BROOKVILLE — The Heritage House senior center in Brookville celebrated its 27th anniversary last week.
Melissa Harrison, who has been center director for nearly three years, welcomed county officials, former center directors and other guests to the anniversary celebration. “I love it here,” she said. “I am sure a lot of you have been coming here since the beginning, and I love hearing your stories.”
Molly McNutt, executive director of the Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging, acknowledged “the generous gift that Col. Bill Groves left to the Area Agency on Aging. He would come to Heritage House for coffee in the mornings and when he passed, he left a gift to help support the programs.”
She also recognized “the visionaries who helped pave the way for the success of Heritage House. It is a focal point of our community today and for many years to come.”
Contractor Dan Mohney recalled the renovation of the building, from a supermarket to the senior center. “John DeMotte was the spearhead for this project and everyone worked together. I think this was the best coordination of everybody involved. Everybody did their job and I was glad to be a part of it.”
Commissioner Jack Matson said Heritage House is “more alive than it’s ever been. This is a blueprint for what can be done when everyone works together.”
State Rep. Cris Dush said Heritage House “has turned out to be a blessing for the community. This place has been tremendous. The name is Heritage House and I wish more young people would come down here and spend time with the people who are passing that heritage on. You have an awful lot to be proud of.”
Also speaking briefly were former center directors Patty Zion, Mabel “Sis” Dunkle and Mary Ann “Honey” Thomas.
“My mother and my grandmother were workers and volunteered,” Thomas said. “My grandmother was the tax collector for Millstone Township and she had just finished handwriting all the tax notices when she died at age 90. The day my mother died we were out fishing on Callen Run. So I come from a long line of workers; I’ve volunteered all my life. My claim to fame is that I had Franco Harris as a student.
“The Heritage House has been a big part of my life; I’m always here doing something. We went through the flood. When I came in the Monday morning after the flood, Laura Mae (Baker) and Bill (Sherman) were in here with boots on, and we really had to start from scratch. It’s been an interesting time and a lot of good things have happened,” she said. “Laura Mae wanted it to be a community center, and it truly is.”
Harrison thanked the many volunteers who help with the various programs at Heritage House. “I have such wonderful volunteers. I thank God for them every day,” she said. “Everybody volunteers in their own way. If anyone wants to volunteer, see me. It may be something small, but you can do it in your own way.”
Following the program everyone played Heritage House Bingo until lunch was served.
For more information about the activities and events at Heritage House, call 849-3391.
BROOKVILLE — New events and returning favorites will entertain people of all ages at this year’s Jefferson County Fair, which opens Sunday afternoon.
At noon youngsters and the young-at-heart will take to the track for the first annual garden tractor pull.
The new Parker Prayer Place will be dedicated at 1 p.m. in memory of E. M. “Jack” Parker, a long-time friend of the fair.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 1:30 p.m., with the Village Voices of Brockway singing and the Rev. Christopher McCloskey, pastor of the Brockway Presbyterian Church, giving the devotional.
Following opening ceremonies the 2019 Jefferson County Fair queen, junior queen and princess will be selected. Twenty-four girls will be competing for the titles.
Horse pulls will be held in the grandstand later in the afternoon.
A wide variety of activities have been planned for the week. Authority member Toni Facchine said, “We are so excited about our grandstand events, entertainment and the many animals that will be on the ground.”
Grandstand events include truck and tractor pulls by Full Pull Productions on Monday and Tuesday nights, ATV races by Legends Powersports on Wednesday, a mud bog on Thursday, the Rawhide Rodeo on Friday and JM Motorsport’s figure 8 racing and demolition derby on Saturday.
Each day at the fair will feature different performers on the community stage, with entertainment to include bingo games, square dancing and rock bands. The annual fiddler’s contest will be held Saturday afternoon, and rounding out the programs will be music and karaoke by Dazzle U.
The annual senior citizens picnic will be held Thursday, with entertainment by the Village Voices of Brockway following the lunch.
Throughout the day the Farm Bureau will be collecting non-perishable items for the local food bank.
The barns will be full of animals, including horses, beef and dairy, swine and poultry.
Several new contests will be featured in the general exhibits buildings, along with traditional entries. Baking contests will be judged Monday and Tuesday.
“All departments are ready to move forward,” Authority president Wayne Jackson said.
Admission to this year’s fair will be $9 per person, and includes all exhibits, grandstand and community stage shows, the carnival by Bartlebaugh Amusements, and parking.
Wednesday will be Sarvey Family Day at the fair, when admission will be $5 per person.
BROOKVILLE — The Brookville Borough Council discussed several ongoing topics last Tuesday, including a proposal for bike racks along Main Street as well as a Riverwalk grant application.
Last month Pam Henderson and Carole Briggs attended a June council meeting to discuss a letter they had submitted in regards to the bike racks and the letter’s legal ramifications. At that time the discussion was tabled to allow borough Solicitor Jim Dennison time to review the letter.
Last week Dennison said, “we’ve talked about this before and I recommended before that the borough own the bike racks.” He had no problems with individuals purchasing and donating the racks to the borough. He added that the sidewalks are a mixture of public and private rights and the borough still has responsiblities on the sidewalks. “You own the street lights, you own the parking meters, you could own the bike racks and we wouldn’t have to worry about the sidewalk ordinance or amending that.” The racks, he noted, could just be another fixture on Main Street like the parking meters and street lights. He said that was his recommendation for it, then the borough can maintain them.
Dennison asked whether the group authoring the letter was an ad-hoc committee. Council President Phil Hynes said it was an “ad-hoc committee made up of trail town group members, who are not really affiliated with either the borough or Red Bank Valley Trails.”
Dennison said the council should have an “ultimate plan” in place before letters are sent out. Part of that plan would be for council to decide whether it is going to own and maintain the racks or not.
Councilman Randy Bartley noted that it was the first time he heard Dennison say the racks would be borough property, which was different from what was being proposed in the letter. Dennison noted that the issue of bike racks had come up in past years and that the proposed recommendation then had been for the borough to own and maintain the bike racks.
Hynes asked council for a vote on the issue of the borough install and maintain the bike racks once purchased by private parties.
Councilman Rick Baughman said before bike racks are approved the property owner should be held responsible for the condition of the sidewalks first. He noted the bad shape of the bricks on Main Street and said those are the property owners’ responsibility.
Hynes said the issue that needs to be cleared up before going on to the next steps is the ownership of and the process for the bike racks and everything else could be hashed out later.
Bartley moved that the Brookville Borough install bike racks at the pleasure of the individual property owner and maintain the installed racks, which would be strategically located pending borough approval.
A roll call vote was taken on the motion, which eventually passed 3-2. Baughman and Bartley were the two no votes, with Hynes, Councilman Ken King and Councilman Dave Ferringer voting yes. Councilwoman Karen Allgeier and Councilman Bill Kutz were absent.
Borough Manager Dana Schreckengost said resident Arthur McKinley approached the borough with a riverwalk grant to plant trees. “It’s a tree planting grant,” she said. “He wants to plant these down along Memorial Park. It’s a pilot tree planting project of 25 sycamore trees. It’s a test project to jumpstart the riverwalk.”
Schreckengost said she needed approval to electronically sign the grant application, adding that the borough would not be putting in any money and would be on property. She noted that the information doesn’t have the borough maintaining the trees but says a group of volunteers would plant and maintain them.
Bartley asked Dave Vallosio, director of Public Works, what kind of maintenance problems it would cause him with the mowing. Vallosio said he was going to ask what side of the fence the trees would be planted on. According to a basic map provided by McKinley, the trees would go along the existing chain link, outside the fencing.
Bartley said so this would interfere with mowing. Ferringer said it would also be a problem with the Corps of Engineers.
Dennison said, “You have a grant application for a project that this borough council hasn’t even looked at, right? How can that be?”
Schreckengost said she has asked what happens if they go for this grant and the borough or the Army Corps of Engineers don’t approve the riverwalk or for whatever reasons the riverwalk does not proceed. She said McKinley said if they don’t buy the trees then the grant just fades away. She agreed that yes if you don’t spend anything, you don’t get anything but also agreed with Dennison who noted that when that happens it looks bad the next time you apply for a grant.
The grant application is due July 12, which tied council’s hands on possibly tabling it for further discussion. Instead council had to either approve going forward with the grant or deny it and it decided unanimously to deny it.
Schreckengost asked if she should pass along that council would not entertain any more grants until it has approved the plans for the riverwalk and was given an affirmative answer.
Hynes noted that the vote on the riverwalk grant doesn’t mean the council isn’t supporting the riverwalk project.
Penn Highlands Brookville’s construction of a medical building had two compliance issues that involved the height of the center of the building and the number of parking spots. The borough planning commission approved the two exceptions and signed off on the plans. Council followed suit approving the plans.
Chad Weaver contacted the borough prior to the meeting about putting two handicap parking spaces in front of the courthouse. He was scheduled under public comment but was not able to attend last Tuesday’s meeting.
“He said they had complaints about it, especially the veterans coming into the courthouse,” borough Manager Dana Schreckengost said, adding that they were looking for closer parking. Weaver had suggested the first two parking spaces right at the corner of Pickering and Main streets and had sent photos of the area
Council President Phil Hynes said since Weaver was not in attendance and the council had not “really had a chance to look at it, I think the street committee should maybe take a look at it and make a recommendation next week if that’s OK with everyone. We’ll get our engineer involved because their are all kinds of compliance issues with handicap parking.”
In the past month, the Brookville Police Department had 177 calls for service, 86 citations, 90 warnings, 231 parking tickets, four misdemeanors, two summaries, and 16 Police 1 trainings.
“We had our first ever nighttime qualifications. We went out at 5 (o’clock) in the evening and shot in the dark until 11 (p.m.). It was a very good training,” Brookville Borough Police Chief Vince Markle said.
“We also had a tactical officer there with the Attorney General’s Office putting us through room clearing, building clearing drills, which was also beneficial.”
Markle announced that Officer Andrew Turnbull is Officer of the Month.
Markle also thanked Dave Vallosio, director of Public Works, “and his men. Every time I-80 shuts down they’re always a huge assistance and there were a few items in the way, could have been a hazard, that he and his men took care of right away. Also both fire departments, can’t thank you enough. You guys are our right hand and without you we’d never keep town clear or keep it moving.”
Fire Company report
The Brookville Borough Fire Company had 25 calls for service in the past month. That total included: four structure fires, two vehicle fires, one fire alarm, a call for carbon monoxide and one for natural gas, a transfer, a hazardous materials call, seven motor vehicle accidents, two calls for lines down, one for a tree down, three calls for flooding and one EMS Assist.
Fire Chief David Miller provided council with a written report that also noted the following:
• The Fire Police would be assisting Corsica for its July 4th parade.
• Houses on East Main Street were utilized for training with ladder, engine and rescue operations being conducted.
• Penelec planned a power outage on July 3 between 9 and 10 a.m. The report noted that the power outage would be “widespread in the borough.”
• Pine Creek Fire Chief Don Pangallo asked borough council about the Brookville Fire Co. responding with Pine Creek for automatic aid in Rose Township. The fire companies are discussing it further.
• Members have asked about renaming Engine Rescue 2 to just Rescue 2.
• Lindsey Fire Co., of Punxsutawney, picked up the boat.
• Brookville Fire Co. assisted the Penn Highlands Brookville with its Annual Decon Drill. The hospital would also like to have a fire drill sometime in August.
Hynes asked Miller for his input on Pine Creek’s request of mutual aid. Miller said, “We’d be more than happy to support them in whatever help they need. They’re always good to help us.”
Later under new business, the council members voted unanimously to support the mutual aid agreement.