Volunteers needed

Hegins Valley Fire-Rescue needs help with carnival

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor •

HEGINS – Sometimes tornado warnings are a good thing.

The Hegins Valley Fire-Rescue learned last year that the tornado warning that canceled their firemen’s parade on opening night of the carnival actually helped them to understand it might be better to move the parade night for future events as well.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s edition at your local newsstand or call 570-682-9081 to subscribe today!

Tremont Twp. will take Rausch Creek to court

Dispute over amusement tax reaches impasse

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer •

TREMONT TWP. – Feeling that they have reached an impassive with the Rausch Creek Off-Road Park, Tremont Township will take the group to court over the township’s amusement tax.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s edition at your local newsstand or call 570-682-9081 to subscribe today!

Splash into summer

TV Community Pool is open for the season

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Austin Herb, age 12, Valley View, didn’t let the cold water stop him from jumping off the diving board on opening day of the Tri-Valley Community Pool, Friday, May 24.


Read the article in this week’s print edition of The Citizen-Standard. To subscribe call 570-682-9081.

Attention Readers: We need your votes to select winners of the It Can Wait Campaign

SH0118_Y16_Comp.inddVALLEY VIEW – The Citizen-Standard has once again partnered with The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, the PNA Foundation and AT&T in a statewide “It Can Wait” editorial contest to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

This year The Citizen-Standard has decided to change it up a bit on how the winner of the essay contest will be determined. In past years, a panel of judges read the essays and selected the winners. This year, you, the readers, are going to decide who wrote the best essay. That’s right, we need your votes.

We invited all students from the seven local school districts in The Citizen-Standard’s coverage area to participate. We had submissions sent to us from Tri-Valley High School and Upper Dauphin Area High School.

The topic of the essay was “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait Pledge that distract- ed driving is never okay?” The essays should be judged on creativity and originality; persuasiveness; grammar and spelling, understanding of subject matter and relevancy of response to topic question.

You the reader, will have the opportunity to read the essays as printed on this page and the two after this and cast your vote by emailing and placing It Can Wait Vote in the subject line. Readers are also encouraged to stop in at The Citizen-Standard office at 104 W. Main Street, Valley View, to also cast a vote. Votes may also be mailed to The Citizen-Standard, PO Box 147, Valley View, PA 17983 Attn: It Can Wait Vote.

All votes must be received by Friday, Jan. 25 in order to be counted. The two essay writers with the most votes will be selected as winners of $50 cash prizes each. The ultimate writer with the most votes will have their essay submitted to the state contest. The statewide winner will receive a $500 cash prize and be recognized at America East during a Student Keystone Press Award Luncheon.

The Local winners will be published in the January 31 edition of The Citizen-Standard.

Essays were received from the following Tri-Valley High School students:

• Ciara Fey

• Samantha Masser

• Paige Mitchell

• Lexi Brown

• Angela Werkheiser

• Bryce Soles

• Imani Grimm

• Holly Huntzinger

• Maiya Clouser

• Brooke Harris

• Casey McNally

The following essays were received from Upper Dauphin Area High School Students:

• Natalie Campbell

• Emily Fox

• Katie Blyler

The Citizen-Standard thanks all participants and businesses who helped sponsor this contest/campaign.

Honoring the fallen

Tri-Valley veterans gather for Memorial Day observance

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer •


ROB WHEARY/Staff Photo Veterans Barry Miller and Roland Wolfgang place a wreath at the veterans memorial during the Memorial Day observance at Friedens Cemetery on Sunday, May 27.

HEGINS —With American flags flying and a quiet respect among the crowd, many gathered to remember those that paid the ultimate price in defense of their country.

Valley View American Legion Post 575 and Chapter 103 of the Disabled American Veterans hosted their annual Memorial Day Observance on Sunday, May 27 at Friedens Cemetery, Hegins.

Herbert Borchert, the master of ceremonies for the program, had to perform several other duties at the event, as he also had to give the invocation and benediction in the absence of the preacher and to give a few remarks after the scheduled guest speaker, Capt. Jennifer Renninger was absent at the start of the ceremony.

Borchert told the story about how he met up with five friends of his during a chance meeting in Hong Kong before the men were scheduled to be deployed to Vietnam.

“We got together for one last drink, and now I’m the last survivor of that group,” Borchert said. “After that, I knew that I had a responsibility for ceremonies like this, to pass along such knowledge like this for future generations.”

Borchert said that the biggest disappointment he has is that he finds that there are not many people that have respect for the laws of the country, and the freedoms some of those laws give us — freedoms that he and other veterans and those lost in combat fought and died for.

“If people don’t have respect for the law, then all the sacrifices made are for naught,” Borchert said. “As you leave here today, I challenge you all to resolve to serve God and country like I did and so many before did many years ago.”

The ceremony featured a placement of a memorial wreath on a veterans monument at the ceremony, the reading of the names of the deceased veterans and several patriotic musical selections, ending with a rifle volley and the playing of “Taps.”

Inside the observance’s program, the veterans wrote another special message for the public to ponder.

“Your presence and participation demonstrate patriotism and the highest ideals of Americanism. Enjoy the Memorial Day Holiday, but do not forget the men and women of our Armed Services who have given their lives for the protection of our Nation. Please honor those who have served and are now serving.


Financial crisis at Tri-Valley

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor •

Teachers, programs to be cut

HEGINS – Nothing brings members of the public to a meeting of the school board, than when the school is facing a financial crisis. That’s where Tri-Valley School District is at right now, as many other school districts in the state are also feeling the pinch.

The board held a special meeting May 23 for the sole purpose of adopting the $13.7 million proposed budget. A budget that is going to raise real-estate taxes, cut programs and teachers.

Prior to the vote for the preliminary budget, the board and the public heard from several teachers of Tri-Valley and the father of one of those teachers who will be losing his job.

Amanda White, an English teacher at the high school and fiance of Ryan Wagner, a civics teacher who also has certification in library sciences, and will be losing his job, addressed the members of the board first.

“I have been a teacher here for nine years and this is where I met my future husband, Ryan, a man who goes above and beyond what his contract calls for,” said White. “We learned about a week ago that Ryan wasn’t going to have a job after this school year.”

White went on to list all her fiance’s accomplishments at Tri-Valley. He teaches a civics course and does a library rotation. He has also served as a former coach of the girls soccer team, was instrumental in bringing the Warrior Challenge to Tri-Valley and raising more than $23,000 for the PA Wounded Warriors. She also noted that recently she and Ryan were part of a curriculum committee in order to come up with ways for the schedule to better serve the high school students.

“I know this may appear as an easy fix to the district to just cut Ryan’s position, but cutting library from the students would have a huge impact on future test scores and the students will suffer,” said White.

“This has come as a shock and a surprise to say the least,” said White. “Ryan and I have purchased land here in this community and were planning to marry and build a home in August. I feel like the district is sending the message that you don’t want families like Ryan and I to live here and be part of this community. Ryan has been dedicated to this community.”

Ryan Wagner took the mic after his fiance. “I realize I walk a fine line addressing you tonight,” said Wagner. “I know the district is in a financial crisis and I’m not here to argue that one teacher or the other is better to cut. I know you are obligated to act in the best interest of the school,” said Wagner. “I am proud to be a graduate of Tri-Valley and I carried that with me everywhere I went. I was honored and dedicated to working here at Tri-Valley. Have you considered my family history here at Tri-Valley? My uncle served as principal for several years; my father served on the school board for 16 years; my mother volunteered for many years in the elementary school before being hired.”

“Have you considered the message that will be sent to the remaining staff at Tri-Valley in making this particular decision?” he asked. “As an optimist, I believe in this difficult time, you have an opportunity to minimize the damages and even improve our school district with the right decisions. With an analogy fitting to this area, I hope you take this opportunity to cut the fat. At the same time, I hope you aren’t making a mistake by discarding a lot of meat.”

“It’s easy to look at the financial implications facing the district,” said Daniel Wagner, father of Ryan. “Believe me, I know, I sat up there in your position for 16 years. “The board’s decision also effects families that have decided to set roots here. Some of the district’s good teachers may be looking elsewhere for employment.”

Adam Dietrich, librarian and history teacher also addressed the board and paraphrased Shel Silverstein’s book, “The Giving Tree.”  Dietrich’s been a teacher for almost 14 years and he expressed the importance of library and encouraging critical thinking and the evaluation of what is being read.

“We need to give everything that we have to offer,” said Dietrich. “We must think carefully. We must appreciate everything and we must not forget, or take lightly what people have given with an open heart to our school. This is our home, this is all of our families, this is Tri-Valley.”

Joanne Love, a parent in the district also addressed the board expressed a need for improved communication between the board the public. As a librarian, she also said the district risks losing library service funding if it doesn’t have a full-time librarian.

“I’m almost to the point where I’d rather merge with another district, rather than lose services,” said Love.

The proposed budget will include an increase to the real-estate millage to 1.066 mills from 33.316 to 34.382 mills. The board raised the real-estatae tax to the maximum allowable without a referendum.

Other tax levies will remain the same, including: per capita section 511, $5; per capita 679, $5; occupation tax, $230; earned income tax, 0.5 percent of salaries/wages; realty transfer tax, 1 percent; local service tax, $10.

Just before the vote for the proposed budget, Kelly Carter, head of the finance committee, presented a few slides and information to those in attendance concerning the financials of the district.

“I’m happy to see all of you in attendance and next time I hope you come and bring your friends and neighbors, not just to board meetings but also to committee meetings,” said Carter. “I heard your plea for more communication and I’m trying to accomplish this, as she shared upcoming dates of meetings

“We’ve held off as long as we can, and the buck has to stop tonight,” said Carter. “Instead of being reactive, we have to plan to move forward and be proactive.”

She showed several slides of figures demonstrating why the district is in a financial crisis. She pointed out that over the past seven years, there’s been an 84 percent reduction in the district’s unassigned fund balance, which is the district’s safety net. In 2010, the fund balance was at $1.8 million; but in 2017, it had dropped to $284,967. Carter said that’s a trend facing many districts.

“One of the biggest increases, at a whopping 384 percent over the past seven years, is the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) rate,” said Carter. “That’s dictated by the state and is an amount that’s out of our control.”

She also noted that Cyber Charter School is another huge expense to the district.

“Cyber/charter schools may not cost the parents anything to enroll their child, but all the taxpayers are footing the bill. This is anther expense we can’t control,” said Carter.

Carter said the district needs to take the next six to nine months to rebuild and move forward. She suggests that the community come together with the faculty, board members, support staff and administration and all work together for Tri-Valley and get the fund balance built back up.

The board took the final vote after Carter’s presentation. The proposed $13,734,982 budget passed on a 5-4 vote. Voting in favor were directors Jerry Beaver, Diane Dietrich, Carl Shankweiler, John Schmeltz and Roger Heidlebaugh. Those opposed were Kelly Carter, Guy Julian, Jennifer Reed and David Miller.

“There will be staff realignment in the areas of music, art, library, health and physical education, social studies, elementary education and special education,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Snyder.

Library services throughout the district are being evaluated to best provide access to all students. Dr. Snyder noted there are several staff members who have library certification.

“Three retirement positions are not going to be filled and the alteration and curtail of programs could lead to additional positions not being retained,” said Dr. Snyder.

He also said the board is looking into the possibility of having a ‘pay to play’ program put into place for athletics and other activities in the district.

The final adoption of the budget will be conducted at a special meeting June 27, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The budget is now on display for the public at the district office and is accessible during regular office hours Monday through Friday.


Reward offered for arrest and conviction of Hegins-Hubley burglars

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor •

hh burglary P1

Two individuals were captured on video surveillance inside Hegins-Hubley Elementary School on February 17.

VALLEY VIEW – While state police are still seeking information and trying to find the identity of the two people who burglarized the Hegins-Hubley Elementary School, a local individual, who wishes to remain anonymous has put up a $1,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the two individuals who committed the break-in and burglary at the school Saturday, Feb. 17.

“I want these people to know that we are not going to tolerate this kind of activity in our community,” said the donor.

According to police, two people forced entry into the school by breaking a window. The two were wearing black hooded sweatshirts, dark pants, gloves, black hats, and had bandanas covering their faces. They also wore backpacks.

The persons were captured on surveillance footage. They left the school by prying open a door with a pry bar they had in a book bag. They fled the scene in an unknown direction by unknown means.

Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the two individuals or the burglary should contact PSP Schuylkill Haven at 570-754-4600.

Pick up a copy of this week’s Citizen-Standard to read the full story.

Police say school burglary suspects could be male or female

From Staff Reports

Trooper David Bohm, Public Information Officer of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop L Reading, released an update, Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. to the police report concerning the burglary at Hegins-Hubley Elementary School.

Police now say the unknown actors could be male or female.

The school at 1801 West Main Street, was burglarized on February 18, between 1:55 a.m. and 2:16 a.m.  According to police, two people forced entry into the school by breaking a window. The two were wearing black hooded sweatshirts, dark pants, gloves, black hats, and had bandanas covering their faces. They also wore backpacks.

The persons were captured on surveillance footage. They left the school by prying open a door with a pry bar they had in a book bag. They fled the scene in an unknown direction by unknown means.

PSP K9 requested to sweep the school. It is unknown if anything was stolen at this time.

Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the two pictured individuals or the burglary should contact PSP Schuylkill Haven at 570-754-4600.