“Mindhunter” crews prep for filming Thursday morning along South Water Street near the Kittanning Citizens Bridge intersection – including covering an electronic billboard, business advertisements and changing others to 1980’s period insignia.
by Jonathan Weaver
It may be more difficult traveling downtown Kittanning streets this weekend, but Em Ache Productions staffers filming the Netflix drama “Mindhunter” have arranged a way for local residents to get around – especially to church services Sunday morning.
The Kittanning Citizens Bridge will be closed in both directions from approximately 6AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday. Market Street will be posted “No Parking” from the courthouse to the bridge to accomodate driving and placement of period 1978 vehicles.
MH Productions Associate Producer Bill Doyle has gone through similar street closings – such as when on the set of “Man of Steel” recently when producers shut down Plano, Illinois for three full weeks and even re-paved streets after action scenes.
“I’m not doing anything to (Market Street) but I’ve been there – I know how to do it right,” Doyle said.
Doyle and location managers also sat with local police – including from Kittanning Borough, East Franklin Township and the Pennsylvania State Police – to discuss potential problems. He wanted information advising parishioners to use Water Street to get around town on church circulars before this weekend’s filiming.
There will be no filming along Water Street, but there will be intermittent traffic control.
The series filming moves from the studio zone around the 31st Street Studios in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh to Kittanning to keep up with the change in seasons and represent Altoona in the 1970’s. Filming also took place in places such as Butler, Coraopolis, Tarentum and Vandergrift for season 1.
Altoona’s story arc spans a few episodes in the middle of the season – even if only about eight minutes of screentime will be ultimately used – but is part of the location library Doyle has amassed.
“We wanted to make sure that the scenes we were doing were very wintry – no leaves on the trees, the skies were going to be gray,” Associate Producer Bill Doyle said last week. “There’s such an amazing diverse amount of locations to film here. Everywhere we look is another great diner, courthouse or street, and there’s very-minimal amount of work that we have to do to return it back to that feel and that time.
“It’s important stuff – it really sets a tone for the same reason why we waited until January to shoot it. We’re not searching for stuff the writers came up with – we’re giving the writers ideas to put stories into.”
Doyle will not only be in Kittanning this weekend, but will join “David and Friends” host David Croyle on his WTYM Radio AM 1380 show this morning.
The weekday radio show will also be re-broadcast on Family-Life TV at 9:30PM tonight.
The conference room of the Belmont Complex in West Kittanning Borough was filled with community stakeholders worried about the ongoing drug problem in Armstrong County yesterday morning. The group got together for the first local Drug Free Communities Coalition meeting.
by Jonathan Weaver
About 75 community stakeholders, including from Armstrong and Apollo-Ridge School Districts, local and state police agencies and local dignitary offices, are committed to finding a solution to the drug crisis in Armstrong County.
Those officials and more – including community residents and pastors that have witnessed the effects of drug use – attended an inaugural meeting of the Armstrong-Indiana Drug Free Communities Coalition yesterday at the Belmont Complex in West Kittanning Borough.
During the two-hour meeting, officials heard from County District Attorney Scott Andreassi and Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission Executive Director Kami Anderson with their thoughts.
“This was a problem we hadn’t seen before – it was on our radar screen but it wasn’t there yet,” Andreassi said. “We now see people with multiple bricks of heroin, so now that one-or-two bag person was now a 30-40 bag person.”
County Coroner Brian Myers added his office responded to more than 40 drug overdoses in 2016 – and four already in 2017, including from the deadly opioid carfentanil – estimated to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine officials point out.
The next stakeholders meeting in Armstrong County is scheduled for 10AM-noon February 16 at the Belmont Complex in Kittanning.
“To see you all here tells us the community does care,” Andreassi said. “We are reaching out for answers on how to deal with this problem.
“It’s not an easy fix, and it never will be.”
Despite Indiana County investigators probing more than 50 total deaths – including drug overdoses – in 2016, “The Open Door” Executive Director Vince Mercuri has said the monthly Drug-Free Coalition meetings in Indiana have led to a better drug awareness in Indiana County.
“There’s no doubt that the Drug-Free Coalition of Armstrong/Indiana County has had an impact on saving lives in these two counties,” Mercuri said. “We have distributed Narcan (Naloxone) all through the counties, to Police and EMS. In addition, we have prevention programs through the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission in all of the schools in both counties.
“It’s difficult to measure it, but there’s no doubt we’ve saved lives, impacted a lot of people to help them make easy and better decisions, and we believe that we’ve improved the quality of life in Armstrong, Indiana and Clarion.”
Drug Take-Back boxes are also found scattered through both counties.
A Drug-Free Coalition has met in Indiana County for nine years. The group, which usually has upwards of two dozen officials, meets the first Wednesday of each month at the West Pike EMS on Philadelphia Street.
Mercuri was impressed with the turnout yesterday morning at the Belmont Complex.
Armstrong residents who may not be able to attend the February 16 meeting at the Belmont Complex are welcome to attend the Indiana meeting.
Mercuri has worked in the field of addiction for 40 years, and is a certified trainer in the State of Pennsylvania.
Community stakeholders will be able to receive a free continental breakfast before each meeting.