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There’s already enough stress on folks going through family breakups and child custody disputes.

Add to that the search and cost of downtown Indiana parking when parents visit the Indiana County Domestic Relations Section. For some parents, stress further mounts with the hassle of driving across town to search for employment and get job counseling at the PA CareerLink office.

Domestic Relations can’t solve all family matters but has taken steps to ease the logistical challenges for those going through custody and child support arrangements.

The DRS will soon move to 280 Indian Springs Road in White Township, also the home of Indiana County Children & Youth Services and adjacent to the CareerLink office at 300 Indian Springs Road, under a lease approved Wednesday by the Indiana County board of commissioners.

“There are so many benefits, I can’t even name them all, for us moving down there,” DRS Director Darren Divido told the commissioners.

Directing parents to job assistance next door at CareerLink, Divido put at the top of the list.

There’s ample free parking.

It will save a trip for those who deal with ICCYS.

“I think it’s going to be a great benefit to our office,” Divido said.

County Commissioner Rodney Ruddock noted the savings for the county. Sheriff’s deputies run the security checkpoints at the current DRS office in The Atrium along Philadelphia Street and at CYS off of Indian Springs Road, so two security details will be reduced to one.

And Domestic Relations will no longer lease parking spaces for employees in the Indiana parking garage.

Divido said the staff would get more elbow room. The new location, being leased for 10 years, will provide between 12,000 and 13,000 more square feet of floor space.

The rent will be $18,000 a month, representing what Divido said is a slight increase over the rent and parking and other costs DRS now pays downtown, but he said it is worth the increased convenience and efficiency.

The lease begins Jan. 1.

In other business Wednesday, the commissioners:

• Agreed to again table consideration of bids for construction of a new headquarters for the Indiana County Conservation District on the grounds of the Indiana County Technology Center in White Township.

David Morrow, of the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, said ICCD and its engineers are still comparing project specifications with the bids and budget, and may ask the commissioners to approve contracts on Sept. 25 or Oct. 9.

• Authorized the planning office to file for a grant of $350,000 to pay for improvements to the Hoodlebug Trail along the so-called Mile Hill section of Route 119 in Burrell Township.

Planning office Executive Director Byron Stauffer Jr. said the federal Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program has offered funding through the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission but imposed a tight window for applicants: the program was announced Aug. 26, and the deadline is Sept. 20.

If approved, the grant would require no local match and pay the full cost of shoring up the hillside along the west side of Route 119 and allow hikers and bikers to travel the trail farther from the edge of the highway.

The county’s costs, Stauffer said, would be for engineering, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and environmental protection measures.

Ruddock said the project would accomplish significant improvements for the safety and security of trail users.

Indiana County Parks and Trails would administer the grant and the project. No time table for the project was mentioned.

• Re-appointed John McMullen, of Armagh, and John Somonick, of Indiana, to seats on the Indiana County Parks and Trails Commission, and named John German, of Indiana, as a new member on the board, for terms ending in August 2024.

• Appointed Somonick as a new member of the Indiana County Solid Waste Authority board for a term running through January 2022.

In their roles as members of the Indiana County salary board, the commissioners, along with county Treasurer Kimberly McCullough, on Tuesday accepted with regret the retirement notice of Roy Ribblett, a development technician in the Office of Planning and Development. Ribblett’s retirement, after 26 years of service, will take effect Dec. 20. Board members praised his tenure and said Stauffer wrote a letter to the board commending Ribblett’s work in organizing housing rehabilitation projects over the years.

The salary board also:

• Hired Molly Sarver as a senior land use planner in the planning office at $18.10 an hour effective Aug. 14.

• Promoted Kaelee Wyant, Bradley Wholaver, Steven Palmer and Travis Hearold from part-time to full-time correctional officers at the county jail at $16.50 an hour, effective Aug. 31.

• Terminated Ashlynn McCullough, a full-time certified nurse aide at Communities at Indian Haven, effective Sept. 3.

• Accepted the resignations of Indian Haven employees Rae Ann Scanlan, a full-time certified nurse aide, effective Aug. 17’ Nicholas Smith, the business office manager, effective Sept. 5; McKenzie Lucas, a part-time dietary aide, on Aug. 25; Mia Oterson, a part-time dietary aide, effective Aug. 24; Jessica Dietz, a per diem certified nurse aide, effective Sept. 1; and Richard Fridley, a maintenance worker, effective Sept. 3.

• Approved a change of position for Holly Orr from full-time certified nurse aid to part-time certified nurse aide at no change in pay of $11.95 an hour effective Aug. 29.

• Hired Brooke Miller as a full-time dietary aide at $10 an hour effective Sept. 9.

• Hired Justin Davis as a full-time dietary aide at $10 an hour effective Wednesday. (9/11)

• Hired Abbigayle Stewart, Shantel Scott, Samantha Huey, Erin Bollman, Nicole Clark, Rebekah Shilala and Jennifer Saxfield as full-time certified nurse aides at $11.95 an hour effective Sept. 24 upon their expected completion of studies at the Raffa School in Home.

Staff writer/Web Editor, The Indiana (Pa.) Gazette

Staff Writer/Web Editor

Chauncey Ross represents the Gazette at the Indiana Area and Homer-Center school boards and White Township, Center Township, Homer City and Burrell Township, and is something of an Open Records, Right to Know and Sunshine Law advocate in the newsroom.