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Brockway 4th focuses on Vietnam

BROCKWAY — Because The Wall That Heals was in town the week before the 52nd Annual Old-Fashioned Fourth of July, the patriotic program that begins the festivities had circled around a specific theme.

Melissa Hrinya helped develop the program, selecting readings and music from the Vietnam War Era.

“Since the wall was here, we’re focusing on a Vietnam theme,” she said. “We had some readings specific to the Vietnam War as well as a speaker who served during the Vietnam Era.”

The Village Voices sang a selection of patriotic songs. Hrinya recognized the service members from the area who died in all wars. 2018 Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School graduate Pierce Yahner talked about the Declaration of Independence while fellow graduates Rourke Cain and Lydia Holt talked about soldiers and names etched in granite. Central Catholic’s Elizabeth Gankosky talked about welcoming soldiers home.

The keynote speaker, American Legion Department of Pennsylvania Western Section Adjutant John Fritz talked about his service during the Vietnam War Era. Fritz enlisted in 1974 and retired from active service in 1997 at the rank of master sergeant. He was able to tell stories about serving as a security policeman, alarm monitor, flight chief, and superintendent of the Air Force Operations Center at the Pentagon.

The Brockway Patriotic Program concluded with Maddie Newcome singing “God Bless America.” The rest of the day in Brockway was packed with events such as the 10K race, the Tour de Brockway, bouncy houses, live music, a classic car show, the parade, and fireworks.

Despite the weather, the parade was well-attended, according to parade worker Ed Horner.

“The parade went great this year,” he said. “We have a lot of participants and quite a few people. The rain prior to the parade actually helped because it took the temperature down.”

Brockway changed policy in 2018 to close Main Street down an hour earlier for the parade, allowing organizers to get set up.

Brockway’s Fourth of July celebrations were a source of pride for Mayor Bill Hrinya. His remarks focused heavily on the Wall and the Vietnam War, but 2018, he said, is a chance to apologize for the treatment of veterans in the past and say thank you.

“Having a brother who served in Vietnam, knowing so many people who had friends or family who served in Vietnam, that made me think about what I wanted to say today,” Mayor Hrinya said. “The Wall That Heals brought those names to life. The emotions that poured out those few days reminded me why I’m proud to be an American.”

Sandy Twp. grants extension to Aqua for proposed well station in Treasure Lake

DuBOIS — The Sandy Township Supervisors once again tabled taking any action on Aqua Pennsylvania Inc.’s application for construction of a new filtration plant in Treasure Lake.

“As you recall, Jan. 15, we started the proceedings for the modification of the PRD (planned residential development) at Treasure Lake at the request of Aqua,” township Solicitor Greg Kruk said at Monday’s meeting. “We took a view of the premises somewhere around the 12th or 13th of February.”

“That was followed by a request by Aqua that the proceedings be stayed, meaning just suspended for at least 100 days,” Kruk said.

There were no further requests by Aqua by the supervisors’ June 18 meeting, said Kruk, noting that he then wrote to Aqua’s attorney to seek an update on the status of the application.

“He (the attorney) wrote back and said that Aqua did meet on June 18, and by the way, they are trying to find another place for this water filtration plant,” Kruk said.

Kruk, quoting Aqua’s letter, said, “Decisions made were provisional and I do not anticipate that Aqua will be in a position to make a final decision at the meeting on July 2. Therefore, on behalf of Aqua, a further suspension of action on its application is respectfully requested. Favorable action on this request at the July 2 meeting will be appreciated. Therefore, and then they go on to say, I thank you and the supervisors for your patience, as Aqua proceeds to do what contestants of the application requested, a thorough objective exploration of other sites.”

Kruk said, as he understands it, Aqua is still in the process of looking at other sties and if they proceed in that direction, that will make their application for the modification moot and the supervisors won’t have to make a decision.

Kruk said the supervisors are open to again grant a request for further suspension and table the decision.

Supervisor Dave Sylvis made the motion that they table the modification request by Aqua “in hopes that they will find a new site.”

“Do you want to put a time?” Supervisor Mark Sullivan said.

Kruk said Aqua did not state a time in their letter, so he suggested that again it just be put on the agenda at the supervisors’ next meeting on July 16 because they should be responding with some type of statement as to how long they are going to take.

“Basically, in the end, if you don’t grant any further suspensions, then you go into the decision-making processes, closing the record and making a decision,” Kruk said. “Under the act both parties, anyway would have 100 days to make their presentation. That is not what was done. But these proceedings typically aren’t done in a day’s time. Parties can take 100 days to make their presentation and the other party can take 100 days to make their presentation and then the decision. So you aren’t even at the end of what the statute allows for a proceeding of this nature.”

“How about we just grant (the request) to the first meeting in August, which would be Aug. 6, and that will give them a whole month to try and get something by then,” said Sylvis.

Sullivan seconded the motion and it was approved, 5-0.

The new well station is necessary to replace the current, aging facility, which is nearing the end of its useful life, Aqua officials have said.

Residents voice concerns about Aqua well station extension

DuBOIS — Treasure Lake residents voiced additional concerns about a proposed well station in the private residential development at the Sandy Township Supervisors meeting Monday night, at which time the board granted an extension on Aqua Pennsylvania Inc.’s application for construction of the new filtration plant.

Robert and Betsy Hooven, who live on Barbary Coast Court adjacent to the proposed location of the well station, said that they were both shocked by the extension Monday.

“We also had received the letter that the solicitor had sent to Aqua’s attorney hoping that after this lengthy period of time that this would be decided tonight and this decision would be made,” said Betsy Hooven.

She said she and her husband attended a board meeting in Treasure Lake, where the issue was also discussed.

“I know that Sandy Township requested a letter from the board stating that they were not in agreement to changing the residential lot to allow this building to be built which they did,” Betsy said. “Aqua had an outside engineer there that night who reviewed with everyone present and the board the two new sites that they had found. One of them they felt, the one was on Harbor View Road and a road going up to the Silver Golf Course, that one of those would be appropriate.”

At the end of that board meeting which was attended by a lot of residents, Betsy Hooven said the feeling that Aqua gave everyone was that “this is a done deal. These are the two properties. It will be one of the these properties. So we are just really shocked here tonight.”

“So are we. We can’t get any information on it either,” said Supervisor Dave Sylvis.

Robert Hooven asked why continue to solicit information from Aqua.

“They had requested a 45-day extension, it was granted,” Robert Hooven said. “And the first time they asked for an extension, they asked if I would agree to it. The second time they asked for a 30-day extension, I didn’t hear anything about that, it was granted. Now that 30-day extension was up, weeks ago, why do we continue to pacify these people? I mean, they’re dragging this on for me. I would like to make some improvements to my home.”

“I mean, we’re in limbo, I don’t know what’s going on here ... For somebody to drag this on like this for this length of time. We’ve had the testimony, that was all wrapped up in basically two nights. There’s nothing ... what else is there to do? I don’t understand why this thing has to go on and on like this,” Hooven said.

“I can assure you the decision just won’t be made on the spot,” township Solicitor Greg Kruk said to the Hoovens. “We have to review the transcript again, and I’ve got do my work on the interplay between restrictive covenants, and the municipality’s planning zone, and the zoning ordinance of Sandy Township. And those are interesting questions, so that will take place once the record is closed and the suspension ends.”

Once that ends, the supervisors have a decision to make, Kruk said.

“I’m sure they’re going to rely on me to review the record for them and the law, and those three laws that I mentioned are very important,” Kruk said. “And in one sense, I can understand the exasperation you have. But it’s in the hopes that if there is a decision that has to made, they’re going somewhere else.”

Photo by Chris Wechtenhiser 

Members of the St. Marys Minor League All-Star softball team celebrate following their 8-4, 9-inning victory against Punxsutawney Tuesday in the District 10 championship game.

Saint Marys Walmart closed doors Monday due to lightning strike

ST. MARYS — The St. Marys Walmart, located on the Million Dollar Highway in Elk County, was forced to temporarily close its doors due to a lightning strike that occurred Monday night during a thunderstorm.

According to an employee, the lightning strike, which occurred in close proximity to the store, happened at 10:30 p.m. Monday, impacting the front-end registers in the store.

The Walmart was closed all night and didn’t reopen until early Tuesday afternoon.

Heavy rainfall and high humidity levels have resulted in stormy weather for area counties this week.

Residents of Clearfield and Jefferson Counties also experienced significant rainfall, thunder and lightning Monday night. Reports have surfaced of tree branches and debris on roadways.

Pennsylvania Lightning Safety Awareness Week was observed at the end of June by the National Weather Service, recognizing ways to stay safe during thunderstorms and also ways to prepare for them and the damage they can cause. The goal is also to lower death and injuries associated with lightning strikes that can happen at work, at home or even during sports activities.

Each year, more people are killed in the United States by lightning strikes than hurricanes, according to the NWS.

St. Marys is also expected to experience patchy fog and more scattered thunderstorms today and Friday.