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M AI NLI NE newspapers

(814) 472-4110

Ice skating rink installed in Crichton-McCormick Park Vol. 113 No. 48

USPS 439-000

Portage, Pa.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Since 1904

Newsstand Price 75¢

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

An endeavor that began more than a year ago to provide additional activities for children in Portage has come to fruition. Portage mayor James Kissell has been working to get the old ice skating rink in CrichtonMcCormick Park back in use for nearly 18 months now. He faced a daunting task in getting the concrete rink to hold water. Originally constructed in 1970s by community organizations, the ice skating rink lasted several years before cracks developed in the concrete. These cracks prevented the rink from retaining water. Over the years, the SummerFest committee converted the area into a parking lot for committee members during SummerFest. Kissell, who regularly walks in the park, has eyed the potential of the ice skating rink for a couple of years. With the advent of the youth hockey association and its use of the tennis court for roller hockey, Kissell’s interest in reopening the ice skating rink

Volunteers unroll road felt onto the ice skating rink before installing the plastic liner. Portage Borough mayor Jim Kissell, along with volunteers and members from the Portage Volunteer Fire Company, installed the liner. They are waiting for the cold weather to freeze the water so people from the area can enjoy ice skating at Crichton-McCormick Park once again. Photo by Ron Portash.

blossomed. Last year, Kissell was able to obtain a scrap piece of an ice

skating rink liner that was worn out and discarded. Although the liner piece was not large enough

to cover the concrete rink, he thought the piece could cover the longitudinal crack in the rink

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surface. It was hoped that covering the crack with the liner and then filling the rink with water would create a seal and hold water until it could freeze. Kissell, several volunteers, and members of the Portage Volunteer Fire Company installed the liner piece and filled the rink with seven tanker truckloads of water. Several days later, the weather was still above freezing and the area was hit by high winds. This caused an end of the liner piece to curl up and the water to drain out through the cracks. Undaunted, Kissell explored options for the upcoming winter season. At an August council meeting, he brought an idea of an ice rink liner at a cost of just under $500 to the council. The council approved a motion to purchase the liner from an Ohiobased company. The plan was to put down a layer of fine sand to act as a cushion for the liner over the uneven concrete surface. At the Nov. 20 meeting,

Junior council members sworn in; Portage debates casino licenses

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Portage Borough council expanded at its meeting on Nov. 20. Two junior council members were sworn in to council. Emily Canavan and Kaelyn Wozniak, students at Portage Area High School, took the oath of office from mayor James Kissell. Junior council members have an opportunity to engage in borough government and learn how council works, all while developing leadership skills. Although junior council members cannot vote on motions or matters before the council, they are allowed to provide input on matters under


discussion to give a new point of view. The council discussed the Pennsylvania gaming license of a Category 4 casino. The state is developing a fourth type of gaming license called a satellite casino as a way to fill in the budget revenue gap for this fiscal year. There are four types of gaming licenses. A Category 1 is called a “racino,” which is an existing horse or dog track that can add up to 250 gaming tables and 5,000 slot machines. There are six racinos in the state. A Category 2 is a stand alone casino, which means it cannot have a hotel on its premises. A Category 2 casino can have the SEE LICENSES, PAGE 3A

Unofficial arrival

Santa Claus greets Isabelle Gardner and her mother, Kelli, during an unofficial stop he made at Berwind-Wayside Park in St. Michael on Nov. 22 for the light-up event. Isabelle was the special guest invited to throw the switch to light up the park for the holidays. Photo by Ron Portash.

Crime watch views K-9 demonstration By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Area Crime Watch was given a chance to watch and learn about K-9 police officers and their handlers at the Nov. 15 meeting. South Fork police

chief Don Wyar and his K-9, Bas, and officer Rusty Wills and his K-9, Romy, presented a detailed program to the crime watch members. Wyar first outlined the community’s effort to gather the funding needed to purchase the K-9s. “It was an all-out effort by the community,” Wyar said. “There were no tax dollars spent to get these dogs.” The community held a number of fundraisers over several months last year to fund the K-

9s. In addition, Wyar and the South Fork Borough council have been active in applying for and receiving several grants. Wyar said organizations from around the county are assisting police departments in getting K9 equipment and outfitting police vehicles with needed specialized K-9 equipment. Wyar pointed out that an organization called Protection of PAWS just donated more than $5,000 to purchase equipment to protect the dogs when they are SEE CRIME WATCH, PAGE 4A

Junior council

Emily Canavan and Kealyn Wozniak are sworn in as Portage Borough junior council members by mayor James Kissell at the Nov. 6 council meeting. Photo by Ron Portash.

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