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(The Daily Herald/Adeena Harbst)  

Ladies working to support the U.S. Armed Forces by selling goodies, foods, and merchandise enjoyed talking with visitors during the Hometown Fallfest at Excelsior Fire Company, Bellwood on Saturday.

Libraries offer kits, free tour at fort

The local libraries and Fort Roberdeau are excited to launch a new initiative that allows kids to use their library cards to check out a kit with a free pass to tour the historic site.

Since the Fort closes at the end of the month, there isn’t much time to take advantage of the availability of the current kits. However, there will be a new opportunity in the spring.

“This is the first [kit] the Blair County Library system is attempting. Right now, it’s a pilot program,” said Jessica Cameron, co-director of Bellwood-Antis library. “This is something public libraries are doing all over the country.”

Libraries team up with a park or a museum, and kids can use their library card to get free admission to those parks and museums. It is a new way for the libraries to serve patrons.

The current kits include a free pass to Fort Roberdeau, a book about the Fort, books about Colonial America, books about the wildlife visitors might see at the county park, and kid-safe binoculars with a compass and a magnifying glass.

“It’s really nice and I’m really excited about it,” said Cameron. “What I would love to do in the future is develop more of these kits to go hand-in-hand with some of our parks and trails in the area. It’s a new way to serve families, it’s fun, it gets people outside.”

Families can simply ask for the kit at the checkout desk, check it out with a library card, and have it for a week. In 2020, the program will be available at all Blair County libraries.

Excelsior shares fire safety at Fallfest

During Saturday’s Hometown Fallfest at Excelsior Fire Company, volunteers shared fire safety and prevention information with visitors, and held a live fire demonstration.

Fire apparatus was on display and fire-related activities were held for the children. Altoona Mobile Emergency Department (AMED) was also in attendance.

Years ago, the fire company assembled a committee to spearhead the operation of fire prevention in the community. The committee has grown in working with Bellwood-Antis School District and Pinecroft fire company to bring education to the school, including a mock accident event. The event is held at the high school to help raise awareness about the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

The committee also works to bring events, activities, and education to local daycares, pre-schools, and Scout troops.

“Our committee feels passionate about having a live fire type situation to really ‘drive home’ the points that we bring during all of our fire safety events,” said Chris Cherry, captain.

Saturday’s fire demonstration was held to show the importance of sleeping with bedroom doors closed. A video and photos from the event are provided on the Excelsior Fire Company’s Facebook page.

“You can tell how much of a difference it makes with giving you extra survival time to exit the building without being trapped in most cases,” explained Cherry.

The fire company hopes that live demonstrations that show fire growth and spread are helpful in home safety, and that real-life exercises like mock accidents help show the reality of what can happen while driving impaired in any manner.

The weather for Fallfest was a bit chilly, but perfect for the event, said organizers. There were 43 vendors which is the best turnout to date. Organizers extend a thank you to all who attended to support the vendors and fire company.

Attendees said there were “so many cute things” and “so many talented crafters there.” The event planners hope to make next year even “bigger and better.”

Warriors Mark supervisors discuss events

Discussion in Warriors Mark again centered around an event barn in the township at last week’s supervisor’s meeting, as supervisors eventually agreed to approve a fireworks display at the Branstetter farm along Pennington Road.

Supervisor chairman Stewart Neff said that Mr. Branstetter had started the process for his farm to be permitted, but has since withdrawn.

Solicitor Daniel Stants said that the township received a letter that Branstetter will no longer pursue a permit. Neff said that Branstetter related that events at his property will only be for family and friends.

One resident expressed concern that “there was a school bus with a hundred cars there Saturday.” He also noted that there was a large tent outside, but that people could be seen inside the barn.

Neff reiterated that Branstetter said he would only have events for family and friends and said that “he’s been well-advised, what the regulations are, what the consequences are.”

Stants said that by not being in compliance, a property owner would violate the uniform construction code if a building is being used as a commercial event center without being brought up to the necessary code regulations. Failure to comply could result in a summary criminal offense, with a fine. After the second conviction, it would be misdemeanor charges. At that point, he said, there is the possibility of jail time if someone is caught violating the code.

Neff said that it is difficult to prove that an event is not for family and friends.

David Piper said, “We’re keeping an eye on it.”

In other business, the recent road work in the township is expected to last for about five to seven years, according to Neff. He said that there were very few complaints. The seal coating bill was expected to be $101,000, but came in at $103,577 as some areas reportedly had a lot of cracking issues or areas that had settled, requiring two coats.

Clair Rhodes was approved to serve on the Warriors Mark General Authority, replacing Bruce Cox.