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(The Daily Herald/Adeena Harbst)  

Pastor Randy Zitterbart of Hillside Community Church, Tyrone, who also serves on the Tyrone Regional Health Network board, offered prayer Friday during the Hospital Foundation’s annual Tree of Light ceremony held in the hospital lobby. Holiday trees were lit, holding paper angel ornaments with names of loved ones, individuals, businesses, and more (angels will be available for purchase throughout the month). The event was held in conjunction with the Auxiliary’s annual holiday tea, providing light refreshments for visitors; and the staff choir sang a few selections.

Antis adopts 2020 budget with no tax increase

Antis Township Supervisors on Thursday adopted a $1.4 million operating budget and a $883,590 capital budget, with no tax increases for residents in 2020.

“I have been on this board 14 years and there have been no tax increases by Antis Township,” said Chairman Bob Smith. “I think that’s an especially important and significant point, because I don’t know that you would find any other municipal organizations anywhere that can say that.”

Supervisors said it is too early to know if taxes will increase for the following year. They also explained briefly, after being questioned, that there would be no fire tax imposed for 2020, but that there would be a 10 percent increase in funds allotted to Excelsior Fire Company in the Township’s budget.

Smith then clarified in response to a resident’s question during the monthly Supervisors’ meeting that there is no deficit for the budget. “We go to great lengths to ensure that we have a balanced budget, and generally, by the time we get to the end of the year, in some areas the budget has overestimated actual expenditures so there will be a remaining balance, or small surplus, that carries over into the next year.”

Smith added that the budget is “one of the most significant things the board of supervisors does in the course of its work for the entire year.” The board plans for the upcoming 12 months, and anticipates what the financial needs might be for several additional years in the future. The work takes several months ahead of adoption of the budget.

“We try to be as responsible as we can because we are dealing with public money and the taxpayers’ well-being,” said Smith. “Funding our organization, maintaining the quality of life in the community, providing all the services that the citizens expect are certainly all contingent on good, strong, solid financial management. That makes it an extremely important role that the board of supervisors is responsible for.”

The budget is available for public inspection at the township building, 909 North Second St., Bellwood.

Supervisors also adopted a resolution, no. 16 of 2019, to make supplemental appropriations of amounts listed in the context of the resolution to designated budget accounts for 2019 — which Smith explained was “just balancing the books for the remainder of this year.”

Additionally during the meeting, supervisors approved paying $70,937.92 in bills for the month, and granted approval for a meeting to discuss fundraising efforts to help fund aspects of upcoming recreational projects in the township that are not being covered by grants and local matching efforts.

Supervisors also set the Reorganization Meeting for Monday, January 6, 2020 at 7 p.m. with the monthly supervisors’ meeting to immediately follow.

Community choirs invite all to Christmas concerts

As the holidays near, the community choirs in Tyrone and Bellwood look forward to presenting their seasonal concerts to the public.

The its 35th season, the Allegheny Chorale will present its concert, “We Need a Little Christmas,” under the direction of Deborah Estright and assisted by Karen Mayhew.

There will be one performance only on Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 102 West 13th St., Tyrone. The concert will feature the 65-member choir with assistance from accompanists Anna Myers and Susan Broadbent; percussionist, Paul Turner; and oboist, Benjamin Cossitor.

The program features two, four-hand accompaniment pieces: “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” a rousing arrangement of a traditional advent carol; and a new arrangement of the classic “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Also joining will be cellist Jamie Dean with the selection “The Inn” by The Edge of the Wood. It will feature the haunting sounds of the cello and oboe.

As usual, the Allegheny Chorale repertoire features many genres including familiar classics and new songs that will help put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Mark the calendar and plan to join the Allegheny Chorale on Tuesday.

“Always a Christmas season highlight,” said Karen Duddy of Tyrone, who enjoys attending the Chorale’s shows.

Separately, the Bellwood Community Choir will present two holiday shows this season. The first will be held along with the Children’s Choir at Tipton Baptist Church, 708 Deborah St., Tipton on Sunday, December 15 at 2:30 p.m.

During this showing, free and open to the public, the choirs will be presenting both sacred and popular Christmas music under the direction of Richard Bower and Jennifer Wright.

The second show will be held at the Tyrone Church of the Good Shepherd, 1650 Clay Ave., Tyrone on Thursday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m. The choir of 50 adults will present both sacred and popular Christmas music under the direction of Bower.

“I’m always excited for the Christmas season — it’s about the birth of Christ,” said Bower. “The choir is singing really well. I enjoy working with the adults, and the children are wonderful.

“This season gives an opportunity for the communities to gather to sing and work with each other.”

Bellwood Christmas decorations to be repaired

Some may have noticed the suddenly temperamental state of the Main Street Christmas decorations in Bellwood. This year, the lights have been sporadic at best, continuing to flicker on and off without warning.

According to Mayor John Winesickle, his office has received multiple calls from citizens who are concerned about the town’s holiday decorations.

“People want to know what’s going on,” Winesickle explained. “And we want them to know we’re trying to do something about it.”

According to Winesickle, the most likely explanation is that the decorations are simply old.

“The lights are old, the wiring is old—the decorations have been around for years,” he said.

However, finding out the exact cause of the problem and determining how to fix it is not a simple task. Checking the decorations requires the use of a bucket truck—something that, unfortunately, the town of Bellwood does not have.

Winesickle has been trying to arrange for a bucket truck to be available as early as Monday, December 9. But he cautioned that it isn’t a guarantee.

“The problem’s definitely being addressed,” he stated. “I just can’t say when it will be fixed. But it’ll hopefully be soon.”