Snyder Township supervisors met Monday evening, first hearing updates regarding the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library from library director Jennifer Powell.
Powell has visited a number of Tyrone Borough council meetings and is making her way around to other municipalities to share news about the many diverse programs offered in the community. Not just a place for quiet reading anymore, local libraries have become community centers for activities for children and adults alike.
Powell said one of the newest initiatives is a tween and teen group for children on the autism spectrum. There are multiple children’s classes, Lego club, craft nights and story times, including a sensory story time for kids with autism.
For adults, there are various resources, including GED tutoring, a WIC program for wellness checks, a computer basics class to be offered every Tuesday this month. Check The Daily Herald‘s community calendar online at www.thedailyherald.net for upcoming events or check the weekly print edition. Library programs can also be found on their Facebook page.
Supervisors then heard from township resident Jonna Booker regarding a letter she received, asking her to take down her fence post because it is in the right of way. Booker said she believes that the post was determined not to be in the right of way in 2016. Booker installed the fence post in 2013 or 2014 after the daycare opened along East Pleasant Valley Boulevard. That winter, Booker said, snow was plowed into her property and up against her lilac bush, from both the daycare parking lot as well as the township, that she said “followed suit.”
Booker said that after winter, gravel, dirt, garbage and cigarette butts were left that she had to clean up out of her yard. Also, the extra snow piled up is also a concern, as Booker’s property is in a flood zone, she said.
After the fence post was installed, it protected her property. “I feel like I’m being singled out. It was only there to protect my property,” Booker added.
Supervisor Jim Burket said, “My suggestion is, let us revisit this and look at it again and we’ll get back to you.”
Another unnamed resident brought concerns about his property in Grazierville at Pleasant Valley Blvd. and South 8th Street. A neighbor, he said, had a camper sitting in the alleyway and collapsed a wall into a ditch with several drainage pipes. Supervisor Bob Nelson explained that there is a large hole at the end of the vacant alley.
Burket said that he believes that the alley was vacated by the township years ago, and it now belongs to the residents, who would share the alley, as it is now private property.
The concerned resident also voiced complaints about the length of the neighbor’s grass, to which supervisors suggested he file a formal complaint.
Supervisors discussed another residence at 14040 South Eagle Valley Road that has high grass and weeds. The property had gone into foreclosure and is sitting vacant. Solicitor David Pertile advised supervisors that they have the right to have someone mow it and put a lien on the property, as it is a health and safety concern.
Supervisors, looking ahead to winter plowing season, discussed rights of way. Burket said that they are always questionable, and that even though information is on hand from PennDOT, he would like a way to verify that the information is correct.
Pertile said that researching every individual road in the township may yield different results. A guideline, he said, is to follow what is on file from PennDOT, unless they are shown that a particular case is different. With regards to the property owner, Pertile said, nothing can be put into the right of way as an obstruction — nothing can be in the right of way without the permission of the governing body, whether that is the local municipality, or PennDOT, if it is a state road.
Supervisors tabled discussion of the proposed Weaver lot merger until next month’s meeting, as they are waiting for information from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The Bellwood-Antis Park and Recreation Authority will be dissolved following the adoption of an ordinance by borough council members and township supervisors this month.
“It was a layer of government that didn’t need to exist,” explained Lucas Martsolf, township manager. “We have just eliminated a layer of government.”
This action was a recommendation in the parks and recreation master plan done by the municipalities and prepared by Mackin Engineering in October 2016.
The plan suggested “clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the various organizations involved in administering parks and recreation in the [community],” and having a central department or staff person to oversee activities. It recognized that the Authority, Borough and Township Public Works, the school district, and Hollidaysburg YMCA all played a role in administering and maintaining some portion of parks and recreation.
“We already have an agreement in place and now we can move forward with implementing the park and recreation plan,” explained Martsolf.
The Antis Township secretary will continue to pay bills for the park and recreation facilities, including the community pool. And the borough and the township will continue their efforts in taking care of and policing park and recreation grounds.
The authority only added more voices and confusion, Martsolf said. Now, actions will be more simplified and streamlined, there will be more accountability and improvement. This will help the success of the borough and the township in receiving grants to continue improving parks and recreation sites.
The borough and township created the authority sometime more than 45 years ago to provide, build, construct, maintain and supervise parks and all other forms of recreation and facilities. The authority was contracted with both municipalities’ Public Works departments, each of which have four full-time workers. Members of the authority included two individuals from borough council, two from the township, and one from the Bellwood-Antis School District board. Members were appointed annually.
“The authority has met and voted to terminate its existence,” said borough solicitor David Pertile. “The ordinance gets filed and the authority ceases to exist. It indicates we approve the certificate of termination that has been adopted already by the authority. It’s very simple.”
Both the borough and township were provided with a certificate of termination by the authority, and followed the same steps in approving for an ordinance to be advertised then adopted. Antis Township was also provided with a deed by the authority for a remaining piece of real estate it owned that was turned over to the township.
Bellwood-Antis School District board members quickly approved a full agenda on Tuesday evening, including the naming of the football field, sale of winter sports passes, and a variety of personnel matters.
Following the approval of financial reports, budget transfers, and disbursements, the board agreed to name the high school football field the John Hayes Football Field at Memorial Stadium. A ceremony will be held October 25 during the scheduled home football game. Hayes retired as the football coach last year, and left his position as athletic director. He has remained a respected and legendary influence for B-A athletic programs.
The board also agreed to sell adult and student winter sports passes for the year, covering all levels of all winter sports — boys’ and girls’ junior high, junior varsity, and varsity basketball games and junior high and varsity wrestling matches.
Personnel matters were approved with very little discussion. In attendance at the meeting was Patrick Cassidy, who was named as head coach for the boys’ varsity basketball team (read more in today’s Sports section). “I’m happy to be on board,” he said.
Resignations were accepted: effective at the end of the school year — Robert McMinn as high school social studies teacher, and Jerry Farkus as middle school mathematics and computer teacher; effective October 4 — Allison Stinson as Modern Teacher coach.
School board members also elected this month to rename the title of Coordinator of Event Security to Coordinator of Event Staff, following discussion last month regarding the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s Act 67 that makes changes to the school code concerning the hiring and training of school security personnel.
Musical advisors were also named for this year’s school musical production of “Grease.” Acting director is Rachel Wagner and musical director is Beth Hull. Other advisors include: Gina Volpe as stage director, Emily Koch as choreographer, Leah McNaul as art director, and Beth Hull as accompanist.
Under the agenda item for curriculum, board members approved an agreement with Mount Aloysius College that allows participation of students in classroom observations, pre-student teaching, and student teaching.
Additionally, training was approved for October 21 and 22 for the Modern Classrooms Project, also known as Blended Learning. Title 1 (federal) funds will be used for elementary school teachers and administrators, and professional development funds for middle school and high school teachers.
A new initiative in teacher professional development, the Modern Classrooms Project seeks to help teachers redesign the learning experience so that all students can truly learn, regardless of background. According to modernclassrooms.org, the project was created by public school teachers who have transformed their classrooms through years of effort and experimentation to give students unlimited access to knowledge, learn at their own unique pace, and master a skill before moving on to the next.
A final item under curriculum was approved for a memorandum of understanding between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County, Inc. and the school district for a mentoring program in cooperation with Big Brothers Big Sisters. High school students will mentor at-risk middle school students in a supervised setting to help them become more successful at coping with school issues and life.
The school board will hold its next meeting on November 12 at 7 p.m. at the elementary school LGI room.