MAI NLI NE newspapers
Washington Twp. Supervisors reorganize, talk garbage changes Vol. 120 No. 1
By Kristin Baudoux
of Mainline Newspapers
As part of their annual duties, Washington Township the Supervisors reorganized for 2021 Jan. 4. Supervisor Jamie Hartline was reappointed as chairman of the board, and Ray Guzic Jr. was reappointed as vice-chairman and township roadmaster. Pam Flis will continue to serve as recording secretary/treasurer and as the right-to-know officer. Tom Swope was retained as township solicitor and The EADS Group will serve as the engineer. The supervisors also approved several vendors for fuel and vehicle and equipment maintenance. Matt Myers was appointed for the township's vacancy board, and William Claar Sr. was appointed as the township's emergency management director. Ebensburg Insurance Agency serves as the
township's insurance agency and Somerset Trust as the depository. The board did approve a $2 increase in quarterly sanitation fees for 2021. The supervisors said the addition $2 per quarter is to keep up with increasing tipping fees at the landfill. Once the reorganization meeting adjourned, the board moved into its regular meeting matters. During this time, supervisor Scott Guzic brought up the new rules the supervisors were considering regarding the township's sanitation services. These rules mainly focus on large items like furniture and appliances. "We feel that there's some limitations that need to be put in place," Scott Guzic said. While the township will continue to take these items for disposal, the township will charge an additional $5 fee for items including couches, mattresses, box springs, dishwashers and hot water tanks.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
of Mainline Newspapers
As colder temperatures prevail, heating sources are a necessity, and with that comes a great deal of responsibility to safely heat a home. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February. The FEMA website also states that one in every seven home fires and one in every five home fire deaths involve heating equipment. As many individuals are turning to portable heaters and fire places for warmer homes, there are a number of safety precautions that can be taken. “Heaters should have tip-over protection and should be plugged into an electrical outlet and not a surge protector,” said treasurer of the Gallitzin Fire Company Christopher Cox. “Heaters should be kept three feet away from anything that can burn.” Only one heating appliance, like a space heater, should be plugged into an electrical outlet at a time. As far as fireplaces, Cox stated that a glass or metal screen should be kept in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out. A wood stove should also be at least three feet away
from anything that can burn. “Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home,” Cox added. There are a number of items that a homeowner can do to help prevent fires and assist the fire department during the winter season, once of which is inspection. “People should have a qualified professional clean and inspect their chimney and vents every year,” said Cox. “[They] should have a qualified professional also provide routine service and cleaning of their furnaces.” Storing ashes in a metal container at least 10 feet away from their home and away from nearby buildings and ventilation systems is another way a homeowner can cut back on fires. Generators should never be used inside the home and ovens should not be used as a heating source. “Homeowners should ensure that they have functioning smoke detectors at least on every floor of their home as well as carbon monoxide alarms,” Cox said. “These alarms should be tested once a month.” Having an escape plan for their home in case of a fire is also pertinent. Cox stated that practicing “E.D.I.T.H.” or “exit drills in the home” is important.
CCCRA’s Kitner receives questions on grant application
By Allie Byers
of Mainline Newspapers
Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority (CCCRA) executive director Cliff Kitner has been receiving questions back from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) in regard to the Multimodal Transportation Fund grant he applied for recently. The grant
money will be used to complete the Ghost Town Trail loop. Kitner added that he is also receiving questions about the Greenways and Trails grant as well. “On the Greenways and Trails portion of it, they’ve asked us to increase our ask, so we did the paperwork to do that,” said Kitner. “We had a percentage we could apply for based on the match that we currently have and they have asked us to increase it because they feel the project is worthwhile enough.” Once the loop trail is completed, it will be the first rail-trail loop in the eastern United States. In other Ghost Town Trail matters, Kitner said that he and the trail
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The township will not accept refrigerators or other Freon-containing appliances, tires, grass clippings or leaves, or electronics. A limited amount of construction materials will be picked up, but the township recommends renting a dumpster for large construction projects. In addition, no bags should way over 40 pounds, and all trash must be in tied bags and be curbside by 6 a.m. on the day of pickup. The supervisors approved the new rules for garbage collection. "We want to put some guidelines in for our customers so it's fair to everybody," Hartline said. In other matters, engineer Tom Kakabar requested that the supervisors release the retainage for James Excavating in the amount of $13,911 for their work on the walking trail extension. "I'm not aware of any problems on the trail he needs to address," Kakabar said.
Fire safety especially important during cold winter months
By Allie Byers
committee walked the corridors for the Lehigh Valley Rail Management agreement. “I think we’re at the point where we’re ready to sign the agreement with Lehigh Valley Rail Management,” Kitner said. The board approved the signing of the agreement. Kitner stated that the rail line going from Ebensburg to Loretto will remain in place. “So, when we scrap that, we can actually use that money to help build the trail as well,” he said. “We have salvage value in the development of that corridor, which is good news for us,” CCCRA chairman Tom Kakabar added.
SEE QUESTIONS, PAGE 2
JoJo Racz and Ashville Volunteer Fire Company assistant chief Mike Racz enjoy Ashville’s light up night and bonfire held before Christmas. Photo by Kristin Baudoux.
Portage Borough fills water auth. vacancies
By Ron Portash
of Mainline Newspapers
The Portage Borough Council had to fill three vacancies on the five-person Portage Area Municipal Authority at the council’s Jan. 4 meeting. The vacancies were created with the term expiration for Mark Castel, who declined reappointment, the resignation of Brent Kinley and the recent death of Jerome Yetsko. The two remaining board members are Craig Castel and John Morgan. The authority board has undergone some strife with internal conflicts and accusations in the recent months. In November, the authority board held a public meeting attended by its employees to air grievances over a longtime office employee who was fired over an alleged vendetta. The meeting resulted in the board and employees agreeing to work together to improve conditions. The council voted unanimously to approve Ed Alexander to the open five-year term on the authority, and Matt McCoy was approved by a 4-2 vote to fill the unexpired term of Brent Kinley until 2023. Former borough council president Sharon McCarthy was nominated to fill the unexpired term of Jerome Yetsko. McCarthy’s vote ended with a 3-3 tie, and with no mayor at the present time, the nomination failed. Chris McCall was then nominated
for Yetsko’s term that expires in 2022. McCall was appointed in a 4-2 vote. After the meeting, the borough council members conducted interviews for those who submitted letters of interest for the vacant mayor position, due to the death of James Kissell. The appoint for the position of mayor, which expires at the end of 2021, will be taken up at the next council meeting. A vacancy for a five-year term on the planning commission was filled by the appointment of Larry Duruy. Borough manager Bob Koban request that the matter of sumps pumps being discharged on to the streets be added to the next meeting’s agenda. The council first addressed the matter without a direct resolution when it first arose about three years ago. When the Portage Sewer Authority completed a major line replacement project in the borough’s third ward in 2017, the issue became a problem with the onset of winter weather. The sewer project forced many homeowners in the third ward to add sump pumps to their basements since the porous terra cotta pipes were removed, preventing stormwater from filtering into the pipes. This water would then accumulate in basements in most cases. The sump pumps control the groundwater inflow, but now, SEE VACANCIES, PAGE 2