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INDIANA COUNTY: Officials recognize air patrol

by on August 14, 2014 11:00 AM

The Indiana County commissioners Wednesday joined the U.S. Congress in recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of the Civil Air Patrol.

The U.S. House and Senate in the spring approved a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, for the CAP’s service dating to its founding on Dec. 1, 1941. The commissioners approved a proclamation and presented it to Leonard LaMantia, commander of Squadron 714 of the CAP, headquartered at the Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport, and Capt. Sam Allison, CAP public affairs officer for Indiana and Cambria counties.

CAP is the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Early in World War II, volunteer CAP pilots, using their own planes, flew anti-submarine missions off the East and Gulf coasts of America. Other missions included border patrols, target-towing for military trainees, fire and forest patrols, searches for missing people and aircraft, and emergency transport of people and supplies.

Today’s 60,000 CAP members in America perform about 85 percent of the continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions.

Commission Chairman Rodney Ruddock said he was personally impressed by the dedication of young CAP cadets and members who secured and guarded an airplane crash site near the county airport overnight in January 2009 after a small plane went down in woods in heavy fog.

The CAP members’ service “embodies the American spirit of volunteerism,” Ruddock said.

Commissioner Mike Baker said he, too, greatly appreciated the assistance of the local CAP at a plane crash site in northern Indiana County years ago when he was the county’s coroner.

Commissioner Patty Evanko said Wednesday’s proclamation was an opportunity to focus attention on some of the good things, the services and assistance, given in the county.

Squadron 714 has 12 senior and six cadet members.

The commissioners also approved a contract with Francis J. Palo Inc., of Clarion, to build an access road into the Joseph Land Development, also known as the 119 Business Park, in Center Township, for $496,119.

The access road into the 27-acre pad-ready business park will connect to Luciusboro Road, just east of Coral.

The Indiana County Development Corporation is the developer of the park, and Center Township will own the access road when it is completed.

The project is being funded through Appalachian Regional Commission Access Road and Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants.

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved an application to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for $210,000 to rehabilitate 13 rental properties owned and managed by the Indiana County Community Action Program. The ICCAP board of directors has committed $15,000 for a match to complete the $240,000 financial package.

The 13 properties are in Blairsville and Burrell Township and are rented to households with incomes 50 percent or less than the county’s median income.

• Approved two applications for a share of the county’s liquid fuels funding. One will provide $104,147 for Indiana Borough to use for the $3.25 million streetscape improvements along Philadelphia Street between Sixth and Ninth streets, and the other will provide $28,330 to East Wheatfield Township to help pay for $79,170 worth of street paving in Charles.

• Appointed Jerry Gillette, of Indiana, to the Indiana County Municipal Services Authority for a term to expire in 2020, and said a vacancy exists on the Indiana County Parks & Trails board. Anyone interested in serving may apply at the commissioners’ office in the courthouse.

The Indiana County commissioners Wednesday joined the U.S. Congress in recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of the Civil Air Patrol.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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