DuBOIS — Local first responders had the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine these past two weeks at Penn Highlands DuBois.
Sandy Township Manager Shawn Arbaugh, at this week's supervisors' meeting, said members of the fire department who wanted it were able to get the vaccine on Wednesday. In addition, firefighters from DuBois could also receive the vaccine on Wednesday.
Arbaugh said township Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Bickel "has been really pivotal on helping get this scheduled and working with Penn Highlands."
"Additionally, he (Bickel) has been able to work with some of the nursing homes to get some vaccinations to the nursing homes," said Arbaugh. "He's been really helpful and I really commend Larry on his work."
"Last week, the police (township and city) had the opportunity to get vaccinated as well," Bickel said Wednesday when contacted by the Courier Express. "As of this week, all of the long-term care facilities have been done except for the DuBois Village, but they are being set up now or possibly already have received the vaccine."
Bickel said approximately 40 firefighters from the township received the vaccine Wednesday. The number of firefighters receiving the vaccine from DuBois was not available.
Bickel noted that he and DuBois EMA Director Scott Farrell have been in contact with each other throughout the pandemic.
"That has been a real big help," said Bickel. "Everything we've done has been solved locally with some government assistance."
Arbaugh also announced that the township received an additional $27,000 in CARES Act funding from Clearfield County.
"We appreciate the county commissioners and the money to help us out," said Arbaugh.
"Right now we are in pretty good shape with PPE," said Bickel. "We will have to look and see what we need."
DuBOIS — Penn Highlands Healthcare, on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon, provided a vaccine update.
PHH stated that they will continue to provide vaccinations for the most vulnerable population — those who are 75 years and older.
After PHH completes the administration of the vaccine to the 75-plus population, the health care system will then begin to vaccinate those who are 65 years and older.
There are limited supplies of vaccine and PHH said they appreciate the public’s patience. PHH will update their social media and website as vaccine updates occur.
DuBOIS — Better Bargains LLC at 227 Beaver Drive is a new family-oriented business aiming to keep people shopping locally and affordably.
Chelsey and Brandon Foradori of Brookville opened the business Dec. 21, 2020. The spacious store aims to offer “Black Friday pricing” on a regular basis.
The space also includes a loading dock, which was a big draw for the Foradoris, she added, since they received pallets loaded with items, typically returns, overstocks and liquidations from Wayfair, Target and Lowe's.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Foradori said less people have been traveling and have possibly had their income cut. Bringing these big-name department store items to DuBois saves customers both money and traveling.
Foradori, formerly a nurse, has been home for the past four years with her young children, Jenella and Gilindo. The business started out as her endeavor, but has become something she and her husband, who has a history in medical sales, enjoy doing together.
The business is also somewhat of a family affair, with family members chipping in their time to volunteer, she noted. The couple also aims to add a “personal touch” to the customer's shopping experience, helping them carry things out to their cars and making the experience as easy as possible.
Better Bargains LLC aims to keep a “good variety” of items, she said, not putting all of them out at once, but gradually. It offers everything from furniture, décor, clothing, jewelry, bedding, tools to some essentials, at around a 50-percent-off price point.
The goal is to be affordable, and keep people shopping locally, said Foradori, as well as to give back to the community. Better Bargains has donated to the local humane society, as well as given blankets to a project that helps the homeless.
"We have dedicated our lives to helping others, and this is just a new way of doing that," said Foradori.
The roomy venue allows for the display of many products, as well as easy social distancing.
“Everyone has been very supportive,” said Foradori of the DuBois area. Customers have traveled from other areas, too, such as Indiana.
Better Bargains LLC is located in the Beaver Center plaza, in the right side portion of the building. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Follow the Facebook page for updates.
REYNOLDSVILLE — The Reynoldsville Borough Council expressed some frustrations with the slow progress of Code Enforcement Officer Larry Kirkwood during a meeting Wednesday evening.
The Code Enforcement Committee is made up of Darren Scolese, Tucker August and Nicole Walk. Right away, August shared that he is upset with Kirkwood’s performance as the code enforcement officer.
“I am tired of his excuses. We try to have meetings with him, he brings up more excuses. Nicole down there went and did all that work on these abandoned buildings and then he tells her he can’t do it or something. I’m just fed up with it,” August said.
The newest council member, Walk, spoke up during the code enforcement report to share some research she had done on her own into the borough codes and houses that don’t meet those codes.
Walk said she had found four houses in the borough on her own that she believed the council could take action against based on code enforcement and ordinances. She did not give details about the houses during the public forum, but said that she had been researching the borough ordinances on her own time for this purpose.
“It’s in the code, it’s black and white. We can give them 30 days on run down buildings,” Walk said. “I read this thing over and over, and if you go by the code, we can do something about it. We have that right.”
Walk went to say that part of beautifying the town is going after homes and buildings that are neglected and in need of repair of demolition.
She also said when she approached Kirkwood with her research into the codes and buildings, Kirkwood told her the borough does not go by the code book she was using. Council President Bill Cebulskie said they needed to have Kirkwood present at the next meeting to explain this so the council understood what codes the borough uses.
The council agreed to send a letter to Kirkwood requesting he be present at the next meeting, which will be the work session at the beginning of February.
When asked about a house Kirkwood had been working on a conservatorship to take over a property in town, Scolese said this has been at a standstill as well.
Cebulskie asked if the Shuttleworth property had been finished yet, as he saw the bank’s drive-thru window was open in the alley again.
Scolese said he wasn’t sure if the rubber roof was completely finished because the workers had started it during the big snowstorm. Cebulskie said he can see the building from his house, and that it looks finished.
ST. MARYS — A large portion of this week's City of St. Marys Council meeting included the recalibration of positions and appointment of committee and authority members.
Current City Manager and former Mayor Lou Radkowski said he has been spending much of his time recently understanding what is done at City Hall from a day-to-day basis, as well as updating some of the COVID-19 policy. He also commended city staff on the job they do each day.
Deputy Mayor Chris Pletcher led the meeting, with one of the top highlights being to “recalibrate” council. The first order of business was to fill the vacancy of the City of St. Marys mayor position.
Pletcher was appointed as the new mayor. Councilman Bob Roberts was appointed as deputy mayor.
Restructuring committees was also on the agenda. Councilman Joe Fleming was appointed to both the Police Pension and Non-uniform Pension committees.
Councilwoman Gina Vrobel now has a seat on the Non-uniform Grievance Council.
Fleming also announced he was resigning from the Council Personnel Committee. Margie Brown and Roberts were both nominated for those empty committee seats and appointed. Roberts was also appointed to fill the vacancy on the Finance Committee.
Derek Wolfganger and Andrew Yetzer, applicants for the St. Marys Municipal Authority, were each appointed, and Daniel Sorg to the Zoning Hearing Board.
St. Marys City Council received a letter from the St. Marys Airport Authority, recommending Dr. Robert Baker as its new member. Pete Terbovich will also be serving as the authority's new Fox Township member.