Here is a look at the top stories of local interest published in The Indiana Gazette during the week of June 30-July 6.
SUNDAY, JUNE 30
A new gas line project for the Penns Manor Area School District most likely won’t be ready in time for this year’s heating season, the district’s superintendent told board members last week. Thomas Kakabar said it doesn’t look like the line will be in place by the time that was originally thought due to Columbia Gas running into a couple of issues internally, “which is going to delay the project.”
He also said the cost of the project is probably going to increase because of an unexpected part that Columbia will need to put in, but didn’t know the exact amount. Construction of the line was quoted at $329,303.56 at March’s board meeting, with the line paying for itself in about two years at that cost.
MONDAY, JULY 1
Saltsburg Borough council approved the implementation of two Tasers for their police force Monday, at a price not to exceed $4,000.
The police officers will have a Taser used on them as a part of their training to understand how the electrical shock feels. One officer on the force is a certified Taser instructor, and will be leading the training for the force. Training cartridges will be supplied as part of the instruction.
TUESDAY, JULY 2
The Purchase Line Board of Directors appointed Paul Gallagher as acting superintendent on Monday, at a rate of $475 a day, beginning immediately for the 2013-14 school year or until the district hires a new superintendent.
Gallagher, a retired principal at Horace Mann Elementary School, Ben Franklin Elementary School and Indiana Area Junior High School, served as superintendent of the Hollidaysburg Area School District from 1999 until Monday, when he was succeeded by Robert Gildea. The day his retirement began, he was hired by the Purchase Line school board. Gallagher succeeds former Purchase Line Superintendent Tina Hazelet, who retired Friday after serving as superintendent since 2009. She also sat on the Purchase Line board before becoming superintendent.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3
An hour after listening to more Indiana Borough homeowners describe how the traditional neighborhood development overlay ordinance ruined their property values and made it nearly impossible for them to sell their homes, Indiana council on a split vote Tuesday evening repealed the seven-year-old ordinance.
The vote ends what had become a controversial practice of trying to entice Indiana University of Pennsylvania students to move from rental properties scattered throughout the borough’s residential neighborhoods and relocating and congregating the students in new high-density housing units built closer to the IUP campus. Part of the problem, according to some council members, was that the ordinance allowed high-density structures to be built in some R-2 Residential Zones near the campus, triggering conflicts between the dozens of students living in the new structures and their neighbors who often have been families who want to continue enjoying an otherwise traditional residential setting.
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Representatives of the Pittsburgh Pirates, including Bucs broadcaster Greg Brown, came to White Township on Tuesday to help make the dream of a special ball field come true. Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has contributed $150,000 and is partnering with the YMCA of Indiana County to build a Miracle League Baseball Field, a baseball diamond constructed specifically for children and adults with special needs.
The official announcement was made Tuesday morning at a press conference on the patio of the YMCA, directly adjacent to the site of the proposed field, which will be called the Pirates Charities Miracle League Field-Indiana County. While the proposed new field is the first of its kind in Indiana County, it is the sixth such field that Pirates Charities has played a vital role in constructing. The new field is expected to be ready for play in 2014 or 2015.
THURSDAY, JULY 4
The Gazette did not publish because of the Independence Day holiday.
FRIDAY, JULY 5
A fast-moving fire late Thursday night extensively damaged a house in Josephine and left six people homeless, officials said this morning. Steve Cero-vich, his wife, their daughter, Jennifer, and her three children and two dogs all safely escaped the house along Old Indiana Road in Burrell Township, according to Charles “Skip” McGreevy, a disaster services representative of the Indiana County chapter of American Red Cross.
Firefighters responded to the first call for help at 11:17 p.m. and volunteers from nine fire departments worked about five hours at the two-story house about one mile east of Route 119. Bryan Palmer, chief of the Black Lick Volunteer Fire Company, said the fire started on the back porch. He ruled the fire an accident.
SATURDAY, JULY 6
At least three spectators were hurt during a Fourth of July display at the Apollo-Ridge High School football field staged by a New Castle fireworks company named Pyrotecnico. The company acknowledged there were injuries at Owens Field in the Apollo-Ridge School District, where the shell reportedly exploded near some spectators.
Lisa Culp, of Kiski Township, said her 14-year-old daughter had to be treated for second-degree burns to her legs and at least two other children were hit by debris from the exploding shell.