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M AI NLI NE newspapers

Portage Boro’s blight fight takes steps forward with demo, purchase

Vol. 115 No. 45

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The fight against blight took two steps forward at the Portage Borough Council meeting Nov. 4. The blighted property at 1007 Conemaugh Ave. has been demolished using the county’s Act 152 funding through the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority. Act 152, now in its third full year, is funded by a $15 fee on deeds, mortgages and other documents filed through the county’s recorder of deeds office in the courthouse. Act

Portage, Pa.

152 funds the demolition of approximately 8-12 blighted structures a year. The fund is administered through the county’s redevelopment authority, which puts the buildings on a list and try to demolish as many buildings as possible with the available money. The restriction on Act 152 is that a municipality or a non-profit must own the building before it can be demolished using the funds. Three years ago, the borough bought the two-and-a-half story wooden residential structure through a judicial tax sale in hopes of having it demolished.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

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At a future meeting, the council will determine what to do with the property. The most likely options are to sell the property in an attempt to put it back into taxation or keep the property to use as a green space. In the second step forward in the battle against blight, the borough successfully bid for the old Starlight Hotel at 828 N. Railroad Ave. for a bid of $908.70. The blighted threestory wood-frame building was once a busy stopover for rail travelers during the town’s heyday. SEE BLIGHT, PAGE 3A

Braving the chill

Kasey Utzler and Makenna Hogue brave the chilly air Nov. 1 to provide treats for trick-or-treaters in Wilmore. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage Area Ambulance receives CARES award

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Search for treats

Lymae Mathison (left) Kameryn Jeffreys and Hayley Smith were in search of treats in South Fork Nov. 1. The Forest Hills Area delayed the activities one day due to heavy rain and wind on Halloween. Photo by Ron Portash.

New PennDOT automated work zone speed enforcement in place

On Oct. 31, the Portage Area Ambulance Association received the Pennsylvania CARES Award. The ambulance association received the award for demonstrating a commitment to saving lives by strengthening the links in the “out-of-hospital cardiac arrest” (OHCA) data. Pennsylvania CARES is the state-wide partner of the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). Portage Area Ambulance Association was commended for collecting data on OHCA to measure outcomes and improve the quality of care and save lives. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine to develop CARES, an OHCA surveillance registry to help communities increase survival rates,


Owner of the vehicle responsible for paying for violations By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

On Nov. 1, The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) began a twomonth pilot period for the new statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program to improve

safety for drivers and highway workers, reduce work zone speeds and change driver behavior. “The Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program isn’t about issuing violations, it’s about saving lives,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Last year, 23 motorists were killed in a Pennsylvania work zone. Through this program, we are urging motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change on a daily basis.” AWZSE was created by the state legislature as Act 86 of 2018 for a five-year period. During the two-month pilot program, automated speed enforce-

ment units using “LIDAR” and automated cameras will be deployed in a number of active work zones on Pennsylvania’s highways. During the twomonth pilot program, no citations will be issued. According to a joint press release about the program issued last week, the three agencies jointly indicated that “Pennsylvania’s AWZSE program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 mph or more using electronic speed timing devices. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Once enforcement begins,



Keagan and Asheley Beane brave the chill to trick-or treat in Creslo Nov. 1. Photo by Ron Portash.

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