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Dorothy Amigh laid to rest after decades of serving Audit gives BVSD clean the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company bill of fiscal health

Vol. 92 No. 9

ISSN:1529-9910

Nanty Glo, Pa.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

By Jim Lauffer

of Mainline Newspapers

Before the advent of 24/7 coverage by the Cambria County Department of Emergency Services and its 911 emergency number, residents of the 63 municipalities of Cambria County called their fire companies directly to request ambulance service or to report an accident or a fire. The standard practice for a fire company during the decades before 911 was to distribute cards that listed not only the number of the company’s “fire phone,” but also the names of the company’s officers. For more than 30 years — perhaps closer to 40 years — when a resident of Jackson Township dialed the number of the township’s volunteer fire company, the person most likely to answer the call — regardless of the time of day or night — was Dorothy Amigh, who grew up and lived in the family house located on Singer Hill. During most of those years, Dorothy was also the one who pressed the red button — labeled “siren button” — located above the fire phone in her living room. She blew the siren once for an ambulance, twice for an accident, and three times for a fire. Dorothy pressed that red button as soon as she had enough information to give first-responders. Generally, a caller would hear the siren’s wail while he or she was still on the phone with her — no doubt

Jackson Township’s Dorothy Amigh pressed this button countless times during the decades that she answered the fire phone of the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company. Photo by Jim Lauffer.

Since 1921

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drawing comfort from the fact that help would soon be on its way. In addition to having a fire phone in her house — other such phones were located at the fire hall and at the chief’s house, among other places — and the button to activate the siren, Dorothy had a an alternate base radio, at first a 60-watt Motorola and later a 100watt Motorola, with which she could keep in touch with firemen who carried remote radios. According to Jackson Township supervisor John Wallet, Dorothy would stay on the radio — her call letters were KRP753 — and communicate with the firemen until they returned to the fire hall and reported “all clear” — regardless of how long the firemen were at the site of an accident or a burning building. Curiously enough, when Dorothy was first approached — in the mid-1960s — about having a fire phone installed in her home and about answering that phone, she was reticent and voiced concern that she might make a mistake. Her father, Lou Amigh, encouraged her, noting that someone would always be at the house with her, either him or her brothers. According to Wallet, after Dorothy decided to be a fire company volunteer, she “took the job to heart” and rarely left her house. “It got to the point where she

Closed county-owned bridge given low priority By Jim Lauffer

of Mainline Newspapers

The county-owned bridge on Red Mill Road in Blacklick Township has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2009 — though folks on foot and on recreational vehicles often traverse its condemned span. According to township residents Joe and Karen Gordon, in 2010 the Cambria County Planning Commission and the engineering firm HF Lenz Co., Johnstown, recommended that the bridge be completely removed. The Gordons attended the Tuesday, Feb. 19, meeting of the Blacklick Township supervisors and gave them a brief update on the bridge. They noted that the planning commission and HF Lenz made their recommendation because of the low traffic along Red Mill Road in the area of the bridge. When the Gordons asked both for an estimated removal date and about the possibility of replacing the bridge, neither the commission nor the engineers offered a timeline for the bridge’s removal or addressed the possibility of replacing it. According to the Gordons, they were told that if funding became available, consideration might be given to addressing the bridge’s removal. They were also told that the bridge was not a high priority, given the area’s low traffic. The Gordons believe that fund-

ing — in the form of Pennsylvania Act 13 (Pa. HB1950) Marcellus Shale impact fees — has become, or will become, available for Cambria County to use in addressing the dilapidated condition of a bridge that it owns, a bridge that

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has been closed for nearly four years. As reported in September 2012, Cambria County was slated to receive more than $166,000 from the Marcellus Shale gas industry as a result of Act 13. In addition, municipalities in the

SEE SERVICE, PAGE 3A

county will receive slices of the impact-fee pie, with the amounts dependent on the number of wells within their borders. For example, according to the webstie

SEE BRIDGE, PAGE 3A

36 Pages

By Jim Lauffer

of Mainline Newspapers

“It is a good, clean audit this year.” So said Brenda Pawlowski of Kotzan CPA & Associates, Johnstown, summarizing her firm’s audit of the finances of the Blacklick Valley School District for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012. Pawlowski presented a bound copy of the audit report to the district’s business manager, superintendent, and members of Board of Directors. In addition, one electronic copy will be sent to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Audits and the Single Audit Clearing House. For the fiscal year, the district’s general fund had revenues of $8,582,934 and expenditures of $8,276,338, resulting in a surplus of $306,596. The audit lists three sources of general fund revenue: Local sources ($1,554,669 or 18 percent of revenues), state sources ($6,592,436 or 77 percent), and federal sources ($425,978 or 5 percent). Local funding comes primarily from real estate taxes ($851,317), earned income taxes ($324,607), and the collection of delinquent taxes ($105,083). The commonwealth’s Basic Education Subsidy of $4,953,822 represents SEE AUDIT, PAGE 3A

Jackson Elementary fourth-graders Eric Mertens (left), Amber Sims, and Tyler Gibson proudly display their state-related handiwork. They are students in Kathy Kupchella’s class. Photo by Jim Lauffer.


Journal 2-28-13