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Miners remembered

Sign dedicated in memory of Porter Tunnel miners

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Cathy Leitzel and Beth Harman, daughters of Dennis Lee Morgan, take a moment before the sign to honor and memorialize the lives of nine miners who were killed in the Porter Tunnel Mine disaster, was dedicated Saturday, to remember and reflect on their dad. Dennis was 30-years-old when the disaster occurred March 1, 1977. He was not recovered from the mine until March 28.

PORTER TWP. – As she was watching the 2016 presidential candidates make their plea and speak of what they stood for, Beth Harman, of Valley View, was angered that some didn’t think anything about the coal industry. It was at that point that she knew now was the time to open old wounds and honor the memory of nine men who lost their lives in the Porter Tunnel mine disaster of 1977.
“When I heard that some of the candidates didn’t support the coal industry, it angered me,” said Harman. “Coal is our heritage and I have family members who gave their life while mining coal. My sons, Jeffrey and Nicholas never had the opportunity to meet their grandfather Morgan and I wanted them to know that coal was an important part of their heritage.”
“I knew we were coming up on the 40th anniversary and I felt that something should be done. I wasn’t emotionally ready to open up old wounds and I think that’s why nothing was done in the past. Who wants to remember something horrible that had happened? But I want future generations to remember what happened and to remember how dangerous coal mining was back then.”

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Architect questioned by Millersburg school board

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

MILLERSBURG – The new representative for the firm that oversaw the Millersburg School District’s most recent renovation project got an earful from some board members about some items overlooked.
Brian Haines, an architect with Crabtree, Rohrbach and Associates, addressed the board at their Feb. 22 meeting, giving them an update on the Millersburg Middle School renovation and why it is not fully completed.
“We have been in discussion with several of the contractors about what needs to be done. Some of the items like seeding and landscape work cannot be done until the spring, but several of the prime contract items are finished,” Haines said.
The biggest critic of the plan, board member Donald Harris, questioned Haines on several items and noted that there were several problems that the architect planned to address with the board.
One such item is the lack of heating in the Johnson Memorial Library. Haines said the firm has analyzed the problem and added some lower temporary returns to the ceiling that helped.
“We are proposing to bring in new registers connecting the upper ducts with the lower registers and that should bring the heat down to the level of the library user,” Haines said.
CRA has also offered to pay for the changes, but there is also an issue in the high school’s shop area as well.
“The analysis we’ve done shows that the HVAC units are working, but using the existing duct work. The air is not coming out at a high enough velocity to reach the floor and heat the rooms,” Haines said.
At that point, board members were stunned to hear that such a plan to put in new units but keep the old duct work was done. Haines told the board he would research the matter further and have answers at the next meeting.
Harris asked Haines if it was possible to have the engineers that worked on the plan present as well to discuss the issue and Haines told them he would try to make it happen.
In other business:
— The board accepted the 2015-2016 audit for the district, prepared by the accounting firm of Boyer and Ritter, with no problems. Business manager also discussed the state Auditor General’s audit on the district’s performance from 2012 to 2015, saying that the district performed adequately in all areas with the exception of bus driver requirements.
According to the audit, the district’s transportation contract met all employment requirements except for requiring school bus drivers to complete a form which requires drivers to notify the employer if they are arrested for convicted of a criminal offense during their employment and to report the offense to the employers within 72 hours of the offense.
The district has prepared its response and corrected the action, and approved the response to be sent to the state auditor general.
— On a 6-2 vote, the board approved a memorandum of understanding between Dauphin County and the district to establish collaborative transportation procedures for foster care youth when the best interest determination indicates that the student should remain in the school of origin.’
Board members Mark Rothermel, Donald Harris, Morgan Wagner, J. Bruce Walter, Scott Roadcap and Bruce Kance voted yes on the measure, while board members Ryan Novinger and Brett White voted no. Member Margaret Lebo was absent from the meeting.
On a related vote, the board approved a transportation plan between the two entities. That passed on a 7-1 vote with Ryan Novinger casting the lone dissenting vote.
— The board unanimously voted to approve the Capital Area Intermediate Unit’s annual operating budget for 2017-2018, with Millersburg’s share being $6,556.27. Also approved was an amended Harrisburg Area Community College sponsorship agreement, lasting five years and dropping gradually from $53,269 thisyear, to $45,477 in the fifth year.
— In sports business conducted at the meeting, high school science teacher Aaron Wright was hired as the new high school football coach as a salary of $2,450, replacing Brad Hatter who resigned earlier. Wright was also approved as spring weight room supervisor and high school after school bus duty driver.
Superintendent Thomas Haupt asked the board for guidance on how to proceed as talks are underway for a co-op participation agreement for girls soccer between Millersburg and Halifax for the coming season, and the possibility for a five-year cooperative sports plan between the two schools.
Most of the board members agreed it sounded like a good plan but worried about which banner the students would compete under.
— Hired at this school board meeting were Olivia Miller as a high school English teacher, effective Feb. 27 and Lisa Schwenk as a full-time middle school learning support aide

Dollar General will erect new building on Main Street

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo The former Hentz Gulf located on West Main Street in Valley View, will soon be razed to make room for a 9,100 square-foot Dollar General Store. Construction is to begin in June with the store opening in November.

VALLEY VIEW – Come spring the 1200 block of West Main Street in Valley View, will undergo some major changes. Just last week the Hegins Twp. Zoning Hearing Board approved the construction of a new car wash and on Wednesday, Feb. 15, they approved plans for a Dollar General to be erected directly across the street on the former Hentz Gulf property.
Zaremba Program Development LLC, based in Lakewood, Ohio, has a purchase agreement in place with current owner, Kent Knorr, Valley View. The Ohio-based developer plans to remove all existing buildings and the underground gas tanks and build a 9,100 square-foot Dollar General.
Wervey said Zeremba will own the property and the building and will have a 15-year lease agreement with Dollar General.

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Price drops on UDA student-built home

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

LOYALTON – A home built by students is not moving quick enough for the Upper Dauphin School District, so school board members voted to drop the price of the home to see if it will go quicker.
The 1,536-square foot, three-bedroom, 2.5 baths home, located at 505 N. Church Street and built by the school’s building trade classes, has been on the market for the past few months and listed for $235,000.
At the Feb. 14 meeting of the Upper Dauphin School Board, the home’s realtor, Mandy Carl, of Magnolia Realty Services, asked the district to consider dropping the price to make the home more attractive to buyers.
The description as listed on the realtor’s website, “LOCATION LOCATION. This NEW home is ready to move right in with energy efficient Geothermal heat, C/A, wood flooring. (dining room) leads to nick composite deck out back for entertaining in a big back, flat yard. and a basement ready to be finished with high ceilings and precast walls. Conveniently located to town — with best of all — across the street from the local YMCA. Walk to the gym and all the activities that this home location has to offer. All brand new kitchen appliances plus home warranty with acceptable offer.”
Earlier in the design, the board argued about spending the money for appliances for the home, and director Mills Eure asked if that was one reason that the home was not moving.
Business manager Mary Bateman answered, “There was one buyer that gave a list of concerns to the realtor and Mandy will be sharing that with me.”
“It’s a home built by students, Mills,” superintendent Evan Williams said. “Many people want the home, but they want it on the cheap.”
Williams then relayed a story about buying one of the Building Trades homes in the past, when it was sold at auction.
“There were about 10 of us there, and the bidding started at $100,000 and declining when there were no bids,” the superintendent said. “When it got to about $65,000, I made a bid, and one lady stared daggers at me and half the crowd left.”
The cost to build the home came in at about $180,000 so even with a price drop of $15,000 recommended by the realtor, there is still a profit to be made. Mills Eure made the motion to drop the price to $220,000, seconded by Roni Mace. The motion passed by a 5-1 vote with board members Eure, Mace, Kathryn Talheim, Steven Welker and David Barder voting yes, and Jack Laudenslager casting the lone dissenting vote. Board members the Rev. Nathan Minnich, Kirk Wenrich and Angela Mattern were absent.
In other business:
— The board approved a contract with Specialized Education Services of PA Inc. for special education services for three students at a cost of $150 per student per day.
— On a 5-1 vote with Laudenslager voting no, a strength and conditioning course was added to the high school program of studies, while Algebra II Keystone classes were made available for those in Grade 11 and Advanced Chemistry remained a honors course.
— The board unanimously approved a four-year contract with K12 Systems Inc. for the district’s student information system which handles enrollment and scheduling at a cost of $22,698, no change from the current year’s fee.
— The list of spring coaches was unanimously approved, and it was reported under the building and grounds portion of the meeting that district officials are working with Elizabethville Borough for a 10-year-lease on the recreational baseball field, that will be subleased to the Legion ball players.
— A memorandum of understanding was also approved between Upper Dauphin and the Joint School Safety Task Force on a unanimous vote. No details were given at the meeting, since it deals with school safety.

Frew gets nod for new car wash

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo The old Harman Car Wash will be razed this spring to make way for a new car wash to be constructed by Hembiere Group LLC. Hegins Twp. Zoning Hearing Board granted a variance last Wednesday evening for the property.

VALLEY VIEW — A new car wash will be coming to the area. Hegins Township Zoning Hearing Board gave Dave Frew of Hembiere Group LLC, the nod to go ahead with his plans for the former Harman car wash property with some conditions.
The zoning hearing board heard Frew’s plans on December 28 but had some legal concerns and decided to continue the hearing. After questions and deliberation last Wednesday evening, the zoning hearing board comprised of Larry Umholtz, Roger Wetzel and Todd Bixler, voted unanimously for Frew to move ahead with his plans.
The property located at 1171 West Main Street, the intersection of Route 25 and Gap Street, Valley View, currently houses the old car wash, garage and apartments that were operated by the late John Harman. Frew and his brother, Mark Frew plan to raze the structure and build a new facility that will not be any bigger than the current building. He said there will be no truck bay nor will there be apartments. He said it will be a one-story building. (more…)

Sacramento Community Fire Company receives $95K grant

New turn-out gear and air cylinders purchased

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Donning their new turn-out gear are members of the Sacramento Community Fire Company, from left, Chief Ron Radel, Alyssa Deibert, Brandon Herb, Craig Morgan and Jeff Wiest. The fire company received a grant through FEMA to purchase the gear and air cylinders.

It was like Christmas morning Monday evening at the Sacramento Community Fire Company, as firefighters were coming in to un-package and try on their new turn-out gear.
The fire company was awarded a grant for more than $95,000 from the Assistant to Firefighters through the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
Sacramento Community Fire Company Fire Chief Ron Radel wrote the grant more than a year ago and he said the company received notification this past fall that they were going to receive the money.
“We haven’t had new turn-out gear since 2004,” said Radel. “We were able to purchase 27 complete sets of gear.”

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Grover didn’t see his shadow Feb. 2

Early spring predicted by Sweet Arrow
Lake groundhog

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

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ROB WHEARY/Staff Photo As members of the Pine Grove Grundsau Lodge No. 5 look on, Bob Evanchalk, an assistant parks and recreation supervisor for Schuylkill County, reads the prediction of Grover the Groundhog and Sweet Arrow Sue. This marked the first year the lake has set up the Groundhog Day event after the Lodge disbanded last year.

PINE GROVE – While the entire world is moaning about Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction about six more weeks of winter, Schuylkill County may just see an early spring.
At least that’s the way Pine Grove’s Grover the Groundhog and Sweet Arrow Sue see it when they didn’t see their shadow on Feb. 2.
More than 90 people packed the Schuylkill County outdoor recreation area at Sweet Arrow Lake to hear the predictions of Pennsylvania’s “third and fourth most famous groundhogs” an event that began back in 2006 by members of the Pine Grove Grundsau Lodge No. 5.

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Hometown Heroes project coming to township

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

VALLEY VIEW – Like many other small towns in the area, Hegins Township will soon be showing patriotism and honoring their service men and women of years past and current.
Clervin Zimmerman and Michael Wynn attended the Hegins Township Supervisors meeting last Wednesday evening on behalf of The Masonic Lodge in Valley View. The lodge is working on a Hometown Heroes project.
Wynn said the Masons will be doing a mailer in a few weeks to everyone in Hegins and Hubley Township explaining the Hometown Heroes program and how the public can purchase a banner featuring their loved one who is currently serving or past service member.

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School board seeks two to fill vacancies

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

HEGINS – Although the Tri-Valley School Board hasn’t made any decisions on the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the board voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to not raise taxes above the Act 1 index established by the Department of Education for the 2017-18 year.
The Act 1 index is 3.3 percent and the current real estate tax is 32.25 mills in the district.
Directors Diane Dietrich and Carl Shankweiler were absent from the meeting.
Even though the auditorium was empty for Wednesday evening’s meeting, Board President Jerry Beaver stressed the need for community members to step up and fill vacancies on the school board.
There are currently two vacancies in Hegins West, Region 3.

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10-year-old boy selected as Tremont’s Citizen of the Year

Derick Ney presented plaque and cash

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Tremont Borough Council members presented 10-year-old Derick Ney with the title of Citizen of the Year 2016. Ney received cash and a plaque. He is pictured with, front row, from left, Rogie Adams, Paulette Yuschock; back row, Phil Kintzel, Dan Noll, and James Scheibley.

TREMONT – A panel of four judges selected Derick Ney, 10-year-old son of Christy and Ricky Ney, Tremont, as the 2016 Citizen of The Year.
Tremont Borough Council members donated some or all of their council pay toward a fund to name a Citizen of the Year.
According to Councilwoman Paulette Yuschock, 10 applicants were received and the four judges reviewed each applicant and selected Ney to receive the title, cash and plaque.
Derick’s application read as follows: Derick is extremely active in his community and takes great pride in helping others. Derick volunteers to help with the Tremont Little League field by cleaning the burn pit and helping his dad do work around the field. He also plays baseball for the Tremont Little League and Fall Ball with the Pine Grove Little League.
Derick cuts grass in the summr for his neighbors and friends, and shovels snow in the winter. Although some people may compensate him monetarily, Dereick also does this for his handicapped neighbors and does not expect any pay.

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