(L-R) Eagles Treasurer Chris Zilla, Ryan Bloser, Eagles President Chris Trego, Officer Jon Freel, Ford City Mayor Jeff Cogley, Eagles Trustee Jim Hutchison stand behind the new taser gun equipment. No Ford City Council members attended the news conference.
by David Croyle
The Ford City Police Department has new equipment to fight crime because of a donation by the Ford City Eagles.
In early November, the police were given $3,000 to purchase new taser guns.
Eagles President Chris Trego said the money given to the Ford City Police Department was not the only local contribution the organization has made this year.
“We also gave $3,000 to Manor (Township Police) for their new radio systems, where they can check up on driver’s licenses faster and check the BOLO alerts. We have been supporting the police with many local projects over the years. They had a transmission problem a few years ago and we paid for it – took care of it completely,” Trego said.
Mayor Jeff Cogley congratulated the club on its contributions to the community.
“We are very appreciative for the support that they have (given), not only for the police department but for everything they do in the community. They do a lot of good things,” Cogley said.
In 2015, the Ford City Eagles gave away $63,000 to mostly local organizations.
Most of the money collected by the Ford City Eagles comes through small games of chance.
“Keep in mind that with the gaming money, we have to give away 60% of what we take in,” Trego explained.
Officer Jon Freel said the tasers are capable of reaching the offender up to 25 feet away.
“If someone is a danger to themselves, or is not being compliant to an officer’s orders, there are multiple scenarios of when you would deploy a taser,” Freel said.
He said all the officers, including new part-time policemen, undergo a training process in taser operation as well as the emotional/psychological component of when to deploy it.
Cogley said the new arsenal is the beginning of stepping up law enforcement in Ford City and had a message for would-be criminals:
“You may come to Ford City and you may get away with something today, but we are proactive and we are going to send a message. We are not out there being forceful with anybody, but we are going to be proactive policing. We are going to be community-oriented, and protect our citizens.”
Trego said the Ford City Eagles invite non-profit organizations to send a letter outlining their project. If it is a project that will benefit the community, the request will be considered by their Board of Directors.
Schematic designs for the first floor of the Rural Valley school include new flooring in areas, a new security vestibule and a handicapped-accessible elevator.
by Jonathan Weaver
Armstrong School District could be in line for two consecutive summers of renovation projects.
Elected board directors could decide at their first meeting of 2017 whether Shannock Valley Elementary, in Rural Valley, will be undergoing renovations this coming summer.
After approving a performance-grade audit the past few months, school board directors might take another step toward renovations at the 53-year-old school after hearing from Reynolds Building Solutions Program Development Director Mike Conchilla during their open caucus session.
In August, school directors received a 21-page report of possible energy solutions to Shannock Valley and Eldertion Elementary schools, and Conchilla recapped the recommended mechanical, electrical, plumbing and architectural upgrades.
“This building was really built in two pieces, and operates as two separate buildings right now,” Conchilla said.
In June, Conchilla noticed two separate boilers, 40-year-old heating classroom units and also original flush toilets and worn classroom sinks.
The most-visible renovation would include new front, single-pane windows as well a security vestibule at the front of the building and measures to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act– such as installing an elevator.
“All corridors would receive new ceilings and lights for a fresher look,” Conchilla said. “A lot of our plumbing and duct work have to go through there anyway.”
Reynolds Building Solutions Project Development Director Michael Conchilla returned to last night’s Armstrong School District board directors open-caucus session to discuss possible renovations to Shannock Valley Elementary School this summer. The current timeline projects board directors will decide next month.
Mechanical upgrades could include demolishing current, 40-year-old HVAC equipment and extend air conditioning to the entire building.
Electrical upgrades – which also serve as safety upgrades – would include a new emergency generator, fire alarm system and LED technology.
Plumbing upgrades would include new bathroom fixtures, drinking fountains and water piping where needed after inspection.
All told, Conchilla estimated all renovations could cost about $10.5 million – with more than a third of the cost attributed toward architectural renovations.
If able, Conchilla hopes to return at the January open caucus session and release bidding documents the second week of 2017.
“Time is of the essence when trying to get stuff done in the summertime,” Conchilla said. “The biggest thing for us is trying to get equipment in time. If we wait past March, we run the risk of not getting things in time to get it done in the summer.
“We’re pressing on all cylinders right now.”
Limited construction could begin in April, with full construction beginning days following the end of the school year.
School officials have discussed postponing Elderton Elementary renovations instead of coordinating both projects in 2017, School Superintendent Chris DeVivo and Finance and Operations Director Sam Kirk said.
An Apollo-based drug awareness/education group is expanding to the northern-most part of Armstrong County.
Residents Against Illicit Drugs (RAID) – a nonprofit organization established in Summer 2015 – is forming a new chapter with a similar vision in the city of Parker.
Parker Councilwoman Kim Palmer also hopes to take the drug prevention message to the area along the Armstrong/Clarion line to try and prevent further drug crimes with local residents.
The original organization – established by Apollo Borough Mayor Jeff Held – envisions new chapters as “the most effective means to reach more people quickly using tactics that can be uniquely tailored to their needs and concerns,” he wrote in a press release.
Residents interested in volunteering with the Parker chapter of RAID can reach Palmer at Parker.RAID@yahoo.com with their name, phone number and e-mail address.
RAID attracted more than two dozen members and an established network of drug addiction agencies and county elected officials and obtained non-profit status this past-January.
RAID meets monthly for business meetings, public training and other outreach programs – such as a Thanksgiving meal last month that fed more than 200 – in the social hall of the Apollo Assembly of God on First Street.