local group should receive its official charter in February and already has 150 members. Council discussed a food truck permit application by Jordan Donuts but delayed a vote awaiting clarification of how long the truck would be parked on site. Mayor Reed noted that Embellishments Beauty Studio at 411 Mill Street would have its grand opening ribbon cutting at 11:15 Saturday January 16. Council approved $232,188 in invoices and $217,843 of payroll. The Police Report noted 1194 calls, 32 citations, 76 investigations, 11 arrests, one stolen vehicle, 10 accidents, 9 alarms, and vehicles towed.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Neville Honors Volunteers Batista, Stewart

The Neville Island Board of Commissioners at its December meeting honored two volunteers who have left an impact in the township.

They recognized Mark Stewart and the late Guido Batista (photo, right). Stewart is a member of the Neville Volunteer Fire Department and works at the Neville Township Public Works Department. He has worked to upgrade fire hydrant connections and attended training on confined space rescue. Batista was a Commissioner and Tax Collector and initiated his own frequent litter sweeps. Batista served in the Marine Corps at the Marshall Islands and Okinawa. He would clean up after napalm attacks. He moved to Neville Island in 1950 where he raised five children. After the COVID restrictions have been lifted, the Commissioners will hold an official awards ceremony to properly honor the two. Neville created the Volunteer Award in 2018 to recognize residents who make a significant contribution to the community. Each honoree has his or her name added to a permanent plaque at the Municipal Building and receives a $250 donation to the charity of their choice.

In other action the Commissioners approved the 2021 budget, the water and sewage budgets, $140,000 for a new flushing station, the upgrading of 20 streetlights to LEDs, and the Mayflower Place sewer repair. They noted that PennDot wants to install a new automated signal at the Grand Avenue railroad crossing. The Duquesne Light substation has been connected to an outdated 12 inch water line and will now connect to the new 15 inch line. The Neville Road water line is now within 20 feet of completion, a $287,000 project.

ALCOSAN has proposed that each municipality it serves reduce its flow by 10%, an issue which will need further discussion in 2021. A fueling station is planned for 5800 Grand Avenue, a former Kings property. The Neville Rollerdrome faces several issues, including inadequate parking, but COVID restrictions now limit customers to 10 inside at a time, so the issues won't be critical until those restrictions are lifted. Calgon plans for a large storage building addition. Water sampling to meet Department of Environmental Protection requirements continues with flushing and sampling. Hydrants are needed at Robert Morris to make this easier.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

8th Year With No Tax Increase
Cory Ends '20 In Black With Many Achievements

A press release from Harrisburg revealed that a third of Pennsylvania cities and towns will end 2020 in debt despite raising taxes and eliminating fire and police departments, parks and recreation programs, and local water and sewage processing. An alarming number are approaching bankruptcy. But Coraopolis isn't one of them.

At its December meeting, Coraopolis Borough Council announced that the 2021 budget will maintain the 12.5 mill tax rate for the 8th consecutive year, while ending 2020 in the black and completing numerous achievements during the last 12 months. These include several major street and sidewalk projects, a Wildcat Trail in the woods between Brook and Maple Street, a Facebook page, a new website, a Savvy Citizen site, purchase of two trucks for maintenance, two Ford Interceptor police vehicles, a Ford F-150 K-9 SUV, and a Sutphen Pumper fire truck, purchase of body cams for the police, demolition of delinquent property, collection of delinquent property taxes, installation of 80 new L.E.D. street lights on several key streets and a new L.E.D. stop sign on State Avenue, continuing work on Riverfront Park and planting of street trees. This solid financial status is due to prudent decision making by Council and the careful management by Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon. McCutcheon and his staff apply for grants and share project costs with Duquesne Light, Columbia Gas and PennDot.

Council approved $140,960.46 in invoices; a November payroll $125,795.15; and a 2021 General Fund Budget of $4, 965, 253. Subscriptions on its new Savvy Citizen network are now up to 334. $177,000 in delinquent taxes have been collected in 2020. 92% of all 2020 property taxes are now in. The Police Report included 1020 calls, 70 criminal investigations, $150 in stolen property recovered, and 35 citations issued. Parking meters are turned off for the holiday season to encourage downtown shoppers.

Street projects proposed for 2021 include Vine, Watson, Riverview, Montour along the cliffs, the dead ends where Vance Avenue dips to McCabe's Creek, the short street connecting Montour and Brook Streets, Woodlawn, School and the short street off Maple running along the Cemetery.

McCutcheon thanked the many businesses and residents who have decorated so well for Christmas, giving the town a very festive appearance.

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Some Local Homes To Receive Free Wifi

Coraopolis and Neville Island homes with K-12 students will begin receiving free Wifi in January 2021 if they choose.

A consortium of Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education, Cornell School District and MetaMesh Wireless has launched a pilot program called Every1Online. This program will provide no cost Wifi equipment and service to households in Coraopolis and Neville Island.

The first priority will be households with students in grades K-12. Cornell has already sent out registration forms. All families are invited to sign up. They could also sign up by phone or online.

Cornell students already receive devices to use at home. Those in grades K-6 receive IPads. Those in grades 7-12 receive Chrome Books, which are laptop computers.

By forcing schools to offer online coursework, the COVID pandemic exposed the fact that many students did not have home Wifi service, so their IPads and Chrome books were of limited use.

This project is designed to solve that problem. MetaMesh has installed a transmitter on the top of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning (photo, right. Notice antennae on top). That transmitter sends a radio signal to Coraopolis. MetaMesh has installed relay boxes on the Water Tower (photo, below. notice receiver and relay antennae on top), the 5th Avenue Gazebo, and at Shelley Jones Park. Neville Island had previously had routers installed at Cottage Park and Memorial Park, which MetaMesh will replace with relay boxes. A final relay box must be installed to provide a signal to the neighborhoods from Vine Street to Groveton. The likely location for this relay box will be the site of the former water tower on Woodcrest Avenue (near Sacred Heart School). There is currently a cell tower there, which might be used if permission can be obtained.


MetaMesh has a crew of five who will be installing equipment in homes in late November, all of December and into January.

Each home will have a small receiver (about the size of a dish) installed on the roof or outside wall, and a Wifi router installed inside (see photo below left).

The service will not be 5G, but will be in the 4.0-4.5G range. That is enough to allow a student to participate in Zoom meetings, video conferencing, downloading of movies or other assignments, and to upload any projects he or she might create at home, including slide shows or videos.

All families will receive an email address and phone number to call in case of problems. A MetaMesh representative will immediately come to the house. Metamesh and its partners have already provided free Wifi to homes in Braddock, Homewood, Sharpsburg and several Pittsburgh neighborhoods, although in those it uses different equipment than it will use in Coraopolis. It is currently installing equipment in New Kensington and Arnold.

Metamesh is the brainchild of Adam Longwill. Longwill knows what it’s like to be a kid without internet access. His parents didn’t have it. He studied up on the technology and rigged up his mother’s old wok as a rooftop receiver to get it.

Longwill (photo, right), now with degrees from Goucher College, the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh, sees the Digital Divide as a major crisis.

“To live and work in today’s digital society, it is essential to have access to the internet. Reliable internet access is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity and a right. Unfortunately, many people right here in Allegheny County cannot afford the internet services they need. Every1Online is one way to begin to see internet access as a human right,” Longwill explains.

Once every home with students is online, then any other household can sign up to receive in home equipment and internet access. Businesses can also obtain the service but will have to pay for it.

Samantha Garfinkel of MetaMesh explained that they were driving the streets of Coraopolis and Neville Island with a receiver to make sure everywhere in town could receive a signal.

The original grant will provide 24 months of service. “By then,” Garfinkel says, “The school district and community should be able to figure out how they’ll cover the cost. Since we’re not trying to make a profit or pay a dozen executives high salaries, this is really not that expensive. Maybe a local foundation could cover it. Maybe the local businesses could subscribe to the service and pay a little more than the basic cost, with enough left over to cover the resident costs. Maybe the school or the town could raise taxes slightly. A local corporation might donate the very small annual cost. There are lots of ways this could work. But one way we will never use is to bill the individual homeowners.”


Kris Hupp is Cornell’s Director of Instructional Innovation & Technology. He is the school’s coordinator for the project.

“If someone already had ComCast or some other commercial internet provider, I don’t know if they would choose to quit them and come with us or not,” Hupp admits. “That would depend on how good a service they had. Plus some people have internet, TV and phone in one package. But obviously, just for internet, this would save them a lot of money.”

As far as students, Coraopolis and Neville are better off than most. 60% of Pittsburgh students, and about that many in several other river towns, lack internet access. Less than half of Cornell students are without access.

“But the kind of access isn’t the same,” Hupp points out. “Some have very slow access, and if you’re in a Zoom meeting or a videoconference, you can’t have your computer constantly buffering or freezing. Some have intermittent access, which goes out at times of heavy use. This project hopes to provide every student with high quality access.”

Even for homes with no students, during this COVID pandemic, many people are trying to work from home. Or, if staying home to avoid exposure, they need good access so they can communicate with the outside world.

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marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

But No Increase In Taxes or Water Rates
Neville Board Confronts Rising Sewage Rates

Neville Island Commissioners at their November meetings confronted the problem of rising sewage rates.

Since Neville is too small to operate its own water treatment plant, it contracts with two outside agencies.

The West View Water Authority (bottom photo) maintains a purification plant on Neville Island. It uses water drawn from the Ohio River and purified by activated carbon filters. WVWA sends pure water from the island plant to the industries and residents of the island, plus to other communities on both sides of the river.

Neville pumps its sewage back to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (AlCoSan) for treatment. The sewage has to be pumped up the island, across the Fleming Park Bridge, through Stowe Township and McKees Rocks, across the McKees Rocks Bridge, and along the North Shore to the AlCoSan plant (photo, right).

Neville maintains pumps along its own pipelines, and AlCoSan maintains pumps along its pipelines.

AlCoSan is quite an operation. It maintains 90 miles of pipeline and treats 250 million gallons of sewage daily. You can see its two mile long facility by looking down to the right as you cross the McKees Rocks Bridge (photos below) or drive east on the Ohio River Boulevard (photo at left).

Neville bills customers quarterly for these services plus Garbage & Waste Collection, for which Neville contracts with Waste Management Company. The Garbage & Waste Collection rates are $42 per quarter. The rates the company charges Neville go up every year, but the Board of Commissioners have thus far been able to absorb these increases.

For water service, most residential customers pay $32 a quarter for 3,000 gallons. For use above this limit, they pay $9.11 per 1,000 gallons.

The rates WVWA charge Neville go up every year. For 2020, the rates went up 20%. But the Board was able to absorb this cost without raising customer rates.

Maintaining all those pipelines and pumps is expensive. This year the Township is replacing the Neville Road and Nebraska Avenue waterlines. Costs for such a project are about $400,000 each. But Township Manager Jeanne Creese and her staff constantly apply for grants. This year they received $350,000 in grants for the Neville Road work and $359,300 for the Nebraska Avenue work. This has allowed them to avoid raising taxes or rates.

“As a small township, our taxes and rates would go through the roof if we were not able to obtain those grants,” Creese explained. “The average resident doesn’t realize how dependent we are on those outside funding sources.”

But every year, AlCoSan also increases Neville’s sewage treatment rates, from 7% to 15%. This is necessary because federal mandates involving stormwater runoff keep increasing AlCoSan’s costs. Federal, state and county authorities are determined no rainwater, snowmelt, or other runoff is going to leak into sewage lines and no sewage is going to end up in the rivers or lakes. But preventing this gets increasingly expensive.

The Neville Board has tried to absorb these costs, and has not raised customer rates since 2015. But it cannot absorb them any longer. And there are no grants just to offset sewage rates.

Therefore, for 2021, residential rates per quarter will increase from $34.60 to $39.00. For this, each household can discharge 3,000 gallons. For discharge above this limit, they will pay $21.75 for each 1,000 gallons.

 

The Commissioners debated at length whether to begin raising rates a little bit every year, or to raise the rates a larger amount once and then not raise them for another five years. So this new rate could remain in place until 2025.

Even with the increase, the combined total of waste disposal, water and sewage remains lower than surrounding communities, almost all of which also bill quarterly, and many of which also use AlCoSan. The Board is not raising tax rates for 2021.

In other business, (1) The Commissioners discussed raising the parking fine from $5. (2) The CWM contract expires January 1. It costs $530 a month for backup operators. Ms. Creese recommended against renewing, suggesting they instead ask for a six month extension to get past COVID. (3) Judging for the Holiday Decoration Contest will be held the first two weeks of December. (4) The Board also discussed compensating the tax collector. (5) The Christmas Party scheduled for December 12th has been cancelled due to COVID. (6) Six stop signs have been installed to replace existing ones which have become damaged or worn over time. (7) The Utah Street waterline has been proposed as the next major work project.

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Council Stresses : Rake Leaves TO Curb

Coraopolis Borough Council members at their November meetings stressed that leaf collection has begun and residents should rake their leaves TO the curb but not IN the street. John May of Public Works also emphasized that residents should park their cars in the driveways or alleys so as not to block leaf pickup trucks, which come right along the curbs. Crews are out every day now that the leaves are dropping heavily, but they move slowly so it will take time to get to every street.

In other business, Council rejected the October request that Ferree Street be made two way between 4th and 5th Avenues. Members pointed out that they could not get specific enough answers about the development in Robinson Township that supposedly made the change necessary, and they could see no need or benefit to it. Over the next few years, if such a development does make the change necessary, they can always act on it then.

Council discussed a grant application which would allow a $750,000 project redoing the west side of Main Street from 6th Avenue to Neely Heights. This will include the street, curb and sidewalk. (The east side is already being done.) Grant funding would cover 70%. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon told Council it may be time to consider Mill Street for the next major updating, but grants would be needed because the work will be extensive. Pine Alley, Hiland Avenue and Cliff Street are also high on the priority list. These would all be 2021 projects.

A major food distribution event will be Monday, November 16, using the Soccer Complex to load. Volunteers are needed to drive meals to homes.

McCutcheon reminded Council that Westbanco was closing its branch in January. The Coraopolis Library has an account there which will have to be moved. McCutcheon is meeting with First National Bank.

Council approved November invoices of $623,916.80, an October payroll of $116,543.03, and $7,000 for the purchase of a fuel injector pump.

They approved the closing of Mulberry Street between 4th and 5th Avenues on December 5th from 9 am to 2 pm for the Christmas in Coraopolis event.

Acquisition and disposition of the vacant lot on Thorn Street through the Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program was approved.

Council approved the use of Bliwas Field for a Saturday meeting of the Coraopolis chapter of the NAACP.

Members of Council agreed that problems with the phone system must be resolved so members or residents can participate in meetings without the Firewall security feature constantly dropping people. Once again at the November 11 meeting several members suddenly found themselves disconnected.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported 1398 calls, 100 criminal investigations, 18 arrests, $1500 in stolen property recovered, 12 accidents and six towed vehicles. He emphasized that three of the arrests were for opening parked vehicles and stealing contents. He urged everyone to lock their vehicles.

Citizens requested trash cans at bus stops. One guest pointed out that the Waste Management trucks were brushing low hanging overhead lines. Another said an abandoned house on Sixth Avenue was deteriorating so it was a safety hazard, and it was infested with rats.

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1541 State Avenue

Council Asked To Make Ferree Street 2 Way

Coraopolis Boro Council began its October meeting by listening to a proposal that Ferree Street between 5th and 4th Avenues be restored to two way traffic.

Long ago, Ferree Street was two way for its entire length. It's been one way for the one block between 4th and 5th Avenue for about 50 years. But making it one way has created a traffic corkscrew for anyone heading out 5th Avenue toward the Soccer Complex or I-79. As the photo at right shows, drivers coming off the Neville Island Bridge must turn right onto 4th Avenue. Most traffic continues on down 4th Avenue through town. But anyone wanting to head for the Soccer Complex or I-79 must turn left up Montour Street then left onto 5th Avenue. Until now, that has been only a few drivers.

But that's about to change. A development in Robinson Township near I-79 will draw 700 workers and tractor trailer trucks coming to their warehouses. Southbound I-79 traffic cannot exit at Route 51. It has to exit onto Neville Island and come across the Neville Island Bridge through Cory. This will create a long line of cars and trucks turning right, then left, then left. And those turns are very tight for tractor trailer trucks.

If Boro Council approves, traffic could simply continue straight coming off the bridge, then turn left at Graff's Gas Station. The development will not be complete for two years, so there is time for lengthy Council discussion and then for negotiation with PennDot. A PennDot study would be required. Traffic light changes would be required at the 4th Avenue - Ferree and the 5th Avenue - Ferree intersections. And PennDot will have to approve any changes, since Route 51 is involved.

Development representatives assured Council the trucks will not be hauling hazardous materials : no oil, gas or nuclear waste. They will be hauling building materials, medical supplies and retail goods. The change would also increase State Avenue traffic, as drivers coming off the Neville bridge will continue straight up Ferree, then turn right onto State, drive to Montour, and turn left to go up the hill.

In other matters, Council approved the demolition of two houses down over the cliff from Montour Street, across the street from the Cliffs section of the street. At 1110 and 1013 Montour Street, the houses have been abandoned for several years and one has a large hole in the roof. They have deteriorated beyond repair.

Council authorized the purchase of a new Fire Truck, a Sutphen Heavy Duty Pumper at a cost of $573,764.83. A down payment of $143,441.21 will be made and a long term lease arrangement will cover the rest. The Volunteer Fire Department will contribute $115,000 toward the purchase.

In routine business, Council approved October invoices of $198,237.93, the September payroll of $117,630,64, and the Police Report showing 1454 calls, 8 alarms, 122 criminal investigations, one stolen vehicle, and nine accidents.

Council expressed its dissatisfaction with PNC Bank for the nearly zero interest on the Borough Reserve Fund. Key, Huntingdon and Dollar Bank will be consulted to see if a higher rate of interest can be obtained.

The Harvest Festival is this Saturday, October 17 from noon - 4 pm. Those planning to participate in Trunk or Treat should remember to decorate their trunks.

Council is also dissatisfied with the bids for the Ferree Street stairs, also known as the Cinder Steps. There were very few bids and they were not acceptable. Council would like to call for new bids. But they were told prices won't change until the COVID Pandemic lifts. The grant is good for 2-3 years so there is time. It costs $1200-1500 to advertise for bids.

Concerns were also expressed over the Devonshire Road - Edgewood Avenue - DiVito Alley street work. The original paving was fine, but the seal coat laid down by a subcontractor afterward has flaws. Council is in discussion with the subcontractor.

Euclid Avenue storm sewer work was also discussed. Currently the narrow connecting street is using single point discharges, but there is a large volume of water pouring down off the hill above, and multiple discharges are needed, possibly with catch basins. Euclid Avenue was historically an unpaved alley, running behind the old Pump House, steep and narrow, used mostly as a walking trail and Winter sledriding track. Since it was first paved back in the late 20th Century, water runoff has been a problem. A grant to is being used to correct the problems.

The Borough is understaffed for leaf collection. Two more workers are needed. The problem is the job is only seasonal. Four workers are needed to handle the approximately 50 tons of leaves. One drives the truck, two do the raking, and one operates the vacuum. Many communities require residents to bag their leaves for pickup. Coraopolis only asks that they rake their leaves to the curb (but not on the street).

The state no longer trims trees and bushes to keep traffic signs visible. Even the light from some street lights is shaded and doing little good. This has become a safety hazard, so the Borough will have to take over the job. It will cost about $1000.

Bikes and skateboards are beginning to damage the new $120,000 basket ball court. Some means will have to be found to prevent this.

Fall tree planting has begun.

The Cornell Campus Trail is finished except for signage. Residents are welcome to hike it. Allow about an hour for the entire loop, because no matter which direction you walk, it includes a steep uphill section. Plus, there's a lot of wildlife in the Woods, and you may want to pause and look. Deer, Turkeys, Red Tailed Hawks, Owls, Fox, Wildcats and an occasional Black Bear frequent the McCabes Hollow area. No bikes or all terrain vehicles are allowed on the trail. Signs will be erected as soon as possible.

2020 taxes have been 90% received.

The Library has reopened (after COVID closure) for Tuesday and Thursday computer use, but patrons need to call for an appointment.

Council discussed hiring a plumber to install no touch faucets and hand cleaners in the Boro Building rest rooms as one more way to deal with COVID.

The new L.E.D. sign on State Avenue (photo, right) is working fine and traffic is actually stopping. This solves the problem of people ignoring the old stop sign. The new sign is solar powered with its own panel. It has flashing lights at each corner of the octagon shaped STOP sign.

Thanks to efforts by the Fire, Police, and Water Departments, Coraopolis has raised its IOS score to #4, only 0.04 points from a #3 rating. This will mean 2021 Fire Insurance rates will drop across the community.

Work is underway to redo the curb and sidewalk on the eastern (toward downtown) side of Main Street between 6th Avenue and Kable Way. It will cost about $150,000 but Columbia Gas will cover about $90,000.

A Cleanup Day will be held Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. til noon. Volunteers should meet at Riverfront Park at 8:45 a.m. They will mostly be removing weeds and debris from 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd Avenues. Volunteers are advised to wear work gloves.

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Auto Mechanic ---------------Must Be ASE Certified

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Neville Hears Environmental Planning Update

The Neville Island Commissioners opened their October meeting by listening to guest Carolyn Yagle, Director of Planning & Policy for the Environmental Planning & Design Agency of Pittsburgh. Since 2018, Neville has been in a three way consortium with Stowe Township and McKees Rocks for multiple municipal zoning. Whatever policies the three communities adopted would govern land use within all three. Yagle reported that Stowe has completed its report and would hold a public hearing on it before submitting it. McKees Rocks has never formally adopted the ordinance. Yagle said Neville and Stowe should be able to proceed by the time of Neville's regular work session in November.

The Commissioners approved the Waste Management Compny's bid for waste and recycling collection for the 2020-21 cycle.

The Police Report included 208 calls and 85 traffic citations. Residents were reminded to lock their vehicles. Across the valley, thefts of items left in vehicles is high.

The Commissioners approved the demolition of the house at 125 2nd Street as a blighted property. The demolition should cost in the neighborhood of $27,000.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with going over various maintenance items line by line.

An update of the Island's MS4 status was read. MS4 deals with each community's work on stormwater and pollution runoff. Gottlieb Co. is progressing. Neville Chemical and Township officials had a meeting to discuss needed work. Lindy Office & Lab completed its work and the Township is satisfied.

Water main replacement along Neville Road continues. Places have been found where the water line and other utilities are too close and the water line may be moved further apart. Planning is in progress on Nebraska Road. Bids have been sought for new Cottage Park drinking facilities which must be usable for those with disabilities. Commissioners approved payment to Youngblood Paving for work done. The water line along Utah Street will be replaced.

Leaves and debris have been cleared from stormwater inlets along streets and roads. The Grand Avenue manhole has been repaired.

The Commissioners reminded all residents that Trick or Treating is Thursday night, Oct. 29, 6-8 pm, two days before the official Halloween, which is Saturday, October 31. But Commissioners urged residents to follow Allegheny County guidelines for Trick or Treat during COVID-19. Due to COVID, there will be no 2020 Christmas celebration.

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marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Boro Council Approves Halloween As Usual

Coraopolis Borough Council at its September meeting voted to hold Trick or Treating as usual despite the Covid-19 virus. As is tradition, the Trick or Treat night will be Thursday, October 29, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Parents are urged to make sure their children maintain proper social distances. Residents may opt out of participating, of, if they do wish to participate, may place bowls of candy at the end of their walks or steps, or install a slide which enables them to slide the treats down to the kids.

Council gave final approval to a building to be constructed at the Soccer Complex on State Avenue (Route 51).

It was noted that, after Council had approved the massage salon in the former LaBello's Restaurant on 5th Avenue, the owners had announced that they had abandoned their plans and would not be opening the businesses after all.

Council added Euclid Avenue to the repaving being done on Devonshire Road, DiVito Alley and Cliff Street. It was noted that once paved, Euclid Avenue would present a problem with stormwater runoff.

Rudy Bolea asked Council to set deadlines on remodelling/refurbishment projects. Failure to meet the deadlines would cause taxes to revert back to their original amount.

Council reminded all homeowners and especially lawn care contractors that grass clippings must be disposed of in a way that does not allow them to end up in the stormwater runoff system.

Council again discussed parking meters. One proposal was to do away with the present system and go with pay stations. Chad Kraynyk argued in favor of the municipal lot (across from old boro building) remaining metered and all others free for two hours. Bolea suggested that business owners could help enforce the two or three spots in front of their storefronts.

Council discussed types of pavilions to erect at the Riverfront Park.

Bids for rebuilding of the Ferree Street Stairway were reviewed but may all be rejected and new bids invited.

Council voted to acquire and dispose of 6th Avenue Lot # 419-H-189 via the Vacant Property Program.

Although not technically a Council project, work commenced on 4th Avenue as PennDot closed off first one side, then the other, of the street. Equipment was brought in to remove the pavement and dig down to McCabe's Creek, which runs under State, 5th and 4th Avenues on its way to the Ohio River. The creek, called McCabe's Run on old maps, originates in Moon Township and flows down the wooded valley below the Cornell School campus. It runs past Brook Street, flows through two huge culverts under Vance and Hiland Avenues, reappears, then enters the final series of tunnels. The problem is those tunnels are now deteriorating after 100 years, and 4th Avenue was in the process of collapsing as the tunnel was caving in. Since 4th Avenue is Route 51, which is a state and county road, PennDot is totally rebuilding the tunnel under it. The street does remain open for traffic, but first one side, then the other, have been closed off to allow for the work.

Finally, Council approved the $28,398 purchase of a new F-150 pickup truck for the Public Works Department. The current P.W. truck will be given to the Shade Tree Commission, whose truck rusted out and can't pass inspection

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Trucking Firm Moving To Neville Island

The biggest news on Neville Island this month was not an issue discussed by the Commissioners at their September meeting, but the announcement that Andrews Logistics has purchased the 10 building complex of Neville Galvanizing Company at 3005 Grand Avenue (see map, right). Andrews will demolish seven buildings and remodel the other three to create a new shipping terminal for trucks hauling hazardous materials. Andrews has won several awards from the National Tank Truck Carriers for its safety. It chose the Grand Avenue location because it is close to I-79 and other major highways. Andrews recently purchased 100 brand new tank trucks to give it a state of the art fleet.

The arrival of Andrews will significantly increase the tax base of both the Island and Cornell School District, although it will require at least a full year for the company to update the property and move in.

The meeting was the first since last Spring held in person, after several meetings by phone. Social distancing limited public attendance in the small room. The Commissioners discussed the ongoing water line and streets and roads projects. Despite the Covid-19 Pandemic, they voted to hold Trick or Treating as usual on Thursday, October 29 from 6-8 pm. Jeanne Creese reminded Council the current waste disposal bid expires November 30 so new bids will need to be discussed at October meeting. Police Chief Joseph Hanny pointed out that there has been a significant increase in traffic due to the Sewickley Bridge closing. The Police Report included two bike thefts, one fire, two domestic disputes and 186 traffic citations. A request by Neville Hotel was denied but they inquired about an appeal. Duquesne Light is behind on mounting the Veterans Banners. Paradise Lanes is behind on taxes but is setting up a payment plan.

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1541 State Avenue

Council approves Winery, Massage Salon

Coraopolis Borough Council approved a winery and a massage salon at its August meeting. The winery will be at 1032 Hiland Avenue. The massage salon will go into the former LaBello's Restaurant on 5th Avenue (photo below). Doug Johnston has purchased the Hiland Avenue property (photo, right). The grapes would be raised on a Moon Township farm and the wine sold at a Crafton business. The 1032 Hiland location will be used to press, ferment, process and bottle the wine. It will be the first commercial winery in Coraopolis but many residents have raised grapes in backyard vineyards and made their own wine for personal use. Coraopolis also has a brewery and a Lemoncello distillery, so producing alcoholic beverages in town is not new. The winery and salon were approved at Special Use Hearings held before the official Council meeting. The Borough Solicitor warned both businesses that they would be carefully scrutinized to see if they followed rules and regulations and if they were in violation their special use permits could be withdrawn and their businesses shut down.

Duquesne Light is installing LED lights in town. The company hopes to install 100. The lights are free but the installation costs $110 per light. The LED lights use less current, so will reduce electricity costs, but it will take several years to see a significant savings. The LEDs are being installed on Vine, Montour, School and Main Streets. A previous phase installed LEDs along 4th and 5th Avenues.

The members voted to close Mulberry Street from 11 am - 1 pm September 12 for the dedication ceremony for the VFW Memorial. The memorial was recently completed and includes the Doughboy Statue plus monuments honoring local veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the campaigns in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Council noted receipt of a Cares Act COVID grant for $125,000 to cover costs incurred.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported 273 complaints, 103 criminal investigations, 10 arrests, one injury, 129 parking tickets, 16 moving violations and 11 alarms.

Mayor Shawn Reid told Council over 150 people attended Second Saturday on Mill Street. He noted that work on the old train station is ongoing, although slowed by COVID, and talks with Robert Morris College about developing Coraopolis into a Small Business Incubator continue.

The Coraopolis Memorial Library is still closed due to COVID. Tree planting by the Shade Tree Commission has been on hold due to COVID, but crews will resume plantings in September. The flower beds downtown and at the entrances to town have been suffering due to the hot, dry conditions. COVID has discouraged volunteer labor so it has not been possible to keep up with the daily water needed.

Work on the new trail on Cornell School property continues, although an itchweed infestation has slowed it. An Eagle Scout project will provide signage.

The Borough has collected 80% of anticipated annual revenue.

A special use hearing will be held in September to approve a large building at the Soccer Complex.

Help Wanted

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Auto Mechanic ---------------Must Be ASE Certified

Brakes, Tires, Emissions, State Inspections, Etc.

General Auto Repair Services

Starting Wage $18 hour

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Neville Approves Street, Road Projects

At its regular August meeting, the Neville Island Commissioners approved a series of street and road projects, discussed the MS4 Stormwater annual review, and heard Township Manager Jeanne Creese explain that the remote meeting permit expires September 5 so they need to make arrangements for in person meetings beginning in September.

The Engineer's report began with the MS4 Review. The yearly screening for illicit discharges has been completed, and only two notices were sent. Quick responses were received and the problems taken care of. Because Neville is surrounded by water, it does not have to do the construction that many communities face in guiding stormwater to the river. The review was examined line by line. Various companies either meet the requirements or are working toward meeting them. Valves have been replaced and pumping stations have been inspected. However, in 2021 the Township does need to upgrade several meters and hydrants to meet ever increasing standsrds.

The Sewickley Bridge has partially reopened so the traffic backup on the island will ease somewhat, but will still occur at rush hours, so lane restrictions will still be in place near the I-79 bridge. PennDot will update the traffic signal at the bridge exit.

As for street and road projects, work of one kind or another will be done at 117 Second Street, 120 First Street, 733 Grand Avenue, and 7030 Grand Avenue, H Street and Alley B. Major work will begin on Neville Road, where the water line will be replaced. The Township may experience reduced flow during the work. Neville is now soliciting bids for flushing stations. Surveys have been done on the Nebraska Avenue water line project and bids are being solicited. The Cottage Park drinking fountains will be upgraded.

The Commissioners granted a special use permit for Neville Motel to become a dog boarding facility.

During the Summer, Neville has conducted its meetings by phone. Anyone interested could also listen in. Unless the state renews it, the permit to do this expires September 4. So Neville will have to make arrangements for in person meetings while maintaining the required six feet distancing among both Commissioners and visitors. But phone access will be continued for any residents who want to listen in.

A tree fell in Memorial Park. It has been removed and the site cleaned up. The Commissioners noted receipt of the Corona Virus Relief Fund Grant from Allegheny County.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Stop Sign, Bodycams, Zoning, LL Field Discussed

Coraopolis Borough Council worked its way through a very busy agenda at its July work session and meeting.

Even before the official meeting began, Council hosted three hearings. The first concerned an amendment to Cory's zoning map. The amendment is to protect the Borough's water supply from accidental spills and discharges of toxic and harmful chemicals. The amendment primarily concerns the area between the railroad tracks and the riverfront.

The second hearing concerned an application for a winery to be constructed at 1032 Hiland Avenue in a house formerly owned by Danny Dinardo. Doug Johnston has purchased the property The grapes would be raised on a Moon Township farm and the wine would be sold at a business in Crafton. Only the actual wine making process would be housed on Hiland Avenue. Wine would not be sold there.

The third hearing concerned an application to locate a nail salon providing pedicures and manicures in the former LoBello's Restaurant on Fifth Avenue next to the National Guard Armory.

After the hearings, Council voted to postpone approval of the proposals until the August meeting.

Another hearing will be held in August, to review the application by Friends of Professional Soccer to build a structure at the Allegheny Health Network location.

David Pendel raised the issue of the stop sign at the corner of State Avenue and Chestnut Street in front of the Lutheran Church (photo, right). Drivers simply ignore the sign. Children often cross the street at this location and are at risk. Pendel proposed installing a solar powered LED stop sign that blinks red. Such signs cost from $700 to $1500 depending on features. John May, Public Works Superintendant, promised to look into the situation and report back to Council.

Lucinda Wade informed Council that Coraopolis Youth Baseball Association teams have begun play and asked what Council plannd to do about the light pole situation at Bliwas Field. (A storm blew down one of the poles two months ago). Chairman Robb Cardimen explained that upon inspection it was found that all three poles are rotted at their base and in need of replacing and H & L Electric had submitted a bid of $18,600. Council discussed the issue, then voted to approve the work.

Danny LaRocco informed Council that the Doughboy Statue was back in place and the Memorial Park work in front of the VFW building has been completed. Since no Memorial Day Parade was held this year due to the pandemic, Council voted to pay the VFW the $700 usually used for the parade to use toward the costs of the statue and park. Bricks on the walkway to honor family members who served in the military re available for $100. For details and photos of the statue, scroll down for a separate story.

Mayor Shawn Reed reported that he had an area economic development meeting coming up Monday night to develop goals for the year in light of the Coronavirus problems.

Ed Pitassi reported that Shade Tree Commission tree planting has been postponed until Fall due to Coronavirus issues.

The Coraopolis Memorial Library is still closed due to the pandemic. It will notify Council when it is possible to reopen.

Attention shifted to street and road work. Borough Engineer Larry Lennon reported that plans for the Euclid Avenue Stormwater Improvements have been reviewed, revised, and submitted to the C.F.A. for review. Euclid Avenue is the narrow lane extending from Cliff Street up the steep slope into Moon Township. It runs behind the Pump House. During heavy rains, huge amounts of water pour over the bank, down the hill past the Pump House and out onto Devonshire Road. Euclid Avenue was simply an unpaved walk way for 100 years so rain soaked into the ground. When it was widened and paved, the water runoff problem was created.

Lennon reported that most of the work scheduled has been completed but a few streets are waiting for Columbia Gas to complete its portion of the work. Mt. Vernon, for example, is waiting for Columbia Gas to redo the sidewalk there after working on its buried lines. As soon as Columbia Gas finishes, Youngblood Paving will apply the top coat.

Lennon added that Coraopolis is waiting for PennDot to complete water and sewer work and will then repair Arch Street Culvert.

Police Chief Ron Denbow (photo, right) reported that the Civil Service Exams have been completed. Jordan Ross has resigned as a part time officer and Denbow recommended hiring a replacement from the list of those who passed.

Don Neely has been interviewed, vetted and hired as one of the Dispatchers. Coraopolis has managed to keep its own 24 hour seven day Police Dispatch and Fire reporting system which many neighboring communities have given up to a County 911 system. Cory's dispatch system is managed by four full time, and three part time dispatch officers.  That's Dispatcher Frank Kamlich in the photo above. Kamlich is a retired Coraopolis Police Officer. He served from 1977-19991, then came out of retirement to help with the dispatch department. Kamlich has now worked five years as a Dispatcher.

Denbow warned Council that due to recent events across the country, it will soon be mandated that all Police Departments have body cams. He has been researching this. Watchguard is the top company. Cory could purchase six body cams plus docking stations, software, and four eight terrabyte servers for $17, 898. When an officer was off duty, his cam could be placed in the docking station for uploading and recharging. Council discussed this and approved the purchase of up to 10 body cams for up to $25,000.

At Cardimen's suggestion, Council suspended its August work session, but will still hold its regular voting meeting August 12. That meeting will be preceded by the 5:30 hearing on the proposed soccer building.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Neville Faces Rerouted Sewickley Bridge Traffic

At their regular July meeting, the Neville Commissioners discussed the increased traffic the island will face from the Sewickley Bridge closing.

The bridge will be closed for extensive repairs. Drivers from Coraopolis, Moon, and the Airport, who normally used the bridge to get to Sewickley, will now be following Route 51 through Coraopolis and driving through western Neville Island to reach the I-79 Bridge, which they will use to cross the river and follow the Ohio River Boulevard to Sewickley. This added traffic, at rush hours, will back up at the traffic light before they turn right and swing up onto the bridge. The Commissioners mentioned changing the timing of the traffic light, letting more Grand Avenue traffic through before turning red. But PennDot has ruled out that possibility, because it would back traffic up coming off the bridge, possibly creating a traffic jam up on I-79.

In other business, the Commissioners approved the 16 inch water line replacement along Neville Road, a $571, 257.50 project. They also voted to approve the $10, 873.40 which is the final installment of the Salt Storage Project. It came in $3000 underr budget.

They acknowledged that the Army Corps of Engineers will begin work on a preventative maintenance program. In other developments, grants have been received to help with the Nebraska Avenue work and new drinking fountains at Cottage Park.

The Police Report for June showed 256 calls, 14 alarms and 56 citations.

The Solicitor noted that the Governor's Mandate has been extended only through September 1, so the August meeting could be the last one held by telephone.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Restored Doughboy Returns To Pedestal

The Doughboy is back.

Missing for several months, the famous Doughboy Statue is back on its pedestal at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Mulberry Street, just outside the VFW Building.

It now presides over a newly built Memorial Park, which includes granite monuments honoring local veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the campaigns in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Today's statue is valued at $75,000. It's made of pressed copper and copper plates.

The Coraopolis Doughboy is actually one copy of a statue by E. M. Vaquesney. His creation has amazing detail : shoelaces, wrinkles in the uniform, knuckles, facial features, screws and nuts on the rifle and bayonet.

It was mass produced in the 1920s to honor World War I (1914-1918) veterans, and distributed to any town raising the price. The term "doughboy" was used to describe the foot soldiers because of the fried flour dumplings they ate. After the war, they popularized them back in America and now we call them "donuts." 

The Coraopolis VFW raised $3500. The statue cost $1000, the base cost $1500, and the copper plates cost $1000. Today, this does not seem like much. But in a time when men making high wages in the mills brought home $4000 a year, when homes cost $7500, a new car could be bought for $500 and a good meal in a good restaurant cost 50 cents, $3500 was a staggering amount of money. Schools, churches and civic organizations all held fund raisers and contributed. The plates contain the names of Coraopolis veterans killed in WW I and II. 

Those plates were sent away with the statue for cleaning and restoring. They have resumed their place on the pedestal of the statue.

Originally, 300 Doughboy Statues were produced. The Smithsonian Institute keeps an official record of them. When cast, each statue received a serial number. Cory's is #259. 134 remain in place in small towns as remote as Arizona and Wyoming. They were installed in cemeteries, parks, town squares, in front of high schools and city halls, and at the entrance to bridges. The Smithsonian not only lists their addresses, but their GPS coordinates. There are hobbyists who spend their vacations driving around the country visiting and taking photos of each one.

Over the years, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, vehicles smashing into them, trees falling, and vandalism destroyed 166. There were three variations on the Coraopolis version. One is a U.S. Navy version, one an infantryman waving his hand overhead, and the other a World War II version. There are not as many copies of those other variations still in existence.  The Coraopolis Doughboy Statue is one of only 12 remaining which have the official bayonet still in place. 

The nearest Doughboy Statues are in Aliquippa (#278), McKees Rocks (#287) and Lawrenceville (#231).

The Coraopolis Doughboy has roamed around town. When first received, it was placed on 5th Avenue in a small park. When the new Municipal Building was built, the statue was moved to the front of it. When the new high school opened, the statue was moved to the front of it, where it remained until the 1970s, when the high school was closed and converted to apartments. At that point, the statue was moved to a spot on State Avenue, just below the library and across from the Greystone Presbyterian Church. Finally, it was moved to its current location in front of the VFW Building. 

Not every community has such a statue. It is one of those features which makes Coraopolis unique, a link to a time almost 100 years ago.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Neville Finalizes Salt Storage, Bond Reduction

After a full year of attention, Neville Island finally has its new salt storage bin in place and full and landscaping should be completed this month. The old location was lost when PennDot claimed the site for equipment storage. The new site is along the river at the back end of the park where the main pavilion stood for years. The Neville Commissioners voted their approval at their June meeting, which was held by teleconference. They noted that the facility ended up costing $2000 less than projected.

The Commissioners also reduced Sunbelt's bond from $50,000 to 0.00. They discussed the Neville Road waterline replacement bids at length. The first order is in for the Veterans Banner program but Duquesne Light has not yet responded to the request to mount the banners on its poles. Street sweeping has resumed. The Neville Township Building is reopened to the public. Island parks have reopened but not restrooms. Playgrounds are open but parents are asked to use hand sanitizers before and after use. The Neville Hotel has submitted a change of use request.

The Commissioners began discussion of the problem of access to the land Neville Township has acquired for a proposed river front park. Currently, an abandoned railroad track, piles of refuse, and high growth of weeds, brush and trees (photo, right) prevents work on the area. This is an issue which will require attention over the coming months.

Township Manager Jeannie Creese explained that the July meeting poses a problem. Because of July Fourth, no Work Session will be held. But how and where to hold the official voting meeting is uncertain. Action by the Govcernor and the Legislature will affect plans. The Commissioners would like to meet in person. But the regular meeting room does not allow for social distancing. They could move to the Fire Department, but there is no air conditioning and no public address system. Finding room for the five Commissioners plus the Township Manager, Engineer and Solicitor can be done but providing room for the public as the law requires is difficult. This matter will have to be resolved over the next four weeks.

Tootsie's

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701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

July Meeting Should Be Back To Normal
Boro's June Focus Is On Streets & Roads

Although it covered several other items, the main focus of Coraopolis Borough Council at its June meeting was Street and Road Repair.

The meeting began with praise for Mayor Shawn Reed and all who helped with Saturday's peaceful demonstration in honor of George Floyd. Police and Fire Departments from surrounding communities and State Representatives Anita Kulik and Connor Lamb participated.

Council approved invoices for $144,281.12 and a payroll of $103,442.05. Members also approved acquisition and disposal of Lot 341-D-217 Vine Street. It's a vacant lot at the sharp bend, which the adjacent landowner has been maintaining as a yard. That landowner will now acquire it.

The police report showed 1291 calls, 99 criminal investigations, 163 civil investigstions, 12 accidents, one injury, 131 parking violations, five moving violations, six vehicles towed, and 12 alarms off.

A July 8th 5 pm hearing will be held on the Wellhead Maintenance Protection Program, a wine production facility at 1032 Hiland Avenue in a former DiNardo property, and to approve a Foot Massage business in the old Labello's Restaurnt on Fifth Avenue.

The Doughboy Statue has been reconditioned and will be returning to Coraopolis.

A local Boy Scout for his Eagle Project will be providing signage on the new trail system.

The Borough Building will open to the public July 1. The July meeting will be open.

Now that companies are moving past the Coronavirus shutdown, work will resume on various street and road projects. The first priority will be State Avenue from Main Street to George Street, excluding the section between Chestnut and Maple, which is owned and maintained by the State. The second priority will be the 900 block of Ridge Avenue from Watson to Main. Watson Street from Hiland to Ridge will be redone with Columbia Gas reimbursing the Borough. The 900 block of Second is on the list, as are Edgewood and, as an alternate, Devonshire. All of this totals $480,000.

Which brought Council to DiVito Way, the alley turning off Devonshire and running behind the houses fronting on Montour Street. A previous property owner had dug out the soil to level the lot so he could install a pool, and then installed a fence on Borough right of way (photo, left). DiVito Way is now collapsing down onto that lot but the fence prevents the Borough from repairing it. 14 residents use the alley to access their garages and want something done. The first problem is the fence. It would have to be removed before any work can be done. The second problem is that the only way to build up the underlying ground is to import fill and dump it on the homeowner's property, tamping it down before laying asphalt on top of it. The green bags in the photo are an attempt to fill in one of the larger holes.  The law establishes several feet on either side of a street or highway as public right of way, which can be used for a sidewalk, a shoulder, drainage, or, at the least, for routine maintenance. Based on that law, the previous homeowner should never have been given a permit to excavate the land that close to the alley, nor to build the fence that close to the alley, and, in fact, no record can be found of a permit having been issued. Council asked the Solicitor to investigate the matter and advise the Borough how to proceed.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Neville Commissioners Approve Street Repairs

Meeting online via Zoom and/or telephone hookups, Neville Commisioners at their May session approved a $66,000 street resurfacing contract with the Youngblood Paving Company.

The resurfacing will focus on H Street (which runs along Robert Morris Sport Center), and Alleys A and Alley B (Between First, Second and Third Streets). Some discussion ensued. Engineer Ned Mitrovich explained that the life of a street or alley paving could be extended considerably if the Township did an aggressive job of sealing cracks and making minor repairs once or twice a year. Township Manager Jeanne Creese pointed out that Neville had a total 2020 Streets & Roads Budget of $94,000 but that due to the Coronavirus she expected revenues to be down so that Streets & Roads figure could reduce by $20,000. The H Street and Alley A and B Project woul fit within that reduced budget, but the Township would probably not be able to afford anything else in 2020.

Ms. Creese also informed the Commissioners that the new driver of the Township street sweeper was ready to take his drivers test as soon as the County reopened the testing center. The street sweeper is ready to go.

Lynn Beloma was appointed to the Neville Township Zoning Board.

The monthly Police report showed 168 calls, three traffic citations, one boat assist out on the river (which turned out to be a false alarm), and four medical emergencies.

The Commissioners expressed their desire to resume meeting in person in June but Ms. Creese explained that it would be difficult. The meeting room was small and fitting all the Commissioners in while maintaining six foot spacing would be tricky, but then no guest speakers, media or resident observors could be admitted. Pennsylvania laws require that all such meetings be open to the public and to media. No decision was made.

The Commissioners were informed that 12 applications had been received for military veteran banners.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Council Approves "Savvy Citizen" System
At a busy May workshop and official meeting, Coraopolis Council voted to install a Savvy Citizen system for one year on a trial basis. Discussion of this system occupied much of the May 6 and May 13 sessions. Savvy Citizen is an electronic communication system which would allow Cory to post announcements for immediate reception on every computer, cell phone, IPad and laptop in town (as long as the owners subscribed). Such announcements would include news of meetings, events, cancellations, road closures, weather alerts, trash pickup reminders, and anything else of interest to residents. System rep Rich McConnell explained to Council (via teleconferencing) that if at least 30% of Cory residents subscribed, they would relay each message on to friends, neighbors and relatives so that within a few hours most of the town would be informed. McConnell said the company would launch a marketing campaign using signs, face book ads, media releases and other methods to make sure as many people as possible knew of the system and how to sign up. It's free to residents.

Coraopolis will pay $2290 for one year of the service. Sewickley, Bellevue, Ben Avon and many other Allegheny County communities already have the system. It is possible for people who don't live in Cory but work here or just want to keep up with what's happening to subscribe. The Police and Fire Departments plus the Borough Manager will all be able to post on the site.

Council discussed the problem of All Terrain Vehicles damaging trails. The trails have been constructed at great cost and effort. Council voted to post signs reminding riders that motorized vehicles are prohibited on trails, to mount cameras to record who is riding the ATVs, and to post signs letting riders know they are being recorded. An ordinance is being drawn up to specifically address this issue, authorizing the Police to fine riders.

At the May 6 work session, discussion focused on potential demolition of two borough properties posing health and safety hazards. The first was a house at 1621 Hiland Avenue which was abandoned and already in declining condition, then further damaged by the recent storm. Most of the back of the house was off. By the May 13 meeting, demolition had been completed (see photo, left).

The second property was the Van Balen Laundry property at 1403 Fifth Avenue (see bottom two photos). This property has remained vacant for years and is in serious decline, posing a health and safety hazard. Its appearance from the front is misleading, as the building continues for half a block to the rear (see second photo). The owner lives out of town and has not been cooperative, using various legal maneuvers to forestall Coraopolis from taking action. A new program for dealing with such situations will soon go into effect to allow communities to proceed with condemnation and demolition more efficiently. Coraopolis will back off for a while to allow this new program to go into effect.

Council approved the advertising for a new Police dispatcher. The current dispatcher is leaving for another job.

Council discussed a zoning change to protect its water wells. Two zones in the areas of Fifth Avenue, Mulberry Street and Birch Alley would be defined as protective zones. This need was revealed by last Summer's Buckeye Pipeline break. Coraopolis draws its water from several wells penetrating to a deep aquifer running below the river. The new zoning ordinance would be submitted to the County for approval and then voted on, hopefully at the July meeting. Council Attorney Richard Start told Council this would be a lengthy ordinance and notices would have to be posted on properties in the area covered.

A proposal by Bactronix to microbially treat the Police Wing, jail cells and vehicles was discussed. According to Bactronix the treatment would be good for six months. Many Councilmen had questions. Would this treatment cover the Coronavirus? Would the daily cleaning already done reduce the effectiveness of the Bactronix sprays? How effective would the treatment be in vehicles with people constantly getting in and out? Council decided to discuss these concerns with Bactronix.

With the Coraopolis Library closed until further notice, Council discussed whether to continue paying the Library aides. They moved to continue paying them until at least the end of June.

After one pole at Bliwas Field, the Little League field on First Avenue, was blown down by the April storm, an electrician checked the situation and discovered that the other two poles were rotted at the base and the wiring had a short circuit, so new poles, wiring and lighting would be needed. John May of Public Works urged Council to instruct the electrician to lock out the panel so no one could flip the switch to on until the needed repairs were made. Council agreed.

Council also discussed the upcoming primary election. Allegheny County has asked all communities to consolidate their wards into one centralized location. Council debated whether to use the VFW or Cornell School.

Lucinda Wade expressed concern that many of the town's older citizens do not drive or own cars so could not get up to the hilltop Cornell campus. It was suggested that on election day buses could be run, or possibly Uber drivers could be used.

The issue of oversized trucks being parked on residential streets overnight was raised. This is a serious problem because emergency vehicles (fire trucks, police cars and ambulances) cannot get through. There is already an ordinance in place prohibiting this. Council agreed to post signs in the areas of consistent abuse, and then, having given notice, to tow vehicles. The two areas of most concern are Edgewood Avenue and First Avenue.

Police Chief Ron Denbow delivered the May report. In the last month there were 10 alarms, 271 complaints, 71 criminal investigations, 100 civil investigations, one stolen vehicle and one injury.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon reported that Cornell Superintendant Aaron Thomas has proposed mounting banners across Fifth Avenue with the names of the graduating seniors. Each sign would cost $200 and double as a Welcome To Coraopolis banner. The pandemic quarantine has forced the issue of internet reception in town, which is critical for students doing all their schoolwork online while school is closed. Dr. Thomas proposes mounting routers on the gazebo downtown and at each end of town so wifi would be available. Council approved the projects.

Council concluded with a lengthy discussion of street construction. They voted to invite bids for a 1.5" mill and overlay on State Avenue, Edgewood and Devonshire. They noted that State Avenue has a brick foundation from the days when it was a brick street. That foundation helps overlays last five years or more. But it was also noted that trying to correct rhe curb height issue, which is a problem around the borough, would do more harm than good. Council also discussed Watson and Ridge Avenues. Work there must be coordinated with Columbia Gas and possibly other utilities, which need to pull the brick foundations and lay new pipes.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Borough Council Meets By Teleconference

The most important feature of the April 8 Borough Council meeting was that it was held at all. At a time of national quarantine, when schools, businesses and sports are closed and everyone confined to their homes due to the Corona Virus, many boroughs, towns and school districts have simply suspended meetings. Others tried to meet but could not get the technology to work. Coraopolis held both the April 1 work session and the April 8 voting meeting by teleconference and everything worked perfectly. Any citizen who wanted could dial 339-209-6770 and listen in. They could even speak up if they wished, although no one did.

The meeting occurred less than 24 hours after a powerful storm rolled through town, bringing down trees and utility lines, peeling shingles, siding and shutters off houses, blowing porch furniture and trash cans down the streets, and causing much of the town to be without power for about eight hours. Various members of Council commended the Police, Firemen, Public Works crews and others for working all night and most of the day to clear the streets, clean up yards and restore power.

Attorney Richard Start began by clarifying that the meeting was legal, in that the law authorized such teleconferences in times of crisis and that the meeting and a public phone number had been announced both online and in print in local newspapers.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon reviewed closing and cancellations. The biggest event to be cancelled was the annual Memorial Day Parade, which would have been its 90th consecutive running, second longest such streak in Pennsylvania. Playgrounds and Parks have been closed, soccer fields are closed, and the Art Walk postponed.

Discussion ensued about the developing partnerships in which private corportions get tax credits for donations to communities or community development foundations.

Coraopolis is eyeing possibly $3 million in grants over the next six years. These would be used for everything from tree planting to playgrounds to the Fort Vance Memorial to the creation of "pocket parks" to work on community trails to housing. These grants do not preclude the possibility of applying for additional grants from other sources.

Council was informed that due to the Corona Virus shutdown, concrete and asphalt plant closings have stalled Coraopolis street and road repairs. If the shutdown continues long enough, the Borough may have to skip 2020 and resume work on streets and roads in 2021.

Council was also informed that with businesses closed and residents unable to work, the Borough would likely see a significant drop in taxes collected, which will impact many local activities.

But it was reported that the Borough has thus far collected $825,000 in 2020 tax revenues and is in very solid financial shape with the year one third over.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reviewed with Council his proposed updating of policies on social media and electronic media. Of particular interest were the regulations on the electronic recording of interrogations.

Denbow also presented the monthly Police report, which included 1201 calls, 301 complaints, 17 arrests, eight accidents, one injury, 68 vehicular violations, six vehicles towed, eight alarms and $2153 collected thus far from parking meters.

John May from Public Works clarified that 11 streets had been closed by downed trees and power lines, but all had been reopened.

But he reminded residents that there is NO Spring Leaf Pickup. No one should be raking leaves to the curbs. They should place them in bags for pickup.

May also proposed that Council ask Waste Management Company to locate a dumpster in a central spot so residents could bring their electronics and cardboard boxes for pickup.

Mayor Shawn Reed reviewed with Council a proposal by Hollow Oak Land Trust to build a bridge across Montour Creek to connect the Montour Trail to Montour Woods. This is an area near Ewing's Mill, actually in Moon Township but used by Coraopolis residents. The Montour Woods tract, which borders Meeks Run, contains a 10 mile trail network. It is easily accessed from Cory by taking the Montour Trail out from the Groveton trailhead. The reason this is relevant to Coraopolis is that the day long hiking trail begins at Thorn Run on the western edge of town, winds through Moon Township, drops down through Montour Woods, and follows the Montour Trail back to the eastern edge of town. The proposed bridge would eliminate the need to cross Montour Creek, which especially in the Spring or after a day long rain can become wide and deep.

Council approved $175,449.83 in April invoices.

It approved the March payroll of $112,800.26.

It extended the contract with Cargill for road salt for the 2020-21 year. It also approved storage of unused salt from the 2019-20 year. Due to a mild Winter, the Borough used less salt than usual. But road salt contracts require communities to use at least 80% of the salt used. Coraopolis had ordered 700 tons of salt for 2019-20 but only used 180 tons. So the borough is obligated to pay for storage of the unused 520 tons. This will be resolved by ordering much less salt for 2020-21 and using up a part of that 520 tons.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Boro Council Will Meet Via Teleconference

With everyone isolated due to the Coronavirus, Borough Council will conduct its April Workshop Meeting tonight (Wednesday) by Teleconference.

Interested citizens can "attend" by dialing 339-209-6770.

This is the first time a Coraopolis Borough Council meeting has ever been held by Teleconference and the first time residents could listen in. The last time such a shut down occurred, during the Spanish Flu outbreak, the technology did not exist to allow such procedures.

In all likelihood, next week's voting meeting will also be held by Teleconference and citizens will again be able to listen in.

Borough offices are open and business is being conducted as usual but the general public is not admitted to the building.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

CoronaVirus Fears Shut Down Most Activities

Fears of the Coronavirus have led government officials to order or ask all places where people gather in large numbers to close for the foreseeable future.

This includes schools, sports, libraries, theaters, churches, social clubs, political rallies and meetings.

Airlines have cancelled most flights to Europe and Asia and have reduced many flights within the U.S. This impacts many flight attendants and pilots in Cory and the Western Hills. Those who have been working the international flights can use their seniority to "bump" younger attendants and pick up domestic flights. But many of the younger attendants will be out of work for at least a month, meaning they will not be paid.

Groceries, especially the major national chains, have seen customers bulk buying certain items until shelves are empty. The list of items bought out is an odd mix : toilet paper, bottled water, milk, Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, raman noodles, Lysol, soup, meats, pickled pigs feet and flour.

Groceries have begun limiting purchases of each to three per customer but shelves still empty within two hours of restocking.

Like all Pennsylvania schools, Cornell has cancelled classes until April. Teachers are conducting lessons online and beginning Tuesday March 17 vehicles will make daily rounds with food for students who normally eat in the school cafeteria. Food distribution points will be the Cottage Park Pavilion, 5th Avenue Gazebo, and the school cafeteria. Comcast offers 60 days of free internet service for students who need it.

Coraopolis Little League practices are still supposed to start this week but the Pony League season, which was to begin with games in March, has been pushed back to April 6th.

The Coraopolis Memorial Library has been closed until March 29, at which time the Governor and library officials will reassess the situation.

Coraopolis churches are maintaining their Sunday services but surpending all meetiungs and activities until firther notice.

Penn Dot has announced it will continue bus runs but has increased bus cleanings between runs. All buses will be thoroughly cleaned, including seats, railings, posts, and other places of human contact.

Under mandate by the Governor, beginning Monday all restaurants and bars will be closed except that restaurants may sell carry out orders.

The Tull Theater in Sewickley has closed until further notice. Cinemark Theaters are staying open, at least for now, but have added deep cleaning and disinfection between each showing in each theater, and are cleaning every surface such as counters, railings, door handles, etc., in the lobby area once an hour.

The WPIAL and PIAA have suspended all sports, including the State Tournament, until further notice

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Commissioners Proceed On Stormwater Plans

In a short and routine March meeting, the Neville Island Commissioners discussed progress on their MS4 Stormwater Compliance Plan and the status of the Fleming Park Bridge sewer line.

An MS4 is a drainage system that is (l) owned by a town or township that discharges into streams or rivers, (2) designed or used to collect or convey stormwater (e.g., storm drains, pipes, ditches),and (3) not part of a sewer system and not emptying into a sewage treatment plant.

To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into MS4s, residents and companies are required to obtain NPDES permits and develop stormwater management programs (SWMPs). The SWMP describes the stormwater control practices that will be implemented consistent with permit requirements to minimize the discharge of pollutants from the sewer system. Like every other town and township in Pennsylvania, Neville has been checking each residence and company on the island to make sure they are in compliance.

This month, Neville engineers checked on Columbia Gas, the Neville Motel and Neville Chemical. The Neville Motel's application form was incomplete and was returned to be redone. Neville Chemical has a river bank erosion problem but as soon as weather permits will begin grading to resolve it. The Columbia Gas parking lot is making MS4 improvements.

The Commissioners also discussed the sewage pipeline crossing the river at the Fleming Park Bridge. A West View line at that same point had a problem but Neville's pipeline is stable at this time.

Township Manager Jeanne Creese pointed out that residents or businesses with Coronavirus concerns should contact the Allegheny County Health Department at www.alleghenycounty.us/coronavirus or 412-687-2243. It is the best local news source.

Volunteers are needed for the annual Earth Day Litter Pickup on Saturday April 25 from 9 a.m. til noon. Volunteers should meet at the Fire Station.

The Township's annual Street Sweeping Program will resume Wednesday April 1 and the annual Spring Hydrant Flushing will be held April 23-24 from 4 pm til midnight.

The Township is accepting applications for the Veterans Banner Program. Any current or former resident of the township is eligible. Applications are available at www.nevilletownship.us.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

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Council Focuses On Coronavirus, Voting, K9 Truck

Possibly the most important item on the Coraopolis Borough Council's March Meeting was Mayor Shawn Reed's address on the Coronavirus.

Reed had attended a meeting of the Mayors of Allegheny County, where they discussed the virus.

"The peak of this problem has not reached us yet," he cautioned Council. "But it's coming. We will have to deal with it. Make no mistake, this will affect all of us in large and small ways."

He urged people not to panic, but listed common sense precautions every Coraopolis resident should take. These include.....

l. Stop shaking hands. Fist bump instead. 2. Wash your hands several times a day. 3. Socially distance yourself in subtle ways. Sit a chair away from someone in groups, at bars or in other social situations. 4. Avoid large crowds, especially if you're over 60 or have heart disease, diabetes or any sort of respirastory condition.

Mayor Reed said Cornell School is being thoroughly disinfected each night.

The Mayor also updated Council on plans for Coraopolis to become a Business Incubator, which would have huge economic implications. He has an upcoming meeting at Robert Morris with officials from Carnegie Mellon, Robert Morris and other institutions. The idea is that Cory would make itself into an ideal environment for a new business to locate. There are services and facilities that new businesses need. Some new businesses fail, but some succeed and grow into large, successful businesses. Over a decade, being a business incubator would bring tremendous advantages.

Police Chief Ron Denbow explained that Officer Shawn Quinn, Cory's K-9 laison, continually raises funds through clothing sales, bingo games, donations and other activities. All money raised goes into a special K-9 fund to support Amore, Cory's Police Dog, and his vehicle. The Police asked for Council approval to use money from this fund to buy a new vehicle. The current K-9 truck is a 2011 model with over 90,000 miles and several expensive repairs needed. The Police found a 2020 truck with extended cab. The rear seat area would be rebuilt as the dog's compartment, and the truck bed would be useful for hauling other equipment. The base price of the truck is $48,000 plus modifications for the dog. The Police would end up paying $17,000 per year for three years, all from the special K-9 fund.

Council approved the purchase.

Denbow also delivered the monthly Police Report. There were 1025 phone calls, 221 complaints, 84 criminal and 137 civil investigations, 113 arrests, 13 accidents, two injuries, and seven alarms.

Police issued 54 parking citations. So far in 2020 parking meters have brought in $653.

Councilman Rudy Bolea reminded everyone that Pennsylvania has changed the laws to allow voting by mail. People will not have to go to the polls, but voting by mail must be done before the regular election day. He urged Coraopolis residents to go to VotePa.com.

Councilman Ed Pitassi announced that 25 trees will be delivered to Coraopolis for planting in April. A Boro Cleanup Day will also be held April 25.

Council gave the VFW Post the right to close off Mulberry Street for several hours to bring a crane in and raise a new air conditioning unit to the roof. It will be done in the morning so as to minimize inconvenience.

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PennDot Will Update I-79 Neville Bridge

PennDot announced this week that work will begin on the I-79 Bridge at Neville Island and the Ohio River as soon as the weather breaks this Spring and last until Fall 2022.

As much as possible, traffic will be allowed on one lane in each direction while work is done on the other half of the bridge. Work will be done at night and on weekends so lanes can be kept open during the week and at rush hours. But some work will require complete closure and traffic will be detoured across the Sewickley Bridge or the closer Coraopolis Bridge. And there will be some closure of Grand Avenue and its pedestrian side walks as they pass beneath the bridge.

The work will include the exit ramps leading down to Grand Avenue on Neville Island, Route 51 leading to Coraopolis and McKees Rocks, and the Ohio River Boulevard leading to Emsworth and Sewickley. It will include the underdeck and concrete piers, road surface, superstructure, walls, viaducts, abutments and drainage features.

It will include structural steel repairs, fatigue-prone detail retrofits, full structure paint, deck joint replacement and repair, deck and parapet concrete repairs, bearing replacement and repair, substructure concrete spall and crack repairs, bridge drainage downspout repair, update approach guiderail/bridge barrier connections and repair light poles. The general preservation scope-of-work for the four sign structures includes replacement of various bolts and sign connection hardware, replacement of deteriorated conduit and fittings, replacement of damaged luminaries, and full and spot painting with galvanized coating. 

Unfortunately, this work will be done at the same time as work is being done on the Sewickley Bridge (photo, left). a few miles down river. That project will also involve narrowing down to one lane at times and totally detouring traffic at other times. Mike Sokol, Project Manager for the I-79 Bridge, assured reporters that work on the two would be carefully coordinated so they were not totally shut down at the same time. And, he pointed out, work on the Sewickley Bridge would take only one year, and work on the I-79 Neville Island Bridge would continue for three years.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Neville Weighs Banners, Parking, Playground

Neville Commissioners opened their February work session with a presentation by VFW Post 402 Commander Mike Blair (photo, right) on the Hometown Hero program. This is an effort to mount commemorative posters honoring local veterans. The posters are hung from telephone or utility poles. Post 402 is in Coraopolis, where 90 banners have already been hung along 4th and 5th Avenues. Blair asked the Neville Commissioners to approve a similar program along Grand Avenue.

Families wanting to honor a veteran must fill out an application and include proof of military service, proof of local residence, and a good photo, preferably of the veteran in his or her uniform. The cost of the banner and the mounting hardware is $110.

The Commissioners were primarily concerned with permits. Blair explained that the VFW had to send Duquesne Light the number and location of each pole. But given that this is a U.S. Military project, and the VFW is a nonprofit organization, Duquesne Light approves the requests. However, there are requirements. The bottom of the banner must be 13 feet above the street, and the hardware must meet certain specifications. The VFW is also required to have insurance. In Coraopolis, they worked through the Borough Council to acquire the insurance coverage. Ed Walsh accompanied Blair and answered questions about the applications. He has been handling the ones for Coraopolis and would be willing to do so for Neville Island, or the Island could find someone to do it.

In Coraopolis, Blair and a few assistants have been mounting the banners, using a ladder. Neville Township Manager Jeanne Creese said she believed Sunbelt might be willing to provide a bucket ("cherry picker") truck so Blair and his crew would not have to keep climbing and moving their ladder. Neville no longer has its own VFW Post. Its members have merged with the Coraopolis Post.

The Commissioners voted to approve the project.

In other business, Ms. Creese explained that there is a problem with parking at the Township Office. Seven spaces plus one handicap space are provided. The handicap space is in the front of the building but the handicap ramp, as can be seen in the photo below, is on the side of the building. She asked that the handicap space be moved to the side so it is next to the ramp. Then, she explained, when all employees are in the office, they use all seven spaces, and people coming to conduct business have no parking.

She recalled that during last Summer's pipeline problem, the Environmental Protection Agency officials had to park three blocks away. But the problem is made worse because the local residents or people visiting them often use some of the seven parking spaces. The Commissioners agreed to look into it and find some solution.

Two delinquent properties, at 125 2nd Street and 7119 Front River Road, are in process. A Sheriff's Sale for the Front River Road property is set for June 10. An Interested Purchaser Agreement is needed for the 2nd Street property. Creese reminded the Commissioners that these proceedings move very slowly.

The Cottage Park Playground needs replaced. Neville has lost the grant it applied for, but still needs to take action. The Commissioners agreed to try and find a donor, or a sponsor, possibly offering naming nights, or theming the playground so an organization might be willing to fund it.

Finally, the Commissioners authorized the agreement delegating its tax collection to Jordan Tax Services.

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Auction, Park, Trees, Vehicle, Meters Discussed

At a busy February Work Session, the Coraopolis Borough Council discussed a property auction, the riverfront park, street trees, purchase of a new pickup truck and police vehicle, parking meters, 2020 street and road priorities, and a deteriorating alley.

The property auction will be conducted by the Sheriff but will be funded by Station Auto Parts. The property (seen in the photo at right) is at 638 Fourth Avenue. The building currently on the property is in serious decline and will probably be demolished. It's a small concrete block apartment building built in 1924. All around it are businesses and small industrial buildings.

Council authorized the Borough Manager to purchase a Ford 150 pickup truck from Woltz & Wind Ford. After an $8,000 discount, the truck will cost the Borough $26,940. It will be used by the Public Works Department.

The Borough Manager and Police Chief Ron Denbow were also authorized to use the Department of Community Economic Development Grant for $50,000 to purchase a new vehicle. By the time the vehicle is equipped with lights, siren, an interior screen and other police equipment, it will cost about $54,000 of which Coraopolis will pay about $4,000. The vehicle to be purchased may be a replacement for the current K-9 van.

Shade Tree Commission Chairperson Stephanie Blazier (photo, left) appeared before the Council to explain the Corridor Park her group proposes. It will extend down School Street (photo, below) from the Library (photo, below left) to Riverfront Park. Shade trees would be planted along both sides of the street. Given a few years for the trees to grow, School Street from Ridge Avenue to First Avenue would become a beautiful shady avenue.

Blazier and Council Liaison Ed Pitassi explained that there is a major obstacle to this project. The sidewalk extends all the way to the curb. So to plant trees they need Council authorization to remove squares of pavement.

Various Council Members expressed concerns with this project. First, snowplows operate on those sidewalks and planting trees would interfere with them. Second, as the trees grew, their roots would crack at least the sidewalk, if not the street. Third, the leaves the trees would drop every Fall would add to the leaf clearance burden Borough maintenance workers already face. Fourth, the trees would interfere with parking along the curb as they would prevent doors from opening.

Pitassi explained that their Commission had already discussed purchasing a snowblower to work around the trees. But it was pointed out that the snowblower would still require someone to operate it, and that would be another task at a time when maintenance staff were already working as fast as they could to clear streets and sidewalks.

The trees along the Library were a major concern. The Library is heavily used, even in Winter despite the snow and ice. The Borough is legally liable for the sidewalk in front of and along the Library. Its workers must be able to efficiently plow those sidewalks, often several times a day during times of heavy snowfall. Trees along the sidewalks would certainly interfere with that.

It was pointed out that for the six blocks of School Street under discussion, many yards border those sidewalks. Even the churches along the street had yards bordering the sidewalks. Why could not those trees be planted in the yards? Pitassi explained that the yards were private property and that would require negotiating with each individual land owner.

Two Council members mentioned that numerous utility lines ran along and across School Street and within only a few years those trees would begin interfering with those lines.

The discussion ended with no final decision on the School Street trees.

Attention turned to the 2020 Streets and Roads plans. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon announced that the 2020 agenda included finishing a few projects left over from 2019.

But the major emphasis in 2020 will be on State Avenue. There will be a few sections that will be delayed, because there are water linea and other utilities to be updated, and there would be no point to redoing the street only to tear it up again. But most of State Avenue will see improvement during 2020.

McCutcheon informed the Council that it was time to update the town's official insurance appraisal.

He pointed out that this needed to be done every 10 years for insurance purposes. The new appraisals will be done by Industrial Appraisal Company at a cost of $5310. The appraisal will include the new Borough Building.

Council then discussed the Riverfront Park Project. McCutcheon invited members to drop by his office to see the master plan. A ramp down to the river and a dock for canoes, rowboats and possibly paddleboats will be built near the current overlook (in the center of the photo below). There will also be bocce courts, a gazebo, a concert shell with lawn seating, restrooms, a playground costing $80,000 - $100,000, and parking. When all of this is completed, the park will be landscaped with flowers, bushes and trees.

The next item was the recurring problem of parking meters. Council has discussed this on several occasions. The options are to keep the current ones in place, remove them entirely, remove them along the curbs but keep them in the parking lots, or go to new meters with new pay methods.

The new pay methods might be a cell phone app, or a series of central pay kiosks, probably one per block.

But all of these come with problems. The malls offer free parking, so if Coraopolis wants its businesses to compete with the stores at the malls, it needs to offer the same free parking. But if there is free parking, people will park and ride the bus into Pittsburgh, leaving all the parking spaces unavailable all day for local customers. One solution to this is to post "two hour parking" signs and have police officers mark tires and issue tickets for cars parked there too long. But that's an added duty for already overworked policemen. Some towns use the pay kiosks, where instead of parking meters, a person parks and walks to the kiosk to pay, receiving a ticket he takes back and places on his dashboard. But people don't like having to walk a block away to pay and then walking a block back to the car, before they can step into the store or shop they came to patronize. Sewickley uses this system, with the downtown divided into zones. Customers there are complaining. So Council continues to explore what other towns are doing.

The final issue First Ward Councilman Danny LaRocco introduced was Divito Way, the alley running between Devonshire Road and Montour Street. Decades ago, a homeowner dug out the land below the alley to level his property so he could install an above ground swimming pool. Prior to that, the site was a vacant lot, with land extending out 12-15 feet from the alley before gradually sloping down to Devonshire Road.

Now that the land drops straight down from the alley, over time the alley pavement has begun to collapse, as can be seen in the photo at left. The usable surface of alley is a lot narrower than it used to be. It is now basically a one lane alley.

The current homeowner has asked the Borough to do something about this. Residents with garages further up the alley have also asked that repairs be made.

The first problem is the fence. As can be seen at left, the fence comes literally to the edge of the pavement. It would have to be removed before any work can be done. But it is privately owned and is on private property. The fence is also a hazard, as it prevents drivers from seeing around the bend to see what might be coming.

The second problem is that the only way to build up the underlying ground is to import fill and dump it on the homeowner's property, tamping it down before laying asphalt on top of it. The green bags in the photo are an attempt to fill in one of the larger holes.

The law establishes several feet on either side of a street or highway as public right of way, which can be used for a sidewalk, a shoulder, drainage, or, at the least, for routine maintenance. Based on that law, the previous homeowner should never have been given a permit to excavate the land that close to the alley, nor to build the fence that close to the alley. It was 40 years ago. The alley is in an out of the way place and very few people except local residents pay attention to it. The owner may never have applied for a permit but may have simply proceeded on his own.

Several Council members pointed out that Coraopolis must make main streets and roads a priority, and only after they are all in good condition, can crews turn their attention to side roads and alleys.

Kevin Edwards

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19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Council Swears In New, ReElected Members

In a specially scheduled Monday meeting, Coraopolis Borough Council swore in six members for the new term. They included newly elected and reelected members. District Magistrate Michelle Santicola, herelf newly elected, performed the swearing in ceremony. Those sworn in, seen in the photo at right, are (left to right) George Mihalyi, Chad Kraynyk, David Pendel, Robb Cardimen, Ed Pitassi and Lucinda Wade.

Because all previous positions had expired, Mayor Shawn Reed called the meeting to order and conducted the first several minutes. Once the new Board reelected Cardimen as President, Reed turned over the gavel to him. The Board also elected Pendel Vice President.

Council voted to continue contracts with Amato Start & Associates as Solicitors (Board Attorneys), Lennon Smith Souleret as Borough Engineers, Mark Turnley as Auditor; PNC Bank as Official Depositor, and the Beaver County Times as the official Newspaper Of Record. (By law a newspaper of record must be a daily print publication).

Council set a 2020 schedule of workshop meetings at 6:30 pm the first Wednesday of each month and regular meetings at 6:30 the second Wednesday of each month.

Council approved appointments to standing committees : the Water & Sewer Authority, Robb Cardimen; Civil Service Commission, Karl Groom; Zoning Board, Anthony Price and Don Haney; Sanitary Authority, Richard Deems; and Shade Tree Commission, Ken Maye.

Tom Toomey (photo, left) asked Council how these appointments were decided, since he knew of others who had submitted their names but were not chosen. "When was the list of applicants narrowed?" he asked.

Cardimen explained that a temporary committee had been set up to review the applicants and, based on experience and qualifications, they submitted their recommendations to the Council. Cardimen pointed out that as he presented the names to Council he asked if any Council member objected to any name or wished to add a name. No one did either. So Council proceeded to the vote of approval.

Council extended Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon's contract for two more years.

Police Chief Ron Denbow presented the monthly Police Report for December. It included 196 complaints, 181 criminal investigtions, 16 arrests, $500 in property recovered, 20 motor vehicle violations, and 12 alarms sounded. Parking meters for 2019 brought in $9628.

McCutcheon pointed out that reimbursements from Buckeye Pipeline and Columbia Gas for work done on Chestnut Street are due but not yet received, which will affect the financial report for January.

Council approved $192, 017 in invoices for January, and a December payroll of $140,591.56.

The Engineer's report included notice that a survey would be conducted on recently rebuilt Euclid Avenue, and that PennDot had notified Coraopolis that it would be repairing culverts on 4th Avenue.

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Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Neville Board Honors Local Volunteers

The Neville Township Board of Commissioners opened its December meeting Thursday night by honoring 2019's Outstanding Local Volunteers.

The Board presented plaques to Sue McCoy and Sandy Lang of Neville Green, an organization which works on various projects to beautify the Island and make it safer and more enjoyable. McCoy and Lang have contributed 25 years of service. That's Chairman Bill Leon in the photo at right presenting the statement by the Board and the plaque.

The Board also presented a plaque to the 22 members of the Swiftwater Rescue Team. They are trained and experienced in river rescue. The members reside in Forest Grove, Groveton, Neville and Coraopolis. They maintain boats and rescue equipment at Groveton and Neville. They are prepared for ice rescue, hazmat operations, rehab, rope rescue and other types of emergencies. They have both hard and inflatable boats which are either located on the river or can be quickly towed to a rescue site. Commissioner Gig Mundell testified to the effectiveness of the group by recalling how they rescued him two years ago in a boating accident. Mundell was the one (in the photo below in salmon shirt) presenting the plaque.

Township Engineer Ned Mitrovich announced that Watson Standard Company had installed its new state of the art backflow valve and the Fire Department plus a master plumber had tested and certified it. With that, Watson was allowed to hook back up to the Island's water system. A previous Watson backflow valve had malfunctioned in October, contaminating the water supply and forcing Neville to shut it down temporarily.

Mitrovich also informed the Board that Speedway Gas Station & Convenience Store had applied for permission to expand. Discussion ensued during which it was mentioned that many problems have occurred with Speedway, including truck parking and unreasonably large amounts of trash. It was suggested that the business may be exceeding the capacity of the small site. Until these issues are resolved, the Board voted to deny the application.

Mitrovich also presented the Board with a letter requesting a map of the Island's water system. He cautioned the Board that in the aftermath of 9/11 the federal government had warned local governments to carefully guard maps of their utilities to prevent them from falling into the hands of people who might plan criminal or terrorist activities. Township Solicitor Charles Means advised the Board to deny the request until they discussed the matter with the requesting agency and received a written guarantee that the map would be kept confidential and not passed on to anyone else. The Board voted to do so.

The Board approved the 2020 tax rate, noting that it remained the same.

Mitrovich announced that the Pavilion had been dismantled and the new Salt Storage Bin installed except for the roof, which was scheduled to be installed this week.

Neville Green, the Neville Fire Department and Neville Township will hold the Island's annual Christmas Celebration Saturday, December 14, from 6 pm - 8 pm. Trolley and Carriage Rides, Face Painting, a Photo Booth, Cookies and Santa Claus will be included.

New Board members will be sworn in early in January.

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701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Coraopolis Boro Council Wraps Up 2019

The final Coraopolis Borough Council meeting for 2019 was uneventful, as members tied up loose ends and looked ahead to 2020.

Mayor Shawn Reed, Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon and several Councilmen expressed their appreciation for the holiday decorations on Fifth Avenue and throughout the town. With the new streetlights, the towering Light Tree at the corner of 5th & Mill, and the individual store fronts, Cory has a very festive atmosphere.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported that in November the Coraopolis Police received 224 complaints, conducted 92 criminal investigations, made 10 arrests, recovered $500 worth of stolen property, attended to 13 accidents, wrote 17 citations and towed three vehicles.

The Borough Engineer reported that Euclid Avenue (connecting Vine Street with Moon above the Pumphouse) has been rebuilt and repaved, as seen in the photo below. Due to frequent and heavy rains, half of the street had begun sliding down the steep Pumphouse Hill so that the street was not usable by vehicles.

Danny LaRocco announced that Friday would be final day of leaf pickup, so any residents with remaining leaves should rake them out to the street.

Council President Robb Cardimen pointed out that traffic light upgrading continues. He also told residents that they could phone Waste Management ahead of time, then set TVs or other electronics out with their trash and WM will pick them up. Cardimen also said that in 2020 one of Council's goals would be to find ways to better communicate with residents.

Several audience members brought their concerns to the Council. Mike Harris wanted to know what could be done about businesses littering their sites like a junkyard, with old cars, spare parts, boxes, etc. Chief Denbow explained that the Police had written numerous tickets to the businesses mentioned. Cardimen added that laws protected businesses and limited actions.

Harris also wanted to know what could be done about businesses setting out trash Friday afternoon for Tuesday morning pickup, so it presented a very unsightly mess for people driving through town all weekend. Chief Denbow said that was a violation of the law saying trash could only be placed at the curb 24 hours in advance and Police would check the site this weekend.

Lucinda Wade asked about how a potential business could acquire one of the abandoned sites. Various Council members explained that the process of condemning a property, demolishing it, putting a lien on it, and trying to acquire it took about two years and could take longer because owners had certain rights. McCutcheon explained that even if it were put up for sale, first the unpaid back taxes would have to be paid.

Stacie Christie of the Coraopolis Historical Society spoke to the Council about several new initiatives the Society is pursuing, such as African American, Train Station, Ohio River and Frontier collections. They are continuing to research the history of important homes and businesses.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Neville Commissioners Review Water Crisis

The Neville Island Commissioners devoted almost their entire meeting Thursday night to reviewing the recent water crisis and answering questions from members of the audience.

Township Engineer Ned Mitrovich (below, speaking) did most of the talking. Several handouts, one 14 pages long, were also available for attendees to take home.

The crisis began on October 22 when a meter alerted the township that an industrial back flow valve at Watson Standard Company malfunctioned and allowed 2,000 gallons of contaminated liquid back into the island's water supply. 600 gallons of that 2,000 were a firefighting foam that contains toxic polyfluoroalkyls, usually called PFAs. PFAs cause liver dysfunction, disruption of the immune system, kidney failure and Cancer.

Officials immediately issued a Do Not Use warning and sent volunteers from Neville Island plus neighboring community Fire Departments and other groups door to door to inform every single resident of the situation. Off island caretakers were called about their parents or wards. TV news networks were called and posted bulletins. The line into Watson Standard company was disconnected.

Pallets of bottled water were brought in from Sams Club and distributed. Additional water was available at the Township Office for anyone wanting more.

Meanwhile, Neville immediately contacted the EPA, DEP and other agencies. At dawn the next morning, a crew of five had arrived from the DEP (Dept. of Environmental Protection). Special bottles were brought in and samples collected and sent to a lab in Lancaster. Under Emergency Protocol they were tested immediately.

"Their equipment can test for parts per trillion," Mitrovich explained. "The safe level is 70 parts per trillion and we tested at six parts per trillion." So the Do Not Use caution was reduced to Do Not Ingest. Showers, baths, etc., were OK.

Township Manager Jeanne Creese (photo, left) had a rough 24 hours. She stayed at her desk around the clock answering phone calls and emails even in the middle of the night.

Eventually as the level stayed at six part per trillion, the warning was lifted and residents were told the water was safe to drink. Again, volunteers went door to door.

Neville residents use 423,000 gallons of water per day. Twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring, they flush the lines with one million gallons. They did this, and presumably any remaining traces of the PFAs were washed out of the system.

But residents at the meeting still expressed concerns. The meter showed that there had been backflow of 2,000 gallons, but doesn't show exactly when it occurred. It might have occurred all at once, in which case the Township's swift action may have prevented any problems. But it could also have occurred over several days or weeks, in which case residents could have been ingesting the PFAs.

Before being hired as Neville Township Manager, Creese worked as a HAZMAT firefighter for 15 years. "We were covered in this stuff all the time," she explains "So even if someone did ingest a little bit of it, first, it would be diluted by all the water in the system, and second, that small amount would not likely cause any harm, as long as we make sure this doesn't happen again."

But that remains a worry. Backflow valves are inspected on a regular schedule. Watson Standard's had recently passed its inspection with no problems.

"Any piece of machinery can malfunction," Mitrovich told the audience. "You can have a brand new device malfunction on its first day. There's really no way to 100% guarantee this won't happen again to some other company. All we can do is keep inspecting aggressively and watch the meters every day. We test our water supply every single week."

It is possible the PFAs never reached the residential part of the island. Neville's water comes in at the eastern (upriver) end of the island, moves through the industrial section, then reaches the homes on the western end. Watson Standard is a complex of three buildings in the bend of Grand Avenue, almost two miles from the nearest homes (on First Avenue). The PFAs could have been diluted out of the system before they reached those homes. But it is not possible to determine that.

Backflow valves are not unusual. The human body contains several . If the one leading from your esophagus to your stomach wears out, you begin suffering from heartburn as stomach acid backs up into your throat. The heart contains them to keep blood from flowing back into the chambers. Most engines and large industrial equipment have them.

Watson Standard has been sent the bill for the six pallets of bottled water, the testing, and all the other expenses the crisis caused. But if penalties are to be imposed, they would come from the DEP.

Watson Standard is a long time island business which specializes in inks, coatings and adhesives. They do not make fire prevention substances. But their processes deal with highly flammable chemicals, so they have a sophisticated sprinkler system set up which douses any flames with foam to suffocate the fire. That foam is contained within the sprinkler system, which is hooked up to a water line coming in from the main water line. This is where the backflow occurred.

Watson Standard has a separate line coming in which provides water for sinks, toilets, drinking fountains, etc. That line was not involved and is still functioning. It is the sprinkler system line which has been cut off until further notice.

Neville isn't the only Pennsylvania community concerned with PFAs. The DEP is testing more than 300 water systems across the state for similar contamination. It has already found 25 systems contaminated. One major local site is the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, where such foams are used on runways to fight fires. They run off into local streams.

In other business, the Commissioners agreed to send the inspector out to recheck two residential properties which neighbors report are declining rapidly, with holes in the roof, animals moving in and out, and rainwater flowing freely with no gutters or drains.

The Island Holiday Celebration will be held Saturday, December 14 from 6-8 pm. Face painting, trolley and carriage rides, cookies, photos and visits with Santa will be available.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Council Approves Levee Grant Application

The November Coraopolis Borough Council meeting was relatively calm and uneventful, but a few significant items emerged.

Chief Ron Denbow delivered the monthly Police Report. 1547 calls were received, including 246 complaints. 114 criminal investigations were conducted, resulting in nine arrests and $100 of property recovered. The month saw 14 traffic accidents, 15 motor vehicle violations, three cars towed and 14 alarms sounded. Parking meter money collected brought the year's total to $8698.

The $157,000 grant has been received for the Ferree Street staircase reconstruction. Work will begin as soon as weather permits in the Spring.

Councilman Rudy Bolea pointed out that $800,000 in delinquent property taxes has been collected in the last three years. "It's cost us a few dollars to collect it," he admitted, "but the investment has certainly been worth it."

Councilman Robb Cardimen reminded everyone that in January there will be a combined Reorganizational Meeting and Business Meeting on Monday, January 6. This will replace the usual business meeting the second Wednesday of that month.

The Food Bank/Highmark Turkey Dinner Giveaway will be held Monday, November 25.

The Coraopolis United Methodist Church will again offer its Community Thanksgiving Dinner from noon til 4:00 pm.

Councilman Chris Jackson noted that the Coraopolis Blue Devil 13 year old football team reached the championship game before losing. The team won its division, then won its quarterfinal and semifinal games to reach the championship.

Council approved November invoices for $145,232.15 and October payroll for $118,964.13.

At this point in the meeting, Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon proposed that Council approve an application to the H20 Pennsylvania for a grant of $3,546,270. He explained that Coraopolis has a levee running along the riverfront from Thorn Street to Chestnut Street. It is part of a larger flood plain management plan. Coraopolis below the tracks was flooded 80 years ago. Water actually reached the business district. In response, pumps were installed and a levee created. But the word "levee" is misleading. In many river towns, the levee is actually a wall. In Coraopolis, it is a ridge of land. If you walk, drive or bike toward the river on any of the lower streets, you'll notice they begin to rise slightly as they approach the river. The peak of that rise is the "levee." H2O PA was established by the General Assembly in July 2008. The Act provides for single-year and multi-year grants for the construction or renovation of flood control projects (plus stormwater and other projects). For a long time, Cory's levee and pumps have provided adequate flood control protection. But in the 21st Century, once or twice a year, unusually heavy rainfalls have descended on the area and flood waters have risen higher than usual. Cory's levee has not yet been breached, and the pumps have not been needed. But both levee and pumps are now considered inadequate. The last FEMA inspection of the levee and the pumps was in 1978 and the report advised then that they needed updated.

McCutcheon's proposal would be to raise the levee by 18" and upgrade the pumps from manual to automatic, to be electronically turned on anytime water breached the levee.

The levee at its far eastern end would also protect the riverfront park and Ohio Valley Bike Trail under development.

In addition to protecting homeowners in the First and Second Avenue areas from flooding, it would have a second benefit. Due to recurring flood damage in many Allegheny County communities, insurance companies have revised their coverage. Homeowners in flood plains now pay significantly higher rates unless their communities have "adequate" levee and pump protections in place. Raising the levee 18" and upgrading the pumps would meet the "adequate" definition of insurance companies, thus lowering local homeowner insurance rates.

After questions and discussion Congress approved the grant application.

As a final note, Council reminded everyone that the VFW has begun mounting the banners as part of its Veteran Banner program. A banner costs $110. Servicemen or relatives must bring official discharge papers (prior to 1950) or a DD214 form (since 1950) to the Borough Building between 12:30 and 3:30 Thursday afternoons, or complete the transaction online at Troopbanners.com. Banners are now hanging along 4th and 5th Avenue. If needed, State Avenue may also be used.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Two Strong Candidates Vie For Magistrate
Western Hills residents are very fortunate and don't even realize it. In Max Feldman and Michele Santicola they have two outstanding candidates for District Magistrate. There are hundreds of communities across Pennsylvania and the nation who would give anything to have either of these candidates. Both are highly educated, experienced, skilled, long time residents, committed to their communities, and focused on using the Magistrate's position for the public good. Both of these candidates are people of good character. In the primaries, both candidates ran on both Democrat and Republican tickets, so this is the ultimate nonpartisan election. Yet Tuesday voters must choose between them. Last Spring, before the primaries, the Record ran in depth interviews with both candidates. Here, before the election, are followup interviews done just this week, side by side. We asked both candidates the same questions. We also talked to their supporters to find out why they preferred one or the other, what, in such a close election, caused them to favor their candidate over the other. Polls show the election as close, so every vote may count. The winner will become the District Judge and preside over court cases involving Neville Island, Crescent Township, Moon Township and Coraopolis.
Santicola Emphasizes Service Feldman Here To Stay

Michele Santicola has devoted considerable time and effort over several years to various community causes. She has worked in youth programs in Mooncrest, gone into the schools, and served on the Moon Township Board of Supervisors. Her work on behalf of children and lower income adults is why a large number of voters favor her in Tuesday's election.

Santicola has been spread pretty thin over the last year, running a campaign plus maintaining her law practice, making every meeting of the Moon Twp. Supervisors and continuing her work in the community. But she describes the campaign as a "wonderful learning experience," expanding her insight into what the voters want in a judge. "Regardless of income or education or job status, we are blessed with good people here, who all want to be treated fairly and listened to."

Her supporters point out that while both candidates are qualified, she is the only one who has served on both sides of the bench. She has worked as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor. She has sat as a judge, writing opinions. She has Grand Jury and Appeals Court experience. And recently she has that experience on the Board of Supervisors. "Now, hopefully, I can use all that experience to serve the people of this area," she says.

Max Feldman has been practicing law in the same 5th Avenue office for 27 years. And he figures on being in Coraopolis, either as District Judge or as an attorney, for the next 27. And that's why a large number of voters favor him in Tuesday's election.

The Coraopolis-Neville-Crescent-Moon judicial district has been without a judge of its own for two years. Every month, a different judge rotates in for that month's cases. The judges don't know the communities involved and do not hold night sessions or extra day sessions.

Feldman supporters worry that Michele Santicola will use the judgeship as a stepping stone to higher position and, once again, the district will be left with rotating out of district judges. They point to her winning a seat on the Moon Township Board of Supervisors, then immediately running for district judge. They point to her already investigating possible openings at the county level.

Feldman himself doesn't talk about these details. He's focused on a grass roots campaign, with lots of going house to house, knocking on doors, listening to voters, finding out what they worry about and what they want in a judge.

Since it would not directly involve her job as a Magistrate, Santicola has not been following the impeachment hearings in W#ashington too closely, but she does point out that "the Constitution provides safeguards to make sure such a process follows the law. If the House votes Yes, the matter would go on to the Senate for trial. Mitch McConnell would be required by law to bring the matter to a vote. But the President is also guaranteed the right to confront and cross examine his accusers. There are checks and balances built in."

Even though the Western Hills are a long way from the southern border, Santicola knows illegal immigrants have found their way here and will be showing up in her courtroom. "It is the job of the judge to make sure every single person is treated fairly. We have to balance the demands of the law on one hand and the needs of the individual on the other. We have to keep reminding ourselves that immigrants have come here because they want a better, safer life and think we are the best place in the world to find it. They are, for the most part, good people who want the same things everyone else wants. Imagine being in a foreign country where you don't know the laws and don't speak or read the language. Are you intentionally breaking a law or are you confused and don't understand the law? A judge has to be very careful in these cases. Yes, of course, local residenrs have to be protected and everyone has to obey the laws. But compassion is also essential."

The Opioid Crisis may be the biggest challenge the legsl system faces.

"I love this place," he says. "I love this whole area. We have good people here. The vast majority of them just want to be respected, to be listened to, and to be treated fairly. As a Magistrate, it will be my job to make sure all those things are done. "

Feldman sees the disparity in the area. "But these are all Americans, all important people. No matter how big or small their house or apartment is, they all deserve equal treatment and respect under the law. The Magistrate has to be visible, be out and about the town and the area, be available to everyone who wants to talk to him. He has to know the community, know all its various neighborhoods, from Mooncrest to Glenwillard to Charlton Heights to Front River Road. And it's not always big court decisions. It may be little things. Helping people vote by absentee ballot, helping people get the kind of help they need from some government agency. A Magistrate is more than a courtroom judge."

Feldman has been too busy knocking on doors and campaigning to watch TV and keep up with the impeachment effort in Washington, but he does think it's important to follow the Constitution. "No matter who you are, the Constitution guarantees you the right to know the charges, to confront and cross examine your accuser, and to have your hearing in public, out in the open, where everyone can see what's going on. We can't have Justice without Due Process. Whether you're a laborer or President, you have to have your basic rights."

"Not only can we deal with this, but we must,": she declares emphatically., "The picture most people have of this whole Opioid situation is wrong. People think opioid addicts are homeless drifters living under bridges. But that's not true. We know that most people get addicted when they suffer an injury, either from sports or a traffic accident or on the job. We know that doctors, dentists, trainers, schools and coaches are all too willing to hand out or prescribe powerful medicines. We just had a doctor here convicted of selling opioids to anyone who came by. We have to educate patients to be reluctant to accept these drugs in the first place and to use them carefully when they are needed. We also have to educate parents. They need to be watching very carefully what medicines their children are prescribed. We assume kids coming from upper class homes cannot possibly be using opioids. That's not true. They suffer injuries or have teeth treated just like anyone else. And once you start taking these drugs for pain, you get addicted quickly."

"Now, in a courtroom, you don't just have the people who are dealing or trafficking these opioids. You have all sorts of other crimes like theft and assault that derive from opioids. So the whole legal system is affected."

She pauses for emphasis. "We've got to focus on treatment, not punishment. And we can't wait and try to deal with this in the courtroom. It's too late. We have to address this problem at the front end. We have to go into the schools, and then find ways to educate the adult population. This is where a Magistrate can really use the powers of the office. We can bring together agencies and programs to focus on this. We have to make this a priority. If we could solve this problem, we would lift a huge weight off not only the court system but the whole community."

Feldman supporters point to his arriving in Coraopolis with nothing and building his law practice from scratch. He's doing fine now, but at one point he had to watch each dollar carefully. So they believe he can identify with members of the community that find themselves struggling pay check to pay check.

Asked about illegal immigrants, Feldman explained that "the law must apply equally. The Magistrate takes an oath to administer the law blindly, impartially, and that's what I will do. But that does not require me to abandon common sense and compassion. An illegal immigrant still has the right to be heard, to be treated with respect, within the boundaries of the law."

Feldman shakes his head when the subject of Opioids comes up. "A great percentage of crimes that come before the Judge are directly or indirectly a consequence of drug abuse, and those guilty of harming others can be held accountable plus connected to programs that can help them build a better future. . Yes, of course, we have dealers and traffickers and users. But also many thefts and assaults arise due to opioid use. And a teenager may come before the court on what may seem like an unrelated offense except his parents are opioid users so the kid is without supervision or adult guidance. So who's to blame, the kid or the parents? As a Judge, I would work closely with mental health and community service agencies. We must address this issue on all fronts, as a total community, without compromising public safety."

Feldman points to his 27 years of working long hours as proof he would be a hard working Judge. "I'm used to working evenings and weekends. The idea of night court so people don't have to take days off their job is not a problem to me, although I can see challenges when agencies or law enforcement personnel are not available after hours. We have to make the court accessible. I will do whatever is needed to serve the community."

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Cornell Plans Spanish Class Trip To Costa Rica

Teacher Sarah Sleasman didn't expect to be doing this for another year or two, but it looks like she's heading for the Central American nation of Costa Rica.

"I really thought it would take several years to build a group of students to make such a trip," she admits to the reporters questioning her. "But this is an exceptional group, and they came to me. They said if I wait for a few years, they'll all be graduated. They wanted to go now."

The students actually did the planning, and found ACIS, a company specializing in school trips to foreign countries. ACIS plans trips to Spain, Portugal, Mexico and other countries. Their tours are designed for high school groups and offer various options.

"Taking a group to Spain or Portugal would be nice, but a Costa Rica trip will be shorter, less complicated and less expensive. Plus going to Spain or Portugal is more of an urban trip --- ACIS spends most of its time in cities --- while Costa Rica is more of a rural trip."

Costa Rica is a large stretch of tropical rainforest fronting on the Pacific Ocean on the western side and Caribbean Sea on the east. It has 14 volcanoes, highest of any Latino country. One Costa Rican island, Cocos, lies 80 miles offshore in the Pacific.

The Costa Rican rainforest is one of the world's most protective biozones. Over 25% of the nation is protected. The nation has the world's largest species diversity and has aggressive laws and patrols to make sure no one bothers any of the plants or animals. They include four species of monkeys. four species of sea turtles, 2000 species of plants and 840 species of birds.

Although the country does have a thriving agriculture --- coffee, banana, rice and pineapple plantations dominate--- ecotourism has risen in the last two decades so it is now the nation's leading source of income.

As far as Sleasman is concerned, the primary reason for going is that for a week her students will be immersed in the language. But the seven day itinerary has other activities.

They'll visit two national parks in the rainforest, a coffee plantation and a volcano. They'll spend one full day at a school, one day at the beach, and one day in community service.

The cost per student is $3000 and fundraising will begin immediately. Sleasman envisions a coffee sale, food nights and dance show concessions, among other projects. She hopes some members of the community will step forward with donations.

"It's too late to apply for grants," she explained. "I thought I would do that when I was planning to go in two years. But the grant cycle is about 18 months, so when the kids came to me, it was already too late to apply for anything."

Since they'll have less than 16 students, ACIS will place Cornell in with another one or two schools to create a big enough group. If, the next time, Cornell could sign up 16 students, ACIS would custom design a tour just for them.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Harriet Tubman Film Opens At Tull Theater

The long awaited film Harriet opens Friday, November 1 at Sewickey's Tull Theater. It is an overdue biography of Harriet Tubman, who was one of America's greatest heroes but one students don't study much in history classes and most adults know very little about.

Tubman was born a slave on a Maryland plantation. A former owner had actually freed her in his will, but her present owner has concealed those papers. Tubman, however, refused to remain a slave. She escaped and survived a harrowing 100 mile journey north, much of it through woods. She was pursued by men on horseback and with dogs, and at one point was trapped on a bridge. She escaped by diving into the river and was carried several miles downstream, where she finally made it to shore. Eventually, she crossed the state line into Pennsylvania and freedom. There, she discovered a community of free Blacks and was hired as a maid. But her story was only beginning. She planned to return home to bring her family to freedom. To do that, she needed to learn to use a gun, and became an incredible marksman (which we know is historically true).

In all, Harriet Tubman made 13 trips deep into Maryland, bringing 70 slaves to freedom. She was one of the key figures in the Underground Railroad, the system of trails and hideaways that allowed slaves to sneak north to the free states. She recruited men to help John Brown stage his attack on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Once the Civil War broke out, because of her knowledge of the terrain and her marksmanship, she was recruited into the Union Army. She served as a scout and spy, and, between battles, as a cook and nurse. She was placed in charge of a regiment and assigned to lead the raid on Combahee Ferry, South Carolina. Tubman thus became the first woman, and the first Black, to lead a military unit. Under her command, the regiment freed an astonishing 750 slaves. A novel, The Tubman Command, by Elizabeth Cobbs, recounts the details. Today, the area is a national historic site with a monument to Tubman.

After the Civil War, Tubman retired to property she bought in New York. With the issue of slavery resolved, she became an early leader in the Women's Suffrage effort.

Today, her home and several other sites she lived or visited are historical sites.

The famous bridge where she was trapped and dove into the river is a popular Maryland historical site.

But history textbooks are only now beginning to focus on her, and even now, they only mention her activities in the Underground Railroad, ignoring her military career and her later work in women's suffrage.

Amazingly, this is the first film ever made about her.

Cynthia Erivo plays Tubman. It is a great performance. Erivo is about the same height as Tubman was, and her facial features and body build closely resemble what we know of Tubman from photographs. This is likely an Oscar winning performance by Erivo.

As for historical accuracy, fact checkers have not been able to find any errors.

The grandson leading the pursuing group may be embellished somewhat. We don't know that much about him, so the film fills in the gaps. But we do know he aggressively pursuued any escaping slaves and sold even very young slaves at market, so the film's portrayal is not unreasonable.

Photography in the film is outstanding, as as the acting by all the major cast members.

We have letters, diaries and newspaper clippings that all prove Tubman's intelligence and courage. Her only flaw was that she taught herself to read and write and all her life retained a few eccentricities, like writing and saying "nebber" for "never" and "them-uns" for "them" or "those."

The movie is inspiring a nationwide revival of interest in Tubman. The Tull Theater is hosting a weekend seminar of lectures and exhibits about local Tubman and Underground Railroad connections.

During the entire run of Harriet there will be photos and posters of safe houses in the Western Pennsylvania area on display.

After the noon Friday showing, Mike Spratt will speak to the audience about safe houses in this area. Books on Tubman and the Underground Railroad will also be available.

Saturday at 7 pm. the documentary film We Are Free Because Of Harriet Tubman will be shown. The film was shot on the exact locations where Tubman's adventures occurred.

Sunday, at noon, Dr. Thomas Mainwaring of Washington & Jefferson College and author of the book Abandoned Tracks, about the former safe houses still standing in Western Pennsylvania, will lecture and answer questions.

The film Harriet will be shown three times a day every day for a week from November 1 through November 7.

The Tull Theater is located one block from the main street in Sewickley. Parking is behind the theater.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Coraopolis Postpones Trick Or Treating 'Til Saturday

Coraopolis has moved Trick or Treating to Saturday, November 2 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm because of severe weather predicted on Thursday, October 31.

Mayor Shawn Reed and Borough Council President Robb Cardimen made the decision Tuesday.

All safety precautions and rules for the event will still apply, and Borough police and firemen will be stationed at key sites to control traffic and ensure safety.

 

 

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Cornell Board Discusses Dugouts, Trip, Tax Loss

At a busy October meeting, the Cornell School Board worked through a long list of items involving student extracurricular activities and staff issues.

The meeting began with a presentation by Cornell High School junior Cody Maxwell and his grandfather. Each Cornell senior is required to complete a major community service project. Maxwell volunteered to undertake a two year project instead. Maxwell is a baseball player, and reminded the Board that Cornell's baseball field lacks many amenities rival schools have. One of these is dugouts. Cornell is the only school in the conference, indeed the only school on its schedule, without dugouts. Maxwell presented a plan to build those dugouts.

He handed out illustrations, shown at right, showing the dimensions and what the dugouts would look like. He proposed building one dugout this year and the other his senior year. The dugouts will have shingle rooves and stone floors and would cost about $1000 each. Maxwell indicated that, working evenings and weekends, he could build a dugout in about three months.

Maxwell's grandfather (in photo, at left), who has 37 years in construction, assured the Board he would supervise the work each day and make sure it met all safety and state and local code requirements.

The Maxwells would undertake fundraising and attempt to persuade local merchants to donate or discount building supplies. They will set up a bank account which the school can audit monthly, obtain a tax exempt number, and meet insurance requirements.

The Board was generally supportive but discussed possible issues. One is the extreme tightness of the baseball field layout. Cornell's baseball field barely fits into a level space along Maple Street. Slopes go up on three sides and down on a fourth side. Dugouts will have to be dug into these slopes.

The second issue is the field's drainage problems. Cornell's baseball, softball and football fields all sit on narrow ledges of level land with steep hills going up on both sides. After any rain, water floods the fields, often making it impossible to practice or play and taking days to drain. This is why Cornell's football field is nicknamed "The Swamp."

To help alleviate this problem, the baseball field was excavated and French Drains were built to carry off as much water as possible and hasten the drying out process. The major focus was on the margins of the infield, where the water flows rapidly down the slopes and onto and under the playing surface. But this is where the dugouts will be built. So an extra effort will need to be made to avoid disturbing the French Drains.

The Board approved the project and asked that they be kept informed about progress.

Immediately, members of the community began stepping forward. Tiffany Battaglini Leitner, of Battaglini Insurance Agency, at 1108 5th Avenue in Coraopolis, volunteered to spearhead the fundraising. Her phone number is (412) 999-6895. Ed Arnold promises to help with excavating the dugout foundations. Anyone else willing to donate materials or join the work crew should contact Ms. Battaglini Leitner.

In other business, the Board approved the hiring of Marissa McGowan as a long term special education teacher. Ms. McGowan is a local resident who has been teaching at Montour Propel School in Robinson Township.

The Board tentatively approved a Spanish Class trip to Costa Rica. The teacher, Sarah Sleasman, has set a November 1 deadline for students to sign up and pay a deposit. She needs at least six students to guarantee the trip. If that many sign up by the deadline, fundraising will begin to raise the necessary costs, which will be $3000 per student all inclusive. The trip would be through ACIS, which specializes in high school trips to foreign countries. The trip would last nine days. One day would be for the flight down and one for the flight back, leaving seven days in Costa Rica. During that time, the students would spend one day each at a volcano, two national parks, a coffee farm, a beach, and a school. They would also spend one day planting trees as part of a community service project. The primary purpose of the trip would be to totally immerse the students in the Spanish language for a week. These are advanced Spanish students who need that experience after practicing Spanish in class for two years. Sleasman explained that her preference would have been to plan the trip rwo years in advance, which would have given her time to apply for grants. But this highly motivated group of students came to her and requested the trip,

The Board also approved the workshop costs for Athletic Trainer James Peters (in photo at left administering to an injured football player) to attend the annual trainers' workshop, this year to be held in Connecticut. Peters is a long time Cornell trainer. He played football at Western Beaver High School and Waynesburg University, works with all Cornell sports teams, and is on the sidelines at all games. Sometimes he attends two games in one day, one right after school and the other at night. He also attends practices. Athletic trainers are required to attend the annual workshops to continually upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Superintendant Aaron Thomas reviewed with the Board revised state requirements about new school board member training, compulsory school attendance, health exams and guidelines on releasing student health information to social workers, a new required workshop on how trauma affects student brains, training of school security officers, safety requirements for science labs, workshops and playgrounds, and new food service regulations.

Thomas reviewed with the Board the progress of the Cornell Robotics Team, partially pictured at right. The team has already completed three tournaments and has three coming up. A tournament robotics team has nine members. Cornell's roster this year includes Nick Spirnock, Nick Bennett, Shayley Barrett, Brooke Bennett, Julia Joranger, Julie Merryman, Josiah Frantti, Clara Joranger and Eliza Wingo. Cornell's team is coached by Cristy Meinert. (See separate article on the Record's Features page.)

The final item on the agenda was a notice that a major property within the school district has had its assessed valuation drastically reduced, which will not only take a big chunk out of future school district budgets, but require the school to actually refund money already collected for 2019.

That would be the Fairfield Inn property on Neville Island. Previously assessed at $6.4 million, the property has been reduced to $4.370 million by the Allegheny County Assessor's Office. That is more than $2 million cut. The reason was that Fairfield Inn claimed its income was down. The Board members had several questions about this. Several wanted to know when the income a property generated affected its assessed valuation. No previous case could be found where because a business experienced less income its property taxes were reduced. But Board attorneys advised against an appeal, which would cost money and probably be denied.

Robin Gilligan

Custom Home Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Remodeller

Neville Approves Salt Shed Contracts

Neville Island Commissiones and Island Manager Jeanne Creese must feel like they're trapped in a remake of the movie Groundhog Day, in which the same events keep recurring over and over. This version can be titled Salt Days. Every month, the Commissioners come to a meeting and discuss Salt.

For half a century the Island took Salt for granted. Every Fall they purchased a season's supply, and then used it up slowly during the Winter months as ice and snow covered streets and roads. Then PennDot informed the Island that it wanted the acre of land the Salt was stored on. So a new site had to be located, and a new facility built. Thus ensued nine months of discussions, seeking a new site, and planning.

New stormwater runoff laws controlled where the salt could be stored and what kind of facility had to be built. Now, at their September caucus meeting, the Commissioners finally approved contracts for the building. It will be located at the northeast corner of Neville Park where the public pavilion has stood for the last several decades.

Engineer Ned Mitrovich (photo, right) presentd the three finalist bids in each category and the Commissioners approved the winner.

Stefanik Contracting was awarded the $86, 890.00 bid to prepare the site, which will include removal of the existing public pavilion. Coverall Buildings was awarded the $26,982.70 bid to build the galvanized steel canopy, since Salt can no longer sit exposed to the element. Keystone Concrete Products was awarded the $35,802 contract to erect the walls. They'll be precast, brought in by truck and set in place.

The new salt storage facility should be ready for use by January 1, 2020. PennDot has agreed to help in the transitiion. It will include Neville's salt with its own collection, measuring how much the island had. Then, if ice and snow in December require salt, PennDot will supply the island from its own stores. Neville will order salt for delivery January 2.

Creese informed Council that the cost would use up the remainder of 2019 road and street repair money. But the year is nearly over and no new projects are planned.

One Commissioner observed that PennDot salt was terrible, that Neville was giving up really good salt in exchange for vastly inferior salt later on. But no one could see any alternative.

To the pleasure of everyone the Upper Neville Island Bridge, officially called the Fleming Park Bridge, reopened the last week of August. This means traffic will no longer be detoured around through Coraopolis, Robinson, Kennedy and Stowe Townships.

The final problem the Commissioners discussed was the unkempt lawn issue. Several Commissioners noted that citizen complaints about local lawns not being mowed or maintained are growing louder, more wide spread and angrier. Some cases involve deceased residents and some elderly or disabled residents. But some involve young, healthy people who just don't care. Creese explained that all the Island can do is file a citation and refer the case to the County Magistrate. if the Magistrate grants a 30 day extension, and then next month extends it again, there is nothing the Island can do.

Council discussed the advisability of going in, mowing the lawns and cleaning up any debris, and billing the owner by a lien on the property. At the time the owner tried to sell, he would owe the bill before the sale could occur.

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Council Ponders Two Software Programs

Coraopolis Borough Council spent most of its September work session pondering two new sofrware programs. But it opened and closed with other details.

First District Council Woman Melissa Walsh has resigned, citing personal reasons. She had only served part of one term, having won her seat for the first time in the most recent election. Council called for nominations. Only one name was submitted, that of former Councilman Ed Pitassi, who also serves as Chairman of the Shade Tree Commission. He was approved by unanimous vote, sworn in by Mayor Shawn Reed, and seated for the meeting. Ironically, Pitassi had already been a long time Councilman but lost his seat to Walsh.

Council also discussed the old Van Balen Laundry property on 5th Avenue. The laundry has long been closed, and the building is in serious decline to the point where it presents a danger. The owner lives in Moon Township. Council has a CDBG grant to demolish the building, and place the land up for sale so it can be developed. Council has filed an appeal with Allegheny County for permission to proceed with the demolition. A court decision is expected by the October Council meeting.

Council also approvd roadwork for the rest of 2019. Pennsylvania Avenue, First Avenue and barious other streets should be completed by December 31. Kendall Street will be completed in 2020. The total cost is $600,000 but the Borough's share is only $370,000, since Buckeye Pipeline and Columbia Gas are paying parts of it. Meetings are scheduled with Columbia Gas, Buckeye Pipeline and the Coraopolis Water & Sewer Authority to coordinate efforts, since their lines run under the streets.

Council approved Erin Doyle as a part time Police Dispatcher.

Council then heard a presentation by Elliott O'Ryan from Braddock (photo, left) on the "Meter Reader" cell phone app Council is considering.

The app would eventually replace parking meters in downtown Coraopolis. Cory currently has 322 parking spots, all controlled by "steelhead" parking meters.

Meter Feeder currently operates in 25 Allegheny County towns plus certain areas of Pittsburgh. Its client communities include Sewickley, Etna, Dormont, Brentwood and McKeesport. It also serves Erie and Greensburg. When installed, it does not immediately allow for the removal of meters, because not everyone has a cell phone and even for those who do, it takes time to teach everyone how to download and use the app.

The Meter Feeder program would allow a user to pull into any parking space, register under their license plate, and pay online by credit card. A police officer checking parking would then check the license plate of a parked vehicle and see that it had paid.

But that is only a basic function. The program offers a long list of added options. For instance, a driver could program his app so when he pulled into a parking space, it would begin paying and when he pulled out it woild stop paying, so the driver would pay exactly what time he used and no more.

If a user paid for a specific time, the app would beep when only five minutes remained.

Council members worried about people pulling in, paying for eight hours, then riding the bus into Pittsburgh. If enough people did this, it would totally tie up parking in downtown Coraopolis so no one could visit the businesses. But O'Ryan explained that the app could prevent this by setting a varying rate. Parking could be, say, $1.00 an hour for the first two hours, then skyrocket to $10 an hour for the rest of the day. No one would pay $60 a day to park to ride the bus into Pittsburgh.

Coraopolis would pay $2000 PLUS 4.9% of all parking fees every year, plus a one time $1200 for each police officer app, which allows the officers to cross reference data, see parking histories, etc. Only two officers would need those apps.

Council members worried about Cory's elderly population, many of whom do not own smart phones. O'Ryan suggested those people could pay at the stores they were visiting.

Council President Robb Cardiman emphasized that the ultimate goal was to get rid of the parking meters in Coraopolis, so "we look like a 21st century town, not one stuck in the 1950s."

If Council set a parking rate of $1.00 an hour, five cents of that would go to Meter Feeder. The actual setting of the rate would require calculations, further discussions, and an official Council vote at some future meeting. It would become an ordinance.

Meter Feeder would post signs throughout the downtown instructing everyone how to download and use the app. The company could offer Cory a six month trial period.

Council agreed to discuss this issue further, but expressed defnite interest.

Then Council heard a TRAISR presentation on a software package that would allow Coraopolis to precisely track its utilities. The TRAISR uses satellite, google and other Geographic Information Services to provide Coraopolis with a live, constantly updating map of every parcel of land within the borough (see photo, right).

The major emphasis would be on the water and sewage pipes. Photos by a company that photographs the insides of lines would be immediately uploaded (see photo, left) so eventually McCutcheon, any member of Council, anyone at the Coraopolis Water & Sewer Authority, or even a property owner, could see any problems needing attention. But those would be future options. At the beginning, only a few people, presumably within the Water & Sewer Authority, would be using the software. The software does have other abilities. The Borough could add street lights, street signs, pavement, traffic lights, sidewalks, trees, or other infrastructure items to its database. The software accesses satellite images, google streetview videos and other information sources. Cory would not be the first community to purchase the TRAISR system but using it would put the Borough on the cutting edge of 21st Century infrastructure management. TRAISR stands for Tracking Real Time Assets & Infrastructure Systems Reporting. The company is headquartered in Philadelphia. The software would require an initial investment but would save thousands of dollars yearly by allowing preventive maintenance rather than costly after the fact repairs.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation continues to work on Montour Street. This week, a crew of three trucks and six men were busy applying lines and signs to the street. The crew in the photo at right was applying a large arrow indicatung a sharp turn, and a large SLOW sign, both above and below the turn at the Montour - Grace Street intersection. The new lines and signs are not paint. They're plastic. The hot plastic melts onto the pavement and is supposed to last longer than paint.

The final item on the Council agenda was the new megatruck Waste Management Corporation has introduced to Coraopolis trash pickup. The $600,000 truck is the largest garbage truck ever built. But it is causing problems in Cory. The 60,000 pound weight is offset by its natural gas fuel, which weighs far less than gasoline or diesel. But its height and width make it difficult to squeeze down some of Cory's narrow streets, where people park on both sides of the streets and utility lines and tree branches cause problems overhead. Council agreed to look into the issue further and discuss it with Waste Management.

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Council Frustrated With Street Repairs

Coraopolis Borough Council expressed its frustration with several road repair projects at its July meeting. First, however, Council had the difficult task of denying a tax exemption for the Coraopolis Railroad Station Project on Mill Street.

Vince Cuteri (photo, left), representing the Coraopolis Community Development Association, requested the exemption from the $2004 back taxes the group owes on the station property. The station is currently tax exempt because the CCDA is a nonprofit. It has been tax exempt since 2017. Taxes were paid on it until 2011 under previous ownership. But for the years 2011-2017, no one had ever filed for a tax exemption. $7800 in school property taxes are also owed. Cuteri explained that Cornell School District has agreed not to object to granting the tax exemption. He pointed out that the station is a historic property and its restoration a benefit to the community. He also reminded Council that every dollar the CCDA has to pay in taxes is that much less it has to pay for the restoration. He explained that the CCDA is filing a petition with Allegheny County requesting the exemption from County taxes and would like Council to "not object" to the petition.

Lengthy discussion ensued. Various Council members made it clear they favored the restoration project. However, Council Attorney Richard Start reminded Council that in recent years Cory has collected $600,000 in delinquent taxes, which has helped the Borough in street repairs and other priorities. The success of the delinquent tax collection program has been that no exceptions have ever been granted. "It must by its nature be a completely inflexible process," Start insisted. "If you make one exception --- no matter how noble, no matter how justified --- at your next meeting you will have a line out the door of everyone else wanting an exception." He recited cases of people who had to borrow money, had to mortgage their homes, had to give up going on vacation or buying a new car, to pay those back taxes. Some of those residents are elderly living on a fixed income. People's homes, some of which have been in their families for a century, are critical. A historic restoration is a wonderful project but it is a luxury.

Reluctantly, Council voted against the request.

Which brought Council to its unhappiness with several street projects. It was especially unhappy because these were supposed to already be taken care of. First was the Chestnut Street hole dug by Buckeye Pipeline for the opening of the diesel fuel / gasoline pipe running under town. That pipe had developed leaks and the company had to find them and repair them. They dug one hole on the Robert Morris property on Neville Island and one hole in Chestnut Street in Coraopolis (photo, right), plus sending a diving team down from a barge in the middle of rhe river to expose the pipe under mud deposits. The leak was eventually found under Neville Island and repaired. However, in digging the hole in Chestnut Street the workers disturbed various Coraopolis utility lines also running beneath the pavement (visible in the photo). The Borough was now insisting these be repaired before the hole is closed, and had held several meetings with Buckeye officials about that issue. While Buckeye had agreed to resolve the problem, the hole remained and Chestnut Street was still blocked. The top of the Buckeye pipe is just visible in the photo. It's the brand new green pipe which has just been installed to replace the 45 year old original pipeline section.

Council is also not satisfied with work done on streets which contractors claim is complete but Council says does not meet its requirements.

Which brought Council to Penn Dot and its recent Montour Street work. Penn Dot did do an acceptable job of backfilling and repairing Montour Street along the cliff section. But it was the rest of Montour Street that was unacceptable. Penn Dot used an inexpensive technique called "Oil & Chip." It spread a layer of oil on the road all the way out to the Hassam Road intersection in Moon Township. Next it laid down two inches of gravel. Then it came along with a roller and pressed the gravel tightly. This was followed by a truck (photo, left) which smoothed the gravel further with a brush, visible in the photo, then applied a sealer coat, the spray mechanism visible just ahead of the rear wheels. Finally, a paint truck came along and reapplied the yellow lines. Small rubber reflectors (photo, bottom left) were embedded in the pavement, which gleam at night in vehicle headlights to indicate the sides of the street.

None of this made Council very happy.

The "Oil & Chip" treatment is notoriously short lived, especially given the heavy rains and then ice and snow Montour Street is subject to, not to mention the heavy bus and truck traffic. The pavement shows cracks everywhere and needs a stripping down to base and a total new roadbed.

The yellow lines in several places weaved back and forth as if the driver had not been paying attention.

But the final straw came at the Grace Street Bend seen in the photo at right. This is perhaps the worst traffic hazard in town. That white house in the distance has been run into numerous times, which is why there is now that row of posts along the sidewalk. Vehicles come down the hill much too fast and cannot make the bend. Rain, ice and snow make it much worse. Previously, Penn Dot officials had spent a day observing the bend and agreed it was a hazard. They applied a special high traction pavement to allow tires to grip much better. This greatly reduced the number of accidents. Now, the new Oil & Chip surface has covered up the high traction pavement, replacing it with gravel.

Chairman Robb Cardimen suggested Council needed to ask Penn Dot to send someone out to join Council members on an inspection tour of Montour Street and Route 51, which Penn Dot also repaired, and which has already begun to crack again.

In other business, David Pendel proposed using $300,000 from the Reserve Fund to reduce the principle on the Borough Building bond to cut the yearly interest payments. He said doing this would increase Cory's chance of moving from an A to a AA Standard & Poore rating. Mayor Shawn Reed announced that in August Council would honor the Coraopolis Bike Shop for 50 years of outstanding service to the community. Borough Manager Roy McCutcheon reported that the Hollow Oak Land Trust Trail System looping from Cornell School down to McCabes Hollow and back up was progressing nicely. Council had invested $5000 in this project. He also announced that a film company would be shooting a film on Mill Street on July 23 from 8 a.m. til 9 p.m. Council created a Property Maintenance Appeals Board and named Michael Engle, Diallo Bryant and Dallas Stewart to serve on it. It approved the closing of Chestnut Street July 14-21 for the annual St. Joseph Festival and closing of Alder Alley (off School Street) for Mt. Olive Baptist Church Vacation Bible School July 9-11. It approved the Mt. Olive Church's use of Shelley Jones Memorial Park for Church In The Park August 11 9 am - 5 pm., but the church would need to obtain an official permit so police, the fire department and maintenance personnel knew what was happening. Council approved Ordinance 1809, which establishes rules and regulations for peddling goods, services or merchandise within the Borough. Residents may display "No Soliciting" stickers on their doors, which prohibit anyone from bothering them.

Commissioners OK Carmody Boxing Request

The Neville Township Board of Commissioners at their July meeting approved a request from Carmody's Restaurant to close First Avenue from 3 pm til dark on August 17th to hold a boxing match. Admission will be $20 but ringside seating will be $40. Proceeds will go to the Warriors Fund for wounded veterans. First Avenue is seen in the photo at right. The dark gray building at right is the new expansion of Carmody's Restaurant. The actual boxing ring will be set up in the parking lot barely visible beyond the trees to the left. First Avenue will become a sort of pedestrian mall, with concession stands, etc. Carmody's will hire two policemen to provide security. The alley behind Carmody's will remain open.

Township Engineer Ned Mitrovich explained to the Commissioners that several leaks have been found in the Neville Road pipeline but the line is scheduled for replacement anyway. The pipelines have all been removed from the old Shenango property, which is now owned by Ashland and Calgon. Columbia Gas has committed to bring its property into line with state and county requirements.

The Fleming Park Bridge (photo below, taken from the Stowe Township side) continues to meet requirements. Another inspection is scheduled. Current unofficial estimates are that the bridge might be completed by mid September. Rain and storms continue to hamper work.

Rain has also hampered Neville Township ground crews. Commissioner Rick Rutter pointed out that Neville has three extra workers for Summer and is trying to get as much work done as possible. The photo below left shows a work crew planting a triangle along Grand Avenue.

The official police report from Ohio Township Chief Hanny shows 17 alarms and 91 traffic citations. Ohio township has upgraded three part time officers to full time.

Audience members expressed dissatisfaction with potholes in the alley off Second Street, saying that they were putting rocks in the holes to save their vehicles from serious damage while they waited for Township work. Council explained it only had $100,000 to spend, had to prioritize their projects, and that streets took precedence over alleys.

Residents also alerted Council to a collapsing storm sewer on 3rd Street near the old school. An orange cone has been set there, but the problem is getting worse.

Audience members questioned Council about why their monthly water bills show high levels of Nitrates but there were no farms or industries on the island. Mitrovich explained that Neville's water is processed at West Point and piped over onto the island. He said tests have shown there are no leaks in the water lines. Therefore, the Nitrates have to have entered the water supply back at the West View water purification plant. Mitrovich went on to point out that the levels were still within official state and county limits so were not cause for alarm. The allowable percentage of Nitrate is 2.0, and Neville's is 1.87.

Mitrovich also explained that the state has recently mandated an increase in Chlorine, so much that now some people smell Chlorine in their drinking water. But the Chlorine is there to kill microorganisms.

In a conversation after the meeting was officially adjourned, Chairman Bill Leon and Solicitor Charles Means acknowledged that Emsworth residents had filed a complaint against the recycler Metalico. On the former Neville Metals property, Metalico collects, shreds and reprocesses scrap metal. It is two miles from the residential neighborhood on Neville Island but directly across from Emsworth homes built on the river. Residents have photos and video of the noise and loud explosions at Metalico, which apparently come from cars being crushed with gasoline still in their tanks, and scrap metal being loaded onto barges. Much of this occurs at night, waking Emsworth residents and keeping them awake. Smoke and foul odors also drift across the river. The County Health Department has received 55 complaints and has fined Metalico in the past. But Leon and Means explained that this was a matter that could only be dealt with at the County and State level. That part of the island is defined as "industrial." Metalico has the permits to do what they're doiung, and some of those permits were grandfathered from former owners of the property. Courts have ruled that living near an industry, railroad or airport inherently involves noise. It was an issue beyond the ability of Neville Township to pursue.

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Electrical Fire Evacuates 4th Avenue Gym

An electrical fire forced the evacuation of The Greatest Hit Boxing Fitness Gym at 943 4th Avenue at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening.

The Coraopolis, Neville Island and Robinson Township Fire Departments responded. 4th Avenue traffic was detoured around the site by policemen. Since the fire was in the basement, firemen donned masks, oxygen tanks and specialized gear, opened the metal sidewalk trap doors, and descended the stairs (see photo below left). Duquesne Light was contacted to have the power turned off.

The fire was first detected as gym owner Deane Watson was conducting a women's fitness class, which began at 6 pm. Smoke began pouring out of the vents. Watson led the students outside and called the Fire Department. He and his students then carried exercise equipment out to the sidewalk (see photo, below right).

"They'll have to conduct an investigation to determine the exact cause," he explained to repoeters. "Then the landlord will have to make the necessary repairs. We'll be out of business for at least a week. Hopefully, it won't be much more than that."

By 7:10 firemen began packing up their equipment.

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Ethanol Disables Local Mowers and Tillers

Kuhlman's and other Coraopolis area lawnmower and small engine appliance service centers are being swamped with equipment which starts, stalls and won't restart.

The problem is Ethanol. Over the Winter, government requirements moved the percentage of Ethanol in gasoline from 10% up to 15%.

Small one cylinder engines are not equipped to deal with that percentage of Ethanol. The corn based extract separates out from the gasoline and turns into a jelly. It clogs carbuerators so fuel cannot pass through.

Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, the same alcohol used in alcoholic beverages. Ethanol is produced by fermenting the sugar in corn (or some other sucrose heavy plant), then distilling the mash to extract the liquid snd leave the solids behind. But the Ethanol molecule is hygroscopic, which means it bonds eagerly with water. Left alone, like you might do with a can of gasoline, the Ethanol will draw water out of the humid air and use it to dilute down the gasoline content.

The photo below shows a typical small engine carbuerator after jelled Ethanol has deposited on the surfaces.

When you bring a mower, tiller, or other small appliance in to a dealer, he has to first remove the carbuerator. Then he has to separate the various parts of the carbuerator and clean them. There are also pipe and hoses to clean.

The only long term solution is to stop using straight E15 fuel. Either find a place selling E10 Ethanol. Or buy a can of additive and mix it with the usual gasoline coming from the nearest gas station.

If you own a two cylinder mower, hedge trimmer, etc., just buy a regular can of two cylinder oil, which has the additive already mixed in.Then you mix the oil with the gasoline.

Local servicemen also highly recommend you begin buying higher octane gas at the gas station. "Regular" gasoline has the highest amount of Ethanol.

Ironically, if you have a much older mower, tiller, etc., you may avoid the problem. Those older devices had much larger carbuerators and other elements and will not be clogged as easily.

Car Struck By Train In Coraopolis

An elderly man in a late model Nissan was struck by a CSX freight train just after noon Friday and pushed a block and a half until coming to rest behind the Cash Market.

The driver was extracted from the vehicle by emergency workers and transported by ambulance to Presbyterian Hospital. He was alive and conscious and apparently suffered no life threatening injuries, although his left shoulder appeared injured and he showed numerous bruises.

As can be seen in the photo below, all the airbags inflated and apparently protected the driver from more serious injuries. He apparently did have his seat belt on.

What prevented this from being much more serious was that the train had already slowed to a crawl. Railroad tracks are divided into blocks, with signals entering each one. If a train is already on the track in the next block, a red light will flash on a signal to the right of the tracks.

An engineer will see that signal and stop. But this was a very long CSX train, with four engines and close to 200 cars. It would take a long time to stop. So the engineer, suspecting there was a train in the Aliquippa Block, had begun slowing well before the signal so he would be able to stop if needed.

Neighbors reported seeing the Nissan parking at the Broadway Street crossing at 9:30 a.m. One train passed, and the Nissan then pulled inside the crossing gate. When the next train came into view, the Nissan pulled onto the tracks. The engineer saw the car about the Montour Street station and reduced the train's speed even lower than he already had. Instead of knocking the car into the air, the engine merely pushed it down the tracks. The driver's identity was not known. No one recognized him.

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Cornell Board Hires 2, Approves Glasses

At its June meeting, the Cornell School Board hired two new teachers and approved a Vision to Learn program that will provide free glasses to students who otherwise could not afford them. Vision to Learn will begin when school resumes in August.

The Board approved the hiring of Tara Geouque as an English Learners teacher and Joshua Brunner as a Health & Physical Education teacher. She has a Masters degree. He has a B.A.

In other business, the Board approved Phase I of a brick repointing on the outside of the building. Phase I involves brickwork above and along the swimming pool area.

The Board gave Spanish teacher Sarah Sleasman and French teacher Fiona Clements its spproval to attend the 2019 Foreign Languages Exposition in Washington D.C. November 22-24.

It noted the July 8-25 Extended School Year program, the Kindergarten Boot Camp program (35 students are enrolled), and the Summer Reading Program at the Coraopolis Public Library.

Superintendant Dr. Aaron Thomas announced that the STEAM Catalyst Grant application had been submitted. STEAM stands for Scientific, Technical, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

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Laurel Pipeline Leak Found, Repaired

The Laurel Pipeline running underneath Coraopolis, the Ohio River and Neville Island has been repaired.

For the last two weeks large holes on Chestnut Street in Cory and on the Robert Morris property on Neville Island have been used to access the pipeline. A barge has also been located in the Ohio River with divers probing the pipeline under the river bottom.

By Wednesday, efforts had shifted to filling the holes back in, although that is a slow process. On Neville Island, the "cap" separating the clean top soil from the toxic deep soil must be rebuilt. A backhoe punctured the gap last Thursday.

On Neville Island, there are also eight large steel containers sitting on the paved parking lot. They have been filled with toxic sludge brought up from the river's edge. The containers must be taken to decontamination and disposal.

Laurel Pipeline usually transports gasoline or diesel fuel from refineries in New Jersey westward to the Ohio Valley and Ohio.

But they recently decided to reverse the flow of the pipeline and transport gasoline or diesel fuel from refineries in Ohio back into Pennsylvania. To do this, they needed to flush the lines with water and test the pipeline via Hydrostatic Pressure. On May 20, inspectors noted a sudden drop in water pressure in the segment between the upper end of Neville Island and the Buckeye Coraopolis Terminal. Closer inspection narrowed the "anomaly," as the company refers to it, to a segment between the Robert Morris property on Neville Island and Chestnut Street in Coraopolis. To gain access, Buckeye opened two holes, one on Chestnut Street and the other at Robert Morris. They received federal permission to puncture the "cap" separating toxic soil further down from clean soil near the surface on Robert Morris property.

Robotic devices with cameras were then sent through the pipeline to find the exact weakness. Testing has determined that at no time did any diesel fuel or gasoline leak, because when the leak was found only water was in the line. The leak only developed during testing because that was when the pressure was increased. Normally the pressure is much lower.

Pipeline Issue Becomes Much More Complicated

Buckeye Pipeline's efforts to find the leak in its Laurel Pipeline running under Cory, the Ohio River and Neville Island took a much more difficult turn Thursday.

When Hillman Co. donated the land to Neville Island an inspection uncovered the fact that the soil was toxic from fluids being dumped and drained there for 50 years. This was why a proposed park was abandoned and the state would not allow newly merged Cornell School District to build there. When Robert Morris bought the land, they were required to haul away 12 feet of soil, place a cap on what was left, and then replace it with 12 feet of clean fill.

When Buckeye officials realized they had to dig at that location, they obtained permission to puncture the cap from the Environmental Protection Agency. As expected, Instruments immediately indicated the presence of toxic material.

Workmen digging down on the Coraopolis side of the river and divers in the middle of the river do not face that problem.

Officials erected a fence all around the site and brought in a dozen blue steel containers, visible in the photo above. All toxic sludge brought up must be placed in the steel containers, sealed, and trucked to a decontamination facility.

This is slowing the work crews, who still have not found the exact location of the leak. They know it is somewhere between Chestnut Street in Cory and the Dome on the Sports Center.

These events could not have come at a worse time for the Buckeye company. This week, in Pittsburgh, the Public Utility Commission is meeting to decide whether to add more scrutiny of pipeline companies and require them to inspect their pipelines far more often.

The Laurel Pipeline has historically transported gasoline and diesel fuel from Philadelphia refineries to Pittsburgh and Ohio. Owner Buckeye now wants to reverse that flow and ship gasoline and diesel fuel from Ohio back to this area and Central and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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Neville Commissioners Seek Road Salt Solution

Storing a pile of road salt for use when it snows or ices would seem to be a relatively simple task.

It's not.

The Neville Island Commisioners have been struggling with this issue for several months. They discussed it again at their Thursday meeting. Then, as the meeting was adjourned, Township Engineer Ned Mitrovich asked that they stay after to discuss the matter further.

"I don't want the public to think we're doing anything behind closed doors," Mitrovich explained. "There are so many different issues here and whatever we do somebody is going to be unhappy. So we need to discuss it right here in front of this audience."

For years Neville has stored its road salt underneath the I-79 bridge, as seen in the photo at right. That is what's left over from the 2019 Winter.

But Penn Dot has informed Neville that it has to move the pile.

After considering all the possible locations, the Board decided on the lot it already owns at the north end of the public park where the old high school football field was, shown in the photo at left.

But they can't just move the pile. New state and county regulations now cover road salt storage. As part of the new Storm Water Regulations, the salt cannot be stored anywhere rain, runoff or snowmelt might contact it, dissolve some of it, and carry it off into the river or soak into the soil. So wherever they store it, they must erect a building to enclose it and it must have a solid concrete floor.

However, all of Neville Island is a flood plain. Previous floods have risen and covered the entire island. New regulations require that road salt and other substances be stored above the 100 year flood level. That will mean building some sort of platform with ramps where trucks can load and unload the salt.

Meanwhile, if vehicles are stored on a flood plain, where in high water they would be submerged or damaged, the insurance rates are going up. Neville stores its street sweeper (photo, right), backhoe, truck and other vehicles at the other side of the lot shown above. So they also need to be parked on a raised platform. Mulch can no longer be stored in the open as seen in the photo, and streetsweepers can no longer discard debris in the open or on bare ground.

To cover all these issues, Mitrovich proposes removing the Pavilion in the photos above and below. It has been there for decades and is rented by various families and groups for picnics, reunions and other occasions. In its place he proposes a raised building with entry ramp for both the salt, the mulch and the vehicles.

However, the people living along Phillips Avenue expressed their concern about this idea.

Jennifer Mihalyi, shown below in orange sweater, lives nearby. "So," she argued to the Board, "in the Winter, every night that it snows or ices, we're going to have the truck out there at 4 a.m. not only loading up with salt, but grinding up and down that ramp. All of us are going to be awakened in the middle of the night."

Board members tried to explain that, first of all, the building was all the way at the other end of the parking lot and loading salt was not all that noisy a process, and, second, the last several Winters have not had very many snowy or icy nights, as shown by the large amount of salt never used last year.

Other residents objected to losing the pavilion. "Everyone on the island uses that at one time or another. It's a really great pavilion."

Mitrovich emphasized the pavilion would not be discarded, just moved to another location, such as out near Grand Avenue, or toward the middle of the park.

Other Commissioners pointed out that the money used to build such a building would take away money that had been planned for road paving, that the Board would be forced to make some very difficult choices.

An architectural diagram of such a building was shown to the Board and to audience members. No vote was taken but there is a deadline to move the salt pile so action will need to be taken in July or August.

In other news, Mitrovich announced that the water line expansion plates on Fleming Park Bridge (photo, right) have been successfully replaced at a cost of $34,000. He informed the Board that the ones removed were not in good shape and would have collapsed very soon, probably costing $134,000 instead of $34,000. Curent projections have the bridge being completed by mid August, but if there are any delays, such as continued rain, it could be as late as September or October.

As is done every meeting, Mitrovich went down the list of companies on the island and noted whether they were in compliance, were working on it, were late, or were ignoring requirements that they bring their property into compliance with stormwater regulations. Pennske is not responding. Columbia Gas has not begun work. Neville Chemical is stabilizing banks but one Council member asked if their wells are cross connected to other water sources so contamination could occur.

Township Attorney Charles Means informed the Board that Ohio Township has loaned the Island use of its rescue boat but the Island needs to insure it. He also pointed out that the Board needs to officially vote to authorize fees and a shut off option for those not following regulations or answering notices.

Mary Ann Monski came to the podium to complain about door to door solicitors. Others agreed they had become numerous and annoying. Means informed her that Ohio Township now handles all of Neville's police work, so Ohio Township handled the permits and their enforcement. She can call them and ask if a particular salesman has a permit. Regardless, the Board reminded her never to let anyone in the house.

Carolyn Yagle spoke to the Board about a Multi Municipal Zoning Grant in conjunction with McKees Rocks. She explained that Neville and Rox could share land use. Rox could host some uses and Neville other uses. For instance, they could zone Rox for Tattoo Parlors and Adult Entertainment Stores while Neville could be zoned for heavy industry. She promised to have a final document ready for reading and approval at the July meeting.

The Board recognized John Yuknavich on his 100th birthday. Yuknavich and his wife raised three daughters on the island, living in their Front River Road home for more than half a century. He spent six years in the Navy, then was a Duquesne Light Supervisor.

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Pipeline, Gas Leak, Landslide Occupy Council

Several major infrastructure issues occupied Coraopolis Borough Council at its regular June meeting Wednesday night.

First, however, they addressed several more basic issues.

Councilman Calvin Jackson reviewed for Council the heavy use of the Shelley Jones basketball courts (photo, right) on 1st Avenue. But he explained that once darkness fell at around 9:00 or 9:30, all games had to stop. In fact, many Coraopolis residents have begun driving out to Moon and other communities to play, because their courts are lighted and can be used after dark.

Jackson proposed lighting the courts. He pointed out that light poles are already in place because the adjacent Little League field is lighted. So it would be a simple matter to mount additional light racks facing toward the courts.

Council agreed to consider the proposal.

Councilwoman Melissa Walsh explained that residents in her district, and she assumes elsewhere in Cory, are being pestered by door to door solicitors. She proposed that Council design a "No Solicitors" decal that residents could purchase at the Borough Office and post on their door so it could be seen from the street and/or the sidewalk. Once posted, if salesmen ignored the sign and still knocked on the door, they could be fined.

Discussion ensued. Councilmen agreed that unwanted solicitors were a problem. Council Attorney Richard Start said the law did allow such a decal and allowed a fine up to $300 for the first violation. However, he cautioned, the law exempts religious and political representatives. So it would warn salesman to stay away, but politicians running for office or missionaries could still legally knock on the door.

Council directed Start to draw up a law for reading at the July Council meeting.

The design for such a decal, how much it would cost, and how much the fine would be, could be discussed if the ordinance was passed in July.

Chad Kraynyk announced that the Shade Tree Commission would hold a weeding and tidying up session Friday evening. Volunteers should meet at the Dairy Queen.

David Pendel announced that $145,175 in delinquent taxes have been collected so far in 2019.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon announced that (l) new traffic signals are being installed at the corner of 4th and Mulberry, and (2) Coraopolis needs to establish an Appeals Board for someone who owns delinquent property and wishes to contest Borough proceedings involving that property.

Mayor Shawn Reed announced that there will be another work session on Thursday evening on the hiking trail being laid between Cornell School and Brook Street. Machetes, shovels, weed whackers, loppers and other tools are being used to blaze the trail in the vacinity of Wildcat Rock and the old Girl Scout Lodge. Once down in the hollow, the trail borders McCabe's Run for a while, then switchbacks back up the hill to the school property. The trail is part of a Hollow Oak Trust project to build a trail network in Coraopolis and Moon Township. Eventually, in Coraopolis, the system will begin at Thorn Hollow Road, follow Thorn Run up to Maple Street, track along the bottom of the Cemetery property, cross Cornell School and then Borough property, and presumably follow the Power Line Trail up to Montour Street and down to the Montour Trail.

Reed emphasized the historic nature of this project. "We've been surrounded by all this woods for our entire history," he told Council, "and we own this land. Kids have always played out in the woods. But we've never developed trails or anything to encourage the adults in town to take advantage of them. With established trails, families could spend a weekend afternoon out there, Cornell School could take classes on short hikes during class or immediately after school to collect specimens or observe, and adults could take walks or go jogging after work in the evening. This is a great resource and it's way past time for us to utilize it."

Police Chief Ron Denbow delivered the monthly Police Report. There were 1520 calls, 307 complaints, 122 criminal investigations, 20 arrests, $350 in property recovered, 19 traffic citations issued, 26 grass/weed compliance citations issued, Eight alarms went off.

Stacie Christie, the new Historical Society President, announced that the Society is compiling a database of historical homes in Coraopolis. Anyone whose home dates back more than a century should contact the Society.

The Mayor also announced that Coraopolis is applying for grants through Connor Lamb's office for Police Department needs.

At this point in the meeting, Steve Gunther (photo, left) of Buckeye Co. was introduced. Buckeye operates Laurel Pipeline, which runs under Coraopolis, the Ohio River and Neville Island and carries gasoline and diesel fuel. Several days previously, Buckeye discovered that they had a leak in this pipeline. They still have not found exactly where the leak is, but they have narrowed it down to somewhere between Chestnut Street or Birch Alley in Coraopolis and the entrance to the Robert Morris Island Sports Center. Gunther emphasized that at this point nothing is flowing through the pipe.

Since the leak might be under the river, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers have joined the effort.

Two large holes have been dug, one extending almost all the way across Chestnut Street (photo, right) and the other on Robert Morris land. Huge sections of the pipeline have been removed so the men can run cameras through. Chestnut Street, of course, is entirely blocked.

The pipeline was built in the 1960s. Gunther explained that the helicopter that has been flying low over Coraopolis, Neville Island and the river and the divers people have seen descending from a boat down into the river are both part of their investigation.

He emphasized that whatever they disturb they will eventually put back "in better condition than we found it." The leak was discovered during Hydrostatic Testing. During the testing only water was in the line, so only water escaped.

Next, Eileen Provins and several neighbors came to the podium with a complaint about a Vulcan liquefied nitrogen tank (photo, below) at the company's 4th Avenue offices.

The tank is leaking. Provins explained that it has been leaking constantly and doing so with a hissing noise so loud people living on that block can not sleep at night.

She and her neighbors have gone to Vulcan's offices and been treated rudely and told not to worry about it.

She insisted Council do something about the situation.

Council Chair Robb Cardimen explained that there is no immediate danger from the nitrogen. He explained that both at his work and in his role as a Fireman, he has been trained in hazardous substances and Nitrogen is not flammable. The leaking is a safety device to prevent pressure build up. He explained that the Fire Department had already gone to the site and turned the tank off. However, he agreed the leaking tank is an issue, if only due to the noise.

Provins explained that after Cardimen and the Fire Department had been there, the company had refilled the tank and turned it back on.

Police Chief Ron Denbow volunteered to go down to the site after the meeting and check it out. At the least, a nuisance citation could be issued.

George Carr (photo, below) then came to the podium to complain about harassment. He had come to the Police Station to file a complaint about people parking on the sidewalk near his house. He explained they were not parking with two wheels in the street, but were parked all four wheels on the sidewalk. He commended the Police for sending an officer out to check on the situation. The officer found that people really were parked on the sidewalk and issued several citations. However, people then began knocking on Carr's door and threatening him because he filed the complaint. They even followed him to the bus stop, took his picture, and continued to harass him. Police Chief Denbow promised to follow up.

Finally, the situation on Euclid Avenue (photo, below)was discussed. Euclid Avenue is on the very edge of Coraopolis, running between Cliff Street and Sacred Heart Academy. The street is half in Moon Township. It runs directly above the Pump House and Pump House Woods. After a very rainy Winter and Spring, the hillside along which Euclid Avenue runs is basically sliding down, taking the street with it.

Euclid Avenue is currently blocked off at both ends. Work crews have been hindered by the continually rainy weather. Both trees and utility lines have come down. If anything, the situation has steadily worsened, despite workmen trying to stabilize it.

Fortunately, Euclid Avenue is not a major connecting street. It was merely a path until late in the 20th century, when it was finally widened and paved. Residents of Cliff Street can drive out Devonshire Road to Vine Street and turn either right or left to Route 51 or Montour Street. Moon Township residents at the top of Euclid can drive out Bryndale and Woodcrest Avenue to Montour Street. There are no houses along most of it, and none along the damaged section.

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Montour Street Repairs Completed

PennDot has completed repairs on Montour Street and the throughway is once again safe to drive on.

Work crews pumped concrete into the cave that had opened up beneath Montour Street, filling it to the top, so that the surface of the street once again rests on a solid base. For extra protection, they built an extra ledge out from the cave opening and filled it with concrete (see photo, right).

They then filled in the long, wide crack that had opened across half of the street. The cave had become so big and the crack so wide that daylight was showing up through the crack. The scar where the crack had been is still there, but it's solidly filled in and not in danger of separating.

Crews admitted that this is probably a temporary fix. There are other cracks along the "cliff section" of Montour Street. The entire block will probably need stripped out and repaved at some point, especially if we continue to get heavy rains and then freezing temperatures. PennDot, not Coraopolis, is responsible for Montour Street.

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

Back, Knee, Ankle, Neck, Hip, Foot, Elbow, Wrist, Shoulder

412-262-1256

1541 State Avenue

Tapestry Opens Senior Living Units This Week

The former Embassy Suites Hotel just off Coraopolis Heights Road and the Parkway West has undergone a year long renovation and will open this week as Tapestry Senior Living Moon Township.

The 224 apartments are already being rented even though the occupants will not move in for another six weeks. There are choices of basic units with one bedroom and slightly larger units with a den or a patio. (There are no more den units available.)

The facility will include a swimming pool, various recreation areas, and a full medical unit. A nurse will be available 24/7 and doctors will visit weekly.

Units begin at $5300 a month. That is all inclusive. Once a resident or their family pays the monthly rent, there are no other costs. For additional care, such as the Memory Care units, the cost is more.

Dining facilities are open from 7 am until 7 pm.

The photo here at left shows the restaurant, serving three meals a day. A pub serves drinks and light snacks. The coffee shop (photo below left) and grille serve everything from burgers to grilled cheese sandwiches to wraps to soups and salads. The restaurant includes side rooms for family visits or special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

The Moon Senior Connection Center, currently housed at Robin Hill, will move into Tapestry this month. Their facility and all their programs will be open to Tapestry residents.

A chapel, hair and nail salon, and movie theater are also included.

The Sewickley YMCA and Lifespan of Imperial will provide various exercise and recreational programs.

John Sciulli, Business Development Coordinator, emphasizes that Tapestry wants residents to remain as active as possible because that is the key to sustained good health.

Tapestry will host trips to movies, plays, concerts and other nearby attractions.

Tapestry requires its staff to be trained in TEEPA Snow technique for dimentia caregiving. Those residents are more carefully monitored 24 hours a day.

A music therapy plan is available. Research has found that music can often unlock memories in Alzheimer's patients.

The Silver Sphere monitoring systemis also in effect for all residents. SS equips every room with infrared cameras which alert staff in the event of a fall or other mishap. Tapestry also equips every resident with a pendant (women usually wear them as a necklace, men as a wristwatch). They can press the pendant at any time 24/7 to summon a staff member to assistance.

This is not Tapestry's first Assisted Living facility. The company already has facilities in Florida, Minnesota and Cleveland. It is planning more in New Jersey and Cincinnati. All are remodelled former hotels. But this one in Moon Township is the largest with capacity for 224 residents.

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Santicola, Feldman Survive Primaries

Michele Santicola and Max Feldman survived primaries and advance to the General Election in November in the District Judge race.

Santicola won the Democrat nomination with 1183 votes out of 2601 cast. Feldman won the Republican nomination with 695 votes out of 1667 cast.

The deciding factor in the General will be the 977 votes cast for Corrie Woods and two write in candidates. Those votes will go to either Santicola or Feldman. The campaign between now and November will be an attempt to win those votes. If Feldman can win 700 of them, he can win the election. If Santicola can win just 400 of them, she will win.

Santicola would seem to have the advantage. There are approximately twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans in Coraopolis and a small number of Independents. She begins with a 1183-695 edge.

In the Cornell School Board primary, Linda Solecki, Michael Griffith, Karen Murphy and Caryn Code advanced.

In Coraopolis Borough Council races, Ed Pitassi won 128 of 134 votes cast, David Pendel won 120 of 122 votes, Lucinda Wade won 108 of 156 votes, and Robb Cardimen won 141 of 143 votes.

Pitassi was a prior Council member who lost his seat in the last election. Wade would be new to the Council and only its second woman. Pendel and Cardimen are current members.

In Neville Island's Commissioner primaries, David Kerr won 114 of 171 votes cast, Jill Ammon won 47 of 62 votes, and James Brown won 61 of 63.

In Moon Township's Auditor primaries, Josh Sektnan won on the Democrat side with 1231 out of 1243 votes cast, and Jeff Wink won the Republican slot with 929 of 935 votes.

In Moon's Supervisor races, James Vitale won the Democrat nomination with 1218 of 2184 votes and Al Quaye won the Republican slot with 818 of 1464 votes.

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marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

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K-9 Dogs Show Their Skills In Recertification

One of the most fascinating events in years is in Coraopolis this week until Thursday. It's the annual K-9 Police Dog Recertification Drills.

Police dogs have to re-earn their certification every year to continue working. They have to prove they can still meet the demanding requirements, that they still have the skills needed.

This is no easy task. It takes four days of different drills at various locations around town.

Coraopolis residents have already been startled by turning a corner or driving down a street and suddenly seeing eight or nine police vehicles with officers and dogs in the area. Some residents have slowed down to look more carefully, have stoppped to ask what the emergency was, or have asked if they could watch. It's not really a spectator event --- there are no bleachers or scoreboard --- but the public is welcome to watch if they wish.

Coordinating headquarters is at the Masonic Lodge on Maple Street. Some of the outdoor locations are at the Cornell baseball, softball and football fields, and in the woods along McCabes Run. Indoor locations include the now abandoned St. Joe's Elementary School and an abandoned church for sale on the west end of town. The drills are scheduled from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., ending in time that they do not conflict with Cornell baseball, softball and track practices or with kids playing in the woods after school.

There are eight basic skills areas : Tracking, Pursuit and Containment, Article Search, Building Search, Area Search, Vehicle Search, Drug Detection, and Explosives Detection. Each skills area requires about half a day to test.

Monday morning after a brief welcome and orientation session, dogs and their handlers got to work on Tracking.

Prior to the dogs arrival, one official stood in one place shuffling his feet for a minute, then took off walking. First he zigzagged several times, throwing in a few tricks by starting in one direction, then backtracking on his exact steps and heading off in another direction, creating a Y for the dog to puzzle over. One long straightaway was included. Some of his trail was in grass, some over dirt (the baseball and softball infields), and some over pavement (parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) The final phase involved a few obstacles.

One by one, the dogs were allowed to thoroughly sniff the spot where the official had shuffled his feet, to pick up his scent (see photo below). Then they were off. The dogs were all amazingly accurate. They trotted with a rapid back and forth head sway, to check the main scent and then check several inches to the left and several inches to the right to "frame" the trail. Some of them guessed the "Y" trick correctly and kept going. Some guessed wrong and went several yards in the wrong direction, realized they'd been duped, backtracked to the "Y," then headed off in the right direction. Every dog reached the end accurately and in short time.

Dogs can track either on leash or off leash. Obviously, they're much faster off leash, but often circumstances require that they be kept leashed.

These are not your average dog. Police Dogs are specially bred in Europe. They come with guarantees. If a dog develops hip dysplasia or other health conditions, or is not a good worker, or can't concentrate, the Department is provided with a replacement.

And that's a good thing, because Police Dogs cost from $12,500 - $18,000 including training.

Each dog is pretrained by itself for eight weeks. Then the dog and its future handler are trained together for another eight weeks. By the time they're done, the trainer knows his dog and knows how to command it, the dog knows its trainer and can read quick, subtle signals, and the two have bonded for life. The dog will live with the trainer and his family when not working, and when the dog retires he will live out his days as the family pet.

The average Police Dog career lasts 9-10 years. They spend 16 hours each month in "maintenance training," meaning they refresh their skills. Then they spend one week each year in recertification to prove they can still do the job.

A typical Police Dog is two years old when he begins work. Quick learners occasionally begin a few months earlier.

What usually ends a Police Dog's career is, just like a professional athlete, his reactions begin to slow, his stamina begins slipping, and his athleticism begins fading. But sometimes a dog just burns out. The burnouts tend to occur in high crime areas where the dog is in intense action almost every day. In smaller towns and suburbs burnout is not common.

Police Dogs are prime athletes, and like any prime athlete, their diets are important. The ideal diet would avoid grain, wheat and corn and include some raw meat every day. This eliminates many commercial dog foods, which contain a lot of grain, wheat and corn as filler. The raw meat can be as simple as a quarter chicken tossed to the dog. Some handlers feed their dogs steak at least once or twice a week.

But not all handlers follow these recommendations. "I'm not being paid enough to afford steak for my dog," one grins. "I can't even afford steak for myself too often." Another handler had a different standard. "I'm not feeding my dog any better than I feed my kids," he said.

The dogs are amazingly well behaved. They're kept leashed "just in case," but in fact the "just in case" situations rarely occur. The dogs sit or lay at their handlers' feet, awaiting a command. If none comes, the dog is content to alertly survey his surroundings, ears up, eyes wide, but not trembling or pacing or impatient. The photo at top right is a good example. The dog at left has turned to look at a loud motorcycle coming down the hill, but he's not too concerned about it.

Interestingly enough, however, the dogs do not like being photographed. These photos were taken with a zoom lens from a respectful distance. We could approach the dogs with the camera off and down, but if we raised and aimed the camers, they began alerting their handlers.

They seem to see the camera as a weapon, which they've been trained to focus on and go after.

Of all the drills, the most exciting are the pursuit and containment runs, seen in the photo to the right and the one below right. Police refer to these as "bite drills." An official will dress in heavily padded costumes and attempt to escape. Upon command, the dog's job is to catch them and bring them down. These drills show the dogs at their most aggressive. Fangs bared, muscles rippling, eyes flashing fire, they go on the attack. They're trained not to try to harm the target, but to very forcefully bring him to the ground and keep him there. The more he tries to resist, the more savage the dog becomes. This is definitely the most violent demonstration of the week's drills.

The most suspenseful of the drills are the Article searching and Search and Rescue drills. Article searching asks the dog to find a specific article, such as a knife, gun or club, in either a large open area or a wooded area. Officials hide the items well and the dogs have to use a grid approach to search for them (see photo below).

Search and Rescue asks the dog to find a missing person. These drills are conducted in wooded areas or inside buildings.

Most people assume all Police Dogs are German Shepherds but this is not true. Other dogs can perform certain skills better than a Shepherd. Blood Hounds, for example, are by far the best trackers. Rotweilers are by far the best crowd control dogs. Beagles are better at sniffing out luggage. Labs are good at tracking and drug and explosives detection. These dogs may show up for only one or two drills, get certified in their areas of expertise, and go home.

The Belgian Malinois, which was originally bred as a herding dog like the Shepherd, is just as good as the Shepherd all round, and are used as Police Dogs in many foreign countries. But for some reason they've never caught on in the U.S.

So the Shepherd is by far the most common K-9 dog here.

That doesn't mean they're everywhere. Less than 25% of Police Departments nationwide have a Police Dog. Money's tight, most Police Departments are underfunded, and that $12,000 - 18,000 price tag is more than they can afford.

30 Departments had pregistered for this week's Coraopolis Recertification Drills. Most are from Pennsylvania, but there were entries from Florida, Arkansas and California. If the recertification week in their own area conflicted with their schedule, they had to find one somewhere in the nation that did fit it, and Cory was the one.

Many motels do not allow dogs, so special arrangements had to be worked out. Marriott was generous enough to offer the visiting officers and their dogs not only admittance, but a special rate. So the Marriott will be Dog Central for four nights this week.

Most handlers transport their dogs in SUVs specially equipped for them. The dog occupies the rear compartment, where he can see out, move around and quickly exit and enter through the hatch. Coraopolis and most of the departments in this area have these customized SUVs. But some police use small trailers with windows so any vehicle can hook up and tow the dogs at any time. There are some of these present in Coraopolis this week.

The dogs are not owned only by Police Departments. Airports, railroads, private detective agencies, the military, large public arenas, factories, businesses, parks, estates, farms, ranches, schools, warehouses and other locations that value security will purchase the dogs. Often they will be housed on site and allowed to roam free, so if an intruder tries to break in he will be confronted at the fence or door by an angry defender or a team of them. Often these dogs will be trained to use a paw to press an alarm when an intruder is detected. Either an owner or the police will respond to the alarm.

The Coraopolis Police Department K-9 Officer is Amore. When the former canine retired, Amore was purchased from a police dog breeding and training center in Holland. However, Amore's presence in Coraopolis did not just happen. The cost of Amore was raised by Beth Miles, who also does Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training.

Coraopolis is one of the smaller towns in Pennsylvania to have its own dog. Most small town police departments are in trouble, as costs have risen and tax bases have declined. They are having trouble paying adequate wages and maintaining vehicles and police buildings. Many of them have reduced their forces to only one or two officers or gone to a part time department. In many communities, departments have merged or one community has just dropped its police entirely and contracted a neighboring force to patrol its streets, as Neville has done with Ohio Township. In such cases, paying for a dog is beyond their budget.

But the dogs do work officers simply could not do, and handle other tasks much more efficiently. Trainers, handlers, police chiefs and other officers love the dogs and wouldn't want to do without them.

"In the dog world, you're looking at the best. These are the best cross of smart, fast, quick, strong, athletic, disciplined, durable, energetic and devoted dogs in the world. The breeding is very scientific, and after they're born, dogs are eliminated because they don't meet physical requirements, can't learn quick enough, can't perform at a high enough level, or have personality issues. These dogs have to be gentle with kids just passing by, tolerate other dogs, be obedient, suddenly turn on their intensity and ferocity when needed to protect their handlers and themselves, then in an instant flip that switch and go back to being gentle with kids and very calm. It's a tough balance and only a select few dogs can do it. Those are the dogs you're seeing here this week. These are the best of the best."

Tootsie's

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701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

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Mayor Reed Assesses His First 15 Months

Long before he entered politics, Shawn Reed adopted Coraopolis as his hometown. Originally from McKeesport, Reed came to attend Robert Morris and fell in love with the place. His 100 year old house on Montour Street backs up to the forest of McCabes's Hollow. Deer, Raccoon, Possum, Rabbits and Groundhogs prowl his backyard. This is where Reed retreats from his busy days.

Much of his backyard is consumed by Cory's only Bocce Court. Bocce is an Italian bowling game. There was a court at a park where he grew up and he came to enjoy the gsme. Between local meetings and work travel, Reed doesn't have time for golf or other sports, so he plays Bocce. "There's a large Italian population here," he says. "We should have Bocce courts. Maybe we can install one in a local park."

His days are so busy because he basically has two full time jobs : Mayor of Coraopolis and Senior Vice President at True Sense Marketing. One day he's at the new Borough Building holding office hours, and the next day he's in New York or Los Angeles or somewhere in between. Reed majored in marketing at Geneva College and Robert Morris, and sees the world through a marketing perspective. As Mayor, he sees his job as marketing Coraopolis to the world. This week, on a beautiful Spring day, he paused to reflect on his first 15 months in office.

"I underestimated the slowness of government,:" he admits. "The wheels turn verrry slowly. In the business world, you can turn a project on a dime. In government, even in a small town like this, everything just takes time."

But he still rates his first 15 months as a success.

"You have to look at the first third of a political term as a time for planting seeds. You have to establish relationships, lay groundwork, build connections." He's been making the rounds of local businesses, the Cornell School, Police, Fire Department and various other agencies. "I explained that it's not my intent to do their jobs or tell them how to do their jobs but rather to understand how they do their jobs and continually ask how I can help them do their jobs. We are so lucky here. We have so many great and talented people who are working very hard to keep this town running smoothly." Reed is thrilled with the buzz about Coraopolis. "We get several calls a month from businesses interested in locating here. Just this week one of our old Victorian houses went on the market for $250,000. We have people interested in partnering with us on various projects. The word is out there that Coraopolis is a town on the rise, and people want to come here and be part of it."

Some projects are moving slowly. Reed had the idea of removing the parking meters. But he and a councilman learned that if they did, people would grab downtown parking spaces in the morning and stay parked there all day, so customers couldn't get to the small businesses. So the parking meters are still there. However, he and several councilmen are in talks with companies to replace the coin meters with new ones using credit csrds. "A lot of people don't even carry pocket change anymore."

His big priorities right now are to improve borough communications, and to establish committees led by residents, not council members. An Arts Committee just had its first meeting. "I've visited other small towns with murals on the sides of buildings. In some cases, the murals themselves have become attractions; people visit the towns just to see all the murals. There's no reason we can't do that here. I'm no artist, but we have artists here, and I believe they could come up with a plan to use art to beautify the town."

Regular website updates and a newsletter "let us control our own narrative." He is determined people in Cory need to know on a regular basis exactly what their government is doing.

He's been heartened by the number of people who have come forth to volunteer for various tasks but believes there are a lot more out there who could be drawn into working on one committee or another. "I'm a collaborative Mayor. I'm an enabler. Government is a participant sport. The more people we have working on projects, the better our town can become."

Reed is an enthusiastic supporter of Hollow Oak Trust's plans for local trails. He wants the Ohio Valley Trail from the Montour Trail to the Sewickley Bridge, the Coraopolis Trail up Thorn Run and McCabes run, and the Robin Hill Trail connecting Thorn Run to Montour Woods, to become realities. "People can use these trails for jogging, hiking, biking, nature study, any number of things. Studies show that people and businesses are attracted to towns with trail networks."

Reed took great pride in being one of the workers blazing a trail from Cornell School to McCabes Run and back up.

"These trails are going to happen. Never before have we designated borough woodlands for public use, AND made them accessible. That'll be another opportunity for local residents to volunteer for work crews. Laying a trail requires a lot of volunteer labor."

One thing he's proud of and intends to maintain is Cory's budget condition. The borough is solidly in the black. Statewide, 80% of all towns and townships are in the red. That, he mentions, is due to Ray McCutcheon. "He's a very frugal Borough Manager, one of the best around."

But Reed also thinks McCutcheon could use some help. "I would like to hire a combination grant writer, marketing specialist and communications manager. Some Council members are already in favor of this. Could this person pay for their own salary? Could they bring in enough grants and attract enough businesses that whatever we paid them was more than balanced by income? I'n hoping to move on this in the next six months." Long term, he would like to find some way to add more downtown parking and more green space.

He is disappointed with the disconnect between reality and what is said on social media. "We have people who take Facebook, Twitter and other sites much too seriously. I see businesses moving in, our Shade Tree Commission planting trees and setting out flowers, a committee staging a Halloween Festival, the Riverfront Park, trails and other projects moving right along, the train station in progress, our really progressive school system, all these great things happening every day, and then I go online and read dozens of negative comments. We've done millions of dollars in street and road work over the last few years and people are online complaining that their alley has potholes. It takes time to get around to every street and alley and it will take time for Riverfront Park to become a reality and so on, but the critics on social media want to paint a negative picture that is just not true."

This, he emphasizes, is another reason why the Borough needs its own Newsletter. "We have to let the people know the positive things that are happening. If we're silent, those negative voices will prevail." But he's optimistic. "This is a great job. How many people get to spend their time as the spokesman, the advocate, for a town as exciting, as promising, as Coraopolis? I feel very very blessed."

Kevin Edwards

Licensed Physical Therapist

19 Years of Experience

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Police Dog Certification To Be Held In Cory

Residents of Coraopolis will see dozens of out of town police vehicles, officers and dogs arriving in town Sunday.

Don't panic. There's no major crime scene.

A major police dog certification is being held in Coraopolis beginning at 8 a.m. Monday and extending through Thursday afternoon.

K-9 units from across Pennsylvania will be here for the trials.

Headquarters for the week will be at the Masonic Lodge on Maple Street. Various fields in town will be used for the different kinds of competitions.

The Coraopolis Police are hosting the event.

Spectators are welcome but this is not primarily a spectator event and no seating or other provisions are set up for those wanting to watch.

Feldman Cites Longevity, Business Acumen

Evaluating candidates for District Judge is difficult because all three candidates are well qualified. But two qualities Max Feldman offers that separate him from the other two are Longevity and Business Background.

The Western Hills District Judgeship has been vacant for almost two years. To fill the void, the County has rotated other judges in every month. While the men and women rotating through have all been good judges, they have had different styles and backgrounds, so local rulings have been inconsistent. And since those judges have not been from this area, locals have complained they have not always worked the entire day and not always worked five days a week.

Feldman promises to change that.

He's been in Coraopolis 30 years. He's run the same law practice in the same 5th Avenue building all that time, raised his family here, and represented Cory, Moon, Neville and Crescent clients all that time.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm 56. I have no ambitions to become a Common Pleas Judge or State Superior Court Judge or anything else. If I'm elected, I'll be the Western Hills District Judge for the long term. I'll establish a consistency that's been missing here."

Feldman also promises to extend working hours. "We need late afternoon and evening hours. Adults in this community work, and most of them work during the daytime. Kids here go to school. A night court one or more evenings a week would allow those people to take care of their legal issues without missing work or school. I've worked long hours ever since I opened this law practice, so working evenings is nothing new to me."

Feldman also feels his business background would be an asset. "We came here with $4000, two sons and a baby on the way. A law practice is a small business, and we started this one from scratch. We had to remodel the building. We have to maintain records, file taxes, supervise employees, do all the things any small business does. The District Judge, in addition to hearing cases, has to administer the court. It's like running a small business. You have to keep records, file reports, supervise employees, all the same tasks. My background qualifies me to do those things."

Feldman sees a District Judge almost as a parent figure. "Sometimes you have to impose consequences, but other times you have to show compassion. We have repeat and violent offenders and they need dealt with. But for light offenses or first time offenders, sometimes community service, counseling and therapy are better alternatives."

He also sees Respect as a key component. "A District Judge has to earn the respect of the community. But he also has to respect the people who come before him, treat them professionally, listen to their side of things. Another important aspect of this is a District Judge has to respect the Police. We have good Police in this area. They work hard and sometimes risk their lives. When they bring a case to the Judge, they deserve to have that case taken seriously. So does the community."

Fortunately, he sees the Western Hills as a great community. "This is a safe community. We have good Police and good people. The drug flow through here worries me, and I think a lot of the other activities, the thefts, vandalism, violent confrontations, and even traffic violations, stem from drugs most of the time. But for the most part, what we have are kids and adults who make less than good decisions more than chronic offenders trying to get away with serious crime."

One issue people are asking candidates about this year is the location of District Court in the old Volante's Building. Feldman doesn't see that location as a problem. "It's central. There's plenty of parking. It's easy to get to. It's right on the bus line."

He does see the position as coming full circle. "This position would allow me to give back some of what Cory has given to my family and to me."

Pittsburgh Motor Speedway

Pennsylvania's Finest Dirt Track Racing On The Big Half Mile

Sprint Cars - Late Models - Sportsmen - 6 & 4 Cylinders

Every Saturday Night : 7 -11 pm

Just Beyond Robinson Town Center On Route 22/30

Santicola Sees Judgeship As Opportunity

Michele Santicola stopped in briefly at Cory's Anchor & Anvil coffe shop on her way from a court hearing in Pittsburgh to her branch office in Beaver. Her life right now is a whirlwind of activity as she is both a practicing attorney and a candidate for the vacant District Judgeship for Coraopolis/Moon/Neville/Crescent.

A lot of people think Santicola is out of her mind for even considering walking away from a successful private law practice for the much lower paying Judgeship. She doesn't see it that way.

"How much money do you need?" she asks. "I like making a difference. I've worked in both the public and private sectors. The most excited I ever was to go to work every morning was when I worked in the public sector."

She sees the District Judgeship as an opportunity to do good. "You have the ability as a judge to pull together all sorts of resources and help people. Yes, you meet some rather unsavory characters, and some incorrigibles, and you have to deal sternly with them. But you also have this kid standing before you who is in for his first offense. He might have a good job opportunity, or a chance to go to college. If you sentence him to community service, he still gets to take that job or go to college and five years down the road he's a useful citizen. If you send him to jail you wipe out those opportunities. Five years down the road, for lack of any other opportunities, that kid may be standing before you again, this time a habitual offender. The law's important. But the way we administer the law makes a huge difference."

The District Judgeship has been vacant for two years. Judges from around the county have been rotating through, each one spending one week every several months in Cory hearing cases.

Santicola doesn't like this. "These judges don't know the communities. And they're not consistent. One judge is a hardliner, the next judge lenient. So what kind of sentence you get depends on your luck in which week your case comes up."

Right now, a temporary courtroom sits in the Volante's Building. It's too small and not well designed. Santicola wishes the new Coraopolis Borough Building had included a courtroom. Some local businesses wish the County would move the court entirely out of town, but she doesn't see this happening. When newspapers and TV stations repeatedly report cases as being in Cory, it sounds as if Coraopolis has a serious crime problem. The truth is, most cases come from Moon Township. But cases from Moon, Crescent and Neville are all tried in Cory, in addition to the few cases originating in the borough.

Santicola would be an activist judge. "I'd go talk to schools. We have to work with kids before they come before a judge. I would explain to them, 'Look, we love you, but this is a nation of laws. We obey laws here. You do not want to come before me."

While in private practice, she has adopted Mooncrest as a personal project. She has spent hours there as a volunteer. At Christmas, she set up a program that let kids buy presents for two adults, either their parents or whoever was caring for them.

"Every kid thanked me. They'd never before been able to actually give anything to any one. These are good kids. They just don't have anything. I mean nothing."

Santicola leans forward, getting intense. "People ask me how I can find the time to work up there when I'm busy with my law practice and my own family. Listen : Kids Are Going Hungry. They Don't Have Enough To Eat. This Is America. This Is Unacceptable. We Have to FIND Time."

She gets impatient with people who tell her various programs aren't possible. "Don't tell me why we can't do these things. Tell me how we can."

Santicola is trying to talk local schools into saving their unused cafeteria food, refrigerating or freezing it, packing it, and sending it home with kids Friday for the weekend. Other school districts in Pennsylvania already do this. "So I have people telling me, well, there are these regulations, and we don't have room, and all these reasons why we can't do it. I said, hold it, other districts had the same problems and found a way around them. Our kids are just as hungry as theirs were and we're throwing away all this good food. We Can Do This."

District Judges schedule one day a week for criminal cases, one day for civil cases, one day a week for traffic cases, and so on. It's a busy caseload. And every single case tests the judge's judgement, sensitivity, patience and faith in people. "I'm old enough I like to think I've learned to read people. I can usually tell who just made a single really bad decision and needs a break, and who is a habitual offender and deserves consequences."

Santicola is also a strong advocate of local teen jobs programs. "Kids can work. They need to work. Kids who are working and earning money are not getting in trouble."

Pitassi Declares For 1st Ward Council Seat

Former Coraopolis Borough Council Member Ed Pitassi has announced his candidacy for the First Ward seat being vacated by Calvin Jackson.

Jackson is not running for reelection.

Pitassi was a former Council member but lost in the last election to Melissa Walsh. Each Ward has two seats. Jackson has held the other seat.

While not on the Council for the last two years, Pitassi has busied himself on the Coraopolis Shade Tree Commission and with various issues concerning the Coraopolis Library. As the County and State have concerned themselves with stormwater runoff and air quality, they have become concerned with the number of trees per acre and have issued new requirements. Towns are using various strategies to meet these requirements. Coraopolis is doing it with its Shade Tree Commission, which cares for existing trees and continually plants new ones.

Among its duties, the Shade Tree Commission hosts the annual Arbor Day Trash Pickup Day, which this year is April 27. "When we started several years ago we would get five people," Pitassi says. "Now we get 60-70. It's become a good event."

Pitassi admits with the Shade Tree Commission and the Memorial Library he's kept busy since losing his seat. So why bother to run again?

"Voice," he says. "When I approach people as a volunteer worker, I have limited input. As a member of Council, my voice means so much more."

His will not be a negative campaign. "Council has been doing a great job. Ray McCutcheon is a great Borough Manager. There's no political foolishness. They see problems and they set about solving them. McCutcheon does the work of three people. I don't know how he does it. As a small town, we have a limited budget, but he goes after those grants and we've been able to leverage a small amount of money into an awful lot of street and road work and other projects."

Still, Pitassi sees issues nobody else seems to be prioritizing and he'd like to address.

"I'd like to go after Streetscape Grants. I've been to other towns that have done such wonderful things with their streetscapes, and I'd like to do those things here. People like to live and shop in towns with aesthetically attractive streets. Businesses like to locate in those places. This is a great town but we could dress it up a little. We've already done some things, but we could do more."

He'd like to tie in street work, water projects and the Shade Tree Commission. "The County and State are aggressively promoting the idea that each town should control the water flow, not just the drinking water and sewage, but all water, the water from rain and snowmelt and streams flowing through town, the guy watering his lawn or garden, the water sucked up by trees and bushes. Well, you can't do that in isolation. Our water lines are under our streets. Every water project has to tear up the streets. When we tear up our streets and then repave them, we should be including trees in the planning."

And that extends to the woods around town. "We are so lucky here. The Hollow Oak Land Trust is hoping to build hiking trails in the woods around town. We should look at those for more than trails. Very few towns have these woods on all sides. We've taken them so much for granted. They beautify the area, soak up water and release it slowly, offer recreation, reduce air pollution, all sorts of things. But we should be paying more attention to those woods, protect them, make sure they're safe, here for the future. For example, we had that wonderful park, and then we used it for the school. It's a nice school, but surely we could have built it somewhere else and not sacrificed that park."

He'd like to make hiring a grantwriter a top priority. "Ray can't do every thing. Right now, he's meeting with officials from various agencies, filling out all the paperwork for every project in town, handling all the office duties, taking care of the budget, and then trying to write grants. He's gotten us lots of grants but imagine how much more we could do with someone who only sat in the office and wrote grant applications. If we ever lost Ray we'd have to hire three people to do what he does. We can't go on like this."

As he talks to people around town, Pitassi has learned that there are lots of residents who would like to get involved with one project or another. "There are a lot of talented people in Cory. All of us together can accomplish so much more than each of us acting individually."

Pitassi was born and raised in Coraopolis and has lived here all his life. "This is a great town. I love it here. I didn't fully appreciate it until I became an adult. People don't realize how much planning and decision making goes into every little detail of life in Coraopolis. The Memorial Day Parade, the Little League, snow removal, maintenance of the parks, Christmas ceremonies, every detail, has people behind the scenes making sure they run smoothly. I have the time and energy and good health to contribute and I want to do it."

Montour, Vine, Guinea Hens, Trails Occupy Council

Coraopolis Borough Council worked its way through an extensive agenda at its April work session and business meeting.

Heading the priority list was the condition of Montour and Vine Streets and the need to begin their repair and reconstruction immediately.

The Montour Street situation is complicated by the fact that it is officially a county/state road and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, not Coraopolis, is responsible.

The location is along the cliffs between Highland and Ferree, where to the right the terrain drops steeply down to McCabes Run and Brook Street. At some point a crack opened up in the foundation of Montour Street and over a year or so it widened, allowing rainwater and snow and ice melt to erode the dirt on which the street rests. Now, there is literally a small cave (photo, right) extending under the street with the pavement being the roof of the cave. Fracture lines are extending across the street and one crack is lengthening daily.

Council members have visited the spot and Borough Manager Ray McCuteheon has notified PennDot, which has sent inspectors out. They agree the situation demands immediate attention and have promised to send crews out to (l) pump concrete into the cave, and (2) strip away and redo the surface of Montour Street. They promise to do both by mid May. The problem is 20 school buses travel up to Sacred Heart and back down twice each day, passing directly over the hole. So do a dozen dump trucks loaded with fill from construction sites, plus the usual traffic as people go to and from work and to and from downtown Coraopolis.

And it gets worse. When those PennDot crews arrive, they will close off Montour Street at Vine Street and Vance Avenue, detouring all traffic to Vine. But Vine is also in very bad shape. Councilman Danny LaRocco receives complaints every day from his constituents demanding to know when he's going to get something done about Vine Street. The photo at left shows the intersection of Vine and Ridge Avenue. There have been patches on top of patches on top of patches. A complete reconstruction is needed, to include sidewalks, curbs and storm sewers.

The problem with Vine Street is it was never intended as a major street. Until recently, Vine above Vance Avenue wasn't even paved. It was a gravel alley. Longtime Cory residents can recall sledriding down Vine. Suddenly, it's being used as a major shortcut from Moon Township to Route 51. The paving was never intended to handle this much traffic, especially school buses, dump trucks and commercial vehicles. This reconstruction should strengthen it considerably, but with its tight turns, steep grade and narrow width, Vine is still not suitable for the traffic using it.

Council also reviewed paving work to be done on Cable Way, Prospect, Chess and Southern Avenues.

Council's next issue involved Guinea Hens loose on Vance Avenue. Two neighbors (that's Kim Daniels handing out materials in the photo at right) explained to Council that a local resident has acquired the birds. There is no coop, no fence, no enclosure. The birds are free ranging. They squawk and call all day and night, drop waste on sidewalks and yards, and peck at dogs and cats.

"I have guinea hens roaming around my backyard," Daniels explained. "I don't own any birds. Why do I have guinea hens in my yard?"

Council admitted it has no ordinance referring to free ranging domestic birds and may need to create one.

In the meantime, Police Chief Ron Denbow promised his men would be notifying the birds' owners that they must confine the birds to their own yard and should control the nighttime squawking.

Council discussed the 2019 grass cutting contract. The two bids were for $10,825 and $8,550. One company promises to cut the banks (as the Library bank, shown at left) with weedwhackers. Several Council members pointed out that previous companies trying to mow the slopes with regular mowing equipment dug deep ruts which are unsightly, a problem since the Library sits on State Avenue and the bank is highly visible. The ruts also lead to erosion.

Cub Scout Pack #358 and Abundant Life Ministries asked Council to waive their fees for renting Little League Park and the Fifth Avenue Gazebo. Council members pointed out that the $200 deposit was to guarantee that groups clean up after themselves and as long as that is done they get their deposit back. After a lengthy discussion Council voted not to waive the fees.

Council approved a plaque honoring Randy Cosgrove to be placed at Bliwas Park. Cosgrove was a longtime Little League administrator and advocate but died recently.

Danny LaRocco brought up the issue of parking on George Street between Vance and Ridge. He explained that cars and trucks parking there on both sides make the street too narrow for police, fire and ambulance vehicles to get through.

Major Shawn Reed explained to Council that he had recently attended a meeting of the Regional Asset Agency, where he learned that Moon and Cory could combine park acreage and apply for a single develoipment grant.

This would help them qualify for the grants, which have a minimum park size and previously neither Moon nor Coraopolis could qualify

Reed also talked about trails. Cory has paid $5500 to the Hollow Oak Trust to develop a Thorn Run Hollow - McCabes Hollow trail (see photos, right and below). Thorn Run Hollow begins near the far western corner of Coraopolis, where Thorn Run (Creek) passes under Route 51 and 5th Avenue and empties into the Ohio River. Thorn Hollow Drive follows the creek up the hollow for two blocks, then dead ends. A trail would begin there and go up the hollow, behind and far below Southern, Summit and St. Clair Drives. The trail would follow the edge of the Cemetery, cross to the Cornell School District campus, and drop into McCabes Hollow. Exactly where it would go from there is uncertain, but one option would be to follow McCabes Creek up the wooded hollow into Moon township, then follow the Power Line Trail up to Montour Street and down behind Sacred Heart to the Montour Trail.

The Montour Trail would bring a hiker back into Coraopolis. The Ohio Valley trail, now under construction, would continue through Coraopolis back to Thorn Run.

The Ohio Valley Trail's future is uncertain. The original route across the Sewickley Bridge was been vetoed due to heavy traffic. So Coraopolis may be building a trail which dead ends at the western edge of town. Nevertheless, both Mayor Reed and Council believe in the Ohio River Trail concept. It could stand alone just as a pleasant trail from one end of town to the other along the river, especially if the Coraopolis Riverfront Park becomes a reality.

In a final item of business, Ray McCutcheon pointed out that Coraopolis has paid Waste Management $16,000 to take all old electronics, so local residenrs should take advantage.

Council approved Arbor Day and Drug Recycling programs. For details see separate stories below.

Arbor Day Trash Pickup Saturday April 27

The annual Coraopolis Arbor Day Trash Pickup will be held this year on Saturday, April 27 from 9 am til noon.

Volunteers should report to Riverfront Park (1st Avenue & Broadway) at 8:30 am, hopefully with a pair of rubber gardening gloves and trash bags. (If you forget yours, or don't have one, officials will have extras at the Park.) Light refreshments will be available.

This is a work session so crews will be working rain or shine.

The idea is to walk streets and/or alleys from one end of town to the other and pick up any trash found.

Vehicles will be available for bulky items, like abandoned furniture.

Coraopolis does not really have a major litter problem, but it may be days like this that make sure one doesn't develop.

Cory's annual pick up day has far surpassed original expectations. "We were lucky to get five that first year, and now we attract 60-70 on a sunny day," explained Ed Pitassi of the sponsoring Shade Tree Commission.

Cory Police Host DEA Drug Take Back Day

The Coraopolis Police Department is hosting a Drug Take Back Day Saturday, April 27, from 10 am through 2 pm at its 4th Avenue station.

The goal is to rid Coraopolis of old drugs sitting in medicine cabinets, bedroom drawers, on night tables, in the kitchen or in purses.

Those drugs pose a huge problem. Sometimes kids or pets find and use them. Sometimes people think the drugs are still good and take them. Sometimes well meaning family members, while cleaning the house, find them and flush them down the toilet, throw them in the trash or dump them down the garbage disposal.

All of these are dangerous. The drugs can harm or even kill pets and kids. Not only are old drugs no longer effective, but they may have begun to deteriorate and can cause harm. They can also interact with other, newer drugs. Disposing of them in the sewer system, trash or garbage disposal can put the drugs in the water system. Water purification plants do not remove pharmaceuticals, so the chemicals in the drugs end up in drinking water.

The Police turn the drugs over to the DEA, which is equipped to destroy the drugs, reducing them to basic, harmless, chemicals.

Neville Board Ponders Cell Tower, Back Flow, Trash

The Neville Board of Commissioners has learned the simple process of installing a cell phone tower is a lot more complicated than they thought.

Neville's original cell phone tower was part of a factory facility which is being dismantled, so they need a replacement. Federal regulations do not permit a cell phone tower in a residential area, so they need to find a site elsewhere. They chose an open acre of land behind the Speedway station next to I-79, and contracted Windstream to build it.

Then, as required by law, they searched the history of that acre all the way back to 1905. Turns out it has a complex history. Harry Dravo owned it at one point. The old Neville Railroad, whose assets are now owned by CNN, had a right of way through that acre. Duquesne Light, Columbia Gas and Buckeye Pipeline all have easements. There are lines running underground and overhead. Neville will still get its cell phone tower, but it may have to be moved to one side of that acre to avoid all the easements. The Board may try to schedule a meeting of all easement owners so they can resolve the various issues quickly.

The Board discussed a new regulation requiring each tenant in a multi-tenant building to have their own trash container not to exceed 96 gallons in capacity. Waste Management Company also asks that residents stop using wooden slat platforms for trash containers, as trash falls down between the cracks and attracts animals. WMC also reminded everyone that trash must be bagged.

The Board approved a new chain link fence to replace the Memorial Park fence that was destroyed by wind over the Winter. Pieces of the old one have been removed.

Bids for the meeting room sound system came in too high and another round of bids will be invited.

 

The Board discussed the new parking restrictions on parking near the I-79 intersection on Grand Avenue. Signage has been erected.

General reconstruction of the Fleming Park Bridge is on schedule and the bridge should reopen no later than August. But an emergency has arisen. Sandblasting damaged the water lines running along the side of the bridge. 40 bolts on the dresser couplings must be replaced immediately. The Board authorized $2,720.72 to pay Mosites Construction Company to replace the bolts. Engineer Ned Mitrovich had warned the Board at the February meeting that these pipes were overdue for replacement anyway.

The Commissioners repealed an out of date regulation and passed a new one governing design, location, placement, building and maintenance of wireless communications towers or other devices.

The Solicitor pointed out that the new 5G routers are often installed atop existing utility poles but each one only serves four or five houses in the immediate vacinity.

The Police Report listed 105 traffic citations.

Columbia Gas has revised its stormwater runoff plan for its parking lot. The new plan has been properly submitted.

A problem has been discovered at the West View Water Treatment plant. A sludge layer has developed which must be transferred to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN).

 

The Solicitor pointed out that the Commissioners needed a law requiring a back flow device on water lines. A new regulation requires that the township enforce this standard. Because of events in places like Flint Michigan, Martin County Kentucky, and the city of Pittsburgh, water quality regulations are being tightened. More frequent sampling will now be required. The backflow devices are part of this tightening process. Because of low pressure events caused by frozen pipes, rapid emptying of water hydants while fighting a fire, or leakage from a broken pipe, contaminated water can flow backward into a home's clean water reservoir. The backflow device prevents this, mostly by maintaining an air gap in the pipe. Inspection is needed to guarantee compliance, and a data base must be maintained which an inspector can ask for at any time. To deal with this, most communities outsource the job of installing the backflow devices and maintaining the backflow database.

Mitrovich informed the Board that they needed to resume their policy of checking 20 meters a month. This policy had been temporarily suspended due to a manpower shortage.

Considerable discussion focused on the Salt Storage & Maintenance Building. The Commissioners had talked about this in previous meetings. Several liked the idea of T Walls. It was decided two members would visit the building and help Mitrovich decide which type of walls to install. However, several members also asked if the building could not be remodelled so the island street sweeper could be housed there during the Winter months. New regulations about highway salt storage discussed at the February meeting are forcing the township to build a new building.

Sue Etters (photo, above right) wanted to know why properties and alleys were allowed to deteriorate. She particularly objected to deep potholes in alleys in her neighborhood. She was told work is prioritized and the street crew gets to each job as quickly as possible. The holes in her alley have, in fact, been fixed. Finally, she asked about a cell phone tower harming area residents. She was told the proposed cell tower will be across the interstate from the nearest house and there is no record of a cell phone tower emitting waves strong enough to affect anyone that far away.

 

The Commissioners approved $14,395.50 to Independent Enterprises for the Walnut Street Drainage Improvement Project.

Commissioners were made aware of a sinkhole which has opened up at the corner of Grand and Second.

Official notification has been sent to Pennske about it being in violation of several standards.

Calgon is on schedule in revising its compliance policy and should have completed that process by the end of the month.

The final item discussed was the issue of broken glass during trash pickup in the Mansionettes. The large amount of broken glass damaged the seal on the Waste Management Truck. This broken glass was in the trash. The truck has been repaired, but WMC would like for this not to happen again.

They also encouraged volunteers to participate in the annual Earth Day Litter Pickup Saturday April 27 from 9 - noon. Volunteers should meet at the Fire Station.

And they reminded everyone of the upcoming Memorial Day Parade in Coraopolis on Monday at 1:30, during which commemorative services will be held, and the services at the Neville Island Honor Roll at 3 pm Sunday.

Neville Board Discusses Salt, Pipes, I-79

District Representative Anita Kulik opened the Neville Board of Commissioners February meeting by offering to help in whatever ways the Board might need. For example, she offered to add a letter from her office to any grant applications the Island might file. She mentioned possible riverfront park grants or public safety grants. Kulik (photo, right) said she was the only member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to have an inhabited island in her district and she took great pride in that. Kulik is a Carnegie native whose district includes much of the Western Hills.

Township Engineer Ned Mitrovich then went over a long list of items needing approval or attention. One of the major items was Highway Salt. The Island has been storing its salt in a facility under the I-79 inrerchange. But they have been notified that will no longer be possible. They are planning a new facility on Front River Road. But there are new 2019 regulations. Tarps or temporary covers are no longer allowed. Salt must be stored in a facility rain can no longer reach. Salt must not be able to mix with water and drain either along the surface or through the soil. Dissolved salt can no longer enter the river or the aquifers. This requires a paved floor in the storage facility. The floor must be sloped so it drains away from the doors, not toward them. Neville stores about 80 tons of salt each year, which it gradually draws down as the Winter progresses. A quonset hut was mentioned. A large tent is a possibility, but in all likelihood the state will not approve that because during a storm the tent could be torn or blown away and rain could reach the salt. A cone is a possibility. The structure must be high enough for equipment to load the truck. Neighbors expressed concern that they would be wakened by noise in the middle of the night as crews loaded the salt onto trucks. But they were assured that each snow only takes one truckful, and the truck is usually loaded the previous afternoon in anticipation. The fact the salt facility would be extremely close to the river poses problems which must be carefully considered and planned for.

The second major item Mitrovich mentioned was the replacement of water pipes, expansion joints and hanging brackets along the side of the Fleming Park Bridge now under a year's reconstruction. He told the Board those items were way overdue for replacement anyway. There's a walkway that runs along the pipeline so replacement will not be difficult.

He also informed the Council that the 2" water lines running along streets and roads will need upgrading to 6" lines. All the water lines run down the middle of the streets and roads under the pavement. Sewage lines run along the shoulders of streets and roads, sometimes under pavement, like sidewalks or curbs, but sometimes under dirt or gravel surfaces.

Shawn Carmody (photo, left), representing Jola Properties LLC, requested that the Board reduce the bond issue his client carries from $312, 843 to $75, 242. The bond is to guarantee Jola install fencing, lights, a traffic light, handicap ramp, landscaping and a properly paved and sealed parking lot. The lot under discussion was the former Biofuels building and grounds which front on Neville Road. Carmody explained that Jola had a tenant moving into the property March 1 and will have all the required details finished by sometime in March except for the landscaping, which has to wait for Spring. After some discussion, Council decided it had imposed a low bond to begin with and has never increased it due to inflation during the last four years. They explained they follow an ordinance and the purpose of a bond was to guarantee companies finished the job. So they declined to reduce the bond.

The Board discussed a new ordinance to govern installation of wireless antennae. Verizon had applied for a permit to install such antennae and the Board realized they had no regulations covering this. The main purpose of the ordinance was to cover how high and wide an antenna could be.

The Police report noted 18 alarms and 115 traffic citations, mostly for speeding on Neville Road. Some residents asked the Police about impatient drivers travelling through the traffic light then making a very extended left turn onto the I-79 entrance ramp rather thsn waiting for the left turn signal.

The Board approved a Frank Bryan plan to subdivide and develop several industrial lots between Neville Road and the Ohio River's Back Channel.

Boro Council Discusses ADA Ramp, Neely Heights Break

Coraopolis Borough Council breezed through a light list of topics at its February meeting but did focus on an ADA ramp and a pavement rupture on Neely Heights.

Council members convened at 6 pm and watched a Black History Month presentation before a packed chamber.

Then, at the very beginning of the actual meeting, Michael Williams of Fawcett Street (photo, right) regretfully submitted his resignation as a Council member. His growing family has required Fawcett to find a larger house so he is moving out of the community.

Both Council member Calvin Jackson of Highland Avenue and Roosevelt Jones (photo, below) of First Avenue expressed concern about the ADA ramp at Shelley Jones Park. At the intersection of First and Mill, there have been two ADA ramps. Jones and Jackson have noticed that the one ADA ramp has been eliminated, replaced by a high curb. The Engineer explained that the ADA ramp in question was not in compliance with current ADA regulations, so had to be replaced.

Furthermore, Mill Street gradually descends from the railroad crossing, and there has been a problem with water flow building up and flooding into the park. A high curb was needed to address this issue. So a new, compliant ADA ramp has been installed about two car lengths further down. It does require a little maneuvering around but offers a better slope. The park and the pavillion are still 100% handicap accessible.

John Pessy of Summit Street informed Council that there is a growing problem on Neely Heights. The Woodlawn Drive pavement is erupting, bad enough to be a traffic hazard, and the eruption is daily moving further down the street toward Main Street. The bulge is already a block long. Pessy said he believed the water line running below the street has burst. Because of the cold temperatures water is not reaching the surface but is freezing and pushing up the pavement. As soon as temperatures warm, the water will flow freely. He suggested a crew needs to inspect the site immediately and begin work.

Pessy also noted the rising costs of car repair on a police vehicle, pointing out that every month he is seeing these costs appearing on the invoices presented to Council. He was told that a new police car has been ordered and will replace the aging car needing all the repairs.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon reported that as soon as the weather breaks, work will begin on traffic signal replacement at the 4th Avenue and Mulberry intersection.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported 1522 phone calls, 278 complaints, 144 criminal investigations, 18 arrests, 12 accidents, one injury, 15 moving vehicle violations and 16 alarms for the month.

Mayor Shawn Reed reported that he has been asked to join a University Boulevard Planning Commission because even though the boulevard is in Moon, any changes may impact Coraopolis and Route 51. Reed also informed Council a developmental planning organization had visited Coraopolis earlier that day.

Because of the weather, no street or road work has been done, but road crews have been working 20 hour shifts to keep streets and roads salted and plowed.

Corrie Woods Announces For District Judge

Longtime Moon resident and local attorney Corrie Woods announced this week he will seek both the Democrat and Republican nominations for Magisterial District Judge.

The judgeship would preside over Coraopolis, Neville Island, Crescent Township and Moon Township.

Woods promises not to seek or accept contributions or endorsements from political parties, candidates, committees or interest groups.

"I want the support of the voters themselves," he explained. "I believe our community deserves a judge committed to serving them, not to serving politicians, donors and other insiders. I plan to run a grassroots campaign, ignoring typical paths to political success."

Woods went on to say that "once in office, I would dedicate myself to performing my duties, not running for reelection or running for some other office. Therefore, if elected, I would serve a single full term, and not try to use the position as a stepping stone to a higher public office. I am not interested in trying to amass political power."

Before founding Woods Law Offices, Corrie served as a judicial staff attorney with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and a judicial staff attorney for the First Judicial Circuit of West Virginia. He has earlier legal experience with the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender, as well as state consumer protection and civil rights law enforcement agencies. Corrie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he served on the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and received awards for excellence in the study of constitutional law and criminal appeals. Corrie also graduated summa cum laude with valedictory honors from West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences.

The primary election will be May 21.

The Judgeship has been vacant since former District Judge Mary Murray was named to the Pennsylvania State Superior Court in 2017.

Biology Class Going to Wallops Island
Cornell Hires Law Enforcement Liaison

At its February work session, the Cornell School Board approved the hiring of Jeff Korczyk as a Law Enforcement Liaison Officer. Korczyk (seated at right in photo below) is a 37 year veteran of the Bethel Park, Allegheny County and New York City Police Departments who retired in December.

His official title with Cornell will be School Resource Officer. Korczyk will be armed and in the event of an armed attacker at the school, he is authorized to intervene in whatever way is needed. He is trained and experienced in dealing with active shooters. However, he will not wear an official police uniform. He and Cornell administrators are designing a more civilian dress style.

Korczyk explained to the Board that he will not be there to enforce daily discipline. It will not be his job to tell students to remove their hats or sun glasses. Instead, he will serve in an educational capacity. He will meet with classes to talk about cyberbullying, internet behavior, behaviors to avoid, how to respond when adults behave in suspicious ways, what to do in crises, how to react to uniformed police officers, etc. With students in grades K-12, there are lots of classes to meet with on lots of different topics.

Korczyk majored in Education at Thiel College, but upon graduation he found out schools were cutting back and there were no teaching jobs. So he took a job in law enforcement while he waited for teaching jobs to open up.

Then he began rising in the law enforcement ranks and just stayed with it. He worked in homicide, narcotics and drug enforcement, becoming a Lieutenant.

Korczyk became acquainted with Coraopolis Police Chief Ron Denbow (seated at left in the photo at left) through various drug sting operations in the Western Hills.

"With Jeff's help, we took 85 drug dealers off the streets," Denbow told the Board. "We really cleaned up western Allegheny County. There's a lot less drug traffic here now because of him."

Denbow has been advising Cornell Superintendant Aaron Thomas to hire a permanent on campus laison officer because no matter how fast he and his men respond, they cannot get to the hilltop school in time to deal with a shooter.

"To think it can never happen here is a very dangerous attitude," Denbow explained. "We've learned it can happen anywhere."

Denbow used Tree of Life as an example. "Who in the world would have imagined we would see an attack on a synagogue? These school attacks have happened in suburban communities filled with good kids. We have to realize : It Can Happen Anywhere."

Korzcyk will work closely with the Coraopolis and Ohio Township Police. "I'm here to protect our kids," he emphasized. "Whatever it takes. We want our kids to feel safe. We want our parents to know their kids are safe."

Cornell is already a fortress. During the school day, any visitor must come to the door and buzz in. Once a school official admits them, they first pass through a small room adjacent to the office and sign in. Then they must come down a long narrow hall before reaching classrooms or other areas where students might be. So it's already difficult for a shooter to get to the students. Now, they'll be met at the door by Korzcyk, who will add an additional safeguard. As a certified police officer, he has the power to arrest.

"We have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst," Thomas said. "Better safe than sorry."

Korzcyk will conduct drills to prepare students for emergencies. He's trained in how to defuse dangerous situations without using his firearm.

"My Dad worked for Chester Engineering," Korzcyk explained. "When I started Chief White was in charge here. So I'm familiar with the town. I like it here."

In other business, Peter Vancheri (photo, above), representing the firm of Hosack, Specht, Muetzel and Wood, reviewed the recent audit of school finances. Cornell saw revenue of $14 million and $15 million of expenditures. The revenues were 65% local, 29% state and 6% federal. So the district overspent by $817 thousand. But such an "overage" is not unusual. Some property taxes are late in coming in, and were not yet in by the time the audit closed the books. It is not possible to accurately forecast substitute teacher costs, or to forecast how many students will choose to attend Parkway West Vocation Center (to which Cornell then pays tuitions), how many students will enroll in cyberschool courses, or how many students will be classified Special Education.

"Small school districts routinely have swings. Some years they're over and some under. There's nothing here to worry about, no weaknesses, no noncompliance. The district is in solid financial shape."

Vancheri also reported that Cornell has a $20 million 900 thousand net pension liability, meaning the eventual future projected payouts for retirements. This is within the expected range of what would be expected of a school district of this size.

Stephanie Mazzocco reported that the Parkway West Vocational Center is adding a program in Diesel Engine Servicing. Dealers and repair centers across Western Pennsylvania are demanding trained specialists in this field. Currently there is a critical shortage. Parkway West is also adding a Veterinarian Assistant program. The Vocational Center serves 12 school districts.

The Board approved the annual Biology field trip to Wallops Island, Va. to the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Students will spend four days at Wallops Island (photos above and right) studying Marine Biology. The Board also approved the ninth grade trip to Gettysburg National Park, the band trip to Cedar Point, and Miriam Klein's trip to the Book Expo in New York City.

Michele Santicola Enters Judgeship Race

Local attorney Michele Santicola this week declard her candidacy for District Judge, seeking the nomination of both Democrat and Republican parties.

Ms. Santicola is a graduate of Duquesne University and the Dickinson College of Law. She has practiced law for 20 years.

Santicola began her career as a Deputy Attorney General in the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General. She handled both civil and criminal cases, directed and supervised invesrigations, and presented cases to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury. She also argued cases before the Superior and Commonwealth Courts.

She then went into private practice. She has also worked for Corporate Security Investigations (CSI). In 2012 Santicola was appointed as the Hearing Examiner for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. She held that job for four years, then returned to private practice.

She has recently served on the Moon Township Board of Supervisors, as a trustee on the Moon Area Education Foundation and as a member of the Moon School Board's Superintendant Search Committee.

She and husband Mike and their two children reside in Moon Township, where they attend St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.

The primary election will be held May 21.

Cory's Rosetta (Miller) Perry Honored By NNPA

Rosetta Perry will be honored this week at the National Newspaper Publishers Conference in Orlando. She will be given the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Perry attended McKinley Elementary and Coraopolis Junior High and graduated from Coraopolis High School in 1952 as Rosetta Miller. She was the daughter of the late Anderson and Mary Irvin Miller. The family, which included nine children, lived at 866 First Avenue.

Upon leaving Coraopolis, Ms. Perry entered the Navy, eventually being assigned to the Adjutant General's Office in Germany and then to the Pentagon. After her military service, she earned a degree in Chemistry from the University of Memphis and continued her education at Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University. In 1960 she became involved with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King. She was assigned to cover the Memphis Garbage Strike as a reporter and later covered the FBI investigation of Dr. King, his assassination, and the events that followed. In 1975 she was named Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Perry retired from the Commission in 1990 to found the Tennessee Tribune, which she still runs. In 1998 she created the Cebrun Journalism Center to train young Journalists. Memphis State University created the Rosetta Miller Scholarship in her honor.

Max Feldman Seeks District Judgeship

Coraopolis attorney Max Feldman annouced this week he would be seeking the position of District Judge.

Feldman has practiced family, civil and criminal law in the Western Hills for 29 years.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Feldman earned his B.A. from Penn State, then his law degree from the University of Dayton. While there, he was editor of the Dayton Law Review. He served as Law Clerk for Judge Shad Connelly in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas for two years, then returned to Allegheny County to go into private practice and become a Moon Township resident.

The local judicial district includes Coraopolis, Neville, Moon and Crescent Townships. The Judgeship has been vacant since former District Judge Mary Murray was named to the Pennsylvania State Superior Court in 2017.

Feldman and wife Carolyn have four sons, two of whom practice law with him. One is an assistant wrestling coach at Moon Area High School.

"I have the legal experience and judicial temperament to be a fair and impartial judge," Feldman said in a prepared statement. "I have spent a great deal of time in family law and I know how difficult it can be for families to appear before a judge. I am a good listener. I know how to work with people."

Feldman is seeking both Democrat and Republican nominations for Judge.

The primary will be Tuesday, May 21st.

Caroline Herring Wins Chili Cookoff

Caroline Herring (right, center) of Sewickley won the Coraopolis Chili Cookoff Saturday at Cobblehaus Brewing Company.

12 cooks entered the competition.

The event attracted 120 patrons, who sampled both the Chili and some of the Cobblehaus Brewery's hand crafted beers. Each patron filled out a ballot. The ballots were totalled to select the winner.

Over $1500 dollars was raised for the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation Food Pantry.

That's Matt Morrow on the left and Carissa Motisi on the right in the photo. Matt's Chili was second and Carissa's was third.

The first 100 attendees took home a handcrafted ceramic bowl made by artist Terra Mayes (from Terra By Terra) and her students.

Herring is the chef at Christy House in Sewickley.

Back 2 School Bash To Be Held Saturday

Saturday, August 11 from noon to 3 pm, Coraopolis Youth Creations will host its annual Back 2 School Bash at which they will distribute FREE day packs filled with school supplies.

In addition to the day packs and school supplies, food and games will be provided.

The food will include soft drinks, Snow Cones, hot dogs and popcorn.

A professional face painter will be there, along with a bounce house, prize wheel, football toss, plinko, tug of war rope, froggy fly fling, giant connect 4, animal toss, duck pond, bowling, pop bottle toss, spin art, corn hole, hamster ball and gaga ball.

There will be no admission. The event is possible thanks to donations by residents and businesses in Coraopolis.

Moon Girls Volleyball Boosters hereby gives notice that articles of incorporation for a nonprofit will be filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on or before August 15, 2018, under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law of 1988, approved December 21, 1988, P.L. 1444, No. 177, effective October 1, 1989, as amended. The purpose for which the corporation is to be organized is for supporting the Moon girls volleyball program. Lisa Sims is the Treasurer on record. This notice shall serve as fulfillment of the legal requirement that the public be duly notified of such incorporation.
Fleming Park Bridge To Close For One Year

The Fleming Park Bridge, which connects Neville Island with Stowe Township, will close next week and remain closed for a full year.

While closed, repairs and upgrades will be made to pavement, sidewalks, trusses and other details.

Coraopolis and Neville residents driving into McKees Rocks are advised to use Route 51 through Robinson, Kennedy and Stowe Townships. Those travelling into Pittsburgh are advised to use the I-79 Bridge over to the Ohio River Boulevard, and enter the city through the North Side.

The original Fleming Park Bridge was built in 1894. The current one replaced it in 1955

Old Borough Building Sells For $150,100

The former Coraopolis Municipal Building has sold for $150,100, it was announced Wednesday night at the Borough Council Meeting.

Several Council members commented that this was more than they had expected to get for the building, which will need a significant investment to remove mold and remodel it for any new use.

However, the back, facing State Avenue, does contain the old Fire House, which housed the fire engines, and that space could be rented right away for storage or indoor parking. And the parking lot next door, which was included with the building, could be rented for parking right away.

The building ssrved as the center for Coraopolis government and housed the Police and Fire Departments from 1929 until 2017, when all of those moved to the new Municipal Building on 4th Avenue. The Coraopolis Public Library was also housed in the basement from 1929 until 1952, when Leonard Cahen and Harry Houtz spearheaded a drive to raise the funds to build the Memorial Library on School Street.

The building could be torn down. It is not on the historic register and is not protected. But its interior spaces would be ideal for boutique outlets such as barbers, hairdressers, manicurists, tattoo artists, travel agents or specialty stores selling comic books, cigars, cards, or other items not requiring a full size storefront.

In other news, Police Chief Ron Denbow, shown at left, honored three members of the Coraopolis Canine Unit. Officer Shawn Quinn, shown at left, and canine partner Amore have received their certification for patrol, tracking, and narcotics detection. These certifications have to be earned again every year. On a sadder note, Chief Denbow told Council retired canine Rebel died last week. He has been cremated and his ashes will be retained in an urn. Chief Denbow emphasized that Rebel had served long and well in his duties and will be fondly remembered.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon announced that he and his staff are in the process of properly disposing of records going back 100 years. He emphasized that these are records of no value. Records that do have value, such as meeting minutes and tax records, are kept.

Denbow reported that for the last month Police had received 403 complaints, made 43 arrests, recovered one vehicle, issued 139 parking citations, and mailed 15 grass and weed letters.

The Borough Engineer reported that the contract for paving the Shelley Jones basketball court has been issued to Hilltop Paving.

Council learned that no company had bid for the paving of Brook Street. The job is being readvertised for rebid. Council approved $35,000 to finish repaving Chestnut Street below the tracks. Council discussed using concrete or asphalt on paving Main Street between 4th and 5th Avenue. Due to heavy traffic, Chairman Robb Cardimen recommended concrete. The bid will include curbing and sidewalks.

Charles Spencer of Hiland Avenue informed Council the public staircase between Hiland and Edgewood is being neglected, that the concrete and guardrails are deteriorating and weeds, especially Knotweed, are taking over (see photo, right). Council agreed to look into it.

Mayor Shawn Reed announced that his Communication Committee is creating a borough Facebook page, wants to update the town website more quickly, and would like to hire an intern from Robert Morris.

Melissa Walsh said she is working with Mayor Reed to plan an electronic recycling pickup. But there will be a cost per item.

Moon Breaks Ground For New Playground

Moon Township officially broke ground Wednesday on a new playground at Moon Park.

The afternoon ceremonies at the Saturn Pavilion included short speeches by local administrators and politicians. Then a dozen officials posed with shovels in hand in a simulated ground breaking.

The playground will totally replace the old playground, which has been located on the hillside at the back of the park. Certain iconic pieces, like the space rocket, will be relocated to other areas of the park where kids can continue to climb on them or otherwise enjoy them.

Many pieces, however, have been deemed obsolete and will simply be junked. These include the spider, which is actually a carefully disguised climbing apparatus.

The new playground, which will cover a much larger area, will include age specific play areas, one for 2-to-5 children, one for 5-to-12 children, a splash pad, an obstacle course and an adult fitness area. The photo at right shows a similar splash pad already in use at another park.

The splash pad will be located on the level land at the top of the slope where the road is now. The road is being relocated to run along the back boundary of the park.

The present playground has remained almost untouched, except for an occasional repainting, for 50 years, since the park opened.

The idea behind the new playground is that parents can exercise on their own while watching their children close by. Each area is designed to allow children to explore and play undirected, making decisions, moving at their own pace, and trying new things.

The playground is only part of a complete updating of 280 acre Moon Park. The overall plan includes relocation of the through road, creation of a sledriding hill, a skateboarding area, a total renovation and possible reorientation of DiVenzio Little League Field, and the creation of two new baseball fields, one for Pony League, one for high school baseball.

A "Miracle Field," designed to let handicapped children participate in various activities, is being built.

The wooded parts of the park, which include hiking trails, will be left alone, although a mountain biking trail is being added.

Moon Park is the largest and most extensively developed of the Moon park system. It includes a fishing lake, soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, amphitheater, picnic tables, and picnic shelters.

It is probably most known for its annual Fourth of July Festival, a major event which includes live music, celebrity appearances, concessions, games and a fireworks display at dark. As other area communities have abandoned their fireworks displays, Western Hills residents have made a tradition of going to Moon Park in the afternoon with a picnic basket and lawn chairs, letting the kids enjoy the park's other facilities, watching the concert, and then gathering together at dark for the fireworks. The new playground will become a part of this annual ritual beginning in 2019.

Food Trucks, Streets, Festival Occupy Council

Scott Mills (photo, below) of Cobblehaus Brewery appeared before Coraopolis Borough Council Wednesday night requesting authorization for food trucks to once again park adjacent to the Brewery during Summer evenings. The Brewery is not a restaurant so the food trucks serve a legitimate need, he explained. On nights the food trucks are in town he draws from 50-100 additional customers. Mills pointed out that some of the food trucks are so popular they have their own loyal following. Next to the Brewery is a large parking lot.

Various Council members had concerns. The pavement was not intended to support heavy trucks. Trucks block the view of people trying to exit the parking lot onto busy 5th Avenue (Route 51). The benches and planters would have to be moved. Trucks would interfere with people who just like to walk downtown and sit in the Gazebo.

Rudy Boleo (photo below) emphasized that he welcomed food trucks to town but would prefer they park alongside the building and not over near the Gazebo. Some suggested the trucks park out on the street. But it was pointed out that there is a state regulation forbidding food trucks parking on the pavement of a state highway. Council President Robb Cardimen added that food trucks would need a specific permit each time they showed up. Mills reminded the Board the trucks would not be in town every night but only once a week or even once every two weeks. Board voted to approve the food trucks.

Second, Council approved the acquisition of three addresses : 1013 Birch Way, 1000 First Avenue, and 105 Kendall. The lots will be cleared and sold. Members worried that someone could buy the properties and build a storage facility, or simply store materials on it. But it was mentioned that the neighborhood is zoned Light Industrial, which allows storage facilities and storage piles. The Zoning Board could not deny an application to build a storage facility. The 1013 Birch Way property was controversial; it had been abandoned when the owner died, and borough inspection found that one wall was filled with Bees.

John May informed the Council that his department had bought a zero turn lawn mower and would now be cutting its own grass rather than hiring someone else to do it. May also proposed buying a used truck for $4,000. He informed Council he was having trouble attracting bids on new garage doors.

Manager Ray McCutcheon told Council the Open House was a success with 125-150 visitors. Mayor Shawn Reed and McCutcheon conducted tours of the Municipal Building, and Chief Denbow and Officer Litterini conducted tours of the Fire and Police Wings.

McCutcheon also announced the bid for replacing the roofing on the dugouts, concession stand and rest rooms at Ronnie Bliwas Field came to $3925. The new roofing will be metal. Council approved that and a $750 cost for nine new police uniforms. McCutcheon informed Council there would soon be new traffic lights at 4th & Mulberry and 4th & Mill.

A 30 car parking lot was approved for Little League parents. Until now, they have been parking on the street, taking up residential parking. The parking will also serve the planned Riverfront Park.

The most controversial decision of the evening was to approve the closing of Chestnut Street for the week July 8th - July 15th for the St. Joe's Festival. Chief Denbow had already warned Council that with the new Fire Station right across 4th Avenue, his fire trucks need the street kept clear for fast response to a fire alarm. He also reminded them that state law required that streets leading away from the fire station be kept open. But Denbow was not at this meeting, and most council members voted to close it.

Vine Street residenrs continue to complain about the deteriorating state of their street. Council assured them it was on the list but others had priority.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting was the Mayor's Report. Shawn Reed first discussed the need to review the Borough's permitting system to make sure the permit forms in use are up to date, and, more importantly, fit 21st Century laws and ordnances.

Reed also reminded Council that he has a committee forming which will work on efficient means of communicating Borough business to residents as quickly and accurately as possible.

Reed then explained an initiative he is very excited about. Coraopolis native Jimmy Swartz (photo, left), a venture capitalist with degrees from Harvard, Princeton and Carnegie Mellon, has recently given a $31 million grant to CMU for the founding of Enterpreunership Studies. Swartz, who was a star halfback on Cory's last undefeated championship football team, no longer lives in the area but returns frequently and has retained an interest in Coraopolis. Reed has had conversations with him about ways in which this Enterpreunership program could help people or companies in Coraopolis. The dialogue right now is in very preliminary stages, but Reed would like to match local enterpreneurs with venture capital. This would not be government grants but private equity money. Reed will update Council as the dialogue continues.

Cornell Youth Baseball Association
Fall Registration
The Cornell Little League will offer a Fall Season for 2018. The games will begin the day after Labor Day and continue for six weeks through mid October.
All Players Are Guaranteed To Be Placed On A Team, To Receive Personal Attention At Every Practice, And To Play In Every Game
T-Ball (ages 4-5-6) Coach Pitch League (7-8) Minor League (9-10) Major League (11-12)
Registration will begin July 5th and continue until August 14
Players need not live in Coraopolis or on Neville Island
Fees will be $50 for one player and $10 for each brother or sister
High School and College Softball Coaches Agree That The Best Preparation For Softball is Little League Baseball.
Medical Statistics Show That Baseball Has The Lowest Injury Rate, Especially The Lowest Concussion and ACL Rates, Of All Youth Sports Including Soccer, Football and Basketball
All Practices and Games Will Be Held At Bliwas Field In Coraopolis At 6 PM Or On Saturdays
Roof Mostly Done, VFW Turns To Memorial

Their building's roof mostly repaired, the Coraopolis VFW is turning its attention to the Memorial outside.

They raised the $35,000 needed for the roof via a GuFundMe campaign, but it's not certain how they'll raise the money for the Memorial. It will be a much smaller amount.

The Memorial is not to be confused with the famous Doughboy Statue, which sat in front of the Borough Building for 10 years, the high school for 50 years, the Library for 30 years, and has now resided in front of the VFW for 10. It commemorates World War I dead.

The problem with the Memorial is that its brick foundation is crumbling, as can be seen in these photos. "It's pretty serious," noted Jack Cairns, American Legion Service Officer and VFW Parade Marshall.

The only work remaining on the roof is the "pointing" of the brickwork around the edges.

But the Monument may have to be totally dismantled and redone to correct the decaying brickwork.

Making matters worse, before the VFW can start on the monument, it has to take care of crumbling curbs, sidewalks and part of the brick surface on Mulberry Street. Homeowners or business owners are responsible for the sidewalks and curbs in front of their places. An old water line may be collapsing under the street, which is causing the caving in there. Because of potential liability, that project has moved to the top of the VFW priority list.

However, that's OK, because they need time to do some research on the memorial. The original plans were to include large plaques with names of all Coraopolis residents killed in combat in the two world wars, in Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Since then, there may also be names from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The World War I names are on plaques on the base of the Doughboy.

There was once a statue at the front of the Key Bank parking lot when it was Union National Bank. That statue carried the names of all World War II dead. The plaques from that statue, and a book with those names in it, were taken for storage to the Coraopolis Library. A VFW member is now searching for either the plaques or the book. Joe Divito of the Historical Society is also seeking a photo of that old statue, if anyone has one. A VFW committee will have to track down the names of Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq dead. There are ways to do that using military records.

The monument has long been due for updating anyway. It was never done the way it was intended. Two out of town bricklayers were hired for the job and disappeared halfway through it. They had been paid up front and the VFW did not have the money to hire someone else. So the plates with the names were never mounted and the top half of the momument never done.

Formal fundraising has not yet begun but anyone wishing to donate to the effort should contact John Radcliff at the VFW.

Robin Gilligan

Construction & Remodelling

412-262-2913

marybeth@robingilligan-construction.com

The Western Hills' Premier Custom Home Builder

Cory Honors Its Veterans With 88th Annual Parade

Coraopolis honored its war heroes on Memorial Day 2018 with the annual parade and special ceremonies.

This parade was the 88th consecutive, making it the second longest continuously running such event in Pennsylvania. Lawrenceville in Pittsburgh has the longest, dating back to the 1800s. Cory's was first staged in 1930. Several communities began their Memorial Day marches earlier, mostly in the 1910s or 1920s, but did not hold theirs during the World War II years. Cory continued to hold its during the war.

The usual large crowd lined 5th Avenue for the bands and fire engines, but the day's most important events were held at the cemetery and the reviewing stand, where those who gave their lives during the various wars, and those veterans who passed away during the previous year were honored.

Since Memorial Day 2017, Coraopolis has lost 27 more veterans. They include Jim Noyes, Joe Balogh, Bill Weisser, Anthony Lioi, Gerald Felix, Bob Fleet, Beverly Howard, Bob Hetherington, Al Miller, Carl Trulli, John Shubert, Richard Foster, Ken Morrison, Bob Oberleitner, Bill Lottes, Joe Dichko, John Fallat, Frank Handlovich, John Pawlik, Stanley Pyrdowski, Louis Scalise, Joe Topol, Russell Musta, Ed Tomasil, Jim Couse, Stanley Keefer and Karl Ceyrolles.

In addition to honoring those men who gave their lives during the wars or have died since, Coraopolis also honored the ones still with us.

The two oldest members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, Bob Massimini and Danny Larocco, rode in uniform in convertibles at the head of the parade.

Massimini (photo, left) served in the Navy as a Marine (Marines back then were a branch of the Navy, and technically still are). He served in the Pacific, most notably Corregidor and Iowa Jima. He paused before the parade to reminisce with a Record reporter.

"I loved it," he said, "And I'd do it again. But while we were in the middle of it, it was Hell multipled several times over. We were in danger every minute of every day. You just got to the point where you took it for granted and didn't think about it. I lost a lot of good friends over there."

Possibly his most vivid memory was the day he returned home. Men arriving in Coraopolis before him rode into town on special trains decorated with red, white and blue bunting and were greeted by huge crowds at the Coraopolis Station. But by the time he got back from the Pacific and was discharged, all that was over. His train arrived in Pittsburgh at 2:00 a.m. and just dropped the men off. There were no special trains to take them out to their smaller towns. The buses and taxiis weren't running in the middle of the night. So he just sat on a bench in the station, in his Navy uniform, with his duffel bag, figuring he'd sleep until dawn when the buses began running again. His nap was interrupted by a woman tapping on his arm.

"Pardon me," she asked. "Are you lost? Is everything OK?" He explained to her that he had to wait for daylight til the buses began running.

"Where are you from?" She asked. He told her Coraopolis. She insisted on putting him in her car and giving him a ride to his front door in Coraopolis. He tried to get her name so he could somehow pay her back for her kindness. She refused. "You served our country," she said. "This is the least I could do."

The other elder veteran is Danny Larocco, seen in the photo at right. He served in the infantry in the Philippines and Korea. Larocco admits he was rather a free spirit as a kid. "I started working at the Glass House at age 12," he laughs. "I wasn't much for school. I lied about my age and forged my parents signatures and enlisted at age 16. I dropped them a postcard just before I boarded the train. I was gone for three days before they found out where I was."

He had some narrow escapes. "The LSTs were dropping us off at the beaches. We had to hold our guns over our heads and wade ashore. But they assumed everyone was six feet tall and the boats could only come in so close. I was short. I had that heavy pack on, and the gun. I was in way over my head. I came close to drowning. Some guys around me held me up and towed me to shallow water."

As they invaded the islands, one by one, there was hand to hand combat. Larocco shows a vicious looking wound on his left hand and wrist. "One of the Japanese soldiers got me with his bayonet before I killed him. We were in battle. There were no medics. I just wrapped it with a handerchief and kept going. Later on, medics came around and asked if anyone was in need of medical attention. I didn't even say anything. It took a while to heal, but since I got out of the army it hasn't given me any trouble."

Larocco is proud of the fact this is his 71st consecutive Memorial Day Parade to march or ride in. He'll turn 90 in a few months.

The parade this year included 44 units and cost $6000 to stage. Residents assume the Coraopolis Borough puts it on, but actually it has always been a project of the Keith Holmes Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. They rely on donations from merchants and residents and hold Car Cruises and Bar Crawls to fund it. The Borough chips in with an annual check.

This year's parade took 60 minutes to pass a given point. Spectators came early and set up beach chairs and sometimes tents. Fifth Avenue on both sides was lined for the two mile parade route.

Over the years the exact makeup of the parade has evolved. Traditionally it has included marching bands from all the Western Hills high schools plus drum and bugle corps from around the Pittsburgh area. This year fewer bands participated but now there are dance teams and a Scottish Bagpipe band, which has been a major hit the last several years. Western Hills fire and police departments drive their vehicles. The fire truck at left is a 1939 model owned by the Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department.

The truck at right is a 1945 version owned by the Groveton Volunteer Fire Department.

Costumed characters from popular films have become part of the parade. This year, there were Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, Ghost Busters (with a Ghost), and various others.

Politicians also rode or marched in the parade. In addition to Cory's own Mayor, Shawn Reed, they included State Representative Anita Kulik and Congressional candidate Conor Lamb (photo, below right).

A recent tradition has developed in which passengers in vehicles toss candy out to kids along the way. The tradition has become so entrenched that many kids now bring bags with them to collect it, like a second Halloween.

It was a 92 degree, very humid day, and ice water was a prized item.

Tootsie's

The Place For Breakfast & Lunch

701 5th Avenue, Coraopolis

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays

Cornell Ranked #1 In Pa. In "OverAchievement"

The Pittsburgh Business Times has ranked the Cornell School District #1 in Pennsylvania in a unique study that determines how students perform compared to how predictions say they should perform. The Times used a mathematical formula that considered the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, average family income, parental education level, and other socioeconomic factors to predict how well a district would do on standardized tests, then checked to see if the students lived up to those expectations. Many wealthy districts underperformed. Some districts exceeded expectations. But Cornell exceeded them more than any other district, meaning Cornell teachers and programs are doing the best job in the state of helping students fulfill and surpass their potentials. Dr. Aaron Thomas, Cornell Superintendant, presented this information to the Board Thursday evening at its May meeting. The Coraopolis Record obtained a copy of the Business Times article. Beaver Falls, New Brighton, Montour and Uniontown also ranked high in this part of the state. The PBT study may be the best indicator of which school districts are the most effective.

In other news, 18 have enrolled in the Pre Kindergarten program for the 2018-19 school year.

Cornell students will be featured in an upcoming Post Gazette article on "Remake Learning," a campaign to help them adapt to rapidly changing technology.

Dr. John Collins of Stanford was at Cornell recently to work with teachers on the teaching of writing.

90 students attended the 2018 prom, the most in 20 years.

79 students grades 7-12 were recognized at the Academic Awards Break- fast.

The publication "The Scene" visited Cornell recently to film a story on STEAM (science, technology and art) learning.

A popup art exhibit was held recently, and a Computer Science Showcase in science fair style is scheduled.

Stephanie Mazzocco was named Treasurer for the coming year.

Agreement with the Cornell Education Association has been reached on a new contract, well ahead of the deadline.

Baccalaureat will be held Tuesday, May 29, graduation Thursday June 1, the final day of school June 6, and the Kennywood picnic June 11.

Cornell Board Recognizes Palo, Harrison, Teamor

At its regular monthly meeting for April, Cornell's School Board recognied teacher Amy Palo and student Cymoni Harrison and extended the contrtacts of Athletic Director Bill Sacco and Trainer James Peters.

Social Studies teacher Amy Palo has been awarded a $24,000 James Madison Fellowship to pursue her Masters Degree in American History with an emphasis on Constitutional Law. She can pursue the degree at any major college but must include 12 credits in the U.S. Constitution.

"I'm not sure yet where I'll go," she told reporters. "First, of course, I have to be admitted to a school. It'll be tough to decide where to go, but I'm really excited."

Harrison, a senior, received the Founders Award at the Digital Media Arts Consortium held recently at Peters Township. The DMAC is sponsored by Robert Morris University to promote online journalism.

In routine business, the Board approved $5,990 for the A. G. Mauro Company to inatall inside vestibule doors at the Elementary School entrance.

A request was approved for $250 for Miriam Klein to attend the National Book Expo in New York City May 30th - June 1st.

James Peters is a graduate of Wayneburg University who has served as Cornell's Athletic Trainer for the last several years. Peters, who played football at Western Beaver HS and Waynesburg, is at all football and volleyball, boys and girls basketball, and baseball and aoftball games, plus at as many practices as possible since they often overlap with either games or with other practices. He is not a doctor but is trained in the medical procedures that involve sports injury prevention and treatment. From August through May the job demands long hours, evenings and weekends. It is the official recommendation of the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations that every high school have a qualified, certified trainer present at all games, but small schools often find this difficult, since trainers are in short supply.

Bill Sacco has served as Cornell's Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director for 20 years. Prior to coming to Cornell, he was head basketball coach at West Allegheny, Moon and Ambridge.

Sacco is past retirement age and no longer teaches classes. Under his supervision, despite being the smallest public high school in western Pennsylvania, Cornell has continued to field teams in baseball, softball, track, swimming, volleyball, football, and girls and boys basketball. Very few similarly sized high schools field as many teams.

The Board approved the hiring of Dorian Maynard as Assistant Track Coach, and Susan Wilkinson and Crystal Maynard-Smith as Secretaries.

The Board approved a five year financing agreement with First National Bank to cover the high school classroom renovation project discussed and approved at prior meetings. When Cornell School was designed and built back in the 1970s, it was an innovative school without walls. But that concept did not work. It was necessary to go back and install walls, but they were only temporary. Now, Cornell is going back, removing those temporary walls and replacing them with permanent walls that will include wiring and fixtures to meet 21st Century building codes.

Melanie Turner was recognized for winning the local Spelling Bee. She will represent Cornell in the state competition.

25 middle school students attended a Google conference on staying safe online. The experience included work on coding.

13 students have registered for Head Start and 16 for Pre-Kindergarten.

A parent workshop will be held on April 25 as part of the SNAP program to control behavior. On May 24 Cornell will also host a grant writers conference.

Moon Park Under Major Reconstruction

The next time you visit Moon Park you may find it looks like a different place. Bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy equipment are hard at work reconfiguring rhe landscape.

The road that runs through the park is being relocated. It will still enter and exit at the same places, but a new road is being built which runs closer to the outside boundary. When the new road is finished, the old road will be jack hammered out of existence and in many places grass and trees planted to replace it.

However, along the ridge near DiVenzio Field a children's water park will be built along the location where the road has been.

A new water line has already been laid into the park, and the excavation filled back in.

The soccer field just to the right of the park entrance is being moved. It will be recreated at the far back of the park.

In its place a new Miracle Field will be built. This will allow handicapped children to play baseball. The surface will be soft rubber to cushion falls. The lines will be wide and bright so vision impaired children can see them. The dugouts and rest rooms will be wheelchair and walker accessible. Basepaths and the batting box will be designed for wheelchairs and walkers. There will also be a specially designed handicap accessible playground and walking trails designed for wheelchairs and walkers.

The lingering Winter weather had slowed the project, but officials are hoping to have everything finished by Fall. The Miracle Field will be available for 2019.

Council Honors Joe Divito, Officers

Coraopolis Borough Council began its April meeting by honoring long time resident Joe Divito and three men who went into a burning building to rescue sleeping residents.

Mayor Shawn Reed presented Divito with a plaque. After a lifetime of living on Montour Street, the 81 year old Divito and his wife are moving. He served in the Marine Corps, then came home and worked at Shenango and Quest. He also served on Council, became its President, then was elected Mayor. More recently, he has served as President of the Cory Historical society and produced two books on Coraopolis.

Police Chief Ron Denbow then honored Sergeant Robert Litterini, Detective Jason Stewart and Dispatcher Zachary Barravechio for their courage during the recent apartment building fire at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Montour Street. After the building was engulfed in flames and most residents had been evacuated, the three officers went back into the building. Despite the heat and smoke, they knocked on each door and went into apartments. They found one resident still asleep and helped him and others out of the building. Denbow told the Council and audience that there is absolutely no doubt the man and the others would have died had it not been for the rescuers. They risked their lives and Stewart was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Denbow and Mayor Reed presented each man with a plaque.

The rest of the meeting was routine.

Denbow presented the monthly Police report. They received 1295 calls and 510 complaints. They conducted 123 criminal investigations and 45 arrests and issued 80 parking violations, including one vehicle towed.

Much of the discussion dealt with street and road maintenance. It has been a particularly bad Winter for concrete and asphalt, with recurring cycles of bitter cold and warming. With the weather finally stabilizing, potholes are beginning to be repaired and other work is underway. First and Second Avenues are a special focus as they are badly deteriorated. The Council voted to invite bids but for three different levels of work, representing three different degrees of excavating down and repaving.Workers cannot simply add asphalt or concrete on top of the existing surface because it would affect curbs, drainage, catch basins and driveways. They also need to consult with water authorities because under the surfaces are 100 year old water lines. This might be the appropriate time to update those lines. Unlike most Coraopolis streets, First and Second Avenues are not built atop brick foundtions.

Court Upholds New Voting Map

The Regional Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court have upheld the new voting map drawn up by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Stanford University Law professor Nathan Persily.

The new map, which takes effect immediately, places Coraopolis, along with the rest of western and northern Allegheny County, in the 17th District along with all of Beaver County.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is controlled by Democrats, announced back in December that the existing map favored Republicans and had to be redrawn. The Court then hired Persily to draw up a version. If the court did not like any maps the Pennsylvania State Legislature drew up, it would declare the Persily map official. That is what happened.

Republicans appealed, arguing that the U.S. Constitution assigned each State Legislature the duty of redrawing the state's maps every 10 years to adjust to population change as revealed by the 10 year census. They argued that the Constitution could have assigned the courts the task of drawing the maps but it did not.

But the higher courts ruled that the Pennaylvania Supreme Court map could stand.

Temporarily, Democrat Conor Lamb is the Congressman for Coraopolis, Moon and the Western Hills.

Lamb (photo, left) defeated Republican Rick Saccone last week in a special election called to replace Tim Murphy, who was forced to resign after he urged his mistress to get an abortion. That special election was held in the old 18th District, which began at Coraopolis and wrapped around Pittsburgh in an odd shape. Both Saccone and Lamb received heavy funding from their national parties. Lamb presented himself as a moderate Democrat with many Conservative leanings. For instance, he disavowed Nancy Pelosi, gun control, and open borders.

The Pennsylvania controversy over gerrymandered voting districts is just part of a larger national debate. Whichever party is in power each 10th year has always drawn the voting districts in such a way as to give them a poltical advantage. But that trick has lately become more extreme, until many states now have wildly absurd districts. Lawsuits have been filed in several of those states, but Pennsylvania was considered the top example. It was described as "the most ridiculously gerrymandered state in national history." Democrats want voting maps redrawn in as many states as possible to give them control of Congress, or at least the House of Representatives, so they can initiate proceedings to impeach President Donald Trump or, if that fails, at least block his agenda.

Montour Creek Back To Normal Color, Flow

The Montour Creek is back to normal this week with flow down and color restored. As the photo at right (obviously taken between snows) shows, along its banks some bushes are already budding out, although the trees are still waiting for warmer weather.

Last week, it was overflowing its banks and running a whitish green. The creek drains 37 square miles out beyond Imperial and Clinton. The area includes a series of long abandoned and sealed coal mines active between 1900 and 1960. There is sulfur remaining in those coal seams. The heavy rains fill the mines with water. The water dissolves the sulfur and creates sulfuric acid, which then dissolves traces of aluminum. That mix causes a whitish color in the water. When the mines fill, the water pours out and drains into Montour Creek. Hikers and bikers on the Montour Trail last week called in reports. Montour Creek usually runs surprisingly clean and is a popular trout fishing stream. A quick survey found no dead fish, crayfish, insects or other life along its shores (animals retreat back under banks, under rocks or down into the sand to escape storm conditions), so wildlife biologists are hopeful the stream may have escaped damage. The Forest Grove Sportsmans Club has a tagged fishing contest planned from April 14 to May 13th.

Council Celebrates Black History Month

Coraopolis Borough Council began its February meeting Wednesday night by joining with a delegation from the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, the Abundant Life Ministry and the Black Community to celebrate Black History Month.

Although the 45 minute ceremony, which included a film and oral presentations by several children, the highlight was Mayor Shawn Reed presenting 102 year old Thelma Dickerson with a key to the city (see photo, right). Mrs. Dickerson spent many years as a secretary at the junior high school. She reminisced about her years in Coraopolis and her travels to Israel, Hawaii and other places.

"I'm not travelling any more," she laughed. "I just enjoy relaxing here in Coraopolis now." Councilman John Pessy recalled how he had been at the junior high during her tenure there. "When I got out of hand she'd give me that glare," he grinned.

Council members and those in the audience were each given a "Soul Food Sampler" of historic Black American foods.

Anita Kulik, local Representative to the State Legislature, was present. Kulik, a Carnegie native who graduated from Duquesne University, is running for reelection.

The meeting itself was routine.

Chief Ron Denbow delivered the monthly Police Report : 1307 calls, 475 complaints, 112 criminal investigations, 26 arrests, one vehicle recovered, 16 accidents, 53 parking violations and 139 moving violations. Denbow reminded everyone that during this tax filing season, scams are common. He pointed out that the IRS does not --- ever --- deal by telephone.

Rudy Bolea reminded Counciul that the company doing the street work on 1st and 2nd Avenues were supposed to be maintaining the streets all Winter until work could resume in the Spring. But, Bolea pointed out, the streets are "undriveable." Council agreed to remind the company of its responsibility.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon observed that the Borough now has an extension on its Multimodal Grant for building the trail connecting the Montour Trail to the Ohio River Trail. The grant is for $200,000 and the extension now gives Coraopolis until 2019. The holdup is on the part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot). If the trail is not completed the grant may be lost. The segment needing completed is from the base of Montour Street to Ambulance Way (which is actually in Moon Township). McCutcheon emphasized that it is urgent to complete this segment to get bicyclists off 4th Avenue. Advocates of the Railroad Station Restoration Project also want the trail completed because their long term plan envisions bicyclists stopping at the station.

McCutcheon also announced that the Borough has received a $27,000 grant for upgrading the stream bank walls along Brook Street.

Danny LaRocco reminded residents that if they park along the streets they must park close to the curb so they do not narrow the throughway and prevent emergency vehicles from getting through.

A couple of audience members asked Council to do something about the deteriorating storm sewers on Chestnut. The openings are crumbling and residents are afraid some vehicle's wheels are going to drop through.

Will Christie of Montour Street asked that signs on Route 51 advertising businesses no longer existent be removed.

Michael Blair, VFW Poat Commander, aasked for help with the curbs in front of the VFW Building on Mulberry Street. They're disintegrating, but a contractor told the VFW the curbs cannot be repaired until the street surface is repaired. Council agreed to look into it.

Ed Pitassi asked about permits for signs listing donors for the flower beds at three entrances to town. Council asked for a picture of what the signs would look like.

Unseen Forces Pushing Cory Renaissance

Even a casual observor driving through Coraopolis on Route 51 can see that the town is in the midst of a historic revival. Storefronts are filling up with new businesses, downtown parking is full, the sidewalks are busy and building fronts are being refurbished.

What the casual observor does not see is that all of this is not an accident. It's the convergence of several factors, all feeding each other.

Determining exactly which came first is like the old chicken and egg question. But a good place to begin is a guy named Brian Diggins and a small company named Birch Holdings.

Diggins (photo right) was born and raised in Moon Township, graduated from Moon High, then Westminster College. He went to work for Hosanna Industries, a nonprofit similar to Habitat For Humanity, focused on providing housing for low income families. It was noble work but paid little.

"Several of us figured out we needed to start something on the side which could generate a good income." Diggins and two partners created Birch Holdings as a small construction company. But they soon decided to get into the bigger field of real estate development.

"We needed to find real estate which was undervalued, which we could buy, upgrade, then rent at a profit." They started looking around and quickly zeroed in on Coraopolis. "There were all these vacant storefronts, nice locations, good buildings, but being used for storage. You looked in the windows and saw stuff just stacked in there, storefront after storefront. So we tracked down the owners."

What they found astonished them. A huge percentage of downtown Coraopolis was owned by one man. That was Danny DiNardo. He had bought up the buildings, one by one, back during the town's decline in the 20th Century. DiNarrdo then maintained the buildings and collected rents for several decades.

"Coraopolis owes DiNardo a huge debt," Diggins says. "If he had been an irresponsible absentee landlord, neglecting the buildings and squeezing what rents he could from them, the roofs would have deteriorated and water damage would have begun. These buildings would have gone into serious decline and by now would either have collapsed or had to be condemned and torn down. Look at a lot of these other river towns in Allegheny County. That's exactly what has happened to them.

"But instead DiNardo meticulously maintained these buildings. He kept the roofs in good shape, invested money back into windows and doors and stairwells, kept the heating and plumbing and wiring in good shape. The reason the downtown today is in such great condition is because of this one man."

But DiNardo did make one mistake.

He was a good hearted guy and hated to raise rents. So he kept them low as everything else kept going up. Eventually, the storefront rents were far below where they should have been. As storeowners retired or went out of business, the rents were so low they or their families just continued to pay the rent and left their furniture and supplies in there. It was cheaper to rent a Coraopolis storefront than rent a storage compartment. So the town was full of vacant storefronts maintained for nostalgia's sake.

"Once we cleaned out these storefronts, did some modernizing and made them available for rent, small businesses could begin coming in. And we advertised online so people knew we had spaces available."

Now, Birch Holdings receives at least a call a week from a small business asking about space in Coraopolis.

Of course, all those buildings have apartments on their second and third floors. One by one, Birch Holdings has been remodeling those. The big change is they've been pulling the wall to wall carpeting and replacing it with state of the art hardwood floors, as seen in the photo above. They've been updating bathrooms and kitchens.

They've kept the rents reasonable : $600 for a one bedroom, $800 for a two bedroom, with a few larger or special apartments renting for $900 and one very large one for $1000.

There are 46 apartments in all. More than half were already inhabited when Birch Holdings bought the buildings. Birch has modernized the empties, then invited tenants to move into a new one while Birch redid theirs.

"If they want to, then they can move back into their original apartment. We just want the entire downtown filled with state of the art units."

Presently, Diggins and his partners are making their living from their construction jobs. Every penny from rents and leases goes back into the buildings.

The apartments have been filling up with young professionals. "Robert Morris College students prefer to rent rooms in houses up on the hills. We get mostly airline flight attendants, young college graduates working for Apple, Uber, Google, or one of the other high tech companies."

Diggins wants a bookstore. "We even offered to give a bookstore one of our storefronts if they'd come here." He hasn't been able to lure one yet, but it remains a goal.

Birch Holdings does background checks on each tenant who applies to rent an apartment. "We want a positive population. We don't need problems."

There was a limit to what Birch Holdings was able to buy from DiNardo. Another development company has now purchased a block of buildings from the Turret Building (photo, right) up to Fifth Avenue excepting the two Antique Store buildings, which Birch owns. "We've been talkiing about a joint project, since between the two of us we own everything all the way up Mill Street. We could create a single, unified facade which would be really attractive."

Diggins sees the public mood shifting away from the big box stores of complexes like Robinson Town Center or Settlers Ridge. "People are coming back to the smaller stores where they can get some individual attention, some customer service. People want an old fashioned small town experience. Coraopolis is uniquely positioned to offer that. We don't have to build a fake small town. We still have the original, with buildings from way back in the early 1900s. The downtown here is just a treasure."

He takes us on a quick tour of the White Building (photo above). "We have work to do here on the outside," he says, gesturing to paint flaking off the bricks. "But we've done the apartments, we have a solid tenant on the first floor in Brown & Abbot Accountants, and we have Chris Jaquay running a boxing gym in the basement. This is another of our anchor buildings."

5th Avenue and 4th Avenue are now pretty well occupied. Mill Street is the next focus. "We're going to fill these storefronts," Diggins promises.

Early Morning Fire Damages Boarding House

Fire Departments from Cory, Neville, Moon and Robinson Townships were called out at 2:30 a.m. for a fire at the boarding house at the corner of 4th Avenue and Montour Street (across the street from the Montour Hotel).

The building has numerous rooms but a shared kitchen and rest rooms. The fire apparently started in the kitchen.

Neighbor Brandon Finch first noticed the fire and ran through the building knocking on doors and waking residents. Several had to jump out windows because the one exit was blocked by flames.

Some minor injuries, mostly from jumping out windows, were incurred but no deaths or serious injuries happened. Two firefighters were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Western Pa. Bridges In Serious Decay

President Donald Trump spoke in his State of the Union address of funding several trillion dollars of infrastructure repairs, including highway and bridge repairs.

According to a newly published report, he can start by funding bridge repairs in Western Pennsylvania.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association says the state is second in the nation in structurally unsound bridges.

According to Dr. Allison Black, author of the report, "There are more than 54,000 bridges in the U.S. in critical disrepair, and more than 4000 of these are in Pennsylvania, about 1500 in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The list includes the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh, eight bridges on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and three on I-70.

The estimated cost of repairing or replacing the bridges is more than $2 billion.

Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the city of Pittsburgh, and various towns have been trying to address some of the worst cases.

Allegheny, Beaver and Washington Counties are some of the oldest communities in the U.S. and many of the bridges were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The original construction was solid and done so well that it lasted all this time. But nothing lasts forever, especially bridges subject to vibrations from tens of thousands of cars, heavy trucks and trains.

And no one around 1900 expected so much traffic or such large, heavy trucks.

Pennsylvania is also subject to heavy rains, snows, ice storms, changes from bitter cold to 50 degrees and back to bitter cold, plus tons of salt, which corrodes both steel and concrete.

Concrete is not merely an outside decoration. A length of concrete is like a steel girder. It supports weight and distributes stress. When a section of concrete begins to crack, its strength is greatly reduced.

Poured concrete is an engineering miracle. When lined with reinforcing steel bars ("rebar"), it has a high compression ratio plus a high tensile and tortion strength. But once the concrete begins to decay, it loses those qualities. If you can see the steel rebar, or see cracks or crumbling in the concrete, it has lost its strength and needs replaced. Several vehicles at once passing over such a bridge, especially if one of them is a truck carrying any sort of cargo, places tons of weight on that concrete. It's a miracle hundreds of bridges haven't collapsed given their age and heavy use.

But many of them are way past their intended lifespan and it's only a matter of time.

When President Barack Obama began his first term and the economy was its worst since the Depression, he proposed and Congress passed a Stimulus bill to put people back to work. Among other projects, it directed money to states for bridge repair and replacement. Over 200 in southwestern Pennsylvania were either replaced or totally rebuilt. But the money ran out and neither Obama nor Congress replenished it.

Engineers and officials are hoping Trump's initiative will send another wave of money into states and local communities.

Many of the bridges have already been closed, made into pedestrian and bicycle only spans, had barriers installed making them one lane to reduce the amount of weight that is on them at one time, or had bars installed allowing only cars, not trucks, to cross.

But there are still quite a few in full daily use. People driving over the bridge see only the top surface and guard rails, which may look OK. It's underneath the bridge, as these photos show, that you can see the cracks, criumbling and gaps.

Bridges in highly visible places tended to be first on rhe list to be rebuilt or replaced. Coraopolis residents driving into Pittsburgh have watched as the south side of the McKees Rocks Bridge was totally redone over about two years. But bridges off the main routes, either in towns or townships, tend to be neglected. Some of these are heavily used, by commuter traffic, trucks carrying fill to or from construction sites, school buses or PennDot buses, and tractor trailer trucks delivering groceries or other supplies to local stores.

Anyone knowing of local bridges needing repair should report them.

Stanford Professor To Head Redistricting

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has hired Stanford Law Professor Nathan Persily to begin the process of redrawing the state's Congressional voting districts.

Persily is a specialist in voting maps and straightening out gerrymandered states. He has done similar work in North Carolina, New York, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut. He served on Barack Obama's Commission on Elections during 2013 and 2014.

The Pennsylvania State Legislature has appealed the State Court's order to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the U.S. Court overrules the State Court, current districts will remain as they are. If the U.S. Court upholds the State decision, the Legislature will have until February 9th to redraw the districts or the State Court will do it for them and impose the new map for the 2018 mid term elections.

Whether the Legislature or Persily takes on the task, it will be difficult. The Court has imposed several standards : (l) Districts must not vary in population by more than 10%, (2) The east-west, north-south, diagonals drawn SE-NW and SW-NE lines must be within 10% of each other, and (3) voting districts should follow existing political units (counties, towns and townships) as closely as possible.

That sounds simple. It's not. For example, the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia could be defined as voting districts. Then the surrounding counties of Allegheny and Delaware-Montgomery-Bucks could become voting districts. However, those four districts would contain the majority of the state's population. So, to meet the requirement that districts must contain within 10% of the same population, the other districts would have to be huge, since much of the state is quite rural.

The state has to have 18 districts, since it has 18 Congressional seats to fill. So if four districts are used for just the two cities and the counties around them, that means 14 districts have to be drawn across the rest of the state. Mathematically it is not possible to do that and create districts which come within 10% of either Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Allegheny or the Delaware-Montgomery-Bucks County block. The districts with Erie, Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Johnstown, Altoona and Harrisburg would use up most of the remaining population, leaving eight districts with very few people. That would not meet the Court's requirement.

So additional districts are going to have to be drawn around the cities. Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks County could be separated out around Philadelphia. Allegheny County could be divided as shown by the map at left, into four voting districts. These would meet the population balance requirement, but would be elongated in shape, which would not meet the geometric shape requirements. Presumably, an appeal could be made and the court might accept these exceptions.

That would use nine districts. So nine more districts would have to be drawn across the rest of the state, each of which had approximately the same population as the city of Pittsburgh or the South Hills or Bucks County. Again, the districts containing Erie, Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Johnstown, Altoona and Harrisburg could be drawn to come close to that, but that would leave three more districts to draw and there's nowhere else in the state with enough population to meet the requirement.

And this is the problem. Cynics assume that voting districts are so wierd because whichever party is in charge wants a political advantage. But even if a person or committee has zero bias, these maps are extremely difficult to draw and simultaneously meet the requirements of shape, population and existing political boundaries.

The 18th and 12th districts, which wrap around Pittsburgh in odd shapes, are certain to be redrawn. As for the others, it's impossible to predict.

Court Rules Local District 18 Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state's Congressional Districts, which include local District 18, are unconstitutional and may not be used in the primary scheduled for May or next Fall's general election.

The majority of the Justices are Democrat appointees. The districts were drawn up by a committee of Republicans. The Court said if the committee did not present a redrawn map by February 9th, the Court would redraw the map and mandate its use. A minority opinion did not disagree with the decision but considered the timeline impractical given the approaching primary.

Pennsylvania is considered to be the nation's worst example of "gerrymandering," the practice of arranging wierdly shaped districts for political advantage. And District 18 is considered Pennsylvania's worst example. The 18th extends from Coraopolis down the West Virginia line, through part of Washington County, across the South Hills to the area far east of Pittsburgh around Idlewild Park. As can be seen from the map below, other districts in the state are also wierdly drawn, following no geographic or political boundaries. Check out the 12th, 13th, 9th and 3rd Districts.

Republican Tim Murphy represented the district from 2003 to his resignation on October 21, 2017, triggering a special election. The district seat is currently vacant. The district is mostly white. Although there are 70,000 more Democrats in the district than Republicans, the district has trended increasingly Republican since the mid-1990s. The district is home to coal mines but the western portion contains rural regions as well as very wealthy suburbs. The district has the second oldest population in the state.

The state legislature says ir will immediately appeal the decision to the federal Supreme Court. That court is already hearing similar cases from other states.

The U.S. Constitution requires that each state redraw its voting districts every 10 years with the newest census, but does not define exactly how. The original idea was that each voting district should contain about the same population. 12 states use an independent commission to avoid politics.

911th Says Goodbye To Faithful C-130s

All of us living in the Western Hills grew up accustomed to planes flying low overhead. Most of us learned to identify them by their shapes and sounds. Beginning next week, we'll be seeing and hearing a different plane taking off and landing. The familiar old C-130 has reached the end of its run.

The C-130 (pictured at right) has been the workhorse of the Air Force for 64 years, having been first used in 1954. They have flown men and their equipment around the world. Locally, the C-130 has been central to the mission of the 911th Air Lift Wing at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

It's been a great plane. It's a Lockheed Martin model, 132 feet long, built to fly 366 mph at 20,000 feet. It can carry 42,000 pounds of men or their equipment. A C-130 can fly 1,496 miles with a crew of five men. One C-130 costs $30.1 million.

But its replacement, the C-17 Globemaster, is the aircraft for the 21st Century. Made by Boeing, it carries four times as much as the C-130 : 170,000 pounds. It's 174 feet long, anf flies at 515 mph at 45,000 feet. It can fly 2762 miles with a crew of three. A C-17 costs $202 million.

The C-130s won't be sent to the scrapyard. They'll be reassigned to Air National Guard and Air Force reserve units.

Some C-130s have been reequipped as search and rescue planes and gunships.

Two C-130s returned to Pittsburgh Thursday and the final two landed Friday.

Presbyterian Day Care Seeks Employees

The Coraopolis Presbyterian Church is seeking employees for its Day School.

These would be part time positions at 25-30 hours per week.

Experience in early childhood education is preferred. However, Pennsylvania clearances, a thorough physical, TB testing, and CPR and First Aid training are required.

All correspondence should be directed to prescor@ verizon.net.

Or, an applicant could write to Day School, Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis, 1201 Fifth Avenue, Coraopolis, Pa. 15108.

The Day School operates five days a week year round, not counting holiday breaks. It is housed in the rear of the church building, seen from the front in the photo here.

 

President Visits H & K Equipment Plant

President Donald Trump spent half of Thursday in the Western Hills with the main event being a speech and reception at H & K Equipment.

H&K sells, leases and repairs industrial equipment such as fork lifts (photo, below), lift trucks, container handlers, railcar movers and cleaning machinery. The company employs 240 people, but not all at the local plant. H & K is located just off the Parkway, at the foot of the hill below Robinson Town Center. It is an example of the kind of successful manufacturing company Trump wants to see more of.

American manufacturing has been badly hurt by three decades of jobs being outsourced to foreign countries and often entire companies moving overseas. Trump's policies are designed to stop the losses and even bring as many jobs and companies as possible back.

H & K is proof companies can still make a living here using local workers, and Trump wanted to use them as an example.

American workers are known for being more productive per hour than their foreign rivals but companies don't have to provide health care and retirement pensions for overseas workers and can pay them far less per hour. That means companies can reduce prices on items manufactured overseas. The question is whether buyers will pay more for quality. It's a difficult challenge, but H & K proves it can be done.

Trump was also here to support and promote Republican candidate Rick Saccone (below) in his campaign for Tim Murphy's seat in Congress. A President's party always loses Congressional seats during mid term elections but Trump and the Republicans would like to lose as few as possible. Murphy was forced to resign when discovered having an affair with one of his staff. Republican Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb are running for that seat.

Trump during his speech did not mention either the pending budget showdown or the immigration issue. He introduced a few H & K workers, stressed his support of Saccone, and then spent the rest of his speech on the new tax reform legislation.

As always, Trump is a polarizing, frustrating President. His language and manner offend many Americans. But even his most vocal opponents admit that in the 12 months since he took office, the stock market has broken all records, employment is up phenomenally, he has nominated several outstanding men to federal judgeships, and illegal immigration is significantly down.

Trump told the H & K crowd (the public was not admitted) that the tax reform package just passed will lure many large companies back to America and, in fact, in the last few days, Apple and several other companies have announced they are investing billions of dollars into new plants back in America which will employ tens of thousands of workers.

At the airport and near the H & K plant demonstrators tried to protest Trump's position on DACA, the acronym for children illegally brought here by illegally immigrating parents. Previous President Barack Obama issued an Executive Mandate granting those children immunity from deportation. But his mandate recently expired. Rather than renew it, Trump referred it to Congress, arguing that America needed a permanent law so the people affected could plan their lives and not live year to year hoping for renewed mandates. Congress has not yet acted.

Ice Sweeps Barges Downriver, Three Missing

Ice and high water tore 27 barges loose from their loading area in Pittsburgh and carried them downriver to the Emsworth Dam. Seven barges broke through the locks and drifted on downriver. 17 remain lodged against the upriver side of the dam, some loaded with coal. Three cannot be found.

Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineer workers struggled in the cold, snowy weather to untangle the mess and return the barges upriver.

After inspection, no damage was found to either the dam or the locks. The location of the missing barges remains a mystery.

Will Pittsburgh Plan Be Model For Cory ?

Pittsburgh has devised a plan that, if it meets Environmental Protection Agency approval, could become the model for other communities in Western Pennsylvania, including Coraopolis.

The EPA has ruled that cities, towns and townships must separate their storm water runoff from their sewage. The reason is that rainwater and snowmelt can overload the drainage systems, flood water purification plants, cause them to overflow, and allow sewage to escape into rivers and streams.

EPA inspectors will be roaming each state, checking for violations. If they find any, communities will be fined so much a day until the violations are corrected. The problem is, especially in older parts of the country, how does a city or town meet this new requirement?

The Pittsburgh solution, officially Ordinance #03, tries to meet it. The law uses real estate sales. "All city property owners," it says, "who wish to sell their property, must contact the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority and obtain an Evidence of Compliance Certificate."

The property owner completes the top portion of the form and returns it to the PWSA with a $25 fee. The fee pays for a Dye Test. The Dye Test allows engineers to determine where the owner's rainwater or snow meltwater ends up. If they find that it does not end up in the sewage system, the owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance stamp on his form and need do nothing more. If the property fails the dye test, corrective action must be taken.

Of course, with many families and businesses remaining in the same place for decades, this law would mean it might take 50 years for a community to totally bring all property into compliance. Whether the EPA will accept this is uncertain. They could announce a deadline, say June 1 2020, and require all communities to be in compliance by then.

But either way, homeowners, businessmen and even government agencies will have to eventually comply with the new regulations. Exactly how to do that is a tricky question.

Many Coraopolis homes and businesses lay on the fringe of the town, bordering open stretches of woods or fields. They can simply lay downspouts so that the water flows out into the yard, garden or woods, soaks down into the soil, and eventually reaches the nearest stream which carries it to the Ohio River.

Another tactic is to install rain barrels, as seen at left. Hoses can be hooked up to the barrels to use the water in irrigating gardens, flower beds, yards or even to wash the car.

However, the problem becomes more complex with homes not adjacent to those open spaces. A home cannot simply allow downspouts to drop water along the foundation. Over time, that will destabilize the foundation, causing either water in the basement or cracks in the house walls. So the water must be sent somewhere else.

The most common solution is to dig down and attach the downspout to the pipe carrying sewage from the house on to the Coraopolis Water Purification Plant. But that is precisely what the EPA has outlawed.

The next most common solution is to extend the downspout, either above or below ground, out to the curb, and empty the water into the gutter along the street.

Except that street water runs along the curb to the nearest corner, where it drops down the drain. Half of all the drains in Coraopolis empty into the sewage system, which carries it to the Water Plant. And that is what the EPA has outlawed.

Now, half of all the drains in Coraopolis instead empty into an underground network which eventually leads to the Ohio River. If you live in a neighborhood with one of those drains, you can empty your rain water into the street and not be in violation. So, first, you will have to check and see where your drain leads.

Eventually, Coraopolis, like every other town, will have to redo its underground network so that all rain and snow runoff flows to the river or to a catch basin.

If someone living downtown is lucky enough to have a yard, they might build a rain garden. This is a depression filled with plants that consume large amounts of water. Downspouts can carry rain and snow runoff to the rain garden, where the water will soak into the soil, but be sucked up by the plants. A berm surrounds the rain garden, so during heavy rains water will be held there until it has time to soak down into the soil. A rain garden can be very attractive, and passersby may not realize its real purpose is to dispose of rain and snow runoff.

Coraopolis Borough Council Members have stated on several occasions during the last three meetings that ultimately the costs of these new EPA regulations will fall on homeowners and businessmen.

Audience members at recent meetings have asked Council members about this issue. Clarence Sellars has inquired about whether state or federal grants might be available to help local homeowners with the costs of redoing their drainage systems.

Council members have explained that Council will apply for such grants but with every community in the state and nation also applying, it will be difficult to obtain one.

The Coraopolis Water & Sewage Authority meets separately from the regular monthly Borough Council meetings. Water & Sewage meetings are also open to the public.

Fortunately, this is not an immediate crisis. The EPA is giving towns time to figure out what they're going to do, to file plans for approval, and then time to implement those plans.

But anyone owning a home or business building should be keeping up with the issue and setting aside the money to redo their drainage system.

Cory Borough Council Reverses Casino Vote

Coraopolis Borough Council opened 2018 with a busy meeting, the first for new Mayor Shawn Reed (photo, right) and new First Ward Delegate Melissa Walsh (photo, below right).

As required by state law, Council first had to take care of annual clerical duties. They named Robb Cardimen President, David Pendel Vice President, Rudy Bolea President Pro Tem, Henry Bobro Vacancy Board Chairman, Rich Start Solicitor, Lennon Smith Souleret official Board Engineering Consultant, Mark Turley Auditor, PNC Bank Depository, Beaver Times print publication for legal notices, 7:00 pm the second Wedneday each month as the official meeting date, Chuck Spencer Director of the Coraopolis Water & Sewage Authority through 2022, Orlando Falcione representative on the Civil Service Commission through 2020, Theo Collins Hearing Officer for the Zoning Commission through 2020, Chad Kraynyk and Ken Maye positions on the Shade Tree Commission, and Jeff McBain to the Valley Ambulance Authority.

Reed introduced himself by recalling the quote, "Within every man is a better man waiting to be called forth." He suggested that similarly within each community is a better community waiting to be called forth. He promised that he would devote his time as Mayor to calling forth the best in Coraopolis. His office hours are Wednesday 8 a.m. - noon.

As his first official action, Reed read a proclamation recognizing January 21-27 as Coraopolis School Choice Week. Reed emphasized that all Cory children should have access to the best possible education and the town has a high quality mix of public, Catholic and private schools.

Chief Ron Denbow delivered the December Police Report. The station received 996 calls, made 23 arrests, recovered $600 in stolen property, had 19 accidents and cited 98 moving violations.

Denbow reminded residents that they must clear sidewalks of snow within 24 hours and cannot dump snow on the street.

Council noted that it is overdue to name a committee to study borough zoning and update zoning regulations.

Discussion commenced about the town sewer system. It is overloaded. This seems impossible since the system was designed and built for a larger population. But what is happening is that storm runoff, from rain and melting snow, is entering the sewer system. The Environmental Protection Agency is notifying towns and threatening fines if they do not separate their storm runoff from sewage. Council men noted that this burden would likely fall on homeowners, but exactly how the problem can be solved is not clear.

Danny Larocco commended Borough salt crews for getting out at 3 a.m. on icy and snowy nights to make the streets and roads passable by morning.

David Pendel noted that the final accounting for 2017 showed Coraopolis beginning 2018 with a $220,000 surplus.

In its most important action of the evening, Council rescinded its December 28th resolution which prohibited Casinos within Borough limits. Council members have been hearing from residents who want a Casino. So Rudy Bolea called for a vote and Council officially cancelled the motion of two weeks ago. A company wanting to build a Casino can now consider Coraopolis.

Cardimen thanked Ed Pitassi for his work in obtaining $256,000 in grants to pay for Americans With Disabilities compliant ramps for wheelchair bound residents.

During the public comment period, Tom Toomey announced that the Friends of the Riverfront would be requesting permission for a boat launching facility for nonmotorized craft,

Steve Pace (above left) of Edgewood Avenue pointed out that speeding on Vine Street was still a problem. The posted limit was 15 mph and often drivers were hitting 40. The bus stop at the corner of Vine and Edgewood was so risky parents have resorted to going out on the street and demanding motorists slow down. When police cruisers are stationed at the Devonshire corner traffic slows down, but police cannot park there every day. Chief Denbow said he will place a radar sensor there to gather data and some action will be taken.

Bolea reminded residents that dumpsters cannot be placed on sidewalks or streets. On some of the town's narrower streets, they block access for emergency vehicles (fire, police, ambulance).

Cardimen announced that the Parks & Recreation Committee will meet January 29 at 7 pm at the Library. They would welcome new members.

Cornell Board Extends Superintendant's Contract

At its regularly scheduled December meeting, the Cornell Board swore in new members (photo, right) and extended Superintendant Aaron Thomas' contract for five years.

The Board reorganized for the coming year, nominating and electing new officers : Karen Murphy as President, Bob Dinell as Vice President, Stephanie Mazocca as Treasurer and Andrews & Price as Solicitors.

The Board also selected Karen Murphy as the Parkway West Representative, First National Bank as the depository of district funds, and the Allegheny Times as the daily print newspaper of record.

They voted to continue holding business meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 7 pm, and workshops the first Monday of every month at 6:30.

At a time when Superintendant longevity is short and districts all around Coraopolis are changing Superintendants more and more frequently, it was noted that Cornell has achieved remarkable administrative stability with Dr. Thomas. Several studies correlate administrative stability with student achievement.

Moon Schedules Tree Lighting Saturday Dec. 2

Moon Township has announced its first ever community tree lighting celebration for Saturday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 pm in front of the Municipal Building.

The tree is a 30 foot blue spruce that stands on the future site of the Miracle League Field at Moon Park. Bartlett Tree Experts and Wayne's Cranes are donating their expertise and services,m working alongside the Moon Township Public Works Department. The tree will be cut and transported to the Municipal Building, where it will be mounted and decorated.

Although the actual lighting will occur at 6:30 pm, activities will be offered from 4 pm until 8 pm. They will include hay rides, a magician, arts and crafts, the Moon High School Band in concert, cookies and hot chocolate, and an appearance by Santa.

"We're excited to be able to bring our community together for a special night and hope this becomes a new family tradition in Moon," said Parks and Recreation Director Bob Brozovich. "The holiday season is all about family and friends coming together to celebrate each other and the year ahead."

The lighting isn't rhe only event Moon Parks & Recreation offers this Christmas season.

Saturday morning, also Dec. 2, from 10 - noon, parents can bring their children to the firehouse at 1000 Beaver Grade Road for brunch with Santa. Tickets are $5 each. Parents must register online by Monday, November 27 at moonparks.org.

And Monday, December 18, at the Airport Sheraton, there will be a Senior Christmas Gala for those aged 55 or older. Tickets are $5 each. Those planning to attend should register online by Monday, December 11 at moonparks.org. For more information anyone may call 412-262-1703.

Methodist Church Offers Thanksgiving Dinner To Public

Thanksgiving is perhaps America's most family oriented holiday. There are no presents, fireworks, parades, model trains or other distractions to it. Just generations of family gathered for the day, culminating in a good meal. Thanksgiving often serves as a reunion, the only time of the year when the whole family gets together.

Except. For those without family, it can be achingly lonely. For the elderly, the homeless, the poor, or just those working away from home with no time to travel across the country, Thanksgiving is a depressing day.

As a way to combat this, the United Methodist Church of Coraopolis hosts an annual Thanksgiving Dinner for anyone wishing to come. There is no charge. It's a full, traditional meal with all the usual trimmings. It's prepared in the kitchen just before serving, and is served on real china with real silverware. There's even a wide screen TV with plenty of chairs so anyone who wants can get comfortable and watch football games.

The chairwoman of this wonderful project is Jeanne Cosgrove. It's a big job, and she has plenty of help. Chris Strager takes charge of the kitchen and 50 people lend a hand.

"No one should spend holidays alone," Cosgrove says. "We have lots of good conversation. People are coming and going from the kitchen with food. There are enticing aromas. Football is on in the background. It's just like a Thanksgiving at home would be."

Last year, they served 250 people. This year, she's hoping for 300. And it doesn't stop there. They also pack up full Thanksgiving dinners to deliver to the local Fire, Police and Ambulance stations plus the 911th Air Wing Base out at the airport.

It's a year round project. They apply for grants and receive donations from both church members and people and businesses in the community. They receive donations of canned goods and, closer to the actual dinner, fresh ingredients. Right now, people are bringing bags of potatoes to the church services (see photo, right).

Everyone who comes is not elderly or poor. Sometimes a mother is ill or in the hospital and a father will bring children to the dinner and take one home for his wife. Young people may not know how to fix Thanksgiving dinner. They're all welcome.

Most of their guests live in Coraopolis, but they welcome some from Moon, Neville or Robinson, and last year one came from Beaver.

Anyone wanting to volunteer their time Wednesday night or Thursday morning or donate food or money should phone the church at 412-264-3727. Anyone wanting to come for the dinner should arrive at the church at noon.

Tree Lighting, Pet Policy, Damaged Drain Lead November Council Meeting

After a day of unpacking boxes and settling into their new offices, Coraopolis Boro Council approved the annual Tree Lighting and voted on the town pet policy, repairing a damaged water drain and demolishing two houses.

The Tree Lighting was announced by Calvin Jackson and will occur Saturday, December 2 at the gazebo across from the Old Municipal Building. The day will include a singing, Santa at the VFW, a cookie walk and face painting.

Ed Pitassi reported that on Saturday, November 11 the Library will host a Vendor Fair from 10-3. There has been a 71% increase in donations to the library so far this year. The Boy Scouts will conduct a special ceremony at the Library on the same Saturday (Nov. 11) to raise the new flag.

Council President Robb Cardimen pointed out that the Coraopolis Government is now completely moved into the new building so people will now come to it to pay their water bills. The Police are now also completely moved in. The address is 1301 Fourth Avenue. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon added that the borough staff did all their own moving, so no money was spent hiring an outside firm to move.

Council Attorney Richard Start explained that there was a legal issue as a Waste Management truck had run over and damaged a water drain inlet at the corner of Hiland and Locust. It was a safety risk so repair needed to be made right away. But Waste Management denied responsibility. So the Borough would have to pay the $4000 to Stefanik Corp. to repair it, then begin proceedings to recover the funds from WM. Tom Toomey of the audience (below right) asked whether this reluctance to pay for damages might affect renewal when Waste Management's current contract expires. He was told it would depend on what happened next, but it was possible.

Main Street water line and paving work is now complete. Council approved payment of $154,000 for the work, which Cardimen observed had been done very quickly and with good quality.

Rudy Bolea, who had just won reelection from the Second Ward, was appointed to the Long Range Planning Committee. This group was formed in 2000 instead of a formal Planning Commission. The major difference in a Planning Committee and a Planning Commission is that a Committee can include nonboard members.

The Board approved the demolition of two houses at 123 and 125 Mill Street which suffered extensive fire damage, are no longer inhabitable, and have become home to a colony of feral cats. The property can then be made available for development, presumably in the form of new residences. Jadell Minniefield Construction will perform the demolition at a cost of $18,815. But a CDBG Grant will cover $11,117, so the Borough is only responsible for the remainder.

Chief Ron Denbow presented the monthly Police Report, which included 1068 phone calls, 420 complaints, 145 criminal investigations, 33 arrests, 19 accidents, no injuries, 201 parking tickets, 59 citations, 62 moving violations, and 49 vehicles moved.

Kristin Machaj and Dan Zovko (photo, below) appeared before the Council for final resolution of their dog issue, which had first been discussed at the September meeting. The couple has seven dogs. But the borough law does not allow anyone to have more than three dogs. Machaj and Zovko had asked for an exception because their dogs were especially well behaved, were not allowed to roam free, and did not bark at night. Back in September, Council had postponed action while they researched and discussed. However, it had been decided not to grant the exception.

Richard Start explained that if the Council made the exception, it would immediately be liable for past enforcement of the law and would be unable to enforce the law in the future. "We all have dogs and love dogs," he told rthe couple. "But we cannot change the 40 year old law."

Ms. Machaj then announced that they were putting their house up for sale and would move to another community which was "more dog friendly." She asked that they be given time to move and not be cited for violation in the meantime. Start assured her no one would take their dogs or issue any citations.

Ray McCutcheon announced that the Borough offices would be closed Friday for Veterans Day.

Clarence Sellars of Vance Avenue asked if an Open House was scheduled to allow the public to see the new building. Cardimen assured him one would be scheduled but they needed to finish putting papers away, setting up desks and tidying up.

Tuesday's ballot included a statewide referendum allowing the legislature to pass a law allowing towns to exempt retirees from property taxes. It passed. Several members of the audience asked if Council would be doing this. They were told the referendum only allowed the legislature to pass such a bill, so towns would have to wait for legislative action. But McCutcheon reminded everyone that 45% of the Borough budget comes from property taxes, so if a large percent of those property taxes were repealed, that money would have to be found somewhere else, such as an income tax or sales tax.

Totally Reconstructed Main Street Open Again

The lower hill on Main Street has been totally rebuilt and is once again open for traffic.

Although it has received various repairs over the decades, this is the first complete reconstruction of Main Street since back in the middle of the 20th Century.

The section having been rebuilt is from 5th Avenue up to Sixth Avenue.

The pavement and the understructure all the way down to the utility lines were removed. Water lines were relaid. The understructure was then laid and the street was repaved.

This is just part of a million dollars worth of street repair and repaving in Coraopolis in 2017, all without a tax increase. The projects were paid for out of cash reserves.

New Machine Shop Being Built On 4th Avenue

At a prominent location on the corner of 4th Avenue and Chestnut Street, a new machine shop is being built.

The shop will be used for fabricating O-Rings for the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). It is located behind the Presbyterian Church and diagonally across from the new Coraopolis Municipal Building.

Construction is still in the early stages and the facility may not open for business until Spring.

If it opened before the end of December, it would be the sixth new business opening in Coraopolis this year.

The brick building is not new. Several businesses have occupied the site over the last 50 years.

The facility is an outgrowth of Anchor Seals, which has had another facility on Third Avenue below the tracks.

Moving In : Final Phase

The last of the Coraopolis government offices spent today (Wednesday, Nov. 8) moving into the new Municipal Building. Fire (below center) and Police (below right) Departments had already moved into their ends of the building but the massive borough files, dating back to the 1800s, had to be boxed up, moved, then unboxed.

Staff in the Borough Manager's Office spent Wednesday unpacking and organizing (below left). The phone lines had to be switched over from the old Borough Building.

Tonight's Borough Council Meeting will be the second to be held in the new building, on 4th Avenue.

Looking at the building from the front (as at right), the windows to the right of the main entrance are to the Council Meeting Room. Windows to the left are to the Borough Manager's Office

Walsh Defeats Pitassi For Council in First Ward

Melissa Walsh defeated Ed Pitassi for the second time in their battle for the First Ward seat on the Coraopolis Borough Council.

Pitassi had lost to Walsh by seven votes in the May primary but ran in the General Election as a write in candidate. Instead of simply pushing a button in the voting booth, voters had to go through a three step process to write in his name. Write in candidates rarely win. But Walsh spent Monday night and Election Morning in the hospital, and although she did show up at the polling place, she was unable to stay long on a cold, damp, dark, drizzly day on which it had sleeted in the morning. Nevertheless, she won 112-106.

In the Fourth Ward, Danny LaRocco beat Jesse Robles 189-120 to continue his streaks as the longest serving (26 years) and oldest (88) Councilman in Cory history.

The other races were uncontested. Shawn Reed was running unopposed for Mayor and received 859 votes. Rudy Bolea (photo right) was running unopposed for Second Ward Councilman and received 149 votes, and Michael Williams was running unopposed for Third Ward Councilman and received 228 votes. David Falcione was running unopposed for Tax Collector. Faith Lynn Quarles was running unopposed for Second Ward Judge of Elections. Mary Skovira was running unopposed for Election Inspector.

For School Board, Robert Dinell, Darlene Abbott, Charles Blackstone and Stephanie Mazzocco ran unopposed for four year terms. Jeffrey McBain ran unopposed for the two year term.

Turnout was better than expected in every ward. The Fourth Ward may have seen a strong turnout because people wanted to see the new Borough Building. Voting was in the Council Chambers. Borough staffers have not yet fully moved into the new building, so no Open House has been scheduled. This was thus the first chance many residents had to see inside.

Election winners take their new positions January 1.

Borough Council is required by law to reorganize in January, assigning representatives to committees.

The other voting locations were the VFW (Third Ward), Towers (Second Ward), and The Armory (First Ward). Voters at the Armory entered from the 4th Avenue basement door.

Candidates and their families and staffers gathered at Segneri's to await the results. Because write in ballots have to be counted by hand, First Ward results lagged well behind the others.

All results will be unofficial for about 24 hours while absentee ballots are counted.

Elsewhere in the Western Hills, Michael Santicola and Jim Mancini won Supervisor positions in Moon Township as Catherine Tress won the Tax Collector's position. John Muhr won the McKees Rocks Mayorship. Sarah Harvey, Paul Krisby, Kathleen Evich, Wanda Dixon and Joseph Mixter won seats on the McKees Rocks Borough Council. Kimberly Bosetti will be the Controller and Tracey Pedersen the Tax Collector. On Neville Island, William Leon and Richard Rutter won Commissioner seats and Karen Rutter won the Tax Collector's position. In Robinson, Michael Pendel will be the Tax Collector while James Barefoot, Ken Kisow and Ron Shiwarski will fill Commissioner seats. In Kennedy Township, Mel Weinstein will be the Tax Collector and Vince DePascale, Tony Mollica and John Sinicrope the Commissioners. In North Fayette, Tom Falcioni will be the Tax Collector, Keith Colledge the Auditor, and Bob Doddato one of the Supervisors. In Stowe Township, Louis Parilla, Darrell Chestnut, Joseph Faloshey Sr., and Richard Derzic will be Commissioners.

School board results were as follows : Montour : Darrell Young, Mark Rippole, George Dudash, Cindy Morrow and Mitch Galiyas. Moon : Michael Hauser, Jerry Testa, Cloie Blair and Matthew Dugan. Sto-Rox : Tyler Kochirka, Patrick Dorrenbacher, Cheri Zielinski and Tyler Kochirka. West Allegheny : George Bartha, Michael Quinn, Tracy Lynn Pustover and Tracy Kosis.

Not all borough or township council seats or school board seats were voted on this cycle. They are staggered so in each election cycle some continuity is guaranteed. The others will be voted on in two or four years.

Reed Prepares To Assume Cory Mayorship

Montour Street resident Shawn Reed will become the new Mayor of Coraopolis Tuesday. Since he's running unopposed, that much is guaranteed.

What happens next is not so certain. Reed will be a different kind of Mayor, with new ideas and new energy for a changing town.

He majored in marketing at Geneva College and Robert Morris, and is Senior Vice President at True Sense Marketing in Cranberry. He does not see towns in terms of roads, streets, tax collection and other details that usually occupy Borough Council meetings. He sees towns as opportunities, connections and experiences.

And he's in love with Coraopolis.

"This," he tells reporters and anyone else who will listen, "is the most wonderful town. We have so many unbelievable assets. We have advantages thousands of other towns can only dream of. And for 60 years we've kept those advantages a secret from the rest of the world."

It's Time, Reed believes. Time to spread the word. Time to reach out to people who want to live in a town like this. Time to reach out to businesses who want to locate in a town like this. Time to cast off the 60 year downward slide that began with the closing of the mills and launch a revival for the 21st Century.

Not that he thinks the town needs him to do it. "It's already happening," he points out. "The businesses are already coming. American Bridge was in Ambridge for 100 years. Now they've relocated to Coraopolis. We have a Scuba Shop, a nationally competitive ballet studio, new restaurants, antique shops, the Allegheny County Soccer Complex, two breweries, and other businesses. Our tax base has turned around. We're in the black, unlike a lot of towns our size. So the revival has begun. My role will be to maintain it and enhance it as much as I can."

Actually, Reed has made major contributions to the turnaround. He teamed up with a group which worked on the beautification of downtown. Then he teamed up with many of the same people plus more to restore the old railroad passenger station.

 

"None of what the town needs is something any one person can do," he explains. "We need to work in groups, in teams. If one group takes on one project and another group takes on another project, pretty soon we can get a lot of projects going on here."

He sees his position as Mayor as allowing him to bring such groups together. "As I move around the town, one person over there says we should do something about restoring that old church, and another person over here says the same thing, and someone up on Neely Heights says the same thing. So I need to introduce those people to each other, encourage them to actually set up a little organization, and get to work on it."

He'd like to see such groups work on the old Presbyterian Church, the soon to be abandoned Borough Building, and other sites. But there are other projects he's like to see groups take on. Like bringing back the old Halloween Parade and Costume Competition. Developing a riverfront park. Bringing back a YMCA or perhaps a Boys Club.

"There are grants out there for all those projects. It may be that the best role a Mayor's Office can play is helping those groups apply for those grants. We can be the catalyst, the enabler."

Reed is firmly convinced there is great talent in Coraopolis quite capable of taking on such projects and seeing them through to completion. "We've got highly educated people here, people with valuable skills. Some of them are retired and have time and energy to devote to these things. Some of them are still working but could give us evenings and weekends."

Reed himself is part of a new generation of dynamic young leaders taking over some of the old river towns. Monessen, McKees Rocks and others are also launching revivals, led by visionaries who were born after the mills had closed. Rather than looking back with nostalgia and regret to the good old days, they're looking ahead to new possibilities and see potential, not decay, in their towns. One problem Reed and his peers in those other river towns see is that for too long their leaders have been reacting instead of acting. "We need a vision," he says. "We need to be thinking and planning 5-10-20 years out. What do we want the town to look like? What do we want each part of the town to look like? There's no Planning Commission. We have to have a Planning Commission. With the Shell plant and the CSX Terminal, change is going to spill over into our own town. What are we doing to get ready for it? We can either get ahead of these changes, and channel them in ways that really help us, or we can sit back and wait, and be run over by them, and lose what makes our town special."

Reed wakes up early every Friday morning and takes a 7 a.m. walk around a different part of town each day. He notices the details. The Victorian mansions for sale for a fifth of what McMansions out in the townships cost. The architectural details of many of the business buildings downtown. The brick streets. The big old shade trees. Not only woods at the very edges of neighborhoods, but streams running through neighborhoods.

One of his priorities is the beautification of Route 51. "Route 51 is our front door," he points out. "All those people coming to that new Soccer Complex, they come into town on Route 51. That strip from Groveton to the Neville Island Bridge should look like they're driving into a park. It's time to dress it up."

He worries about the emptying 1939 Borough Building. "We have to get it repurposed. Time is critical. It's a big, solid historical building with those unique architectural features. It's the anchor for our whole downtown. But it also has mold and asbestos. If we don't get someone in there, get it remodelled, it will sit empty and deteriorate. Marketing that building has to be a critical priority."

"All of us put together have a lot of work to do," he admits. "But everyone I talk to wants to help. Together, each group doing their part, we can do this. We will do it."

Plan To Vote Tuesday

Coraopolis and Western Hills residents vote in the General Election Tuesday with local Council, School Board and Mayoral seats at stake.

Coraopolis voting locations are as follows :

First Ward : National Guard Armory, 5th Avenue at Wood Street.

Second Ward : Towers. On First Avenue, near Bliwas Little League Field.

Third Ward : VFW. The Corner of 5th and Mulberry.

Fourth Ward : New Municipal Building, on 4th Avenue, next to the railroad tracks, across the street from Sanvito Funeral Home, half a block behind St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Even though many of Cory's candidates are running unopposed, it is still important for citizens to vote. A candidate comes into office with a strong or weak mandate depending on how many votes he or she received. In times of disagreement, a candidate who can point out that he or she received a strong mandate is in a much more persuasive position.

Three pages of the four page ballot will be the same regardless of which district a citizen votes in. Those pages (1, 2 and 4) concern Allegheny County positions. They include Judges or Justices of the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court; Common Pleas Court; County Sheriff and County Council. The local page of the ballot (page 3) is shown at right. Council names will differ for each Ward.

There is also a referendum on whether to allow the local community, i.e. either Cory, Moon, Neville, etc., to exclude from taxation 100% of the property of someone over a particular age, commonly referred to as the Homestead Exemption. This referendum appears at the very end of the ballot.

In the Coraopolis School Board election, Robert Dinell, Darlene Abbott, Charles Blackstone and Stephanie Mazzocco are running for four year terms. Jeffrey McBain is running for a two year term. Since all are running unopposed, they are guaranteed to win, but the number of votes will matter.

David Falcione is running unopposed for Tax Collector.

Shawn Reed is running unopposed for Mayor of Coraopolis.

Two of the four Borough Council candidates are running unopposed. In the Second Ward, Rudy Bolea is unopposed. In the Third Ward, Michael P. Williams is running unopposed.

In the Fourth Ward, Danny LaRocco (photo, left) and Jessie Lynn Robles are both on the ballot. LaRocco is the longest serving Councilman in Coraopolis history. Robles would be serving a first term.

In the First Ward, Melissa Walsh won the primary by seven votes over Ed Pitassi. But Pitassi is running as a write in candidate, meaning his name does not appear on the ballot but must be hand entered in the box provided.

In the Second Ward, Faith Lynn Quarles is running unnopposed for Judge of Elections. Mary Skovira is running unopposed for Election Inspector. No one is running for either of these positions in the other three wards.

On the Allegheny County ballot, Bill Mullen is unopposed for Sheriff. Jack Betkowski and Tom Baker are running against each other for the seat on Allegheny County Council. Dwayne Woodruff and Sallie Mundy are running for the single Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice position. Marie McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols, Debbie Kunselman, Geoff Moulton, Craig Stedman, Emil Giordano, Wade Kagarise, Mary Murray and Jules Mermenstein are running for the four judgeships of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Pitassi Declares As Write In Candidate

Ed Pitassi has announced he is running as a write in candidate for Borough Council in the First Ward in an attempt to retain his Council seat after losing to Melissa Walsh in the primary.

Walsh, a newcomer with no previous political experience, edged Pitassi by seven votes back in May. But the turnout was the lowest in the recorded history of the First Ward --- only 10% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Walsh, 34, of 816 Seventh Ave., is a restaurant manager and secretary.

She campaigned on the arguments that (l) The Boro Council consists of mostly older white males, and a younger woman would add much needed perspective to their discussions, (2) Council should provide more than just a Memorial Day Parade for the town, and (3) Water and sewage bills are too high. Walsh has specifically promised to lower those bills.

Pitassi admits he didn't do as good a job of campaigning as he should have. His mother died and he was distracted with family issues. Free of those distractions this time, he has been going door to door within his Ward and appearing at Meet & Greet sessions. He hired a Journalism and Public Relations specialist as his campaign manager, created a Facebook page, and mounted an aggressive yard sign campaign.

Still, it's an uphill battle. An ever increasing number of First Ward residents are transients, either Robert Morris University students or renters who move from job to job and apartment to apartment. When he's knocked on their doors, they've told Pitassi they're not interested in local politics, they don't have time to go vote, or they might not even be here by election day.

"There's also a high level of disillusionment with all politics," he reports. "People have become fed up with what they see in Washington and Harrisburg, and they assume Coraopolis politics is just like those places. They've washed their hands of all politicians."

He tries to explain that voting is a precious right that everyone should appreciate.

He also tries to reply to Walsh's arguments. "I agree we need women and younger people on the Council," he admits. "But the time to elect those people is when current members decide not to run. I ran when a long time member was retiring. I had already been going to meetings and studying the issues for several years before I decided to run. We can't afford to vote experienced members off and replace them with new inexperienced candidates. It takes a while to learn about all these issues. One reason our current Council has been so effective is because we're a very experienced group."

An indication of inexperience, he points out, are the arguments Walsh uses. "She says Council only provides one parade a year. But in fact the Council does a hundred things people take for granted. The Library, the Little League fields, massive amounts of street construction, tree planting and many other projects are examples of what Council does."

The water and sewage bill is a false argument, he says. "If she's elected to Council, they'll assign her to a committee. She won't have anything to do with water and sewage bills."

Pitassi was born and raised in Coraopolis and has lived here all his life. "This is a great town. I love it here. I didn't fully appreciate it until I became an adult. People don't realize how much work goes into being a Council member and how much behind the scenes planning and decision making goes into every little detail of life in Coraopolis."

He mentions routine every day jobs like street sweeping, ice and snow removal, Christmas decorations, park maintenance, and on and on. "There's someone, or a committee, planning all those things, finding the money, which a lot of times means applying for county, state or federal grants, making decisions, bringing their report to Council, getting approval."

Pitassi's own passions are the Coraopolis Memorial Library (photo above) and the Shade Tree Commission. He works on both committees.

His Shade Tree Commission is concerned with aesthetics and stormwater runoff. Trees along streets add to the beauty of a town. Their roots also soak up and hold rainwater, releasing it slowly back into the air as respiration. The State has passed new legislation requiring all towns to deal with storm runoff. Planting trees is a simple but very effective means of doing this. Cory has applied for and received grants for a massive tree planting campaign. So far 58 trees have been planted, and many more are planned. The ones planted so far line Broadway, 1st, 2nd, 4th, the Library and Cornell School. An agency named TreeVitalize mapped Cory and recommended the most critical places to plant the original 58. Pitassi and his crew then became "tree tenders," taking care of the trees and notifying County arborists if they became damaged or diseased.

Pitassi is also very active in Coraopolis Library affairs. He reports back to the Council at every meeting. Council provides some of the Library's annual budget. Some comes from the County, mostly from casino profits, and some comes from the State. Library use continues to be high but has changed somewhat. Where once users came in to read the newspapers, now they come in to log onto the computers.

He's proud that Coraopolis has one of the better small town libraries in Pennsylvania. Even though it's been almost 70 years since Leonard Cahen and Harry Houtz teamed up to raise the money for a new library, the building is still large enough for the town's needs. Use declines a bit in the Summer months, then picks back up September through May.

He's seen Coraopolis from many different angles. His first job was with Jackson Shoes on Mill Street. He moved on to Ryan Homes on 3rd Ave., where he built kitchen cabinets. Next was Lee C. Moore, where he took engineers' blueprints and drew them on structural steel, passing them on to others who drilled the holes and cut the pieces to fit. After 12 years there he worked briefly for Puralator, and finally landed a job with FedEx as a driver.

If Pitassi loses the election, he'll still continue to serve Coraopolis in any way he can. "I can volunteer, or the Mayor or someone can appoint me to a committee as a citizen. But being on Council allows you to have more impact. I have the time and energy to devote to the town. I'm not ready to step down quite yet."

Police Remind Citizens No More Parking On Chestnut

Police Chief Ron Denbow reminds everyone that starting this week there will be no more parking on the west curb of Chestnut Street.

Technically, the new restriction only applies to the west side of the street, the side opposite St. Joseph's. But on the St. Joe's side, due to the alley entrance, the parking lot, and the loading zone where passengers are picked up or dropped off for church services, there really hasn't been much parking for a long time. So, in effect, there is now very little parking along Chestnut Street between State Avenue and 4th Avenue.

This new restriction became necessary when fire engines were moved to the new municipal building across 4th Avenue from St. Joe's. State law requires that those fire engines have wide clearance on all streets leading to and from the station. In Coraopolis, they will have to use the street to get up to 5th Avenue and turn left for fires on the eastern side of town, or to get up to State Avenue, Maple Street and beyond for fires in the central neighborhoods or up on the hills.

The state allows no exceptions for churches or any other uses.

Police will begin issuing warnings this weekend and then citations. New signs have already been erected.

Main Street Reconstruction Continues

Work continues on the complete reconstruction of Main Street above 5th Avenue. Crews totally removed the surface and relaid the water lines. Since that, they've been laying a new foundation in preparation for the new pavement.

The Main Street Project is just part of the million dollars of street updating Borough Council has been pursuing in 2017. The work is being paid for out of borough reserves without an increase in taxes. Work has been done in bits and patches in every decade, but this is the first total reconstruction of Main Street since 1930.

Michael Donatelli has been watching. "We used to sled down this hill," he grinned. "The bricks were uneven and slowed us down. If they'd done this when we were kids, we'd have hit that rise at the railroad tracks moving so fast we would have gone airborne, flew totally over the river and landed in Sewickley!"

Fire Department Moves To New Building

The Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department has completed its move into the new Coraopolis Municipal Building on 4th Avenue.

It is the first department to make the move. The Police are expected to move in sometime within the next week.

A Borough Council meeting was held in the building, but the actual Borough offices are still operating in the old location.

The Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department resided in the old Borough Building since 1939.

The firemen did not harbor feelings of nostalgia for their long time home. It had several disadvantages.

They have significantly more room in their new headquarters. For the first time, they can park three trucks inside (see photo above) rather than parking one out on the street.

The new doors are much higher. This means Coraopolis can now purchase standard equipment instead of custom built. The middle firetruck, above, had to be specially built, and then had to carry either several men or most of its equipment to press down the suspension enough to squeeze through the door.

Now, there's so much room left over they can add storage boxes to the tops of the trucks (see left).

The move will create one special problem for neighborhood churches, mainly St. Joseph's but also including the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.

State law requires that streets leading from the Fire Station provide wide clearance for the fire trucks. Thus no parking will be allowed on the western side of Chestnut Street, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from 4th Avenue to State Avenue. Signs have already been posted. Coraopolis Chief of Police Ron Denbow will begin issuing warnings this Sunday.

The new building also provides off street parking for the volunteer firemen themselves.

All phone numbes remain the same. Part of the delay in moving to the new building has been the need to install and thoroughly check the phone and security camera lines.

The move frees the men from the worry of spending a lot of time in a facility with asbestos and mold. The old Borough Building was abandoned because it would cost more to remove the asbestos and mold than it would to build a new structure.

The new building is one floor instead of three. And, because of the need for high clearance garage doors, the fire department is the highest part of the building. It actually has stairs climbing to second floor offices. No such stairs exist in the other departments.

An Open House will be held at some point so the citizens of Coraopolis can see their new building, but not until the Police and various administrative departments move in. Council is expected to set such a date at its next meeting.

The new location will actually mean fire trucks can reach fires more quickly. State Avenue was narrow, the turns leading from it down to 5th or 4th were tight, and those conector streets were narrow. 4th Avenue is much wider and runs the length of the town. So when the fire trucks pull out onto 4th Avenue, they can quickly reach all the connecting streets leading down toward the river or up toward the hills.

Borough Council Meets First Time In New Building

Coraopolis Borough Council conducted a historic meeting Wednesday night, October 11, as they met for the first time in their new Council Chambers in the new Municipal Building on 4th Avenue.

Council Chairman Robb Cardimen made special note of the occasion as he gaveled the meeting to order. He gave thanks to all those who helped make the new building a reality, and welcomed the public to the facility. There will be an open house at some point, but a date has not been set.

Mayor Tony Celeste and Fire Chief Larry Byrge were absent but all Council members were present.

It was a fairly routine meeting. Council approved invoices and payroll for the month.

They approved payment of $107, 545.50 toward the new building with the caveat that one check would be withheld until final details were taken care of. They also approved $40,000 for the purchase of a "new used" backhoe.

Council approved payment of $24,887.05 to the Fire Department for the purchase of safety items.

They agreed to apply for a grant of $447,280 for Hiland Avenue Block 800 road reconstruction and handicap ramps. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon emphasized the importance of Hiland Avenue Block 800 residents filling out the forms they will receive in the mail. Last year, the Borough also applied for this grant and too few residents returned the forms, so the Borough did not receive the grant.

However, significant road reconstruction is occurring elsewhere in town. Projects on Hiland, First, Second, Fifth. and State Avenues, Marion Drive, and Chestnut, Main and Mill Streets are either in process, just completed, or soon to begin. Danny Larocco added that Elm Alley, and Pennsylvania and Second Avenue are being asphalted. Bricks have been realigned, sink holes and pot holes repaired, and curb work done. The steep block of Main Street above State Avenue has been a particular concern. Work on the waterline has been completed, and repaving will begin Monday.

McCutcheon pointed out that Coraopolis will complete a million dollars of street reconstruction in 2017 and did not have to borrow a penny for it. The work was paid for out of cash reserves. Those reserves exist mostly because Cory has been relentlessly pursuing tax collection both current and delinquent. Coraopolis is in better financial shape than 90% of all boroughs and townships in the state.

Danny LaRocco urged residents to be patient with the loss of parking and rerouted traffic patterns due to reconstruction projects.

Very reluctantly, Council accepted the resignation of Librarian Susan McClellan, who is leaving for a position elsewhere. "She did a lot of great things during her tenure here," Chairman Robb Cardimen said. "She will be greatly missed and hard to replace." McCutcheon was instructed to advertise for a new Librarian. The salary will depend on certifications, credentials and experience.

Police Chief Ron Denbow announded that Trick or Treat this year will be Thursday, October 26 from 6-8. He also delivered the police report for September : 904 phone calls, 150 criminal investigations, 23 arrests, 10 traffic accidents, one injury, 35 parking violations and 78 moving violations. The Fire Department made six calls in September.

It was announced that on Saturday, October 28, from 10-2, an Electronics Recycling Day will be held at the Findlay Township Municipal Building in Clinton. Anyone can bring radios, TVs, computers, IPads, phones, or any other electric or electronic appliances for disposal. Auto batteries may also be turned in. For a $15 fee, any freon device may be turned in.

Cardimen explained to Council that excessive speeds on Vine Street are still a concern. "Even school buses speed down Vine," he said. "We have children getting on and off school buses and trying to cross streets with vehicles speeding past. This is not safe and not acceptable." Chief Denbow announced he is considering putting electric signs on Vine to inform motorists they are speeding, but the signs will not include cameras. Speed bumps are still a strong possibility.

Council then turned its attention to the problem of Robert Morris University college students renting houses, clogging neighborhood streets with their parked cars, and holding large, loud parties. Several permanent residents testified that their driveways were blocked and as many as 200 students arrived for weekend parties. Landlords say the behavior of tenants is not their problem. Council members voiced the opinion that Coraopolis is a family town and not a party town, blocking driveway access is illegal, and too many people in a house is also illegal. Chief Denbow reported that Slippery Rock passed an ordinance stating that if a house receives three citations, the landlord is in violation. If the court upholds this ordinance, Coraopolis may consider passing one of its own. Neighbors also spoke of couches on front porches, students sitting on rooftops, and trash in yards, all of which lower property values. Council was adamant that this will not be tolerated and plans were made to invesigate further.

TV Series Pilot Filmed At Scally's, Barto's

Dino Bartolomucci has been running Barto's Bar on 5th Avenue in Cory for 26 years. He's developed a Cheers sort of ambience, a neighborhood hangout with a loyal crowd. Top pool players from all over Allegheny and Beaver Counties come to play on his table. Penguins, Steelers and Pirates fans come to watch games on his big screens. Barto's is known over most of the Western Hills.

But it may be about to become a lot more famous. It may be one of two major sites in a new TV series called Mulligan.

Ashley Adams, Steve Parys and their production crew spent Monday at Barto's filming the pilot. The bar was closed for the day to allow for the long, tedious task of bringing the script to life.

Dino was there the whole time, just as he's been since 1991.

"Running a bar is a full time commitment," he told reporters. "It's like running a restaurant. You're here late every night, then back again the next day to take care of the books and prepare for that evening."

Born in Sharpsville (near Sharon, close to the Ohio line about halfway to Erie), Bartolomucci served as an Army photographer during the early Reagan years. He's got some great photos from that time in his life. He arrived in Cory in 1985 and bought the bar in 1991.

"I'm lucky," he says. "In the first couple of years this group of regulars started coming to the bar, and they've kept coming ever since. I guess we're all going to grow old together."

This isn't the first filming that's been done here. A Pittsburgh magazine did an article with several photos a decade ago. And an episode of the TV series Intervention was filmed here and can still be found online.

Still, this is the biggest. If it gets picked up by a major channel,it could be seen nationwide for at least a full season.

Adams, Parys and their crew also spent two days in Moon at Scally's Driving Range and Golf Course, the Allegheny County Jail and the streets around the 31st Street Bridge.

Mulligan was written by Patrick Cannon (right), who grew up in Imperial and graduated from West Allegheny High School.

Cannon, 28, is an actor who is trying to become a screenwriter. He's enrolled in the Point Park University Master's of Fine Arts Program in Screenwriting. Cannon has been working on Mulligan for three years. But finishing a script, like finishing a novel, is only half the struggle. Next a writer has to find a producer or publisher.

Last Spring, Cannon rolled the dice. The first director he sent his script to was Parys.

Parys, 55, has been doing this for 30 years. He's been the first assistant director of Silence of the Lambs, The Chief and Concussion plus such TV shows as Gone, Foxcatcher and The Outsiders. Parys is pretty skeptical about scripts, especially those by new writers.

But he liked Mulligan immediately.

The show tells the story of Jack O'Malley, who grew up in the Western Hills and became a golf star. But he also became an alcoholic, and after two DUIs and assaulting a policeman who pulled him over, he found himself serving time in the Allegheny County Jail. Mulligan begins the day O'Malley gets out of jail. He now has a criminal record and has lost most of his friends.

Since he can't obtain any other job with his record, O'Malley's brother hires him at the family golf course and driving range. He does have a gift --- he's the greatest golfer the area has ever seen --- but his struggle to rebuild his life is the subject of the show.

Mulligan is not a sitcom. It contains some pretty dark threads. O'Malley has made some strong enemies and even some of his onetime friends and relatives now prefer to keep their distance.

The show also delves into the opioid epidemic.

Cannon is all too familiar with alcoholism and opioid use. "They've both hit our community hard," he recalls. "I've lost neighbors and childhood friends to opioid related overdoses. I've seen alcoholism up close. They're part of life around here and any show about Pittsburgh, if it's to be honest and realistic, has to deal with them."

Cannon now lives in New York but still loves Pittsburgh and the Western Hills. He was careful while writing Mulligan to keep it realistic and an accurate reflection of life in and around Pittsburgh.

"Too many shows pretend to be about Pittsburgh but they're filmed somewhere else and don't resesrch the details that make Pittsburgh unique." He specifically mentions the NBC series This Is Us. It claims to be from Pittsburgh but is filmed in Los Angeles.

This insistence on writing true to Pittsburgh and the Western Hills is what struck a nerve in Parys. "I was born and raised here and I just loved the fact that it was a very Pittsburgh-centric script," he says. "One thing Pittsburgh is all about is the second chance, starting over, coming back from failure to find success. There's a grit, a stubborn humor, a beauty in Pittsburgh that only a local writer can understand."

So Parys decided to direct the script.

After Cannon and Parys conferred, their first phone call was to Ashley Kate Adams of AKA Productions in New York City.

Ashley Adams is a rising star in the film and theater fields. Born and raised in Louisville in a musical family, she attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and made her Broadway debut at 23. She has played numerous roles in musical theater and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Adams founded AKA Productions and has been active in several stage, film and TV projects. Her credits include several Netflix hits, such as Royal Pains and Rules of Cool. She will also have an on screen role in Mulligan.

Other name actors are Daina Michelle Griffith (Dark Knight Rises), Jason McCune (Outsiders, Fathers & Daughters), Makeda Duncan (Lightheaded), Tony Bingham, a longtime Pittburgh stage actor, and Mike Sullivan.

Adams (photo, left) has bought into the idea of capturing the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County ambience. She's been alert to details that let the viewer know they're here, and not in California or New York. But Co Producer Carrie Zenkevich is a Pittsburgher and recently elected Board member of Carnegie Screenwriters so she is also sensitive to this local emphasis.

At first, the crew thought of filming the bar scenes at The Summit on Mt. Washington. But as they studied that location, they decided it was much too modern to shout "Pittsburgh."

Enter Randy Lee. Born and raised in Coraopolis, he's the casting agent for extras for the show. And when the crew decided to look for an authentic, small town, historic bar that reeked of local flavor, he suggested Barto's.

When Cannon, Parys and Adams saw the bar, they knew they had their location. From the outside (and Mulligan does film some outside scenes, one with O'Mally driving up, parking and going in), Barto's looks like a classic 1890s building: old brick, discolored from decades of steel mill grime, few windows, a simple door, small sign.

Inside is one of the most beautiful polished wood bars in the Pittsburgh area. It was built from old bowling alley lumber by Jack Cleland. The place is dark. On the walls are a lifetime of memorabilia from the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. There's a beautiful pool table toward the back, although it won't be in the pilot. There are the usual beer signs, dartboards and TV screens. Away from the bar are both high and low polished wood tables.

If the series finds a network, this bar will be a key location. This is where the characters will gather after a day at work or on the golf course. This is where other characters will talk about O'Malley's past, where many of the events of his younger life played out, where the viewer will fill in details, and where much of the drama of the film occurs.

But first the crew had to spend an hour on details. Glass block windows are the main source of light for the bar during daylight hours, but Monday was cloudy and dark. So an artificial sun needed to be set up. A powerful light was erected in the alley, aimed straight at one of the windows. From inside, it created the appearance of a bright sunny afternoon.

Inside, meanwhile, crew members scurried about with stepladders and tools, removing any sign or artifact they thought did not fit the image they wanted. They took photographs of the walls, so when they finished they could restore the wall to its exact appearance.

Light is critical to moviemaking. Technicians mounted banks of lights on stands aiming in various directions. But, of course, they still wanted a dark, smoky bar. So they mounted filters to control the light, and installed a smoke machine. One worker's job was to waft the smoke in the desired direction. Behind the bar itself, technicians climbed ladders and mounted additional lights and filters so the bartender (not Dino; he's played by an actor) would be well lighted.

Sound is also critical. Technicians suspended microphones from long poles just out of the camera frame, and the actors themselves were rigged with mikes.

A TV monitor was set up so Parys could see exactly what the camera saw. He would sit and study the frame, then recommend a chair be moved slightly left or right, a table in the background be removed to avoid clutter or distraction, and one of the extras sit or stand in a slightly different position.

"Each scene is only a few seconds. You have to select your details very carefully and film only those details you select."

By the time the actors arrive at the filming location, they know their lines. The Director is working on the timing and interpretation of those lines. Pauses, volume, facial expression, posture and hand gestures become critical. At Barto's, scenes were shot over and over 30 and 40 times until Parys got exactly what he wanted.

There was one bar fight scene they worked on for hours. The way the chair fell, the angle of the beer bottle, how the girls sitting around the corner of the bar spun in their seats to see what was happening, how quickly the bar tender responded, everything had to be precise and they all had to mesh perfectly.

Two hours of work for a 60 second scene.

Dino's daughter Danielle (photo, left) was asked to be an extra and sat at the bar just behind the fighr scene. Dino and his wife Carol were also cast as extras and sat at a table back against the wall.

Life as an extra is not as glamorous as it seems. The retakes and retakes and retakes go on and on and on. Extras have no speaking parts. They're basically like furniture, just background. But they have to sit or stand just so, each time.

At one point Parys stopped and taught the extras how to fake conversation. "You can't make a sound or you'll interfere with our sound track," he explained. "Just move your lips. You can't even whisper. Just move your lips. And be careful with your hands. People who can't make any sound are subconsciously tempted to use their hand to communicate better. But that distracts the viewer. So keep your hands still. Remember you're not having a real conversation. This is an illusion we're creating here."

One scene has a local handing a newspaper to the bartender to show him an article. They worked over and over on exactly how to rotate the newspaper, how to point to it, how to look at it. Another scene has O'Malley entering the bar. They worked over and over on how to open the door, how to close it, how each of the characters at the bar, including the extras, should respond to his entrance.

Anyone who thinks acting is easy just needs to spend a day on a set like this to change that idea.

In the back, a buffet was set up with food and beverages actors or crew could sample as needed. But nothing alcoholic. Even on set, the alcohol was fake. They kept filling the beer bottles with water so actors could realistically fake drinking.

After seven hours of filming at Barto's, the whole entourage moved down 5th Avenue to the parking lot across from the borough building. They filmed a scene at the gazebo and got some footage of downtown Coraopolis.

But before leaving town, they had to restore Barto's to its original condition. Signs had to be put back up, furniture moved back, light and sound riggings taken down, even a sign on the outside wall removed.

And this is the easy part. The big challenge is finding a network to carry the show. They'll try Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, anywhere they think might be interested. A cable network like FX could be approached.

Adams, Parys and Cannon all have connections they'll try.

"This is a good script," Adams insists. "It has all the ingredients the networks are looking for. And the local Pittsburgh angle gives it an additional appeal, because viewers today are looking for shows that take them into authentic local settings. So we're really optimistic."

Local Mailmen Still Walking --- For Diabetes

Coraopolis mailmen Bob Mandera (left) and Dan Casciato probably walked 10,000 miles in their long careers delivering mail every day. But now, in retirement, they're still walking. Every year, the two stage a multi day hike to raise money and awareness for Diabetes. This year's Walk begins October 13th.

Manders's daughter was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 5. That got him started. At first, he walked 26 miles. But he decided a longer walk would raise more money. So he began starting at Lake Erie and walking 100 miles to Pittsburgh over several days, staying at motels along the way.

Pretty soon, Casciato joined him. This will be their 40th year.

One year, they dedicated their hike to Kelly Kruzelyak, diagnosed with Diabetes at nine months. As he completed the hike, the family handed Kelly to Mandera and he carried him across the finish line.

The two get plenty of support. Their team includes VFW Post 402, Post 2006 of Meadville, Post 6345 of Mercer, the National Association of Letter Carriers, Mazur Auto Service, Baierl Chevrolet, Erie Quality Inn, Saegerstown Factoiry Restaurant, Meadville Days Inn, Rainbow Valley Restaurant, Burger King, McDonalds and Giant Eagle.

This year's march is dedicated to Jim Hughes, West View VFW Post 2754 Commander, who has suffered from Diabetes for many years.

Donations should be made out to Erie Diabetes Walk and mailed to Bob Manders, 8884 Royal Manor Drive, Apt 103, Allison Park Pa. 15101.

All along the route, Manders explains to people that Diabetes affects one in 11 Amerians, one in four over 65. 84 million have pre-Diabetes.

Most people who drive to Erie now use I-79. But Mandara and Casciato hike east of that, mostly on State Route 8. They come through Meadville, Butler, Harrisville, Oil City and Union City. It's about 27 miles shorter, has much less traffic, much lower speeds, and is more suited to walking.

Clinton Agent Unleashes NCAA Scandal

Louis "Marty" Blazer of Clinton was the undercover agent posing as a financial adviser who exposed the deep layer of corruption in AAU and NCAA basketball the FBI announced last week.

The FBI investigation has already resulted in the arrest and/or firing of 10 coaches, assistant coaches and administrators and will certainly lead to more. Some of those arrested and/or fired will likely face jail time.

Blazer (photo right) until recently ran a financial advising firm, Blazer Capital. While five other members dealt with other investment and financial areas, Blazer himself focused on sports. He managed financial affairs for several pro athletes, especially NFL and NBA players. He was actually pretty good at it, and his clients saw their money increase significantly because of his shrewd investments. But Blazer decided to become involved with the movie making industry. In 2009 he met with producers wanting to film two movies, Mafia and Resurrection, in Pittsburgh. They were looking for $2.35 million. Blazer recommended the investment to his clients, but none of them agreed. So he transferred the money from their accounts anyway, forging the proper documents so it would look to accountants as if the clients had agreed. He also transferred another $100,000 to invest in a country music management company. Blazer assumed he would be able to earn back the money for his clients by his investing strategies so by the time they checked their statements at tax filing time they would never notice money had been moved around in the meantime.

However, the Securities Exchange Commission was investigating cash flow through the film industry, and routinely called the players to ask about their investments. The players denied having invested. This led the SEC back to Blazer, and the scheme unravelled. Blazer was ordered to pay back the money plus interest, plus a $150,000 fine. Several of the players sued for compensatory and punitive damages, which brought the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority into the case. Blazer ultimately owed $12 million plus possible jail time. As part of a plea bargain, he told authorities if they would forget about the jail time, he could give them details of a recruiting scheme involving large sums of money and the major shoe companies. This brought the FBI into the case. They told Blazer they would consider the deal but would need his cooperation in gathering evidence they could use in court. He would pose as a financial agent. Since he actually was one, it was an easy role, and allowed him to sit down over lunches and dinners and talk with salesmen, coaches and representatives. But Blazer was wearing a recorder and transmitter.
Anyone involved in coaching talented basketball and football players at the high school or college level has known for years about the influence of shoe companies. It is a bizarre relationship which began back in the 1970s when Converse, Nike and Adidas were battling for customers by getting pro and college teams to wear their shoes. Slowly, the big shoe companies began funding summer camps and travelling teams to increase their exposure and develop brand loyalty. Then, rather than selling each individual coach on their products, they began selling athletic directors on the idea of committing an entire college to their brand. For a reduced rate, they would equip every team at the school, men's and women's, major and minor, including track, soccer, baseball, field hockey, the entire sporrs program. Shoe contracts became worth millions of dollars. The companies earned that money back by sales. In Kentucky or Indiana, where basketball is a religion, for everyone in the state to see their favorite college wearing a shoe meant they had to wear those shoes, too.

In Alabama, Texas or other big football states, the same held true. So for a company to claim the University of Kentucky or North Carolina as a Nike school, or the University of Louisville or Arizona as an Addidas school, meant huge sales in those states and across the nation. Kickbacks to those coaches became common. When a coach is said to earn several million a year, a million of that may come from Nike or Adidas. Just six weeks ago, Adidas awarded $160 million to Louisville in a 10 year contract.

But the shoe companies also want the best pro athletes wearing their shoes. Beginning with Michael Jordan and the legendary Air Jordans ($150 a pair, pictured below left), one player wearing a shoe guarantees several million dollars in sales. Since the shoe companies are sponsoring summer camps and travelling AAU teams, they develop early relationships with the best players. If they can keep those relationships through college, they can keep those players wearing their shoes in the pros. So it is necessary that a top player for an Adidas travelling AAU team go to an Adidas college. A majority of top athletes come out of lower income homes. An offer of $100,000 to the parents often convinces a player to go to whichever school his AAU sponsor wants him to. Thus, while college coaches are recruiting the best players, they are getting help from the major shoe companies.

Layered on top of this is the network of agents and financial advisors, who are trying to recruit the best players to be their clients. Undercover payments of $100,000 can persuade players to sign with particular agents or advisors.

So while the general public is watching the games, behind the scenes huge amounts of money flow back and forth. This is not a secret. But the flow is very well concealed and hard for either the NCAA or anyone else to prove.

This would be Blazer's contribution. Since he was already an advisor to pro athletes, he had the perfect cover. He was accepted. And the meetings he recorded provided rhe FBI the evidence it needed. One example was the $100,000 paid by Addidas to the family of Brian Bowen to persuade him to enroll at the University of Louisville. Once the FBI provided this evidence, Hall of Fame Coach Rick Pitino (above right), who has taken three schools to the Final Four and two schools to NCAA titles, was fired. Assistant coaches have also been fired. Indictments may be announced soon.

Assistant Coach Chuck Person (above left) at Auburn University was exposed for bribing players to sign with particular agents and advisors. Person was arrested and has been fired by Auburn. Booker Richardson of Arizona (top left, arms outstretched), the longtime assistant to Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller, was arrested and faces 60 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines for bribing players. Miller (top left, in front of his players) is the son of Moon product John Miller, who coached Blackhawk to Pennsylvania state titles. Richardson has been fired. Other coaches at Southern Cal, South Carolina, Oklahoma State and Alabama have already been arrested and fired, and the FBI says what has already happened is "just the tip of the iceberg." And the coaches aren't the end of it. Schools may face probation, vacating of titles, return of money for championships won, and possibly even the "death penalty," meaning a year or two of not fielding a team. Nor are the shoe companies themselves escaping blame. James Gatto, Director of Sports Marketing for Adidas, has been charged with several counts of bribery. And the investigation may not end with the FBI. The IRS is asking whether the recipients declared the payments as income and paid taxes on them, going back to at least 2010.

Robinson Woman Sentenced To Eight Years

A Robinson Township woman termed "one of the greatest embezzlers in Pennsylvania history" has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Her assets have already been claimed by the state and many have already been auctioned off, with the money returned to her company.

Cynthia Mills stole just under $13 million from Matthews International over a 16 year period. She worked as a cashier since 1981, but did not begin embezzling until 1999. She was responsible for depositing checks and recording transactions. In '99, she created a fake account and each month would transfer thousands of dollars into it. She created invoices and bank statements to cover the transfers.

Neighbors said that while Mills and her husband lived in a nice house, always dressed fashionably, owned a boat and always had a new car, they did not live ostentatiously and their lifestyle was similar to everyone else in the neighborhood.

Mills spent some of the money gambling, but she began embezzling well before she began gambling. She testified that she had been passed over for promotions and raises several times by Matthews so she embezzled in retaliation. but other employees testified that she was well liked and respected and had received several promotions and raises.

Intermodal Terminal Opens In Stowe & McKees Rocks

No marching bands performed. No governor spoke. Even the Pittsburgh media were mostly absent. But over the last few weeks the Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal quietly opened in Stowe Township and McKees Rocks. And despite its modest debut, the Terminal is expected to have a huge economic impact on the surrounding area, especially the Western Hills.

The Terminal is mostly hidden from public view unless you know where to look and are paying attention. Those familiar with railroading or with the McKees Rocks Bottoms will recognize the site as the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Yard. It begins right below the Neville Island Bridge and curls inland from the Ohio River, as shown in the photo at right and the aerial view above. As you drive on Route 51 through Stowe Township and McKees Rocks, it is below you to your left. Your view of it is often obstructed by old buildings, mostly former factories and warehouses. But you will notice many of these are being torn down so you can catch glimpses of the Terminal through the gaps. Occasionally, wide entry ramps descend from Route 51 marked with blue and white signs reading "CSX Intermodal Rail Terminal."

Those old structures are being torn down to make room for new buildings, many of which will be part of the Terminal.

The photo at right was taken after the concrete pads were built but before the cranes were installed and the Terminal opened. Newer buildings have also been constructed since this photo was taken.

You can look down on the Terminal from the Neville Island Bridge, but only if someone else is driving.

It's hard to comprehend what an investment this represents. The Intermodal Terminal covers 70 acres and cost $60 million. It is still gearing up as additional cranes and buildings are erected, but when at full capacity it could process as many as 600,000 containers annually. That would be 1,666 containers and 833 railroad cars a day.

To deliver this many cars and containers would require five trains a day, each hauling between 150 and 200 cars. They would come from the East Coast, mostly from Norfolk. Right now, one train a day is coming from Norfolk. The containers are hauled two to a car, one stacked atop the other, as can be seen in the photo at left.

The containers are heavy grade steel. They come from all over the world, but a high percentage come from Asia. They contain everything from furniture to electronics to clothing to food to building materials like drywall, wire and pipe.

One by one, switch engines push the railroad cars under the huge cranes. Workmen unfasten the containers. The cranes lift the containers off the cars and onto waiting tractor trailer truck frames. Workmen fasten those containers down firmly. The truck drivers then deliver the containers to WalMart, Best Buy, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot and hundreds of other retailers. Or they drive to construction companies, plumbers, electricians and other services using the materials.

This Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal will be a distribution point for western Pennsylvania, all of West Virginia, eastern Ohio and western Maryland. And it won't be a one way flow. Local manufacturers will be filling and sending those containers back to Norfolk for export.

The arrival of trains and unloading of cars will not fit perfectly the schedules of trucks arriving. So containers must be sorted, moved and stored until their trucks arrive. To handle this step, Lowe's, WalMart, Best Buy, etc., are expected to build warehouses along the Stowe - Rox strip. Special rigs will receive the containers and move them to the right warehouse. Then other cranes will lift the containers and load them onto the trucks. Stowe Township officials expect 700,000 square feet of warehousing space will be built.

Once the available land in Stowe Township and McKees Rocks is filled, additional warehousing is expected to spill over onto the eastern end of Neville Island. A railroad bridge conveniently crosses the river exactly at the western end of the Intermodal Terminal. Whichever companies build warehouses on Neville Island would also need additional cranes for the loading and unloading.

Computers allow CSX dispatchers to precisely group cars within trains. It is expected that once companies locate on the island, cars carrying freight for those companies will be grouped together at one end of a train, and will be moved directly to the island without ever entering the sidings to the main Terminal.

Not all containers will be sent directly to a destination. Many of them will be taken to a warehouse and unloaded. The contents will be sorted and combined with contents from other containers to make up a mixed container, which will then be loaded onto a truckbed for shipping. For example, a small town Wal Mart might be receiving a container of furniture, clothing, toys, tools and electronics. But factories in China might be sending containers of all furniture, all clothing, all toys, all tools or all electronics. So unloading and resorting is needed.

On a visit to the Terminal, one can see lots of men scurrying about, and as traffic increases and more cranes and warehoues are built, more will be needed. These are good paying jobs with good benefits. They do not require college degrees but do require specialized training beyond high school. CSX provides some of that training. Other companies offer some of it. The jobs include railroad jobs (engineers, switchmen, dispatchers, etc)., plus operators of cranes, fork lifts and other equipment, plus inspectors, handlers and accountants, plus truck drivers, mechanics and security officers.

The primary beneficiary of this Terminal will be the communities of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township plus the merged Sto-Rox School District. But as warehousing spills over onto Neville Island, its tax base and that of the Cornell School District will benefit. Kennedy Township is right up the hill from the Terminal, so while it does not have land next to the railroad, it could easily house clerical offices, which would feed the tax base of the township plus the Montour School District.

The Terminal became necessary because of the Panama Canal. In the last several years, it has been widened and deepened to accomodate the huge Asian container ships. Rather than go north to Seattle, they can now cross the Pacific, pass through the Canal, and reach U.S. ports on the Atlantic coast. But merely unloading onto trucks and shipping the containers by highway is not as efficient as shipping by rail, given the cost of gasoline and salaries of truck drivers. So strategically located inland terminals became a strategic option.

All of a sudden, property along Route 51 in Stowe and McKees Rocks which has been deteriorating for years is increasing in value. Buildings will either be upgraded or torn down and replaced. To accomodate the huge increase in tractor trailer truck traffic, Route 51 itself will need to be significantly upgraded, and locals can expect much heavier truck traffic.

Land in the long declining McKees Rocks Bottoms is suddenly prime real estate.

There are blocks of homes in the Bottoms, plus stores, bars and restaurants and several iconic churches. How long the homes and businesses will remain with global corporations willing to pay big money for their property remains to be seen. Development could approach the Adena Indian Mound, an ancient burial ground first surveyed by George Washington and where the oldest bones in North America were found. .

McKees Rocks is already reawakening. The Chartiers Avenue dog leg down an alley and behind the business district has been eliminated. Through traffic now continues straight down Chartiers Avenue into Pittsburgh. Storefronts along Chartiers Avenue have been modernized and the old Roxian Theater is being reactivated. The Terminal didn't cause this, but it will accelerate it.

Improvements have also been made between McKees Rocks and Norfolk. CSX has been rebuilding bridges and tunnels to raise the clearance so the tall double stacks can safely fit. Where rails had been removed back in the 20th Century and only a single track remained, second rails have been reinstalled in places to allow the long double stack trains to pass.

2017 Career Expo Held At Marriott

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette hosted its annual "Hiring Pittsburgh, the 2017 Career Exposition" Tuesday at the Marriott City Center on Washington Place. Numerous job seekers from Coraopolis, Moon, Robinson, Neville and other places across the Western Hills showed up either looking for internships, first jobs, or different jobs. Many Western Hills residents were also staffing the various tables, representing their companies.

The job fair extended fron 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

There was no admission to the event, although parking cost any where from $8 to $20 depending on where visitors parked and how long they stayed.

Job seekers were asked to register ahead of time, file resumes electronically ahead of time, and bring printed resumes with them to the Fair. Companies ranging from small manufacturers to hospitals to hotels to restaurants to engineering firms were present. Even the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium and the U.S. Air Force 911th Airlift Wing based at the Greater Pittburgh Airport were there.

Three employers were missing.

The new Intermodal Terminal being built in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, the new Shell Cracker Plant in Beaver County, and the robotic and artificial intelligence ompanies which have opened in the last year or so did not have tables. STEM and high tech graduates tend to seek employers through Linked In and employers in those fields tend to look for new employees on Linked In. And CSX and Shell have been holding their own hiring days in Monaca and McKees Rocks.

However, there were plenty of job seekers at the Marriott looking for other kinds of jobs. Reporters and photographers were let in early and the photo at left was snapped as the turnstiles opened. Within five minutes, this was a much more crowded scene.

Workshops were also offered on creating a resume, interviewing skills and how to conduct a job search in the 21st Century.

Council Discusses Paving, Lights, Speeding

Coraopolis Borough Council worked quickly through a routine list of items Wednesday night at its monthly meeting, but several of those items will prove popular with residents of those particular neighborhoods.

Councilmen approved the resignation of Jeffrey Dallas from the Public Works Department with regrets and comments about what a good employee he was for several years. Dallas is returning to his home in California.

Council approved the hiring of two temporary workers for leaf collection season. Pay will be $10 an hour for two months.

They approved the purchase and installation of rwo Viewsonic Light Stream Projectors from All Lines Technology at a price of $525 each. The projectors will allow Power Point presentations and other screen viewings so guests do not have to pass around documents during Council meetings.

They approved placement of handicap signs at rwo locations.

Council approved the annual payment of $116,325 into the Police Pension Plan. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon noted that unlike many other communities and even whole states whose pension plans are funded at less than 50% and are in crisis, the Coraopolis pension fund is 95% funded and has been commended by various fiduciary authorities for its soundness.

Police Chief Ron Denbow gave the August report : 990 phone calls, 402 complaints, 140 criminal complaints, 35 arrests, $1000 in stolen property recovered, seven traffic accidents and 31 traffic citations.

The Engineer reported that paving is being done on First, Second, Fifth. Main and State Avenues, Marion Drive, and Chestnut and Mill Streets. Danny Larocco added that Elm Alley, and Pennsylvania and Second Avenue are being asphalted.

Ed Pitassi announced that the Library is holding an Amnesty Week during which overdue books may be returned with all fines forgiven. The Library is buying a 3-D Printer which will be available for public use, although users will first need to receive instruction on how to use it.

Council Chairman Robb Cardimen reported that during the recent campaign, 265 smoke detectors were installed in Coraopolis residences. Anyone who was not home that day may still call and a crew will come to their residence and install a smoke detector with no charge.

Council voted to buy and install two new light fixtures at Mill Street and Fifth Avenue at a combined cost of no more than $3500. The new poles will come from the Borough inventiory.

A tearful request was made by Kristin Machaj and Dan Zovko for Council to grant them an exemption from local dog ownership laws. Police, while investigating a breakin, discovered that Machaj and Zovko own eight daschunds. A 40 year old Coraopolis ordinance prohibits any one residence from housing more than three dogs. Miss Machaj explained that the two adult daschunds were pets and had produed a litter of six puppies. She emphasized that they are not running a dog breeding operation and do not intend to sell any of the puppies. Mr. Zovko further pointed out that no neighbor had filed a complaint. Attorney Richard Start questioned whether Council had the legal right to rescind the law. Cardimen reassured the couple that they were in no danger of any immediate action because the Police had merely issued a Notice Of Possible Violation. But Cardimen also said granting an exemption to the law would be a decision requiring research and discussion, so no action would be postponed until the next meeting.

Mike Harris raised the issue of speeding on Montour, Maple and Vine Streets, which Council has also discussed at previous meetings. Clarence Sellers once again proposed speed bumps. Cardimen stated that speed bumps do work, stating that he and Chief Denbow had personally studied Sharon Road in Moon Township and seen how effective speed bumps are at reducing speeds. "You go too fast and you damage your car," he observed. Cardimen promised that he and Council will discuss the matter further.

It was announced that on Friday, September 29, Highmark will have its mobile unit in the parking lot of the new Municipal Building for Senior Citizen Annual Wellness Day. Attendees will need their member cards and should call Highmark in advance for an appointment.

West Point Ballerina To Join Bolshoi Ballet

Since opening on 4th Avenue in Coraopolis, West Point Ballet Company has already earned regional and national accolades and attracted students from four counties plus West Virginia and Ohio. But they're just received their greatest honor.

One of their students, Lexi Norris, has received an invitation to join the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia for a year.

Norris, 17, leaves October 1 for Moscow, where she will spend the next 12 months studying under some of the world's elite ballet coaches and dancing with many of the world's elite performers.

The Bolshoi Ballet Company was founded in 1776 and is the world's premier ballet company. In Russia, where ballet holds the same status as football and basketball do in America, tickets to a Bolshoi performance are expensive and hard to get. The Bolshoi Theater is the world's largest and most prestigious ballet facility, with six levels of balcony luxury boxes and a large area of floor seating (see photo below). Ballet theaters are by their very nature small since the audience has to be close to the stage, but with 2,153 seats the Bolshoi Theater is considered huge.

The theater itself is considered a national shrine, the finest example of classic Russian architecture standing today. It received a $1.1 billion restoration and updating between 2008 - 2011 which gives it the most technologically sophisticated sound and lighting system in the world. Fixtures and trim were removed, meticulously restored and remounted. During the day, tours of rhe Bolshoi Theater are considered one of the key tourist attractions in Russia. Its chandeliers, curtains, statues, crests, arches and artifacts go back to Catherine the Great, Pyotor Tchaikovsky, Alexander and Nikolai.

In addition to the main stage, there are practice stages elsewhere in the theater. Housing facilities for students in The Academy are nearby. That is where Lexi will stay.

The Bolshoi Ballet Company is a hierarchical organization. Beginners, referred to as the Corps de Ballet, appear as background dancers and gradually work their way up to minor solo roles, then more prominent solo roles, and finally after a decade or so, lead roles.

The Company maintains a roster of 220 dancers, but 120 are in the Academy, or Corps de Ballet. For centuries dancers were all from Russia, and then the Soviet Union. But just as America's pro sports leagues now sign foreign players, the Bolshoi began to scout the world for talented young dancers to bring to Moscow and train. The first American dancer to complete training and graduate from the Academy and join the actual Bolshoi was in 1989.

Lexi auditioned in Washington and was invited to participate in the five week 2016 Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in New York City. She was invited to return this year, and at the end of this 2017 training she received the invitation to come to Moscow.

"It was a hard decision," she admitted. "A whole year away from my family and everyone and everything I know. Plus, events in the world right now are sort of iffy, and we're talking about a year in Russia."

But ultimately she had to go.

"I've been working toward this my whole life," she said. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

And it could be for more than a year. If she impresses her coaches, at the end of the year she could be invited to stay on.

"That's certainly motivation to work as hard as I possibly can," Lexi told reporters. "But of course there are other dancers there just as good who will be working just as hard. We're talking about the Bolshoi. Everything is very, very competitive."

The dancing style will also be very different from what she's used to. The West Point Ballet Academy teaches the Cuban style of ballet, which is very agressive, very energetic, cutting edge, innovative, and full of surprises. Russian ballet, especially Bolshoi ballet, is very traditional, very formal and dignified.

In one sense, Lexi's training in Coraopolis will give her an advantage, in that she has been exposed to different techniques and movements. But other dancers trained for a decade in the more traditional movements may already be familiar with techniques Lexi will now have to learn.

Like many ballet dancers, Lexi has been home schooled and cyber schooled, so missing her senior year of high school is a non issue.

Airport To Open Airside Terminal To General Public

Beginning Tuesday, September 5, the Airside Terminal of the Pittsburgh International Airport will be opened to the general public as a destination shopping and dining mall.

The Airside Terminal contains numerous world class stores, restaurants and food counters. But for two decades, they've only been accessible to people with a ticket in hand who had gone through security and been cleared to fly.

Longtime Western Hills residents can remember a time when the general public could board the tram and ride to the giant X-shaped air terminal. After 9/11, airports across the nation tightened down on security and no longer allowed the general public beyond the front ticket complexes. In the photo below, you can see the X shaped terminal. To its left is the front ticket complex, which is much smaller than the X, and beyond that the parking lots. A tram, which reminded everyone of the New York subway, connects the two.

The X was designed for much higher traffic volumes. Since USAir (now American) moved its hub from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, far fewer flights snd passengers per day pass through. This means fewer customers for those stores, restaurants and food counters.

Since they pay the Airport a percentage of their profits, it also means less money for the Airport. Thus the pressure to relax security and open the X.

Security won't be totally loosened. Customers will still go through gates and be checked. They'll need a valid driver's license, passport or photo ID. And certain items won't be allowed.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told reporters that "This is something people have been asking for. The airport was built and is maintained with tax dollars, so the people paying those tax dollars have a right to see what their dollars are paying for. They want to come here and use this facility."

U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, whose district includes the airport, agreed. "This is an award winning airport, better than almost any airport anywhere in this country or overseas, and local people never get to see it. Plus families have not been able to accompany their loved ones to the gates or greet them at the gates coming home. Opening up this access has been way overdue. Now finally this is about to change."

People who haven't flown for several years and haven't been back in the X will be shocked at the remodelling that has been done and the upscale shops that have moved in.

Among stores, there are ECCO, LaCoste, Johnston and Murphy, Brooks Brothers and Armani, among others.

Diners will find not only restaurants but niche outlets specializing in wines, martinis, bagels and burritos. There is a Strip District Market offering fruits, vegetables and salads, sandwiches, wraps and other quick snacks built to the customer's specifications right in front of him.

It will be easy to spend an afternoon in the X, beginning with lunch and ending with dinner.

Airport Chief Executive Officer Christina Cassotis says the X will become an instant hit with shoppers and those looking to eat out. "We have better shops and places to eat than Robinson Town Center, The Summit or any other local mall or complex. For people living in Moon, North Fayette, Findlay or Coraopolis, this will be a great place to come to eat out or buy upscale clothing or gadgets. For people living further away, it will be a great place to come for special occasions. And in addition to the browsing and dining, there will be that added magic of seeing people all around you hauling their wheeled luggage on the way to or from exotic locations like London, Paris, Madrid, or Miami, Seattle, Phoenix or New Orleans. This is going to be so exciting."

The dining establishments in the X all emphasize fresh local ingredients and cutting edge 21st Century entrees, appetizers and desserts. They have chefs, not just cooks, and feature world class wines and mixed drinks.

A good example is Currito, which promises "burritos without borders." Currito's premise is that IF other parts of the world actually made burritos, this is what they'd be like. So you can order an Italian, Chinese, Middle Eastern or Thai burrito or any one of a dozen other kinds.

The Airport has tried the open access on an experimental basis several times over the last year, each time for just a day or so. Fitzgerald points out that on such occasions, "it's been hugely popular."

Access at first will be limited as security workers adjust to the greater traffic volume. For a while, it will be only Mondays through Fridays 9-5.

The flight attendants' unions oppose the idea of increased access because they say it greatly increases security risks at a time when terrorism is still a major threat.

"But everyone still has to go through security," Fitzgerald insists. "If USAir had kept its hub here, we'd have much larger crowds in the X every day. So now we'll just have the same number of people we would have had anyway."

Cory Class Of '57 Holds 60th Reunion

The Coraopolis High School Class Of 1957 got together last Friday and Saturday evenings for another round of reminiscences. 23 members made it back for the 60th get together.

In the photo at right, listed alphabetically, are Johhn Caputo, Frank Cardimen, Rich Edmunds, Ed Elder, Orlando Falcione, Angie Fehl (Gilberti), Jim George, Mary Geist (Flowers), Marie Hagg (Santucci), Gordon Johnson, Dr. Joan Kelly (Berlin), Mario Lacenere, Nick Nedzelski, Barbara Peer (Swartz), Judy Phillips (Moore), Pauline Roesch (Paliaio), Jack Rubin, Myrt Shay (Drexler), Norita Skvaria (Baun), Carol Smola (Filer), Jim Speer, Dr. Arnie Thomas, Bill Thompkins, and Greg Tymous.

Below, in the first picture, are, from left, John Caputo, Pat Brown, Mario Lacenere, and Orlando Falcione.

In the middle photo below, from left, are Dr. Jim Kelly, Dr. Joan Berlin, and Dr. Arnie Thomas.

The final photo below shows the class musical group, "The C Notes." From left are Sandy Woodruff (partially obscured), Frank Cardimen, Bill Thompkins and Greg Tymous. The C Notes sang at various school events and around town. They also auditioned at the Wilkens Amateur Hour, a Pittsburgh event which was comparable in the 1950s to today's America's Got Talent.

The class remembered a time when Coraopolis was booming. 12,000 men were employed in the mills, which ran 24 hours a day seven days a week. The town had two movie theatres, one across from the Boro Building where a parking lot now stands, the other across from the VFW where the Anchor & Anvil Coffee Shop now stands. Two busy passenger stations saw eight trains a day stopping, one at the foot of Mill Street, the other at the foot of Montour Street. Everyone remembered chipped ham and tall milkshakes at Isaly's. The YMCA Fair lasted three nights in October. Winters were long, cold and snowy and the borough blocked off streets and opened the fire hydrants so a coat of ice made for great sledriding. It was a fine time to grow up in Cory.

Sewickley Theater Hosts Film Festival

The Sewickley Theater (officially known as the Tull Family Theater) will host its first annual Carnegie Screenwriters Film Festival this Sunday (Aug. 27) from 11 a.m. through 5:00 pm. One ticket for the entire day is $15. There are no tickets available for any of the 28 individual films. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and guests are asked to arrive in plenty of time so the first film can begin promptly at 11.

These are short films. Genres include documentary, animation, horror, musical and comedy. When the Tull Theater originally agreed to host the event, it was expecting a dozen or so locally produced films. Instead, it received 100 submissions from every state plus Argentina, Iran, Russia and England.

The Carnegie Screenwriters began in 1998 and has membes from Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. They include teachers, students, a judge, a detective, independenrt film makers snd housewives. The group has long sought a theater to host a film festival. The Tull Theater eagerly stepped forward. "We consider this part of our commitment to supporting the film arts. We want to be known as a center for not only commercial films, but for all types of films. We want to be a place where people can come to enjoy and appreciate the whole field of film making.

Army Corps Hosts Kayak Safety Day

Concerned about the rising number of kayakers swept over lowhead dams in the area and drowned, the Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday hosted a safety program to review proper paddling techniques around dams and locks.

The instructional session included kayakers and newspaper and television reporters.

Pittsburgh Commander John Lloyd, Chief of Locks John Dilla, and six of their staff conducted the on site lessons. They went over how to look at a river from upstream and tell when a dam is approaching, how to avoid the current approaching a dam, and how to "lock through" the chambers built on the left or right of a dam.

There have been 11 boating deaths in the area this year and 10 of them have been kayakers, said Loyd.

Foremost in the lesson was upstream awareness. Lloyd, who led the group in a kayak, guided them to a point upstream of one of the dams.

"Look," he pointed out. The dam was completely invisible. A kayaker looking downstream saw only a smooth river surface. "But you have to know what to look for," he said. "See how the sight line suddenly jumps. You don't see a shoreline. You see water and then suddenly you're seeing a treeline. There's something missing. That tells you there's a dam there. You have to move to the left or right shore immediately."

Two kayakers drowned after being swept over the Dashields Dam at Coraopolis back in May. One was a Coraopolis resident. The two girls were recent college graduates kayaking on the river for the first time.

"We've added more buoys and markers upstream of each dam. You have to pay attention. The arrows tell you which side the lock is on."

A typical lock chamber is 56 feet wide and 360 feet long.

Paddlers or boaters wanting to use a lock can use their cell phone or a marine radio to contact the lockmaster. Or they can tug on a rope hanging from the lock wall, which sounds a loud whistle. When the lock gates open a green light comes on and the kayaker, canoeist or small boater can enter the chamber. The chamber then fills with water if the boater is going upstream, or empties if he's going downstream. Ropes hanging along the sides help stabilize the kayaks, canoes or small boats. It takes about 30 minutes for a chamber to fill or empty. Lloyd said they average about 2400 recreational boaters locking through each year. But a problem is the river is heavily used by commercial boats, especially tugs pushing barges.

"This is a working river," Lloyd emphasized. "It can get congested. You have to be careful. Those bigger boats have the right of way. They can't always see you, so you have to keep out of their way."

Lloyd suggested going elsewhere. "If it were me," he advised, "I'd do my kayaking at the state parks or smaller rivers and creeks. It's much safer."

Cory Class Of '57 To Hold 60th Reunion

The Coraopolis High School Class Of 1957 will hold its 60th Reunion on Friday and Saturday August 25 and 26.

Friday night classmates will gather at Bufort's Kitchen, 5980 University Drive, across from Robert Morris University, from 7:00 pm til 9:00 pm.

Saturday they will have dinner at the Edgeworth Club, 511 East Drive, Sewickley. Appetizers will be at 5:00 pm, the dinner at 6:00 pm, and a program of reminscences will begin at 7:15.

Reunion CoChairs are Arnie Thomas and Frank Cardimen.

Pictured at right is Coraopolis High School. Below is the YMCA. Both are now apartment buildings. In 1957 Coraopolis had two movie theatres and four passenger trains a day. Riddles Restaurant was the best in the Western Hills and the mills were running 24 hours a day seven days a week. PCC Trolleys and Shafer buses left every 30 minutes for the city.

The 1956-57 school year was one of the better ones in Coraopolis history. In addition to winning numerous academic and extracurricular awards at the county and state levels, the school did well in sports. Adjacent to the high school, the old Blue Devil Grille was the favorite hangout.

The football team enjoyed one of Coach Milanovich's best seasons. The basketball team, playing in Class A (which, today, would be Class 5A), defeated Moon, Stowe, McKees Rocks, West View, Shaler and Quaker Valley twice each. They lost at North Allegheny, but McKees Rocks upset North Allegheny, setting up a season ending game back at Cory for the section championship. Before a packed house, Cory won by one point on a last second shot to advance to the WPIAL playoffs at Pitt Field House. They lost by one point in overtime to North Braddock Scott. The final Cory shot circled the basket three times and dropped off as the buzzer sounded.

Drug Disposal Day Offered By Kennedy

State Representative Anita Kulik and the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office are sponsoring a Drug Disposal Day beginning at 5 pm Saturday, August 12 at Fairhaven Park in Kennedy Township.

Western Hills residents can safely and anonymously dispose of unneeded, unwanted or expired prescription drugs.

Disposing of them guarantees that no one they were not prescribed for will find them and use them.

But, more importantly, disposing of them prevents them from getting into the water system. Most people just throw old medicines away or flush them down the toilet. In either case, they end up in the water system. And that is dangerous.

Water purification plants remove organisms and harmful chemicals from drinking water. But they are not equipped to remove the molecules used in medicines. Those tend to be steroids, penicillin derivatives, or other highly specialized substances.

Sophisticated water analysis has found that almost all drinking water now contains traces of these various medicines. So every time we drink from a faucet or fountain or use water in our cooking or to make ice cubes, we are ingesting trace amounrs of these medicines. Over time, this causes our bodies to build up tolerances and immunities. Then, when we become ill, those medicines either have no effect or have much less effect than they used to.

The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has been warning for over a decade that researchers are noticing these tolerances and immunities building up. Even worse, they warn that bacteria and viruses have been developing immunities due to overexposure.

Anyone wanting more information can phone 412-264-4260. That is Kulik's office. The Project D.U.M.P. hotline is 412-459-5000.

Boro Council Holds Last Meeting In Old Building

By Stacey Christe
The postponed Coraopolis Borough Council meeting was finally held on Wednesday evening, July 26. The most important aspect of the meeting was not officially on the agenda, but was the fact that barring a massive unexpected delay, this should be the last meeting held in the upstairs room of the old building. By the next meeting, the Mayor, Council, Manager, Fire Department and Police Department should all be moved into the new 4th Avenue headquarters.

The July meeting had to be postponed from two weeks ago for lack of a quorum. John Pessy and Mayor Tony Celeste were still absent from this one, but there were enough members for a quorum.

The evening's biggest item was borough street repair. Not all spots are being repaired, but the worst ones are. Council Chairman Rob Cardimen pointed out that $800,000 in total repairs are being made with no increase in taxes.This is possible because the borough is in good shape financially, Boro Manager Ray McCutcheon explained that over $200,000 in delinquent taxes have been recovered, and another $200,000 was saved in legal fees because the long running lawsuit has been resolved.

However, John May raised the issue of utilities digging up streets for repairs to their lines and fixtures and then not properly restoring the sites to original condition. Many of the sites now needing repaired were fine until damaged by utility companies. May recommended requiring utilities to restore any site to "as good or better condition" to protect the taxpayers' investment.

May also addressed an issue with two aging trucks which can no longer be used. Rather than replacing them, he recommended taking parts from both, adding about $1200 in new parts, and creating a single good truck which should last several more years. Purchasing a new truck would cost $80,000.

McCutcheon reported that the $95,000 in new furniture has been delivered to the new building. He reminded everyone that the first Walkworks Kickoff Walk will be held this Sunday from 1-3 beginning at 5th and Mill Streets. The walk through downtown will be one mile. Walkers will receive a free t shirt. Parents can drop off kids at a bounce house while they do the walk. Trish Hooper of the Sewickley YMCA is in charge.

It was reported that a new "Emergency Vehicles Exiting" sign should be erected near the new municipal building. It would flash for both police and fire vehicles.

Mike Engel requested attention to the problem of speeding on Montour and Vine Streets and raised the possibility of making Vine one way. Cardimen suggested perhaps one or more speed bumps would work. Start recommended petitioning the state legislature for a change in the law to allow Coraopolis Police to use radar. Currently, radar may only be used by state police. If people knew that a police car might be sitting on Grace Street or in a driveway further down to check speeds, they might be less likely to drive so fast.

Engel was commended for his work on Bliwas Field (the Little League facility). He asked if Council could help finance the repairs remaining to be done. He was told to collaborate with John May on submitting a formal request.

The Montour Street - State Avenue intersection was discussed. Plans are to redo it the same way other major intersections have been redone. An 80/20 match program called Greenlight Go would allow Cory to pay only $40,000 maximum but get the intersection brought up to modern standards. Council voted to apply for that grant.

Clarence Sellers of Vance Avenue asked for more details on the wastewater project. It was explained that this is a polliution reduction plan which is required by the state. The work by law must be completed in the next five years and will cost about $500,000. Residents and businesses will pay for it through a stormwater fee, amounting to about $10-15 quarterly for homes and more for businesses.

2017 St. Joseph's Festival Opens

The 62nd annual St. Joseph's Parish Festival opened Thursday night at the Roman Catholic Church on 5th Avenue in Coraopolis. It will continue Friday and Saturday.

The Parish Festival offers food tents, games of chance and skill, miniature golf, inflatable play structures for children, live entertainment each evening, raffles, and areas for socializing. Homemade baked goods are on sale. There will be light shows, dancing, and ethnic food booths. The Rockers will wrap up the entertainment Saturday night.

It is the major fund raising event of the year for the parish. Tents and booths stretched around the front and sides of the church, down Chestnut Street, across two parking lots and along the alley.

Threatening skies, thunder in the distance, and the fact it had already rained off and on all day held down attendance Thursday. But the weather was supposed to clear for Friday and Saturday.

Reminder : Smoke Detectors To Be Installed

Coraopolis residents are reminded that on Saturday, August 12, workers will fan out across town, going house to house, knocking on every door. They will ask each homeowner if the house has smoke detectors and, if not, if the homeowner would allow them to come inside and install them. While installing them, they will instruct residents on how to maintain the detector and help them design an escape plan. The effort will continue from 9 a.m. until 1 pm.

Once a fire breaks out, the average resident has only two minutes to get out before they are at risk for smoke inhalation, which will severely reduce chances of survival. This program is designed to save lives.

There are no restrictions on which homes can receive the detectors. It does not matter how much income the owner has. The project is being run by the Red Cross, Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department and the Lions Club. Every team will have a Red Cross professional with them, who will present proper credentials to the homeowner.

UNICEF Pie/Cake Social To Be Held Saturday

A Pie and Shortcake Social will be held at the Coraopolis Presbyterian Church this Saturday (July 15th) and Sunday (July 16th). All pies and cakes will be homemade, using fresh local Peaches from Dawson's Orchard and Blueberries from local stores. They will serve homemade Blueberry Pie with Ice Cream; homemade Peach Pie with Ice Cream; homemade Blueberry Shortcake with Ice Cream; and homemade Peach Shortcake with Ice Cream.

Proceeds will benefit UNICEF's Change for Good Program helping underprivileged children and families throughout the World.

Saturday hours will be 12:30-6pm. Sunday hours will be 11:30-2pm.

The cost of any dessert will be $4.50

Cohen, Wilson-Reilly Earn Silver Awards

Two Coraopolis girls recently received their Silver awards, the second highest honor a Girl Scout can attain.

Victoria Cohen and Kayleigh Wilson-Reilly are both members of Troop 55244, Cohen for seven years and Reilley for eight.

The core requirement of the Silver award is a 50-hour service project which benefits the community.

Cohen and Reilly planned and hosted a Career Exploration Day for girls in the Cory and Moon area. They brought in six adult speakers, including a TV reporter, physical therapist, engineers, a private investigator., and an educator. In a separate project the girls collected school supplies for students in need.

Miss Cohen is the daughter of Melissa and the late Matthew Cohen and attends Cornell School. Miss Wilson-Reilly is the daughter of Lisa Wilson and attends Propel Montour Middle School.

In the photo at right are (from left) Alyssa Raymond (WTAE), Kayleigh Wilson-Reilly, Sheryl Tyler (Chevron), Victoria Cohen and Erica Blumeschien (Chevron).

Lantern Fest Tonight At Racetrack

Lantern Fest, a spectacular festival featuring the launching of thousands of candle lit paper lanterns, will be held Saturday night, July 8th, at Pittsburgh Motor Speedway.

Located off Routes 22 & 30, just above Imperial, five miles south of Robinson Town Center, the racetrack is not holding its usual Saturday night races. The entire facility has been rented for the weekend by Lantern Fest.

Activities begin in mid afternoon. There are games, food booths and trucks, and other attractions. Those attending buy the lanterns and are instructed in how to set them up and launch them.

The actual launchings occur when the skies become completely dark. The lanterns are launched almost simultaneously so that they create a massive cloud of lights rising into the sky. Seven thousand attendees are expected, each launching at least one lantern, which promises a formation so large Lantern Fest had to obtain federal aviation clearance.

Lantern Fest is a national organization holding festivals at hundreds of sites across rhe country, but they are not all on the same weekend.

Also Moon Park's 50th Anniversary
Locals Celebrate 4th At Moon Park

In what has become a major annual event, Western Hills residents hauled their tents, lawn chairs, blankets and picnics to Moon Park and celebrated another 4th of July with games, food, fellowship, music and fireworks.

The concert shell featured four live performances while on both sides basketball and baseball games continued. Those without picnic baskets filled food tents behind and ahove the concert area (photo below left). At 9:30 one of the county's best fireworks displays (below right)lasted for 30 minutes.

One of the highlights of the concert day was when Congressman Tim Murphy (right, in blue shirt and white hat) stepped on stage with his banjo and joined the Stoney River Boys for a couple of songs. Murphy, who also plays the guitar, is a big fan of Blue Grass Music and practices as a way of relieving the pressure of his political career.

The Stoney River Boys consists of Stoney Richards, Jeff Straight (drums), Kelly Pigeon (base) and Brian Powell (electric guitar). This is their 5th straight year at the Moon July 4th Festival.

The second performer was Chip Dominick (below left), a Moon native who's been playing for 12 years. He usually performs at the Pittsburgh Hard Rock Cafe and the Rox Theater and has played the Moon stage before as part of Londona. This is his first show here as a solo.

The third group was the Frank Vieira Band (below right), which includes George Kalantzis, Brad Peciavalle, Erik Chalmers and Jesse Wyels.

Closing out the show was Sarah Marince (left), who also sang the National Anthem. Attendance once again broke records and created the biggest traffic jam of the year despite Moon's very efficient management. This event has become Moon Parks & Recreation's greatest achievement. No other Allegheny County town or township has anything to compare.

As long as there's no breeze.....
New ThermaCell Solves Mosquito Problem

This has been the rainiest Spring and early Summer in recorded history in Coraopolis and the Western Hills, and as a result, hordes of Mosquitoes are keeping many area residents indoors.

People are more concerned than they used to be because of the additional diseases Mosquitoes are now known to carry. Plus, several long time remedies have fallen into disfavor. DEET and other anti Mosquito oils and sprays are now known to be carcinogenic and are known to soak into the skin. The Citronella candles and other devices have become less effective. And the old "bug zappers" which used a light to attract insects and an electric grid to elecrocute them in a flash and sizzle are now known to be rather unsanitary, sending drops of contaminants spewing in every direction.

People in this area have not lost their interest in golf, fishing, baseball, gardening, sitting out on the back deck and eating at restaurants with outdoor patios. So they've been looking for solutions.

We think we've found one. We, too, have a vested interest in spending the Summers outside. Not only do we have activities to cover for the Record, but we enjoy those same outdoor evenings, plus we do a lot of hiking, camping, fishing, backpacking and canoeing.

So we've been testing various remedies.

We have a back porch adjacent to a large woods and a garden by the creek. We visited the Montour Creek sandbar where it empties into the Ohio River. It's a favorite fishing spot but Mosquitoes are always a problem. Canoeing the Allegheny River brings us through clouds of Mosquitoes. And not only are the Mosquitoes up in the forested areas of Pennsylvania aggressive, but out in Wyoming and Montana, where we do most of our outdoor adventuring, they're big enough to be considered the official state bird.

Against all these squadrons of Mosquitoes now arrives the Thermacell. We should state up front that this is not a commercial. Thermacell is not paying us to promote it. We set out to find a Mosquito repellant we could recommend to readers and this is what we found.

Thermacell is basically a diffuser. The home model looks like a lantern, and if you insert three AA batteries it'll work like one, too. We've included the ball point pen in the photos to indicate size. You insert the white plastic butane cartridge into the bottom. Then you open the metallic package, remove the pheromone wafer, and slide it into the top slot. Once you turn on the lantern, the butane burns, rising through the wafer, and diffuses the antiMosquito pheromones into the surrounding air.

You have to turn the lantern on, then go back inside the house for about half an hour. After that half an hour, there will be zero Mosquitoes in an area of roughly 15 feet x 15 feet around the lantern, which is easily the size of the typical back porch or patio.

The Thermacell is not perfect. It doesn't work under all conditions. The biggest condition under which it does not work is air movement. If a breeze is moving across your deck or patio, the Thermacell doesn't work. But of course, if a breeze is blowing, Mosquitoes are usually not a problem anyway. Its effectiveness is also reduced, but not eliminated, if the people within the 15 x 15 area are in constant motion, such as a driveway basketball game. But again, with players in motion, Mosquitoes are usually not a problem anyway.

The Thermacell is ideally suited for an evening when a family or group of friends are sitting on a porch or patio eating dinner, talking, watching TV or relaxing.

For activities away from the porch or patio, Thermacell offers this device, which can be carried or strapped to a belt. It loads the same way : the white butane cartridge slides into the base, and the pheromone wafer slides into the top. This is ideal for gardening, fishing and camping. Thermacell claims it will create a zone around the wearer. We find that as long as you keep walking, it is only about 50% effective. But for use in camp, it's ideal. We can set up camp, turn on the Thermacell, crawl into the tent, zip up the Mosquito netting, take a 30 minute nap, and when we emerge from the tent the campsire is Mosquito free.

We find this mobile device works best laid on the ground, not worn on a belt.

There is a very, very faint trace of butane in the air but not enough to be bothersome.

You can buy the devices separately ($20 each) or as a $40 set from Amazon, Dick's, Cabela's, WalMart or other stores. Either way you receive a starter set of cartridges and wafers. An additional set of 30 wafers and 10 cartridges costs about $50.

Each wafer lasts about four hours. Each butane cartridge lasts about 12 hours. This is true in either the home or mobile device.

A restaurant could place four of these outside and guests could eat Mosquito free.

Moon Park Hosts Best July 4th Celebration
For Western Hills residents looking for a Fourth of July Celebration, the best advice is to head for Moon Park. And do it early, because over the last decade it's become the destination of choice. Parking and space to spread a blanket or set up lawn chairs has become harder to find. Figure on arriving no later than 5 pm unless you want to walk quite a ways and get a lesser choice of sites. The biggest attractions will be the concerts and the fireworks. But beginning in the morning, there are also All Star baseball games featuring teams from the Moon Area Little League in its various age groups, basketball games on the full court, and vendors with food and drink. The usual strategy is to set up a blanket or chairs at the top of the hill above the concert stage. You can then watch the concerts and the fireworks, which are set off behind the stage. Younger children can spend some of the time at the playground, around the hill to the left of the stage. Remember that the further in from the road you park, the longer it will take to get out afterwards, since all that traffic has to exit on just the one narrow drive. It can take up to an hour to clear.
Coraopolis Library Announces July Program

Coraopolis Library Director Susan Mcclellan announced this week a full slate of events for July. For details call the library at 412-264-3502.

Mystery Lovers Book Club, Thursday, July 13, 6:30 pm. This month the selection is John Hart's Redemption Road.

Handmade Arts and Craft Fair Saturday, July 15th. Handmade items including American Girl doll clothes, Art (watercolors, pastels), Jewelry, Handmade custom gift baskets, Hair bows, accessories, Knit and Crochet Items, and Wreaths. The library will also have gift basket raffles. For information, call 412-264-3502.

Film Club, July 15, 5:00 pm. A Perfect Day, starring Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins and Melanie Thierry.

Science Fiction Book Club, July 18, 6:30 pm. Sleeping Giants, by Sylvan Neuvel.

Film Club, July 22, 5:00 pm. My Fellow Americans, starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner.

Tuesday, July 25, 6:30 pm. Tuesday Book Club Discussion of Radium Girls, by Kate Moore.

Local Author Sarah Ismail will read and sign her new book, Wheels on a Stroller, Thursday, July 27, at 6:30 pm.

Boro Siren Once Again Sounding Alarm

One of Cory's most famous symbols is back in business. The siren,which sounds every night at curfew time and summons volunter firemen to the station when a fire breaks out, has been installed high on its new perch at the new Municipl Building. Several weeks ago the siren was removed from the old Borough Building. American Bridge Company paid to have it dismantled, checked, sanded, and repainted. For its previous century of existence it was red. Now it's yellow. Electricians tested the refurbished siren early Thursday afternoon. The siren was previously taken down for servicing in 1956 and 2003. In 2003 it was dismantled, cleaned, rewound and repainted. It doesn't take much. It's a sealed motor with an enclosed impeller, basically just a giant air pump. Over the years, parts have changed so nothing original remains but there's always been the siren. Its most famous moment came when it shattered a quiet early afternoon to announce the end of World War II in Europe.

Eaton Grants $10,000 To Meals On Wheels

Easton Corporation has given a $10,000 grant to Western Hills Meals On Wheels. Eaton has been a strong partner of Meals On Wheels for 10 years, and many employees receive time off work to volunteer with the Coraopolis based service. Meals On Wheels delivers two meals a day to area residents.

"We look forward to continued growth of our partnership with Meals on Wheels," Eaton Sales Consultant Kelly Waldron said. "We are proud to provide volunteers and financial support."

Eaton is a global leader in power distribution and circuit protection, backup power; control and automation, light and security, structural solutions and wiring, solutions for harsh and hazardous environments, and engineering as needed in the field of power. In 2016 Eaton generated $19.7 billion in sales. It employs 95,000.

Passenger Station Restoration "A Work In Progress"

Stacey Christe presented a slide show, lecture and discussion session Thursday night at the Coraopolis Public Library on the Coraopolis Passenger Station and its ongoing restoration.

She covered the history of the railroad and its role in the development of the town and the Western Hills. She included old newspaper clippings from the Record, Press, Sun Telegraph and Post Gazette, and many old photos from the Coraopolis Historical Society and other sources.

The station was built in 1895 by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. The architects used a Romanesque style. Today, only three such stations remain, the others in New Castle and Glassport. The National Register of Historic Places added the Coraopolis Station to its list in 1979, making it available for government restoration grants.

In its heydey, which extended from 1900 until the 1960s, the station had four long distance trains and four commuter trains a day stopping.

Hundreds of locals boarded the trains in the morning and rode them into offices in Pittsburgh or down to the mills in Aliquippa and Monaca. They returned on the trains every evening. Every Friday afternoon in the Summers local vacationers would board the special to Erie, spend two days at the beach, then return on the train Sunday evening. The trip to Erie took about four hours including stops at Aliquippa, Monaca, Beaver, Beaver Falls, New Brighton, New Castle, Farrell and Mercer. Long distance trains headed from Coraopolis west to Chicago and St. Louis and east to Philadelphia, New York City and Washington.

The Coraopolis Station was the major stop in this area and the only stop serving long distance trains. But commuter trains also stopped at smaller stations at Montour Junction (still standing but now privately owned, it's at the foot of Montour Street), Stoops Ferry and Glenwillard.

Notice in the photographs that four tracks ran through Coraopolis. They were busy with both freight and passenger trains, and often two trains at once would be at the station, with passengers getting on or off on both sides of the tracks. That is why you see the second long shelter across from the main station. There was a tunnel under the tracks for passengers to use so they did not have to actually walk across the tracks.

Western Hills residents older than 70 remember when the trains brought the men home from World War II. The trains, displaying red white and blue bunting, were met by huge crowds, some coming to pick up their sons, husbands, fathers, relatives or neighbors, and others just coming to join in the celebration.

The station has 12 unique architectural features that make it unique. One of these is the use of eyebrow windows, seen at right, to get more light into the interior. At some point in the last century, interior changes cut off that light, but hopefully restoration will reopen access to it.

Complete restoration will cost $1.2 million but is being done in phases.

The group working on the station is one committee of the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation. Station Subcommittee members are Sam Jampetro, Shawn Reed, Chris Rolinson, Stacey Christe and Ken Faux. They devote evenings and Saturdays to the project and welcome all volunteers. Christe joined the committee in 2015.

A 2010 $10,000 private grant funded a feasibility study. Vandals had removed the copper sheathing from the roof, which created leaks. That was taken care of. A 2014 campaign raised $12,00, and in 2015 equity financing and private donations raised it to $75,000. A 2016 Allegheny Foundation grant of $290,000 allowed major reconstruction to begin. A CITF grant application and private grant applications have been filed.

If someone stops by the station and looks inside, it looks rough. But in fact a lot of work has already been done, and they are now working on the floors. Their goal is to open the station in late 2018 as a cafe. A bicycle trail from Coraopolis to Monaca is under construction and the station would become one of its key stops.

There is also talk of restoring commuter service to Coraopolis, Aliquippa and Monaca to relieve highway congestion and the station could again fill its original role. But Committee member Chris Rolinson emphasizes this is currently just speculation, no specific plans have been announced, and the Committee is not including that possibility in its planning.

Once the station is restored, the committee plans to restore the under tracks tunnel, which includes stairs on both ends and bright lighting. The tunnel is still there but has fallen into neglect.

The photo at right shows the old ticket window in the main room of the station. It may look rough, but the bricks and wood are still in good shape. It's only the plaster that has crumbled over 50 years of neglect and water leakage from the roof.

The public is invited to drop by on Saturdays when the committee is working. Volunteers are welcome even if you don't know anything about restoration. There are always errands to run, items to carry and other tasks to help with. Anyone interested in donating to the restoration can go to CoraopolisFoundation.org, to the Get Involved page, for details.

Police Alert : Lock Doors, Hide Valuables

Friday, June 23 --- Coraopolis Police Chief Ron Denbow has once again asked all Coraopolis borough residents to lock their car doors at all times and avoid leaving valuables in sight anywhere in the car. There has been another rash of vehicles being rummaged through while parked on streets or in drive ways close to the street.

"This time, there's no evidence of the vehicles being broken into. These are all vehicles left unlocked," Denbow told the Record. "They rummage through glove compartments, center consoles and back seats. Lock Your Doors And Don't Leave Anything Of Value In The Vehicle Even For A Few Minutes."

A similar warning was issued back on May 19. There had been three straight nights of break ins and thefts that week. After the Record posted a warning, people locked their vehicles and stopped leaving anything in them for a while, and the incidents stopped. But people have once again grown careless and the thieves have resumed. Most of the incidents have occurred in the Ridge, Vance and Highland Avenue areas. Anyone finding evidence of someone having been in their vehicle should call Police immediately at 412-264-3000.

Cornell Board Completes Quiet June Meeting

The Cornell School Board held a very quiet meeting Thursday night with schools out for the Summer and several members absent due to out of town meetings or workshops. Members also voted to cancel their July meeting. Superintendant Aaron Thomas recognized a team of girls who won first place in a video simulation competitiion at the Heinz History Center. A grant for $5,000 has been acquired which will allow the school to test for lead. Resignations have been accepted fromn Kelly Dantley Thompson as Assistant Girls Basketball Coach, Larry DiSilvestro as CHS-TV advisor, and Ruth Mihalyi as National Honor Society and Junior Honor Society sponsor. Jamie Chambers has been hired as 5th grade teacher, William Lamb as 7-12 Music & Band Director, and Cherlise Gerlach as the Elementary Life Skills Teacher. The 2017-18 budget was approved at $14, 219, 331. There will be no increase in the real estate tax; it will remain at 23.314 mills. $241,063 from the current fund balance was used to balance the account. Interviews are held this week for the Head Girls Basketball Coaching position.

Borough Council Approves Smoke Detector Project

The highlight of the June meeting of Coraopolis Borough Council came at the very beginning. A Red Cross representative reviewed with Council a smoke detector project set for Saturday, August 12.

On that day, 75 workers will fan out across town, going house to house, knocking on every door. They will ask each homeowner if the house has smoke detectors and, if not, if the homeowner would allow them to come inside and install them. While installing them, they will instruct residents on how to maintain the detector and help them design an escape plan.

"Once a fire breaks out, the average resident has only two minutes to get out before they are at risk for smoke inhalation, which will severely reduce chances of survival."

Mayor Anthony Celeste asked if there were any restrictions on who could receive the smoke detectors. "None whatsoever," he was told. "Especially, there are no income limits."

If no one answers the door, workers will leave a brochure attached to the doorknob. If a homeowner calls, a team will come back a week or two later and install the detectors.

The project is being run by the Red Cross, Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department and the Lions Club.

"We'll hold training sessions in July so local firemen and Lions Club members will know how to install the detectors. And every team will have a Red Cross professional with them, who will present proper credentials to the homeowner."

Workers will begin knocking on doors at 9 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m. The Red Cross hopes to install at least 100 detectors. "Some people already have them. Some won't be home. Some won't want strangers inside. But if we can install 100 it will greatly reduce the fire and smoke risk in Coraopolis."

Much of the Council meeting was routine, approving expenditures for payroll, purchases and various projects around town. The Borough payroll for May totaled $103, 336.54. The Council spent $134,594.40 on general purchases. Invoices related to the new Municipal Building added up to $315,699.56, which came from the Construction Fund Account. Council paid PNC Bank $400,000 on its TRAN note, a check which was paid from real estate taxes. $500 was paid to the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office for extra deputies during the Memorial Day Parade.

One expenditure which was challenged was for a new electrical box at the 5th Avenue parking lot and to repair the lights along 5th Avenue. Rudy Bolea asked what the amount was. No one knew. So Bolea movd to table the approval until the exact cost could be determined, and that was agreed to.

"I don't like issuing a blank check," Bolea said.

Council approved Charles Spencer to fill an open position on the Water & Sewage Board.

Dana Watkins and Carol Bartolomucci requested permission to use the 5th Avenue and 1st Avenue parking lots on August 19 and August 24 for Outreach Ministry and Not One More programs.

Danny Larocco reported that in November 3rd Ward will vote at the VFW and 4th Ward will vote at the new Municipal Building.

Police Chief Ron Denbow reported on an incident at the Memorial Day Parade. Due to a prior situation, two females along the parade got into a fight, which spread to members of the audience. Officers arrived within three minutes and arrested seven, charging one with juvenile assault and two with adult assault. "This is the first ever such incident," Chief Denbow explained. "We'll take precautions next year."

In May, the Police received 562 complaints, conducted 198 criminal investigations, made 56 arrests, tracked two stolen vehicles, dealt with 15 accidents (with no injuries) and issued 43 citations. Downtown parking meters earned $1285.

Cornell Elementary School chose an Officer Of The Year and awarded a plaque and flag to Sergeant Robert Litterini.

The Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department had three calls, one of which was to help Moon firemen, and a second of which was a power outage. Only one was actually a fire.

Work was discussed on 1st and 2nd Avenues, State Avenue and Chestnut and Mill Streets. Grants have been filed which would allow Coraopolis to pay 30% of these costs, with the grants covering the rest. There is also work needing done on Sewer and Water lines and the brick streets.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon told Council he was determining the cost of 24 LED lights for 5th Avenue and would be submitting that for approval, probably at the July meeting.

Ed Pitassi reported that Stacey Christe will be presenting a "History Of The Coraopolis Station" slide show at 6 pm Thursday, June 22.

McCutcheon reported that the latest estimate for completion of the new Municipal Building was late July.

Lucinda Wade (photo, right) requested use of Bliwas Field on August 12 for the annual Back To School Celebration. Her group hands out backpacks filled with school supplies. There will be food and games.

Clarence Sellars reported that the TV station was not broadcasting the tape of the Council meetings as they were supposed to be. He was told to phone the station, that the Council had nothing to say about it.

Stacey Christe asked for clarification on when the parking meters were in effect. Chief Denbow told her meters in the parking lots operated 24 hours a day seven days a week and street meters operated 9 to 9 Monday through Thursday and 9 to 6 Friday and Saturday. Sundays and holidays are free.

Clarence Sellars wanted to know why Council had paid $125,000 for a piece of 1st Avenue property assessed at only $49,000. The property had been part of the David Henderson estate. The Board explained that property is usually only assessed when it is sold, so many properties that have stayed in the same family for decades have not been appraised for decades. Before a sale occurs, the property must be newly assessed, which almost always results in a much higher value, and then the law requires a town council to pay the assessed value for it. Solicitor Richard Start mentioned that there wre properties all over town that were underassessed, but that if they were reassessed, taxes on them would skyrocket.

Annual Strawberry Festival Saturday

The Coraopolis Presbyterian Church will hold its annual Strawberry Festival Saturday, June 10, from noon to 5:30 pm.

The primary treat, the dish of Strawberries, Cake and Ice Cream, can be ordered separately.

Or customers can add Cole Slaw, Beans, Drink and a Pulled Pork Sandwich for a complete meal.

Entry will be at the 5th Avenue doorway. If weather permits, there will be outdoor tables and chairs. If not, seating will be in the Social Hall downstairs.

 

Coraopolis Blood Drive Friday

The Zion Lutheran Church is hosting its annual blood drive Friday, June 9, from 12:30 pm through 6 pm. The church is at 1305 State Avenue.

The event is held in conjunction with the American Red Cross Blood Drive, in honor of long time church member Florence Keck.

Donated blood helps millions of patients in over 2600 hospitals and is always in short supply. Each donation may, literally, save someone's life. As a matter of fact, Red Cross statistics indicate that each donation holds enough blood to save three lives.

Donors shoulde bring ID (driver's license plus one other card) and a list of medications they're taking. They'll be given a routine checkup (pulse, blood pressure, temperature and hemoglobin) prior to donating.

Donors should call 1-800-733-2767 to make an appointment. Or they can go to redcrossblood.org and enter ZionCorry to schedule the appointment.

Western Hills Honors War Dead

In Coraopolis and across the Western Hills Sunday and Monday, residents paused to honor those who gave their lives and many others who placed theirs at risk during World War II and wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

From the annual Memorial Day Parade in Coraopolis to ceremonies at area cemeteries to Boy Scouts placing flags, it was a weekend to think of names fading into history and the men who fought there : Chosin, Iwo Jima, Anzio, Normandy, Midway, the Coral Sea, the MeKong Delta and the Battle of the Bulge.

We can relax and grill hamburgers, play baseball and go swimming today because in years past our relatives, neighbors and friends struggled on beaches, in foxholes, on ships and in airplane cockpits to defend this lifestyle.

And victory was not guaranteed. Often, it seemed unlikely. Mothers, wives, girlfriends and children waited each day for radio broadcasts about battles in faraway places, where their loved ones were fighting.

Thousands of local residents still remember that warm sunny afternoon when suddenly the siren went off atop the Coraopolis borough building, church bells began ringing and car horns began blaring. Word quickly spread. Germany had surrendered. People stood on their front porches, front yards and on downtown sidewalks and cried.

Many also still remember the trains pulling into the Coraopolis station, adorned with red, white and blue bunting, bringing the men home. The trains kept coming, day after day, for weeks. Thousands of men had gone to war, and it took a long time to get them all home, many on crutches, stretchers and wheelchairs.

Memories like that are what this weekend is about. It was a time for relatives to visit graveyards with flags and flowers, to listen to buglers play Taps, and to seek out veterans still living and thank them for their service.

Firemen, Police and Veterans joined together to hold memorial services at each area cemetery where veterans are buried. This is a cynical age and patriotism is out of style, but on Memorial Day Weekend red, white and blue were the only colors anyone wanted to see.

Cory Memorial Day Parade Monday 1:30

The 98th annual Coraopolis Memorial Day Parade will be held Monday, May 29, at 1:30. It is one of Western Pennsylvania's five largest.

The parade will begin at Chess Street and end at Chestnut Street. It will extend through the downtown business district on 5th Avenue.

Traffic on Route 51 will be rerouted to 4th Avenue, which will change to two way. PAT Buses on Route 27 will also use 4th Avenue.

The parade is sponsored by Coraopolis Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 402.

Photos here show scenes from previous parades. It attracts not only area high school bands, but groups from throughout Allegheny and Beaver Counties and Pittsburgh.

Many out of town groups march in the Sewickley parade at 11 a.m., then the Coraopolis parade at 1:30 p.m.

Coraopolis has had a Memorial Day Parade since 1919, when it was held to honor local soldiers in War War I. Over the years, the parade has expanded to honor veterans in all branches of the military in World War II, the Korean War, the War in Vietnam, and more recently the Middle Eastern campaigns.

Cory's is one of the oldest continuously running Memorial Day events in western Pennsylvania, but the oldest is held right across the river.

Sewickley began its parade in 1899 to honor its soldiers in the Spanish American War.

Both parades are smaller now than they were back in the 20th Century. The numbers of World War I and II and Korean War veterans able to march has declined due to deaths and health problems. The number of Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops has declined, and consolidation has reduced the number of high schools, thus the number of marching bands, in the area. As the area population has declined, attendance along the parade route has reduced. The parade route is also shorter. It used to conclude at the Coraopolis Cemetery, where speakers honored the fallen veterans buried there. Now that occurs down in town.

But the parade remains one of Cory's major events, a reminder of the sacrifices some of us made so that the rest of us could enjoy the life we do.

Water, soft drinks and snacks will be available at booths in front of the VFW and the Presbyterian Church.

And Anthony Junior's Italian Restaurant and the Anchor & Anvil Coffee Shop across from the VFW will be open for business. Further up and down 5th Avenue, several other restaurants and pizza outlets will also be open, so parade fans can grab lunch before or a snack after.

Paradegoers are reminded to arrive early to find a parking space and a good viewing spot. Area residents have been attending this event all their lives and if you arrive shortly before 1:30 you may not be able to find either parking or viewing.

World War II Veteran Danny Larocco will be participating in his 77th consecutive Memorial Day Parade, believed to be the local record.

Coraopolis Woman Drowns Kayaking

Helene Brandy of Coraopolis is presumed dead in a kayaking accident but efforts to recover her body continue.

Brandy was a recent Pitt graduate. She had been a cheerleader at Upper St. Clair and Pitt, as well as a gymnast and outdooorsperson. She had moved to Coraopolis because she had been hired by Dick's Sporting Goods for a human resources position. She and Brittany Evans had gone kayaking on the Ohio River Saturday afternoon. Evans was a West Virginia University graduate. She worked for PLS Logistics Services, a Cranberry based management services company. Both kayaks belonged to her.

Evans had been canoeing and kayaking before but never on the Ohio. It was Brandy's first time kayaking. The two apparently had a great time paddling from the Groveton Boat Club down to the Sewickley Bridge, They took a selfie just below the bridge, looking back at it. That's Helene in the foreground and Brittany behind her in a second kayak. After taking this photo, Helene placed her cell phone in a watertight plastic bag and tucked it under the kayak's deck. Directly ahead of them was a line of 30 buoys with large warning signs.

The kayakers didn't realize it, but they were already in trouble when they took this photo. The current was already drawing them toward the Dashields Dam, which sits downriver from the Sewickley Bridge. Engineers call it a "lowhead" dam, since it has no structure jutting above the water. Lowhead dams are dangerous. First, with no structure, they cannot be seen from upriver. And second, the water creates a "boil" or "churn" below the dam which traps boats or swimmers.

Even once they passed the buoys, were caught in the current and found themselves unable to turn around and paddle back upriver, the girls could have paddled to their left, where they would have come to the locks boats use to bypass the dam. But for some reason, the girls didn't do this. Instead, at about 6:30 pm they were swept over the dam.

Dashields Dam extends 1500 feet across the river, from shore to shore. The lock, which is on the Coraopolis side, is 600 ft. long and 110 feet wide. The dam itself is 10 feet high. The "boil" or "churn" below the dam is about 30 yards long. The water pouring down the front of the dam plunges deep, rotates along the bottom, comes back up and back toward the dam, where it is sucked down again. This rotation continues as long as water comes over the dam. It can even trap boats and logs in it. Swimmers have no chance to escape.

Fishermen in boats below the dam heard the girls screaming for help and saw them go over the dam. But they couldn't get close enough to help because of the churn. (debris in the photo at right is unrelated to this accident.) Brittany's body floated out of the churn at about 7 pm.

Rescuers could only get so close to the dam because of the churn, so they brought in Gary Bane, a drone operator. Bane came to the churn line in a boat, then released the drone. It was able to hover right over the churn. But it could not locate Helene's body.

The search was called off at dark Saturday, but resumed Sunday at 8 a.m. with infrared technology. They found nothing all day Sunday.

Monday, Helene's bathing suit top, life jacket and watertight bag with the cell phone inside washed ashore at Glenwillard.

Both kayaks had been recovered by Thursday.

The two young women are the 28th and 29th drowning deaths at the Dashields Dam.

There is no immediate access to the dam. Rescuers are launching boats from the Glenwillard ramp.

Helene's family is organizing a petitition demanding better signage. "The buoys and signs are not enough," says Ken Brandy, Helene's uncle. They are contacting State Representative Mark Mustio to "help prevent any more incidents like this from happening. 27 deaths are enough."

Local rescue workers say the answer may be to simply keep kayakers and canoeists off the Ohio River.

"Most of the people who have drowned going over this dam have been fishermen, water skiers and pleasure boaters who have been in fairly large boats with powerful engines. And they were caught in the current and could not escape. So how can a canoeist or kayaker possibly hope to avoid trouble? These recreational paddlers need to go to smaller streams or lakes."

An Army Corps of Engineers official was even more blunt. "The Ohio is an industrial river. There are dams like this, plus towboats pushing large strings of barges. This is not a recreational river. It's not even a very good place for fishing boats, but they know enough to stay along the shores. It is just not a safe place for canoes and kayaks. And it is absolutely not a place to learn how to canoe or kayak."

Ironically, the Dashields Dam is one of a series of dams and locks scheduled for replacement in the next few years.

Work On Schedule At New Boro Building

Work continues on schedule on the new Coraopolis Municipal Building on 4th Avenue.

The exterior is basically done except for small touching up. Paving of sidewalks and parking lots is still in progress. Lasndscaping will begin once the paving is done.

Most of the work is now progressing inside. As the two photos below show, the rooms and halls are basically done, but lots of finishing is still needed.

Wiring is one of the major tasks. Since Police, Fire and Government offices are involved, state of the art phone and internet systems are needed.

When the building is complete, it will take weeks to move everything, including files, police and fire equipment, from the current century old Municipal Building. An open house will be held on a date yet to be announced where the public can tour the building.

Police Alert : Lock Doors, Hide Valuables

Friday, May 19 --- Coraopolis Police Chief Ron Denbow has asked all Coraopolis borough residents to lock their car doors at all times and avoid leaving valuables in sight anywhere in the car.

Borough Police have experienced a series of vehicle robberies in the last 72 hours. "Someone is apparently walking the streets, trying every car door, and opening every unlocked door," Denbow told the Record. "But they're also looking in every window, and if they see a camera, laptop, iPad or anything else of value laying on the seats or the floor, they're breaking in even if the vehicle is locked. So lock your doors and don't leave anything of any value in the vehicle, even for a few minutes."

Vehicle thefts have been particularly prevalent up on the hills. "The 1700 block of Vance, the 1000 block of Main, the 1000 block of Marion and all of Woodlawn have been their primary targets," he said. "But they may be using their own vehicle to move from place to place so everywhere is vulnerable."

Anyone finding any break in or seeing anyone suspicious in a neighborhood should call Police immediately at 412-264-3000.

Cornell School Receives Google Technology Grant

Dr. Aaron Thomas announced that Cornell has won a Google Technology Grant and will be sending one teacher and one administrator to Mountain View, California during the Summer for training. The Grant will pay for one position for a Technology Coach to work with Cornell under a Google Mentor.

In other business at the Cornell School Board meeting Thursday in the school library, Thomas (center figure, photo below left) was recognized for just having received his doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

The Board recognized senior Austin Winchell for his achievements in swimming competitions. Winchell also participates in band, French club and the prom committee.

Finally, the Cornell Girls Basketball Team was recognized for its season of achievements, although the Board accepted Coach Shawn Urbano's resignation (see separate story in Sports) with regrets.

Friday, June 2 will be Graduation. Monday, June 5 will be the final day of school for everyone else. School will only be held for half a day, with no lunch served.

 

Other upcoming dates of note were announced : May 23 is the Band Concert, and May 25 the Sixth Grade Graduation.

Holy Family will be providing next year's Social & Family Services. The annual "Extended School Year" for Special Education Students will be the last three weeks of July.

Cornell's Journalism Class next year will be a dual credit course. The credit will be granted by Point Park College. Next week, Art students from Cornell will unveil their Art Installation in Pittsburgh. The Board accepted praise from the staff of the Embassy Suites Hotel for the exemplary behavior of the Cornell students at their recent prom.

The Board approved water lead testing for $2,536 handicap area concrete repairs for $2,000 and catch basin repairs for $1800.

The real estate tax rate will remain unchanged at 23.314 mills.

Stephanie Mazzocco (in red at left) was chosen as Treasurer for the next year. Patrick Berdine was named Secretary.

Congratulations were offered to Board members who retained their seats during the recent election, although it was noted results are not yet official until approved by the Allegheny County Elections Office.

Ed Pitassi Loses
Bolea, Larocco and Williams Reelected to Borough Council

Rudy Bolea, Danny Larocco and Michael Williams won reelection to seats on the Coraopolis Borough Council Tuesday but popular and long time colleague Ed Pitassi (photo, right) was upset by newcomer Melissa Walsh in the First District.

In the Cornell School Board election, Robert Dinell, Stephanie Mazzocco, Charles Blackstone and Darlene Abbott won four year terms. Jeffrey McBain won the two year seat.

In what was expected to be the closest race, Bolea (holding documents, below) won easily over former Mayor Anthony Celeste 99-43. Celeste, who chose to withdraw from the Mayoral contest and run instead for Council, was thought to be a serious thresat to Bolea. But what was not anticipated was the number of Republican voters who crossed over and wrote Bolea's name in on their ballots.

Walsh won by only seven votes over Pitassi in what turned out to be the night's closest race. Pitassi will remain active in Borough politics, since he holds continuing positions on boards and committees independent of his Council seat.

The Mayor's race was predetermined, since by Election Day newcomer Shawn Reed was unopposed. But the number of votes was still critical since it would indicate whether or not Reed takes office with a clear mandate. People could have written in other names or voted for Celeste even though he had officially withdrawn. But it turned out Reed won 96% of the votes and has his mandate.

The Coraopolis electoral process has devolved over the years into a very quircky process. No Republican is on the ballot, despite the fact a significant portion of the Borough is registered Republican. However, when a Republican votes, they can vote for one of the Democrat candidates by writing their name in on the ballot. If a Democrat candidate wins a clear majority, the General Election in November becomes unnecessary. But if enough Republicans write in a Democrat candidate's name other than the winner on the Democrat side, that forces a November runoff in the General Election.

The Write In process thus becomes more important than usual. And it has rules. A name must be exactly the same as the candidate's official name. A misspelling, a wrong middle initial, a nickname, any deviation at all, renders the write in ballot invalid and it is discarded by election officials.

And a person cannot just write their name in and win a position no one was running for, such as Tax Collector. The rules require that a certain number of voters must write a candidate's name in. That number varies with the total number voting.

Technically, the election results are not official for several days, while Allegheny County officials check everything. They particularly scrutinize write in ballots and very close elections.

Cory Vote Turnout Surges During Evening

Voting picked up during the Tuesday evening hours as Coraopolis voters chose candidates for School Board and Borough Council.

Precinct officials were reporting a low turnout during the morning and early afternoon. But such a low turnout was not surprising. During non Presidential years, voter turnout is usually low across the nation.

Plus, the fact that the most important position in the Borough, the Mayor, is not a contest has reduced the urgency for many people to vote. Shawn Reed, at right, is running unopposed.

There have not been any major controversies, either, to ignite voter interest and drive people to the polls. The only issue even midly controversial lately has been the new municipal building. Some would have preferred the borough simply renovate the curent century old building. But several Council meetings in a row have mentioned rhe fact that it was cheaper to build new than to renovate the old one and equip it for handicapped access and other modern requirements. By now, almost everyone agrees with the decision.

John Pessy, seen at left, is not running this time, so was simply at the polls to greet voters and pass out materials for other candidates. Pessy is a long time Borough Council member who played football at Coraopolis High School and Juniata College, then returned to spend a career teaching and coaching at Coraopolis and Cornell.

Coraopolis alternates which School Board and Borough Council seats are up for election so there are always some experienced members In this election only First, Second, Third and Fourth Districts were voting for new representatives.

This will be the last year the Third District will be held at the old Municipal Building. The building will be vacated by the next election. Presumably, Third District voters will vote at the new Municipal Building on 4th Avenue, although theoretically election officials could choose another site.

The tightest race today should be the Second District, where incumbent council member Rudy Bolea tries to fend off a challenge by former Mayor Tony Celeste. Both have histories of public service and large, loyal followings. Election officials called the race "a coin flip."

Results of the election will be posted by mid to late evening tonight (Tuesday, May 16).

Theoretically this is only the primary election and the general election will be held in November, but in most cases there is no one else running, so the winners of these races will win the positions.

Celeste Withdraws From Mayor's Race
Get Out And Vote : Tuesday Is Local Primary

Current Mayor Tony Celeste has withdrawn from the Mayor's race, meaning challenger Shawn Reed will be the next Mayor of Coraopolis. There are no other candidates running, and the deadline for entering is long past, so the winner of tomorrow's primary is automatically the winner of the November General Election.

Celeste (presenting an award in the photo at right) is still on the ballot as a candidate for a Council seat. He declined to talk to reporters and gave no reason for withdrawing from the Mayoral race. However, Celeste is a local businessman with Cory's largest and most popular downtown restaurant, a time consuming enterprise. A Mayor's duties have been time consuming in the past and will become even more time consuming with the move to a new municipal building, an influx of new businesses and the increased highway and rail traffic stemming from the Shell Refinery in Potter Township and the Intermodal Terminal in Stowe Township and McKees Rocks. Sources close to Celeste said he simply felt he could no longer spare the time needed for the Mayor's position but still wanted to contribute and felt he could best do that as a Council representative.

But Celeste's decision sets up an interesting Council race. Celeste lives in the Second District, meaning he is running against incumbent Councilman Rudy Bolea. Bolea is a longtime Councilman with strong and loyal support and high name recognition. But having been Mayor for four years, Celeste also has high name recognition and his own loyal supporters.

Every other Council race has an incumbent running against a political newcomer, so the Second District contest is by far the most interesting of the entire ballot.

In the First District, incumbent Ed Pitassi is running against challenger Melissa Walsh. In the Third District, incumbent Michael Williams is running against challenger Lucinda Wade. In the Fourth District, incumbent Dan Larocco is running against challenger Jesse Robles.

The biggest question about the Council election is whether Coraopolis voters will continue to vote for a basically older, male, white slate or whether any of the women or minorities will be able to upset any of the incumbents. The average age of Council members is 69.3, one is over 80 and one in his late 70s, at a time of economic resurgence and new challenges.

All Council seats are not up for vote. To guarantee continuity, some come up for vote in one election, and the others in the next election. Since issues and projects develop over several monrhs, this assures that half the Council members know the background of whatever issues and projects are discussed.

School Board voting is a bit more complex. There are two kinds of seats on the Board. One is a four year term. Voters face a list of five candidates and choose four. In this category, the choices are Darlene Abbott, Stephanie Mazzocco, Charles Blackstone, Jason Kish and Bob Dinnell.

The other category is two year terms. Voters face three candidates and can vote for one. The three are Caryn Code, Patrick Walsh and Jeff McBain.

The Cornell School System is in better shape right now than at any time in the last 40 years. Administratively, academically, financially and even in sports and extracurricular activities, the schools from kindergarten to 12th grade are functioning well.

But Cornell will face two challenges as the new Board takes office. The first is a new charter school in Robinson Township which will be trying to recruit students in neighboring districts, including Cornell. Any student now attending Cornell who chooses to transfer must be provided morning and afternoon transportation by Cornell, and Cornell must pay $15,000 tuition for that student at the charter school. The second potential challenge is the always lurking merger issue. With Cornell being officially the smallest public school in Western Pennsylvania, there are pressures to join with Moon or Montour. Currently, this issue is not being discussed, but it resurfaces periodically. In theory, a small school is the best school, as it can provide each student more individual attention and more opportunities to participate in sports and various activities. But for this to be true, that small school must function at high efficiency. Making sure this remains true is the responsibility of the School Board. So every Board election is critical.

There will be several categories on the ballot which do not offer choices. They are write in choices. These include Tax Collector, Judge of Elections, Inspector of Elections and Member of Allegheny County Council.

 

And there will be five State of Pennsylvania or Allegheny County positions up for vote. These include Supreme Court Justice, Superior Court Judge, Judge of the Commonwealth, Judge of the Common Pleas Court, and Sheriff. No Coraopolis or Western Hills resident is running for any of these positions. For a breakdown of the various candidates, their views, and recommendations on who to select, see the Pittsburgh Post Gazette or Pittsurgh Tribune.

Ir is tempting to think that since there is only one candidate running for Mayor, it's not worth the bother to check the box. But it is important. The number of votes a candidate receives demonstrates how much support he has in the community. The next four years will be a time of change in Coraopolis, and difficult and far reaching decisions will be made. Some of those will be controversial. The Mayor will often need to convince the Council members to suppoort his proposals, recommendations and decisions. If they believe the Mayor has little support in the community, they may be inclined not to support him. If they feel he has very strong support, they will feel pressure to support him. Shawn Reed (photo, at right) is a marketing specialist who has already been heading the restoration of the old passenger station on Mill Street and brings new ideas to the Mayor's office.

Doughboy Statue Receives Annual Cleaning

Wednesday saw the annual cleaning of the famous Doughboy Statue that currently sits in front of the Veterans Foreign Wars Building at the corner of 5th Avenue and Mulberry Street.

The VFW is responsible for the cleaning and care of the statue. Members clean it every year just before the annual Memorial Day Parade, which passes along 5th Avenue right in front of it.

The statue is made of pressed copper and copper plates are mounted on the base. Rain and snow erode the copper and stain the white porcelain, discoloring the base. But the copper stain can be removed with a power washer, detergent and sometimes a little vigorous rubbing.

"As long as we clean it once or twice a year, it's easy to keep clean and shiny and in perfect condition," VFW officials explain. "If a community neglected one of these statues for several years, the copper stains would sink in and become permanent."

The Coraopolis Doughboy is actually one copy of a statue by E. M. Vaquesney. It was mass produced in the 1920s to honor World War I (1914-1918) veterans, and distributed to any town raising the price. The term "doughboy" was used to describe the foot soldiers because of the fried flour dumplings they ate. After the war, they popularized them back in America and now we call them "donuts."

The Coraopolis VFW raised $3500. The statue cost $1000, the base cost $1500, and the copper plates cost $1000. Today, this does not seem like much. But in a time when men making high wages in the mills brought home $4000 a year, when homes cost $7500, a new car could be bought for $500 and a good meal in a good restaurant cost 50 cents, $3500 was a staggering amount of money. A similar statue, pedestal and plates today would cost about $75,000. Schools, churches and civic organizations all held fund raisers and contributed. The plates contain the names of Coraopolis veterans killed in WW I and II.

Originally, 300 Doughboy Statues were produced. The Smithsonian Institute keeps an official record of them. 134 remain in place in small towns, mostly in the northeastern states. They were installed in cemeteries, parks, town squares and in front of high schools and city halls.

Over the years, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, vehicles smashing into them, trees falling, and vandalism destroyed 166. There were three variations on the Coraopolis version. One is a U.S. Navy version, one an infantryman waving his hand overhead, and the other a World War II version. There are not as many copies of those other variations still in existence.

The Coraopolis Doughboy Statue is one of only 12 remaining which have the official bayonet still in place.

The Coraopolis Doughboy has roamed around town. When first received, it was placed on 5th Avenue in a small park. When the new Municipal Building was built, the status was moved to the front of it. When the new high school opened, the statue was moved to the front of it, where it remained until the 1970s, when the high school was closed and converted to apartments.

At that point, the statue was moved to a spot on State Avenue, just below the library and across from the Greystone Presbyterian Church. Finally, it was moved to its current location in front of the VFW Building.

At those other locations, the statue was always surrounded by a small fence or row of bricks or stones, with flowers planted along its base. The flowers were carefully tended and frequently repotted. For half a centiury, this chore was handled by the Coraopolis Ladies Aid Society.

At its present location, the pedestal sits directly on the concrete sidewalk and there are no flowers.

When it was in front of the high school, the statue was a daily part of students' lives. They would speak of meeting at the statue, or would pose for photos in front of it. Teachers would refer to it as part of history classes. No longer at a school, the statue no longer seems as important to local residents. As they drive past, few pay it any attention.

But recently, its neighborhood is reviving. A new coffee shop, restaurant, microbrewery and other businesses have opened just across or just up the street. People are parking nearby and walking past the statue, and many can be seen stopping to read the names or the plaque. On May 29 the Memorial Day Parade will pass in front of it, and people will be standing around it to watch. No nearby community has such a statue. It is one of those features which makes Coraopolis unique, a link to a time almost 100 years ago.

Pit Bull, Potholes, New Truck Highlight May Council Meeting

Wednesday's Coraopolis Borough Council meeting, the last one before next week's primary election, was the quietest of the year. The core of the meeting consisted of routine approval of various items with only a few questions and discussions. The most interesting segments of the meeting came during the public participation, when John Stoner, Clarence Sellers and Tom Toomey came to the podium.

Earlier, among the various motions to approve, Council voted in favor of repairing the street clock for $5000. The Verdin Companty was awarded the contract. Rudy Bolea asked about a warranty and Calvin Jackson asked about the price of a brand new clock (it would cost $20,000), but both eventually voted in favor.

They voted to join Moon Township to repave Woodlawn Drive. Since Youngblood Paving Company will already have their equipment there, it will only cost $12,530. Woodlawn Drive runs between Maple Street and the top of Main Street along the west edge of the Coraopolis Cemetery. Most of it is in Moon, but the Main Street end of it is in Cory.

Continued participation in the Allegheny County Development Block Grant was approved for three more years. Through this program, Cory acquires financing for water and sewer line maintenance and demolition of condemned buildings

The Police Chief's Report showed 478 complaints, 43 arrests, nine accidents, 216 parking citations, 202 moving violations, and one vehicle towed (out of the creek below Vance Avenue).

Saturday, May 20, the Hometown Hero Car Cruise will be held. The following Sarturday, May 27, the Coraopolis Car Cruise will be held. The May 27th Cruise will benefit the Coraopolis K9 Program.

The Solicitor's Report included adoption of the official Allegheny County Hot Pursuit Policy. This is a set of guidelines governing policemen involved in a vehicle pursuit. Council agreed it would be critical for local officers to act in accordance with this policy in case an accident occurs and a court case results. Officers will be trained accordingly to make sure they understand and follow the guidelines.

Engineering reports stated that (1) land acquisition along the riverfront is in progress. Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon is meeting with Allegheny County officials to discuss work to develop and enhance the Coraopolis Riverfront. McCutcheon emphasized that the goal was a clear view of the river from the park along First Avenue. (2) Work on the Sylvan Avenue wall will begin this week. (3) Bids are in for the Chestnut Street road and water line work. It should be done in 45 days.

Ray McCutcheon reported that the Borough had purchased a new truck and paid $80,000 cash for it.

Calvin Jackson asked that discussion be reopened on two issues. He wanted a reconsideration of the previous decision to limit parking along 4th Avenue and Chestnut Street due to the new Municipal Building. Jackson explained that upon studying this matter, he found that three churches need that parking on Sunday mornings, and area businesses would be negatively impacted if their customers had nowhere to park. Jackson also wanted a reconsideration of the "Tot Lot" basketball court construction. He explained that parking was already tight near the Tot Lot. The full length basketball court would take out an entire parking lot, forcing those cars onto the street, where there already are not enough spaces for residents, let alone Tot Lot parents. Jackson added that the Tot Lot was supposed to be a playground for very young children, and building a full size court with 10 ft. rims was hardly something kids that age could use. So the intent of the Tot Lot is being lost

Dan LaRocco was recognized. Larocco, a longtime Council member, served in World War II. This May 31 will be his 77th consecutive Memorial Day Parade.

Council urged all Coraopolis residents to vote in the May 16 primary.

Which concluded the regular Council agenda and led to the Public Participation segment.

John Stoner (photo, above) described an angry Pit Bull which is terrorizing his neighborhood. He explained that the owner does not leash the animal. He has had to fight it off with a 2 x 4. He showed Council photos and a video of the Pit Bull attacking. Stoner said he called the Police and they came out and talked to the owner, but nothing changed. He demanded that Council do something. After some discussion, Police Chief Ron Denbow invited Stoner to meet with him in his office and they would discuss a solution to the issue. Denbow explained that dogs must be leashed unless they are trained to voice commands and heel when off their own property.

Clarence Sellers (photo, right) then asked about tax collection on delinquent property and use of that money to repair streets. Sellers was particularly concerned with potholes and general deterioration of State Avenue. Rudy Bolea explained that Council was indeed collecting delinquent taxes and had actual sheriff sales pending. 28 letters have been mailed, and seven people have already paid up, totalling $100,000. Ray McCutcheon added that the Borough is not in debt, is in fact in strong financial shape, and will be spending a considerable amount on street repair this year. Sellers then asked where State Avenue was on the priority list, since it was so bad it was practically undrivable. Council agreed to move State Avenue up the priority list.

Tom Toomey then explained that he had made a personal investigation and found 21 cargo trailers sitting around Coraopolis being used for storage. They have not been moved for years. Some may even have been abandoned. Toomey pointed out that the Borough is not collecting any tax revenue on these trailers and seems to be oblivious to their existence. He said he had checked around and no other town allows trailers to be parked for decades. Toomey asked if he built a storage building on his property if he would not need a permit and would not be charged taxes on it. These trailers, he explained, are a means of evading those permits and that taxation. Council agreed to look into the issue.

Area Catholics Eye Diocese "Study" Warily

Coraopolis and Western Hills Catholics are holding their breath these days as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh conducts a year long "study" of Allegheny County parishes.

No one either at the Parish or Diocese level is willing to be quoted by name to avoid inflaming public opinion, but privately everyone admits there is serious consideration of merging St. Joseph's, St. Margaret Mary of Moon Township and St. Catherine of Sienna of Crescent Township into a single Parish. St. Philip of the West End, St. John's of McKees Rocks and St. Malachy of Kennedy Township have been under similar discussion. Sewickley St. James could be added to the St. Joe's-MM-Catherine cluster and Holy Trinity of Robinson Township be added to either that one or the St. Philip-St. Johns-St. Malachy cluster.

The official announcement will not be made until March 2018 but local parishioners are aware Bishop David Zubik in Pittsburgh and officials even above him are under tremendous pressure. Since 2000, the local Catholic population is down 16%. Masses, communions, confirma- tions, baptisms, weddings and school enrollments are down 40%.

So not only are there fewer Catholics, but many Catholics no longer go to church except for Christmas and Easter services. In the 1990s the Diocese reduced from 332 to 218 the number of parishes. Today there are only 192.

And it gets worse. Far fewer Catholics are entering the Priesthood or becoming Nuns. Already, there is a shortage of priests. The Diocese does not have enough to staff its 192 parishes. And as current priests retire, this shortage will become worse. The Diocese must reduce the number of parishes to the number its priests can staff. There are strict regulations on the nunber of Masses a priest can celebrate in one day, so they cannot be spread too thin.

Diocese officials emphasize that "Merging a parish is different from closing a building. Merger does not mean Mass will not be celebrated there every weekend.

"It could mean the administrative offices could be located elsewhere. It could mean special events, festivals, fund raisers or ceremonies could be held elsewhere. But baptisms, catechisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals would still be held at the building."

The Catholic Church has an 11 point formula they use to rank parishes. The factors include households, individuals, baptisms, weddings, confirmations, school enrollment, full time positions supported, youth below 18, revenue, savings/endowment, and maintenance/utilities. This formula gives each parish a score based on a 100 point scale. A typical score is in the 70s. Nine Allegheny County parishes score in the 80s and 90s. But many score below 50. Since its elementary school closed, St. Joe's scores a zero on school enrollment, but its other scores are high enough to still give it a high total.

St. Joe's would appear to be strong. It has 3125 members, is not in debt and has an active core of members who hold many events a year, ranging from the famous Festival to eight Fish Fries during Lent. The church brings in $500,000 a year from various sources and another $55,000 from the Fish Fries. Almost all of it goes to maintaining the buildings.

St. Margaret Mary is listed at 5310 members, although it has lost members over the last decade. It does have debts. The roof needs replaced, which has been estimated at over $300,000. The church seems to be about $400,000 in debt. Added to the roof, that would give it a total indebtedness of $700,000. St. Catherine's in Glenwillard is in solid shape financially but of course is much smaller and has a tiny building.

Diocese officials emphasize that Canon Law, the basis for Catholic procedure, gives the Bishop authority over parishes. "Church closings are a sign of the proper assertion of the authority of the Bishop. A Bishop is an Overseer. He has to think beyond the sentiment of the parish and about the good of the Diocese."

As Bishop David Zubik has repeatedly explained, "Pittsburgh has a rich Catholic history. But an effect of this is a parish surplus. People have moved out of the cities and the valley towns, out to the suburbs, leaving behind their churches and starting new ones. We simply cannot support all these parishes."

He also knows he will be blamed for any closings or mergers.

"When parishioners are informed about the closing of their church, the Bishop can become the target of their ire. Parishioners don't care about changing demographics or a priest shortage. They blame him."

That anger has already begun rising. St. Joe's parishioners have been meeting in groups to discuss the situation. Sandra Kaufer has posted a letter (see photo at right) on Coraopolis Friends and The Record for readers to sign and send to the Bishop. Kaufer echoes the feelings of many parishioners that the Diocese has not been transparent or honest with them.

"We had a meeting and they didn't give us any answers at all," she recalls. "It was supposed to be a discussion but they did all the talking and they still didn't tell us anything."

Like many churches targeted for closing or merger, St. Joe's has a long history. It was established in 1891 The first church was built in 1894 and the current one built in 1925. Many famous people have either attended there, worked there or even stayed there. Mother Theresa of India once attended Mass there and spent a night.

One sentiment many locals express is that they won't go out of town to a new church. They'll just sit home with their Bibles and find some other way to worship. Diocese officials don't want to hear that.

"The Church is not a building. It is a group of faithful gathering together to share God's light. You can gather in a field, or in an old barn. Those magnificent churches and cathedrals are a testament to what previous generations of faithful achieved, but buildings age and decline. Europe is full of magnificnt castles and cathedrals now reduced to ruins. With the $400,000 or more it may cost to replace a roof, plus the $30,000 a year it costs to heat those churches and $20,000 it costs to turn on the lights, we can run buses everywhere, picking people up at their front doors and bringing them back to their front doors afterwards."

Perhaps. But parishioners point out that their parents were married at St. Joe's. They were baptized there, confirmed there, married there, and their parents' funeral services were held there. They have celebrated every Christmas and Easter of their lives there. To them, the building is more than a church. It's a way of life. They do not intend to stand by while someone else makes decisions about its future.

Cornell Students Give to VFW Roofing Campaign

The students of Cornell High School, led by the Girls Basketball Team, opened the VFW May meeting Tuesday night by presenting a $575 check to the organization for its roof replacement fund raising campaign.

The Coraopolis VFW, officially known as Keith Holmes Post 420, is trying to raise $35,000 for the roof, which has not been replaced for 30 years. Despite a GoFundMe webaite and other efforts, only $1455 has so far been raised.

The Cornell girls raised the money by selling t shirts to other students as part of a "Black Out Night" back in February, when they hosted Quigley in a showdown for the section championship. The game attracted the largest crowd in Cornell girls basketball history, and everyone there was wearing one of the t shirts. Cornell won the game and went on to the WPIAL championship game and beyond that to the second game of the PIAA state oplayoffs.

Another visitor to the VFW meeting, Emily Morelli (photo, below right) presented 17 care packages which her students had prepared for soldiers in Afghanistan. The packages contain personal effects, such as combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, towels, razors, shaving lotion, shampoo, soap, etc. Each package also contains letters from each student to the soldier thanking them for their service and updating them with news from home.

The VFW will take care of shipping the care packages to Afghanistan.

The roof replacement project is urgent because the current roof is actually beyond its lifespan and beginning to leak. The VFW Building, seen in the photo at left, is at the corner of 5th Avenue and Mulberry. It has been there since 1950 and has been the site of meetings, dinners, dances, wedding and funeral receptions, and other events, not only by the VFW, but by individuals and organizations in the community. For example, a fund raising dinner for the Public Library will be held there next week.

But like all VFWs nationwide, the Coraopolis VFW now struggles to raise the money for such projects.

Cory's VFW membership hit 2000 in the fifties, as men returned from World War II and the Korean War and wanted a place to gather with others who has shared their experiences. But Vietnam vets were less interested in joining, and since then, VFWs have had a hard time attracting members. Over the last few decades, the World War II and Korean vets have been either dying, or suffering health issues which made it difficult for them to attend meetings and social events.

Only 22 members were present at Tiuesday's meeting.

Fewer members makes it difficult to raise the money that a large membership used to be able to raise easily. And the wives are getting older too, making it impossible for them to stage the spaghetti dinners that used to be a major income source. The mills made large annual donations to the VFW, and now they're also gone.

The Coraopolis VFW remains a powerful force in the community, however. It sponsors the annual Memorial Day Parade, a $7000 event which this month will mark its 85th consecutive year. One by one, other communities have lost their parades, mostly due to the cost. The fact that Cory still has one is one of the features making the town special. A small VFW membership can still raise $7000 for a parade, but $35000 for a new roof is much more difficult.

Many VFWs have closed due to declining membership and financial issues. The VFW in Sewickley almost closed three years ago but sold some property to pay its debts and stay in business.

The Coraopolis VFW, however, is much more of a community asset. Many VFWs were founded after their towns were developed and had to buy property on the edge of town or completely out of town. Today, those properties have little value. But the Cory VFW was founded early, in 1922. After meeting over a store on Mill Street for several years, the men raised the money, bought the lot at 5th and Mulberry, and built the current building. It gave the borough a large facility in the heart of the business district on the main street that could be rented for a reasonable cost. The VFW has two bars and a full size dance floor that can hold 250 couples. It has a complete kitchen and the tables and chairs that can easily hold a major dinner. Over the years, it has hosted hundreds of live band concerts and dances. With both complete upstairs and downstairs facilities, it is almost a small convention center. Other small towns wanting such a building have had to float a bond issue and go into debt, using tax dollars to pay off the bonds over several decades. Thanks to the VFW, Cory has had such a building without having to buy property, build on it, and pay to maintain it. It has long been underutilized, but with the community resurgence now in progress, it may once again become a popular place to hold events. For that to happen, however, the new roof will need installing.

"We've become kind of invisible," one 85 year old member said wistfully. "There aren't many people left who remember the men coming home from World War II and getting off the train at the Mill Street station. But now we need the town's help."

April Cory Council Meeting :
Dog, Heroism, New Building, Festival Street Closing, Parks

Coraopolis Borough Council patiently worked through a long list of items at its April meeting, which included a testy exchange over proper spending protocol and a member of the audience threatened with expulsion if he didn't stop laughing.

The meeting opened with introductions and honors. The most recent addition to the Police Department, Amore, pictured at right, was officially recognized. The former canine had retired, and Amore was purchased from a police dog breeding and training center in Holland. Amore spent only a few minutes at the second floor Council Chambers before heading to active duty with his handlers. We will do an in depth story on Amore and his handlers in the near future.

However, Amore's presence in Coraopolis did not just happen. Police dogs are expensive, due to their special breeding, training and shipping. The cost of Amore was raised by Beth Miles, who also does Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training. As shown in the second picture below, Mayor Tony Celeste honored Ms. Miles with a special plaque and spoke to the Council and the audience of her long and varied services to Coraopolis.

The most inspiring moment of the night came when Council honored Police Officer Nick DeRusso for heroism above and beyond the call of duty. In the third photo below, that's Police Chief Ron Denbow reading the inscription before handing the plaque to DeRusso. When Imogene's Attic Antique Gallery at the corner of Mill Street and 5th Avenue caught on fire in the middle of the night, the residents of the apartments upstairs were sleeping. DeRusso did not have keys so had to break his way in through the door. Despite heavy smoke, he made his way upstairs, knocked on each door to wake the occupants and helped those who awoke down the stairs, still fighting heavy smoke, to safety.

But he then had to go back up and break into several apartments to wake their occupants and help them along the hall and down the stairs to the ground level door. "There is no question that lives were saved by his actions," Denbow explained, "and when he went into that building, he put his own life at risk.":

It turned out the fire itself did not reach the upstairs apartments. "But you can die very easily from smoke inhalation, especially if you can't see your way out because of that smoke," Denbow said, "and the place was filled with dense smoke."

Council then awarded a check to David Trump, VFW Commander, to help finance the annual Memorial Day Parade. It recognized Robert Pirohovich, 89, a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, who will serve as Grand Marshall of this year's parade, which has been held every year since 1947.

Chief Denbow presented the monthly police statistics : 800 phone calls, 108 criminal investigations, 22 arrests, 17 accident investigations, 217 parking citations and 97 vehicular violations.

The Borough Engineer updated Council on the progress of the purchase of riverfront land, for which a grant was obtained.

Along First Avenue, $125,000 will be spent to purchase property to expand Frank Letteri Park. This fits into long range plans to develop the Coraopolis Riverfront in the same way other communities have done.

Councilman Ed Pitassi announced that the Coraopolis Library has received three grants to allow it to offer Summer programs again this year.

Councilman Rudy Bolea announced that the Delinquent Tax Program is going very well, that in fact a significant number of back taxes have already been collected.

At this point, Council was approving invoices for the month and came to a $450 expenditure for 12 ceremonial keys to the town. Councilman Robb Cardimen raised an objection to this item, explaining that it had never previously been presented to Council and Council was supposed to be approving expenditures before they occured, not after the fact. Mayor Celeste explained that, first, the keys were to present to people who had done something special deserving of honor, such as the ones recognized earlier that evening, and, second, that he had presented an invoice for the keys to the Borough Secretary. Cardiman said he wasn't questioning the idea of honoring people, but was concerned about proper procedures. The Solicitor, Richard Start, read the law, which clearly states that spending is to be approved in advance and not after the fact. However, when put to a vote, Council approved the invoice.

Start also reported that Allegheny County Common Pleas Court had ruled that a Coraopolis property under dispute would be given six months to clean up. If not, significant fines would be levied. This was disappointing because Coraopolis had been trying to force the owner to clean up the

property for quite some time and was hoping for a more immediate resolution. Start also reported that the St. Joe's Parsonage request for a zoning change had been denied, and that after 40 years since the last update Cory was overdue for a new zoning ordinance.

The next major controversy involved the annual St. Joe's Festival. Traditionally, Chestnut Street has been blocked off to make room for game and food booths and carnival rides. St. Joe's has once again requested this closure. But with the new Fire Station located on Chestnut Street, fire trucks need clear access on streets leading in all directions. Start agreed that state regulations did not allow blocking of the street, but the legal liability would come if fire trucks had to detour around and got to a fire late. Council discussed how much time would be lost if the trucks had to travel down 4th Avenue, up School Street, and back up 5th Avenue, and what the odds would be of a fire on the east side of town occurring during the week the street would be closed. The issue might be moot this year since the building won't be done until June and moving everything over will take several weeks. The fire trucks could simply be held at the State Avenue Station until after the Festival. So the 2018 Festival could be the controversial one. The motion was made to close Chestnut Street July 10-15 (the Festival is only the 13-14-15 but set up takes two or three days), and passed unanimously.

Other expenditures approved included the Mulberry Street Garage Roof, Sylvan Street wall replacement, repaving of the Ridge Avenue basketball courts, and the paving of the Chestnut Street spur once the new building and driveway are completed. The basketball courts will cost $86,697, but a $71,000 grant has been obtained so the Borough will be out at most $19,000. The basketball courts will replace the current parking lot, forcing more vehicles to be parked along Ridge Avenue, which some people were unhappy with.

Concern was expressed over the Chestnut Street - State Avenue and Mulberry Street - State Avenue intersections. Since fire trucks coming from the new fire station will now be using those already bad intersections, the question was asked what could be done to make them safer. The matter will be studied and discussed at the next meeting.

Nicole Smith presented a program in which businesses could pay the tuition of a student to a private school and deduct it from their taxes. She said it would help Cory students go to private schools who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Several Council members asked why they should be encouraging students to leave town to go to a private school, and Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon observed that public schools receive state funds per student, so removing one student from Cornell School would remove $15,000 from the Cornell budget.

Finally, Council heard a report on the new building from the architect, shown at left. He reemphasized that the cost of the new building will actually turn out to be less than the cost of renovating the old building plus renting another building for a year during that renovation. He noted the solid glass block windows and thick masonry to dampen the sound of trains on the adjacent CSX railroad tracks.

Shawn Reed Announces For Mayor
"This Town Is A Treasure But We Need Leadership"

Shawn Reed is certainly enthusiastic about Coraopolis. "This town is a real treasure," he told reporters Wednesday from his home on Montour Street. "Just look around. We have blocks and blocks of magnificent old homes. We have a downtown still filled with stores, restaurants, antique galleries and art galleries and unlike many towns these days, ours is still walkable. Look at Mill Street, with the trees in their Spring blossoms. We have vacant buildings like the old Coraopolis Trust, Greystone Church and soon to be empty Municipal Building, but they're architecturally beautiful and still in great condition. We still have our own school and college and we have surrounding hills with forests, creeks and trails."

Reed has been working to add one more asset to that list. He heads the group restoring the passenger station at the foot of Mill Street.

"Look at our location," he continues. "We have the riverfront. We're on a major rail line. We're right off the interstate, a few miles from the airport and on Route 51. We're 20 minutes out of downtown Pittsburgh."

He raises his hands. "There are thousands of towns all across America which would give anything to have our assets. We have a great product here to market. We can market it to singles, couples and families looking for a place to live. We can market it to companies looking for a place to locate. And we can market it to small businesses."

Reed ought to know. He majored in marketing at Geneva College and then Robert Morris. He came here to attend RMU and never left. He's Senior Vice President for True Sense Marketing over in Cranberry.

"Look at Route 51 coming right down Main Street," he says. "We have thousands of cars a day pouring through here. We have an incredible location."

He considers the empty buildings as an opportunity. "There are businesses, both small and corporations, that are looking for exactly the kind of facilities we have sitting empty just waiting for them. But we've got to let them know we're here, show them what we have."

Reed sees empty churches elsewhere being converted to restaurants, bed and breakfasts, offices, stores, museums and government agencies. "The goal is not to get rich off the taxes they pay. The goal is to keep them filled, active, in use, and bring as many people as possible into town so then our restaurants and businesses can prosper and our residents can work there.

One idea he'd like to pursue is either bringing back a YMCA or perhaps a similar agency like a Boys Club. "We need to reach out, meet with those agencies, see what it would take for them to return to Coraopolis. What kind of facility would they need? What kind of cooperation and support would they need from the Mayor's Office? We have a town full of kids and adults who should welcome a place to work out, meet and hold events. Why wouldn't a Y or Boys Club want to locate here?"

Reed sees one town tradition he would eliminate : parking meters. "Last I checked, we earned $20,000 a year from our parking meters. That doesn't even pay a salary for a meter maid to go around collecting money. Take them out. Offer free parking. Let people drive in here and patronize our restaurants, art galleries, antique galleries and other stores. Make our downtown customer friendly. We don't need parking meters."

He also sees Robert Morris as a potential partner. "They're out of space on that hilltop campus of theirs. We have these large, beautiful buildings. Why couldn't Robert Morris move in? They bought that athletic facility over on the island, so they're already running vans and buses this way. We have RM students living in apartments all over Coraopolis."

Reed led reporters outside and gestured. "Look," he beamed. "Woods. We have woods backing right up to our neighborhoods. Down below the tracks, they have the river. How many towns offer this? How many parents would love for their kids to grow up in such a place? And right here, up on the edge of town, we're within walking distance of the main business district. Where can you find this? Why would a small business owner not want to move here, and live within walking distance of his place, where his kids can come home from school and play in the woods? And yet, we're right across the river from a major hospital and within 20 minutes of Pirate, Steeler and Penguins games."

Reed sees the problems Coraopolis has as common to the problems all small towns have, but thinks the town has suffered from lack of vision, negative attitudes, and infighting.

"I go to Council meetings and I see them bogged down in arguing about trivial details, instead of focusing on the big issues. Yes, we can fix pot holes and plow streets and repair sidewalks. But we need to spend most of our time bringing in businesses and new residents and programs."

Several years Reed and friends founded what they called The Dream Team. It was mainly for downtown beautification projects, such as tree planting and flower beds. They staged a Jazz Concert on Mill Street and spnsored some clean up Saturdays. "I spent a lot of time down there watering flowers," he grins.

But with the new Soccer & Athletic Complex going in east of town, he sees beautification as importnt. "We're going to hsve hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people visiting Coraopolis due to soccer and other games at that complex. It gives us a great opportunity to sell the town, show off what a great place we are. For instance, that drive into town along Route 51 and down 4th Avenue or State Avenue should be a show case."

He waves off any negativity. People driving through here aren't looking for a place to move to. They already live somewhere and moving is a major decision.

Reed disagrees. "The mood has changed," he argues. "Everyone moved out to those big housing developments in Moon, Robinson, and beyond."

"Now," he continues, "They're tired of driving long distances to get anywhere. Even going to the drug store, grocery or hardware is a half an hour trip. People dream about the good old days when they could either zip right down the street, grab something and zip back, or, if they had a little more time, actually walk down and get it. Well, Hey, in Coraopolis, we still have that lifetstyle, and we have these beautiful houses available at much more reasonable prices than those McMansions out there. But we have to let people know about this. We've been keeping it a secret for 50 years. It's time to spread the word."

Reed does not see himself as a one man show. "There are a lot of really talented people in this town. They love Coraopolis. They'd love to help. But they haven't had any opportunity. I would devote my time to finding those people, reaching out, building bridges, forming committees and groups, delegating responsibilities to them."

He regrets the loss of the town's old traditions : The Halloween Parade, The YMCA Fair, the Scout troops at all the churches, the parks with their Summer programs.

"But they were there because of leadership. Adults made those things happen. We can do that again. We can find those adults and put them in charge and revive those traditions, or create new traditions."

He turns his attention to the Ohio River. "Do you realize?" he demands, "How many towns would desperately love a tiny piece of waterfront? And we have two miles of it and haven't done anything with it! We have got to develop a showcase riverfront down along that shore."

He also thinks Coraopolis has neglected its parks and green space for decades. "One of my first priorities would be assign a committee to map our public green spaces snd see what we can do to clean them up and get people back into them. Yes, I know, some of our open spaces, some of our streams and woods and riverfront, are privately owned. But we can talk to owners, work something out. Maybe not in all cases, but in some. Our school, for Heaven's Sakes, backs right up to a forest with streams and caves and cliffs. Many neighborhoods do. It's a rare asset. We have to make the best possible use of it."


"We have a great population because of its diversity. We have blue collar workers, minorities, college graduates, retired people, 20 somethings. We're a mosaic. We need to build bridges so all those voices are heard. Some people might want one thing done, other people might want something else done. Let's do all those different things. We can do this. Together."

One of Reed's fantasies is to actually go after former Coraopolis residents and try to bring them back. "Why not?" he asks. "Maybe the town was in decline 30 or 40 years ago when they left. Now if we're going to stage a resurgence, with all our advantages, why shouldn't they want to come back? It's worth a try."

Beginning Monday he plans to go door to door in town presenting his case and asking for votes. In the meantime, interested citizens can go to LoveCoraopolis.com.

Soccer Complex Construction Begins

As Spring weather breaks, construction has at last begun on the long awaited Allegheny County Athletic Complex along Route 51 on the east end of Coraopolis.

This is the site of the Montour Railroad Yard, which occupied it from 1910 to 1980. The Montour Railroad ran 50 miles from Coraopolis to Clairton. It hauled coal from the mines in southern Allegheny County and northern Washington County to Coraopolis, where long trains of coal cars were picked up by Pittsburgh & Lake Erie engines. Since the Montour RR closed, the site has remained empty for two reasons. First, from 70 years of engines and cars leaking fluids, the soil far exceeded allowable toxic limits. Second, the Montour Creek flows through the site, creating several pools and marshes before emptying into the Ohio River. The Montour RR Yard included various bridges over the water and walls to keep chemicals from spilling into it. Despite the industrial activity going on around it, Montour Creek has always been a popular fishing and swimming spot and is home to a sizeable population of fish, frogs and other wildlife. The 100 acre site is thus a classic Wetland, which brings it under a long list of state and federal regulations. The Cornell School District and several companies looked at this site over the years but backed off due to the toxic soil and wetlands issues.

So for 35 years a floodplain forest has taken over. Deer, Groundhog, Fox, Raccoon, various Birds and even two Coyotes have moved in. That forest is now being cleared by construction crews.

The Montour RR was actually a subsidiary of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie RR, so when the Montour ceased operations, the site reverted to the P & L.E. When the P & L.E. ceased operations, as a tax writeoff, it donated the land to the Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit. Legacy came up with the idea of creating a sports complex here, but could never raise the funds. When it closed, the land reverted to Allegheny County. It obtained grants to fund the complex.

The Pittsburgh River Hounds have a major interest in the project. They have been trying for years to generate more local interest in Soccer and see this complex as a way to do it. So although it officially comes through the County, much of the money originates via grants from River Hound or Soccer supporters.

But it's taken several years to clear the way for construction to begin.

When the proposal was first submitted, Coraopolis contacted agencies in Harrisburg, who refused to approve it because of wetlands and toxic soil issues. Coraopolis never has granted the permits. The County, working with several construction companies, finally devised engineering plans that met state requirements. First, they have trucked in, and are still trucking in, tons of clean topsoil, which they are layering 3-5 feet on top of the toxic soil. This not only solves the toxic soil problem, but will put the playing fields above the floodwaters which frequently flow across the land due to its location adjacent to the Ohio River. This is not a total solution, because ingredients tent to percolate up through soil to the surface, and organisms which live in the soil ingest particles and bring them to the surface, where they excrete them. So over time the toxins might accumulate at the surface. To address this, the playing fields will be synthetic, constructed over top of even the clean topsoil so nothing percolating up can reach the surface. But that creates another problem

A Wetland needs constant replenishing with water. Rainfall soaks into the soil and seeps across to the ponds. One such pond is shown at left, as it lays along Route 51. If no rainfall is allowed to soak into the soil, the ponds would eventually dry up, violating Wetlands Protection Laws. So as the water drains off the sides of the playing fields, it will be captured by drainage systems and funneled to the catch basin shown above and at left, which will then allow it to soak into the soil and seep across to the ponds.

The County hopes all this manipulation of the landscape will allow it to build and maintain the Athletic Complex. Its vision is an array of three fields this Summer, four more next year, and three more in 2019, for an eventual total of 10. At first, these will be primarily be Soccer fields. But the last three will be flexible, suitable for Lacrosse, Field Hockey and Rugby. There will be a central facility for dressing rooms, showers, rest rooms, a concession stand and store for supplies for the sports involved. The fields will be lighted and the front three will have bleachers. A P.A. system will be used to announce games. Parking lots will be provided. Local teams are expected to use the fields for practices during the week, and on weekends huge tournaments will be hosted.

Coraopolis merchants are anticipating an economic boost. Graff's Service Station is the closest gas station and has hopes of team buses and the cars of parents and fans stopping by to fill up before heading home. Rea's restaurant is almost in sight of the fields and the closest eatery. Antique shops and art galleries in downtown Coraopolis expect to see fans and parents dropping by between games. Groveton residents are wondering if they could remodel an old church and several large houses into hostel type accommodations, with bunk beds and communal showers. Teams could stay there Friday and Saturday nights for much less than the $100 per night per room hotels in surrounding communities, and not have to drive back and forth. A few Groveton and east Coraopolis residents are even wondering if they could convert their homes to Bed & Breakfast units for parents and fans. Locals could work at the snack bar, the store and in groundskeeping.

But not everyone is so enthusiastic. Many residents of Coraopolis and Groveton feel like they're being invaded. Most of the residents along Route 51, and Stratford Avenue right above it, are apprehensive.

"Several years ago," explains Pat Wagner, at right, "They held a meeting for all of us. They promised to hold more meetings as things progressed, to keep us informed and try to resolve our concerns. There's never been another meeting." It's a steep climb up Roberts Avenue to Stratford, and the homes along Stratford look out over the rooftops of Route 51 homes. From Wagner's deck, or anywhere in her living or dining room, the construction is in clear view. So, she fears, will be the Soccer fields.

"So instead of looking out over a forest and some ponds and Montour Creek, now we're going to have bright stadium lights shining in our windows after dark. We're going to have a loudspeaker blaring at us. We're going to have the sound of buses and vans and cars all weekend. It's not like living near a high school football stadium, where five Friday nights a year you deal with it. Here, we're looking at all weekend every weekend from March through November. How enjoyable is sitting out on our deck going to be?"

Nancy Sye, from down the street, sees traffic as her concern. "For two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, it's almost impossible to get out of here," she explains. "You cannot turn left. It's impossible. So you can only turn right. But even that's difficult. The traffic is bumper to bumper and no one will let you in. So however long you think it takes to drive to work, you have to leave 20-30 minutes earlier just to have time to get out of these streets onto Route 51. And now they plan to drop school buses and parents and fans into this mix? This is going to be a nightmare."

Wagner says people have told her they're going to add a third lane. "Add where?" She asks. "Look." Coming around the bend, Route 51 is bounded on the north by the long wetland pond, protected by federal laws, and on the south by steep cliffs on top of which sit houses right at the edge. "So you can't widen it there. Now, look back here." At the other end of the complex Route 51 crosses a two lane bridge bounded by houses, Montour Creek, a baseball field and cliffs with houses on top. "So, yes, right at the main entrance to the complex, you can add a short turn lane, but how does that help?" There has been talk of another entrance from Montour Street, under the Neville Island Bridge, and into the complex from the railroad track side. "But, everyone will still be coming off I-79, through here, to get to Montour Street. How does that help?"

"Could maybe they have at least listened to us along the way? I realize we could never have stopped it. But a little consideration would have been nice."

A Solution For Local Health Care .....
But Would It Work In Western Pennsylvania??

Dr. Josh Umbehr paused this week to speak to reporters about an innovation he believes could solve the nation's health care crisis. He is urging states and decision makers in Washington to consider what he and a band of doctors have accomplished in Kansas to reign in costs and provide quality medical care.

Umbehr, a Kansas University Medical School grad, opened what he calls a "concierge family practice." He operates totally outside insurance and government structures. In his practice, patients pay a monthly fee : $10 for kids under 20, $50 for adults 20-44, $75 for adults 45-64, and $100 for those 65 and older. They then receive as much care as they need with no further cost.

Umbehr negotiates with drug companies, medical suppliers and hospitals for the best possible prices. $70 blood tests he offers for $1.87. Cholesterol tests costing $100 he offers for $3. An MRI usually costing $2000 he offers for $400. An Arthritis medicine costing $940 for the brand name and $120 for the generic he offers for $11.

He doesn't charge copays or deductibles because research says those discourage patients from visiting the doctor. He wants them to visit often, to catch small problems before they become major. This keeps costs down.

So many patients tried to join Umbehr's practice he helped other doctors start similar practices, not as part of his network, but as separate offices. "This is an idea," he insists, "not a corporation. I'm not interesting in creating a nationwide company. I'm interested in spreading the idea nationwide."

How are these low rates possible? "Insurance and government create more problems than they solve," Umbehr says. "We eliminate them both. Most costs are for record keeping. It takes 7-10 bureaucrats to support each doctor. We get rid of them. We team three doctors and one nurse. That's it. Period. That's why I don't want to expand our little company. I want every doctor to start their own little company. You have to stay small. Then you focus on patient care, not administering the company."

21 governors have invited Umbehr to come to their states and talk about his idea.

There is one catch. Umbehr runs a family practice. He urges patients to buy Catastrophic Care Policies to cover Cancer, Heart Attacks, major auto accidents and other crises. But a Catastrophic Care Policy only costs an average of $150 a month for a typical adult.

"Insurance companies are in this to make a profit," Umbehr points out. " We eliminate that. I didn't go into Medicine to get rich. I went into it to save lives and take care of people. I make a nice Upper Middle Class living. That's all I need."

Umbehr thinks his Concierge Medicine idea could solve the health care crisis. Marc Schneiderman, shown in the photo below sitting in his 5th Avenue office in Coraopolis, is not convinced. "This is not a new idea. They started Concierge Medicine in Florida a long time ago. They tried to start it in Pennsylvania. They brought a bunch of us doctors together and explained the idea. Nobody signed up."

Schneiderman, a University of Chicago Medical School grad, has been practicing family medicine in Cory for 30 years. He agrees with Umbehr's idea. "The way he does it, yes, it works. But I think it may be better suited to small towns and rural areas where they have a farming or ranching history. Here, we have a different history. People here like getting their medical care through their employer and through the government. They like having a big, comprehensive insurance policy that covers everything, and they're in the habit of paying copays and deductibles and high premiums."

Schneiderman also thinks Umbehr is unique. "You can find a small number of doctors with that philanthropic spirit. The guy is accepting a lower income to provide those patients with great medical care. But a lot of doctors graduate from med school owing $100,000 in loans and wanting to get married and have a family. They want a higher income. Now, one way to do that is to not offer the tests and medicines a patient needs. So you're withholding care to put more money in your pocket. On a natiowide scale, you can't find enough doctors like Umbehr. Also, in big urban areas, the cost of living is greater, so a doctor has to make a higher income just to afford to live near his practice."

He says that was why the HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) of the 1970s collapsed. They tried to cut costs and quality of care suffered.

"If I had it to do over again," Schneiderman says, "I'd practice medicine again just like I did, and I'd come to Coraopolis again to do it. I've loved my career here."

He does agree that the nation's health care is in crisis and isn't likely to solve it anytime soon. "We could solve this mess in six months. It's not hard to solve. But the insurance and drug companies own Congress and they won't let Congress make the right decisions."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield offered to cover all 40 million of the nation's uninsured for $30 billion. Congress refused. Instead, Obamacare spent $800 billion and only covered 18 million. Too many people refused to buy in.

"They saw $4000 - $6000 deductibles and $150-250 copays and decided they'd just put their money in the bank and hope they didn't get sick."

"Last year Sewickley Hospital lost $6 million. Hospitals are all in trouble."

Eventually, Schneiderman sees the nation going to a single payer system with everyone guaranteed care and the cost financed by some kind of tax. "But that'll be a while. I'll be retired by then."

He still has a decade or so to go, however, and isn't happy about the direction Medicine is taking. One of his pet peeves is the electronic record keeping the government and insurance companies require.

"Doctors anymore have to input an awful lot of data that's irrelevant. And while they're inputting that data they're not looking at the patient, listening to them, feeling their pulse, checking their ankles or fingers, or doing anything else we normally think of as gathering information and getting a feel for the problem. So I refuse to do it. I focus on the patient and then input the data later. But then later it takes an awful lot of time that I could use for another patient. I just think Medicine needs to be very personal and all these electronics are depersonalizing it."

Schneiderman says he could solve 60% of health problems if he could do three things. "Keep everyone's immunizations up to date, get everyone to get their annual checkuops and every two or three year screenings like Colonoscopies and Prostate Tests, and keep everyone's cholesterol and blood pressure down. But people don't want to do these things."

Schneiderman practices Medicine in the Heritage Valley Health Center on 5th Avenue, across from the VFW, where the old 5th Avenue Bowling Lanes used to be. In some ways, he is an old time doctor. He still makes house calls every Wednesday afternoons. He still makes rounds over at Sewickley Valley Hospital even though modern hospitals have replaced family doctors with "Hospitalists," general doctors who work only for the hospital. "I still like the old Marcus Welby image of a smll town doctor," Schneiderman admits. "But today half my patients never heard of Marcus Welby." Unofficially, he just drops by to say Hello to his patients as if he were a friend or relative visiting.

He foresees a huge shortage of family doctors. "Nobody's going into it anymore. As we retire, we're being replaced by Nurse Practitioners. It's true they have about 80% of our knowledge, but it's that other 20% that's critical. A good family doctor has instincts. He can spot something in an annual exam and say 'I think we should run a test on this and see what's going on here.' Umbehr says he spends more time with his patients so he can do that. Maybe he can. God Bless Him. But I fear if this concierge concept became nationwide, the majority of doctors would not be doing that because they'd be trying to cut down on tests to save money to put in their own pockets."

A few calls to Kansas seemed appropriate, to see what officials out there thought about Umbehr and his Atlas Concierge Practice.

"Our legislature passed a law a decade ago specifically exempting this type of practice from state insurance regulations," said a spokesman from the state insurance commissioner's office. "Other states who are trying it have also passed that legislation. I think that's one key. Florida didn't pass it and the state insurance commissioner shut concierge offices down, claiming they were a special type of insurance. But we have never had any type of complaint about concierge practices. It seems to work very well where it's being tried."

A spokesman from the Kansas Medical Society praised existing practices but noted they seem to have hit a wall. "Concierge has never been able to penetrate Topeka or Kansas City. I'm not sure why. It seems to work best in small towns and rural areas. But Umbehr's original Atlas Medical Practice is in Wichita, and a whole bunch of additional concierge offices have spread over Wichita. Wichita has 390,000 population, so obviously it can work in a large city. Yet, in Topeka, the only successful concierge practice is way out in a suburb on the perimeter of the city."

So the debate continues, in Washington, across the country, and here in Coraopolis and the Western Hills. A call to Paul Ryan's Congressional Office revealed that the new Republican bill specifically allows practice of concierge medicine but that bill does not yet have the votes to pass.

Cory Zoning Commission Approves B & B

The Coraopolis Zoning Commission Tuesday approved the request for an Air B n B in the former Bradley home on State Avenue, shown at right.

The request required the Commission to issue a waiver to an ordinance prohibiting such a business in a neighborhood zoned Residential. The ordinance had been passed in 1985 to protect Cory's neighborhoods from overcrowding and decline.

The request had been filed in December by Mark and Theresa Crocenelli and their attorney John McCoskey. The Crocenellis own Constantine Investments Company, which has invested in real estate in Coraopolis and Moon Township.

The home was built in 1935 and for 50 years served as a combination family home and fully equipped doctor's office. The separate entrance to the left in the photo was the patient entrance. The home originally had two apartments at the rear for Bradley children. After Dr. Bradley retired and sold the house, his doctor's office was converted to a third apartment.

The Crocenellis had first appeared in December but too many questions could not be answered so the Commission postponed the matter until February. This time, there were plenty of materials to pass around. Shown at left, clockwise, are Commissioners George Mihalik and Robert Kelly, Solicitor Steven Bovan, and McCoskey. The two major arguments focused on the pre-1985 condition of the house and the exact nature of an Air B n B.

McCoskey and home remodeller Bob Cole testified, and had photos and documents to prove, that the house had originally been built with the two apartments and a low ceilinged third one in the attic. Therefore, they argued, the 1985 ordinance was irrelevant since prior facilities were grandfathered under a "preexisting nonconforming use" clause. Cole (at left in photo below) testified that the plumbing in the apartments is cast iron, which has not been used since the 1960s. The sinks have not been made since 1953. He showed photos of various pipes with "1935" engraved and of a kitchen that looked distinctly 1950ish.

The second area of concern was the exact nature of an Air B n B. Theresa (shown, right) explained that it is a national company headquartered in San Francisco. The company handles all billing and accounting, takes its percentage and sends the rest on to the local business. People join Air B n B and receive national and international directories. As they stay at various Air B n Bs, owners fill out an evaluation. Owners can then check a member's record before renting to them. One major difference between a full Bed and Breakfast and an Air B n B is that Air B n Bs do not serve meals. Mark (with cap, right) explained that the average stay at an Air B n B was 2-3 nights, with seven a maximum. He admitted that he would rent to someone who wanted to stay longer, but that staying longer would not be cost effective for the guest, since they could rent at a regular apartment complex by the month for less. The Crocenellis explained they had parking in the rear in a three car garage plus a parking pad. Their guests would thus not be using parking needed by the neighborhood.

Kelly expressed concern that the property really had five units : the main house, two original apartments, an attic apartment, and the converted doctor's office. The Crocenellis assured him that the attic was too cramped by modern standards, and they would not rent the main house space. Kelly suggested a limit of three apartments should be written into any approval. Mihalik pointed out that no neighbors had shown up to object, and no one else had shown up to object. The Commission then went into Executive Session for 15 minutes and approved the Air B n B with restrictions. The Air B n B will begin operating immediately.

2016 Western Hills Demographics Released

The United States Census Bureau has released its demographic data as of the end of 2016 and the picture it shows of the Western Hills provides a fascinating insight into exactly who we are at this point in time. Local planners will be pouring over these numbers as they work on budgets and other plans for 2017 and 2018.

The total population of the Western Hills is now 85,538. This breaks down to Neville Island 1073, Findlay Township 5424, Coraopolis 5624, Crafton 5908, McKees Rocks 6046, Stowe Township 6303, Carnegie 7912, Kennedy Township 8032, Robinson Township 13,692 and Moon Township 25,524.

The per person income in this part of Allegheny County is $28,930. The average household income is $53,889. 13.5% of the population lives below the poverty line.

81.52% of the Western Hills population is White, 13.23% Black, 1.56% Latino and 5.25% other, which includes Asians, Muslims, etc.

30% of the population is over 60 and 16% under 18. 54% is between 18 and 60. 54,145 people are potentially employed. However, 25,661 are not working. One interesting factoid is that among those actually employed, the average commuting time is 26 minutes.

At its peak, McKees Rocks held a population of 17,000. Coraopolis held a population of 18,000. For half of the 20th Century, Moon was the least populated of the Western Hills townships, consisting of mostly large farms.

The employment numbers justify a closer look. The region's employment numbers are higher than the national, state and county averages and its unemployment numbers are lower. But huge discrepancies stand out. The region has a higher number of older residents than average. Many of them are only in their fifties but are out of work because their companies closed or their jobs were eliminated.

31.5% of the region's residents have college degrees, another 10% have technical degrees, and 98% of them have full time jobs averaging $45,000 incomes.

But among those with only a high school diploma, only 62% are working full time, and they average $18,000 incomes. Already the Intermodal Terminal in Stowe and McKees Rocks and the Shell Refinery in Potter Township are hiring local residents, but they are hiring those with credentials beyond high school, such as crane operators, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, computer programmers, etc. So the employment numbers will climb in 2017 and 2018 and unemployment numbers will decline, but only for those with educations.

The greatest concentration of older, retired or out of work individuals is in Coraopolis and McKees Rocks. Their incomes are correspondingly lower. Moon and Robinson boast the region's highest number of college degrees and highest per person and household incomes.

Local Drivers' Licenses Receive Extension

Coraopolis and Western Hills drivers have been granted a temporary reprieve by the federal government so their drivers licenses can still be used to enter federal buildings, military bases or, most importantly, commercial airline flights. But the reprieve is only for five months.

The problem arose when the Department of Homeland Security mandated that states upgrade their drivers licenses to meet tougher standards. But Pennsylvania refused, saying (l) it could not afford the $300 million it would cost to replace nine million licenses, and (2) the new requirements would be a violation of privacy.

The biggest impact would be that Pennsylvania residents would need a full passport just to fly from Pittsburgh to Florida, Chicago or even Erie.

The state legislature has yet to act. Homeland Security says it is unlikely to grant another extension. The extension will expire June 1, 2016. As of that date, if nothing is done, locals will need an updated passport to fly.

Potter Township Commissioners Approve Shell Permits

Ignoring the angry protests, signs and speeches by opponents, the Potter Township Supervisors told the Township Solicitor to proceed with the final draft of the permits needed for Shell Corporation to build and operate its Cracking Plant outside Monaca.

In December, after a full day of loud opposition, the Supervisors finally said they did not have enough information and postponed a decision until January. Wednesday, Shell brought over 30 exhibits plus printed reports and half a dozen engineers to testify on each aspect the Supervisors had questioned.

The Solicitor, Michael Jones, reviewed the exhibits and documents with the Supervisors and recommended they proceed. A final vote will will be taken in February, but he was told to draw up the final document. There seemed little doubt the Superviors would give their final approval in February.

Opponents, mostly local but some from across the U.S., were not happy. They made the same arguments they've been making for two years: The permitting process is too loose, there's no guarantee Shell will fulfill the permitting requirements, the air pollution would impact a huge population eastward in Beaver and Allegheny Counties, the water pollution would impact downriver in Beaver County, Ohio and West Virginia, and the shipping of raw natural gas into the plant and plastic pellets out of the plant would be unsafe for all the heavily populated areas the pipelines, barges and trains would pass through.

Even after acquiring the Potter Township permits, Shell will still have to apply for and receive State and Federal permits, and the same protestors plan to show up at those hearings, too. There is one set of permits required to build the plant and anoher set required to operate it once finished. Activity continues on the site even as the permitting process proceeds step by step.

Debate Over Shell's River Pollution Continues

They're not going away. If anything they're digging in and getting louder.

That would be the environmental groups who oppose the Shell Cracking Plant in Beaver County. Never mind that the plant is already under construction. Never mind the 10,000 jobs it's supposed to bring this area.

The Environmental Integrity Project and several other groups have joined together to oppose the project until they get more guarantees that Shell will not be allowed to dump pollution into the Ohio River and the air.

"Yes, that's a lot of jobs in an area desperate for jobs," granted EIP attorney Lisa Hallowell. "But at what cost? When the mills were prospering here, everyone paid a terrible price. We had the highest rates in the nation for various types of Cancer, for Asthma, and for Emphysema."

"All over Beaver and Allegheny Counties we have former industrial sites which cannot be used for schools, parks or housing because the soil is so badly contaminated just walking around or playing on it is a health hazard 50 years later. We had thousands of people who never even worked in the mills dying of Emphysema and with kids with Asthma."

It infuriates the EIP that the state allowed Shell to just purchase the pollution permits Horsehead, the former owner of the property and the operator of a Zinc smelter on it, owned. "Those permits allow the owner to discharge 91,000 pounds a day of total dissolved solids into the Ohio River. Stop. Think about this. If you had a pile in your neighborhood of 91,000 pounds of gravel, sand or anything else, you'd be demanding to your town council that they not allow it. Yet we allow a company to dump 91,000 pounds of toxic waste into the same river we use for drinking water, that we fish in, that some people kayak in and even swim in, and we think that's OK because they have a permit? Well, it's not OK. And what's really outrageous about this is that Shell is the fourth richest company in the world. They can afford a water purification plant."

Pictured at right is what 91,000 pounds of tailings looks like. This is not from the Shell plant, since it's not operating yet. It's from a plant out in California. But it provides a frame of reference.

"Every day? They want to dump this much into the Ohio River every day? And they have a permit for this?"

Pennsylvania State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman insist they have a system of inspections and enforcement in place and if they find Shell violating regulations they'll shut them down.

Jeff Krafve of Shell assured everyone Shell planned to be responsible. "We will not discharge more than our permit allows," he insisted. "If we are found in violation we'll shut down."

Hollowell was unrelenting. "We've heard this before," she reminded the crowd. "Horsehead had the same 1987 permit and they violated it repeatedly for 20 years. When their permit came up for renewal the state wouldn't even renew it because of so many violations. But they kept operating."

Lock Fixed; Barge Traffic Resumes

Temporary repairs on the New Cumberland Lock have allowed barge traffic to resume on the Ohio River but the Army Corps of Engineers warns the repair is only an emergency measure and the lock needs to be totally rebuilt as soon as possible.

The New Cumberland Lock & Dam, shown at right in a photo taken in October, is one of several included in a recent bill passed by Congress which authoriuzes the rebuilding of all the locks and dams between Pittsburgh and Wellsville, Ohio. The locks and dams are 100 years old and all are in various states of disintegration.

Barges and the towboats which push them have been backing up on both sides of the dam for over a week, as seen in the photo below. Many of the barges are carrying coal for power plants along the river, and with Winter weather here, communities are beginning to run low.

The hydraulic system that operates the four 170 ton gates failed. If you look at the photo at right, you can see the locks, behind the towboat and ahead of the front barge.

Each lock includes two gates, which swing back against the wall to release water or out to interlock with the other one to hold back water.

You'll notice in the photo there is a backup lock between the main lock and the shore. However, that lock broke down two years ago and has never been repaired. When operational, the backup is mainly used for pleasure boats or for towboats running empty, usually returning to their home port for another load.

It takes about 45 minutes to "lock through" a towboat and barge string, and the procedure has to be done in daylight, so it will take several days to clear the backed up traffic.

The main lock in the photo above, with the towboat and barges passing through it, is 110 feet wide and 1200 feet long.

Work should begin on the whole series of locks and dams in March.

New Borough Building "On Schedule"

As Coraopolis approaches the Christmas holiday, work continues on the new borough building on 4th Avenue.

Construction should be complete by April, and it should take about one month to move everything and everybody into their new quarters.

The building replaces the Coraopolis Municipal Building, which was built in 1929 and housed the Police and Fire Departments, original Coraopolis Library, Bill Collection Offices, Mayor's Office, Borough Manager's Office, Senior Citizens' Center, Meeting Rooms and other facilities.

All of those will be moving to the new building.

To make sense of the accompanying photos, imagine the new building as a Y. One arm will be the Fire Department, one the Police Department, and one government offices.

The first photo at right here shows the government offices wing. This is the entrance most people will use for routine business, and to attend the meetings held by Borough Council, the Zoning Commission, etc.

 

The photo here at left shows the Police Department wing. A police cruiser can be driven in through the wide door. This is the closest point of the new building to the CSX railroad tracks, which you can see at far right.

The photo below, right, shows the Fire Department wing. The trucks now parked on the second floor of the Municipal Building will be parked here. They will exit directly onto Chestnut Street and 4th Avenue, but there is a wide drive between the building and the street, allowing the men to pull the trucks out and clean them or work on them. Currently, all work has to be done inside the Municipal Building because the doors open immediately onto State Avenue.

The final two photos, below, show the government offices wing and the fire department wing as seen in the architect's drawings. The finished building will not look quite like these drawings because it will have buildings behind it, not heavy tree cover.

Landscaping will also be added. It's possible the famous Doughboy statue now temporarily located at the VFW could be moved there.

The new building will cost $3.081 million, which includes architectural and other costs.

It was not an investment the Borough Council made lightly. But the old building, while still solid in some respects, has been deteriorating in others for years.

"Back in the 1980s, we started having leaks," recalls Joe Divito, who is now President of the Coraopolis Historical Society, but was then a member of the Council. "We'd fix the roof and then a few years later have it leaking again. We had paint bubbling and flaking off the walls. So we would have someone come in and repair all that, and a few years later have the same problem all over again. The building is like a fortress in some ways. The walls are thick and strong. But there are lots of other problems. We really should have built a new one back then, but the cost was high, and we had already lost a lot of our tax base with the mills leaving and the population declining, so we couldn't find the money to pay for it."

Councils through the 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s kept postponing the decision. Finally mold forced them to act. Mold has spread throughout the building. Several times Council has hired a company to remove the mold and sterilize the building, but it's been only a temporary fix. "We have people getting sick now," Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon explained. "It's a definite health issue."

Bactronix Corporation tested the building and found 18x the allowable mold levels. They submitted a bid of $3.6 million to solve the problem permanently. Other companies would charge about the same. But the Council sought bids on a new building and found out they could build a new one for less money than the bid to sterilize the old one. Plus, they were threatened with lawsuits because the current building is not ADA compliant.

"At that point," McCutcheon said, "We didn't have a lot of choice."

They'll invite sealed bids on the old building in April. The next question is who might move into it.

"It's a solid building," McCutcheon points out. "And it has a huge asset in the attached parking lot. Parking is hard to come by downtown but we have it. The parking lot goes with this building."

Speculation is that a medical clinic, perhaps a satellite of the Sewickley Hospital, might move in. Broken up as it is into a series of small offices and conference rooms, the building could easily be converted to doctor, dentist, eye doctor and other offices.

It could house an office complex for attorneys, accountants and other professionals. Or it could become an entrepreneurial center where small businesses just starting up could rent affordable spaces until they earned enough money to afford a larger storefront along 5th Avenue.

Cory Board Faces Air B&B Decision

The Coraopolis Zoning Board faces a tough decision on an application for an Air Bed & Breakfast on State Avenue in a neighborhood zoned residential.

The home in question belonged to Dr. William Bradley and his family for 40 years. It is diagonally across the street from the old Coraopolis High School. It was a unique home in several respects. It was a very upscale residence for Dr. Bradley and his family. Attached on the left was a fully equipped doctor's office with kitchen and master bath. At the rear was an apartment for the maid. On the third floor Bradley had an apartment built for his son. So there were three complete residence units in the house, and the doctor's office was later converted to a small apartment, making four.

Mark and Theresa Crocenelli of Moon Township have purchased the home, and have applied for the permits to open an Air Bed & Breakfast there. An Air B & B is different from a traditional B & B in that the host does not fix meals for the guests and does not necessarily even live there.

The Crocenellis are represented by Attorney John McCoskey.

The Zoning Board, consisting of Robert Kelly, George Mihalyi and Terry Steadman, favors bringing new businesses into Coraopolis, but worries about several issues. Currently, zoning ordnances require that everyone living at a residential address be related. Thus, a couple could have 10 children, meaning 12 people could live in a house, because they were all related. But no one can rent to more than three people who are not part of the same family. Violations of this regulation overload a neighborhood, for example flooding the streets with more cars than parking spaces.

There is also the problem of precedence. If the Board makes an exception in the Crocenelli case, it will be forced to make exceptions all over town, since the law requires that everything be enforced uniformly.

McCoskey argued that the final remodelling to the Bradley home, the maid's apartment, was completed in 1963, and the ordnances were passed January 1, 1985. Therefore, the Bradley home is exempt from the ordnances, since laws cannot be retroactive.

Ironically, right across the street, the zoning allows apartment houses. So, in a sense, the Bradley home is just on the wrong side of the street.

Members of the board expressed concern that Coraopolis was close enough to Robert Morris University that local residences could become student housing. They asserted that they knew of several homes in town where this had already happened. Property values, and therefore the tax base, tend to decline in student housing areas.

But the argument was made that a B & B is not long term housing, that it's too expensive on a night by night basis for students to be able to afford. "Plus," Theresa Crocenelli said, "Air BnB is a company. Once we belong to that company, they screen all our potential customers. This is a very high class clientele : businessmen, travellers, people who would normally stay at top hotels but want the chance to get the feel of a small town neighborhood."

The Board also questioned how guests would be let in since no hostess would be living at the house. They were told there would be electronic locks and guests would be given the combination online.

A representative of Air BnB told a reporter that the average stay of their guests nationwide is two nights at any one location. Since Air BnBs do not fix meals, their customers seek out local restaurants. They also spend money on gas, incidentals like toothpaste and shaving lotion, and usually shop in local stores for items representative of the area. So they pump money into the local economy.

The Board tabled the discussion until Feb. 7 2017 to allow more time for both sides to do more research.

Snow, Deep Freeze Hit Cory Area

Zero degree temperatures settled into Coraopolis and the Western Hills for several days as an Arctic Low pushed deep into the U.S.

That four inches of snow that accumulated in much of the area over the last few days looks certain to stay a while. Predictions are for 100% odds of several more inches during the weekend. The next warming trend isn't due until Christmas Eve. Even the Sun is going to be rare until Tuesday.

Sledriders are happy. They've already had two days of after school fun on the nearest slopes, and they're looking forward to a whole weekend of more. Despite a few warm days scattered here and there, the upcoming Christmas Vacation should be a prolonged snow celebration.

Ski resorts at Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Winterpark, Timberline, Canaan Valley, Snowshoe and Wisp are all fully open. They were already making snow, and the natural snowfall has enhanced conditions.

The best outdoor ice skating rinks are at PPG Place downtown, and at Schenley Park. Indoor skating is available at several rinks.

Shell Refinery Permits Suspended By Township

Even though construction is well under way, Potter Township Supervisors have suspended Shell's permits to build and operate the Cracking Plant in the riverside location just west of Monaca.

The suspension is in response to rising public opposition, but it relies on a technicality. Shell purchased the land from the Horsehead Zinc Smelter, which operated on the site for several decades. Horsehead possessed the permits to discharge treated wastewater into the Ohio River and exhaust into the air after it had passed through "scrubbers" in the smokestacks. Shell argued that Zinc smelting produces far more toxins than a natural gas refinery, so it simply purchased the permits from Horsehead with the assumption it would never approach nearly the capacity the permits allowed. Shell also purchased credits from First Energy and the Mitchell Corporation which allowed it to discharge a stated amount of particulates into the air.

But the Clean Air Council and the Environmental Integrity Project have challenged that transfer of permits from one company to another.

The three Potter Township supervisors have asked Shell to file legal arguments by January 6 detailing why the permits should be approved.

The protests have brought the Department of Environmental Protection into the situation. The DEP is hosting a hearing tonight at Central Valley High School at 6 pm tonight (Thursday). It will begin with an hour long question and answer question with representatives from Shell and the DEP. The EIP is demanding that the DEP consider the Shell plant a brand new facility and evaluate the permits on that basis. EIP spokeswoman Sharon Caugdale explains, "This petrochemical plant will be the largest emitter of volatile organic compounds in the state and maybe in the nation. VOCs mix with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form ground level ozone, which is particularly harmful to children, elderly, asthmatics and those with respiratory issues."

Potter Township Supervisory Chairman Rebecca Matsco asked Shell External Affairs Manager Chris Heitman for details on the discharge pipelines being built at the new facility.

Heitman promised to refer the question to someone in the division of the company that would have that information.

Another complaint locals have brought to the Supervisors is noise and light. With construction running seven days a week 24 hours a day, people living nearby and even across the river complain about not being able to sleep.

"We're not deluded," Caugsdale emphasized. "We don't think we can stop the refinery. We just want to make sure it's safe."

Emsworth Lock / Dam Reconstruction Approved

Congress has approved a complete updating and reconstruction of the series of locks and dams on the Ohio River from Pittsburgh into eastern Ohio. The bill includes Emsworth Lock & Dam, Dashields at Glenwillard and Montgomery at Monaca.

Emsworth Lock & Dam is technically at Emsworth, but is visible from much of Coraopolis and directly attaches to Neville Island.

The three local projects combined are expected to provide 300 jobs for about 24-36 months.

Congress did not approve the funding for the work but with Trump, his Cabinet and Congress announcing an emphasis on infrastructure, that is expected to be quickly approved early in 2017.

The updating and reconstruction have long been overdue but a hydraulic breakdown in the lock at New Cumberland Lock & Dam at Wellsville, Ohio forced the issue.

Right now, the lock is inoperable. Barge traffic is backing up on both sides of the dam. Crews are working around the clock on a temporary fix but New Cumberland, like the others, needs a complete reconstruction.

This comes in context of the new Shell Refinery and CSX Rail Terminal, both of which will generate more freight transportation in the area. Shell is building a complete river port at its Potter Township facility so it can rely heavily on barges for both incoming and outgoing shipments. Once these new facilities are complete and fully operational, lock breakdowns would be disastrous. Thus, their reconstruction needs to begin as soon as possible.

The entire series of locks and dams were built in the 1930s. At that time they were state of the art, but 80 years later their technology is far out of date. Some superficial updates have been applied over the last century, but both the dams and the locks are deteriorating.

The lock project will cost $2.65 billion, funded by a tax on barge traffic.

The same bill authorizing the lock and dam reconstruction also includes other locks and dams across the country and water purification facilities.

In 2015, 29 million tons of cargo moved through each of these locks. It includes 18 million tons of coal, bound for power plants.

Peter Stephaich of Campbell Transportation, a company operating a fleet of barges, puts it bluntly. "What makes a river unique is that when a lock breaks down, everything stops. There are no detours. None. When the steel, coal, natural gas or whatever doesn't get where it's going, those power plants, construction projects, factories or whatever just stop. Time is money. Every day a barge is late costs someone hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. These locks and dams are critical."

Pressed by Shell and other companies, plans are already being laid for the reconstruction, so work can begin within days of Congressional action. It will probably begin in mid or late Spring, giving Congress time to pass the funding and the weather time to warm up. The men work in water so cannot do much in freezing temperatures.

First Snowfall Only 1-3" But More Forecast

The first snow of the season blanketed the Ohio Valley Tuesday afternoon and evening, causing schools to cancel activities and traffic to back up during rush hour.

A dozen basketball games were postponed, although Cornell, Moon and West Allegheny managed to play theirs. Various meetings were cancelled and flights were delayed at the airport.

Most of the area received about three inches, although it varied. The most snow fell on both sides of the river, and depths seemed to decline further out in the townships.

The photo at left shows the Log Flume and Racer roller coaater at Kennywood Park. The Monongahela Valley received more snow than Coraopolis.

Behind the front, the Western Hills face below freezing temperatures for the next several days, with more snow forecast off and on. Some days should see flurries, while others may see several inches. On the 24th the forecast calls for a warming and either rain, sleet or freezing rain.

Locals Object To Shell Refinery

Never mind that the bulldozers have been moving earth for months and now construction companies are erecting the structures. Residents from the surrounding area gathered Monday to protest the new Shell Refinery going in to Potter Township along the Ohio River.

Iris Carter, a guest speaker from Louisiana, warned the audience about all the problems the plant would cause. "Your real estate values will drop," she told them. "You think you'll wait and see, and if it gets bad, you'll move. But by that time, no one will want your houses. You won't be able to sell."

Shell spokesmen calmly refuted every point. "We'll have thousands of workers who will want to live near the plant," one said. "They'll be the ones buying your houses if you should want to sell."

Carter wasn't done. "This whole area will have a funky smell. No one is going to want to live where every time they step outside the air stinks. And a lot of people will get sick. I mean really sick."

(The photo is of an already completed Louisiana Shell Cracking plant.)

Frank Snedegar denied that. "We can install fenceline monitors around the perimeter," he said. "They measure the parts per million of pollutants in the air and sound the alarm if it exceeds acceptable limits."

"These fears are all based on mid 20th Century plants built by other companies in other parts of the country. We've come a long way since then. This plant will give off zero smells and zero harmful pollutants."

Carter took issue with the deal Pennsylvania and Beaver County have worked out to bring the plant to Potter Township. "The state gives them $1.6 billion plus no taxes for 15 years," she told the audience. "Meanwhile, notice Beaver County is raising your property taxes 17% to cover the budget deficit they face providing all the utilities and services to this company. The more you study it, the worse this deal looks for the residents of Beaver County.

Shell officials shrugged their shoulders at these objections. "All those people we hire, they pay taxes. They pay income taxes, and as they buy property and upgrade their properties they pay property taxes, and with the added income they buy things, and they pay sales taxes.

All these other companies coming in here to supply us, they also pay property and corporate taxes, and their employees pay those same income, property and sales taxes. Believe us, you get your money back 10 fold."

As a final shot, Carter mentioned the towns along the river. "Aliquippa, Coraopolis and McKees Rocks, they're going to have trains rolling through there 24 hours a day," she warned. "Long trains. Carrying natural gas, which is explosive. Trains stopping and blocking crossings while they wait for the trains ahead of them to unload. Blocking school buses, ambulances, fire trucks, people going to and from work, policemen, all traffic is just blocked."

Snedegar dismissed this as exaggeration. "McKees Rocks and Aliquippa have overpasses and underpasses, so the trains don't ever block traffic. Coraopolis does have at grade crossings, but only a few. How long do you think these trains are? 10 miles? They're not. CSX can stop trains between McKees Rocks and Coraopolis, or between Coraopolis and Aliquippa. CSX has plenty of room to run trains without blocking crossings."

Residents left the meeting still weighing all those jobs on the one hand and the possible problems on the other. Most appeared still undecided.

Cory Area Braces For White Christmas

The last several Christmases in Coraopolis and the Western Hills have been pretty frustrating for boys and girls looking for Santa Claus. The weather has been warm, rainy and grey. But this year could make up for it if the forecasters are right. They predict snow beginning this week and continuing off and on through the 23rd. It's supposed to warm up on Christmas Eve and possibly rain, but the snow will already be on the ground. Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit should see a foot and could see more. Depending on exactly how far south the front extends, Cory and the Western Hills could get anywhere from 3-9 inches spread over three or four different storms.

Adults who have to shovel that snow, clean it off their vehicles, and drive in it, will not see this as welcome news. But sledriders, skiiers and snow sculptors are already looking forward to it.

Coraopolis no longer blocks off streets for sledriding, but there are plenty of hills around town. The bigger problem is that with several mild Winters sleds have been packed away and forgotten and kids haven't been getting new sleds.

Tubing (above) has become popular in the last decade. Snow tubes can be bought on the internet or at many local stores. They're fun but cannot be steered. They have to be used on broad open uncrowded slopes. The old classic, the Flexible Flyer, is still made and is available both online and at stores. The new ones use a lighter wood and are not as durable. Much better to look in garages, attics and basements and find one of the 20th Century models, which were handfrafted in America of solid Oak and are practically indestructible. The old ones can still be bought on Amazon and other internet sites. A good Flexible Flyer, old or new, will run about $100. That's expensive, but it's the finest sled ever made. Safety experts now recommend that sledders wear helmets.

The 21st Century version of the Flexible Flyer is called the Hammerhead. It's a high tech piece of sports equipment for serious sledders. The fabric platform is very comfortable, especially on bumpy ground. The steering is much more precise, so precise experienced users can actually carve donuts while coming down the hill. The Hammerhead rides on skiis, not runners, so in deep snow it just rides over the drifts, whereas the Flyers with their narrow steel runners would sink in. The Hammerhead is every sledrider's dream, but it's also dangerous. It's approximately twice as fast as the already fast Flyer. Some experts advise that the Hammerhead is a sled for adults, not kids, especially not grade school kids. Anyone with a little skiing experience can carve very sharp turns with the Hammerhead using body lean. Rather than hardware stores and big box stores, these sleds are available at sporting goods stores and ski shops, or online.

Even snow shovels are now high tech. The new ones have curved handles so users don't have to lean over. They're heavy duty plastic with sharp steel edges. They're very well balanced and comfortable to use. They can be found at hardwares, Walmarts, Lowes and Home Depots.

CSX Building New Rail Terminal
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CSX is building a huge intermodal terminal just upriver from Coraopolis that will provide 400 jobs, a major tax boost and several other impacts to the area. Among those other impacts will be probable restoration of a second and possibly third track to the railroad right of way through Cory. Beginning in mid to late 2017, locals will notice an increase in the length and frequency of container freight trains passing through town.

Specifically, the terminal will occupy the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad yard that used to lay just up from the Neville Island - Stowe Township Bridge. As you come off the bridge and turn left to head to McKees Rocks, the terminal is already under construction on the wide flat shelf below you between Route 51 and the Ohio River. This is the western tip of what has long been known as "The Bottoms."

The CSX decision is a response to the great increase in freight traffic being unloaded in east coast port cities because of the newly widened Panama Canal. That freight is being unloaded in large steel containers.

The containers will be transported to major cities by rail, then unloaded by gigantic overhead cranes onto tractor trailer trucks, which will haul them to their specific locations, such as Best Buys, Lowes, Giant Eagles or smaller stores all over Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and West Virginia.

Although the containers of consumer goods were the primary reason for the new terminal, CSX oficials said the new natural gas processing plant now under construction at Monaca also influenced their decision. During the construction of that Shell Cracking Plant, they will be shipping massive amounts of supplies to Monaca, and once the plant is operational, they will be shipping pellets and other products out. For further details and additional photos. Go to Industry Page.

 

Monaca's Shell Cracking Plant Will Revive Entire Valley

Residents of Coraopolis, Moon, Neville and the West Hills area aren't paying attention right now, because it's out of sight in Beaver County.

But the Shell cracking plant under construction in Potter Township just outside Monaca promises to rejuvenate the economy from Wellsville and East Liverpool (Ohio) all the way to McKees Rocks.

During the construction phase alone, the plant will hire 10,000 workers and those will be high wage jobs. When the plant goes into operation, it will employ 6,000. The shipping in of raw materials and out of finished products will be mostly by rail with about a fourth by barge. Of the rail portion, about 70% will travel through Coraopolis. So in addition to workers at the plant, there will be jobs on the trains and the barges.

The photo above shows the artist's rendition of the finished facility. At left construction is already under way. On the industry page are photos of similar facilities already operating elsewhere in the country.

To handle the massive increase in traffic, Pennsylvania is upgrading rail lines to and from Monaca. Back in the 1970s and 1980s the multiple tracks were removed, leaving only a single track right of way. Now, the second and third tracks will be reinstalled, eastward from Monaca to McKees Rocks and westward into Ohio. A direct rail line is also planned from Monaca north to Erie with a branch turning westward into northeast Ohio.

A "cracking plant" is a chemical refinery which takes in natural gas and breaks it down into ethylene. The ethylene is shipped to plastics factories across the country. Monaca is a central location to the Marcellus Shale, a huge underground natural gas reservoir extending across Pennsylvania and Ohio. Read more and see additional photos on the Industry page.

Beaver Mall Hosts Job Fair
Beaver Valley Mall will host a Job Fair Thursday Nov. 17 from 10 am. to 5 pm. The event is sponsored by PennsylvaniaCareerLink Beaver County, a local agency given the responsibility of filling the jobs created by the new Shell plant in Potter Township Employers will man tables along the sides of the Mall. Job seekers should start at the Sears entrance. Human Resources workers at the tables will provide applications for hopefuls to fill out on the spot. Interviews will be scheduled for later for those who appear qualified. Jobs include truck drivers, crane operators, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, electricians, construction workers of all kinds, rail and towboat employees, engineers, supervisors, technicians, machinists, and office support staff. 270 jobs were filled at a similar Job Fair held in late October.