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FC Police Fleet Looks to Get Charged Up

Newly-elected Councilman Tyson Klukan asks Borough Manager Eden Ratliff about the police cars last night. Klukan was concerned both cars cover unknown expenses to be fully-equipped and will also have to be inspected.

by Jonathan Weaver

Ford City Borough Police is one step closer to swapping out two police cars in its fleet.

Last night, Borough Council approved the purchase of vehicle identification numbers for two 2009 Dodge Chargers from Plum Borough for $5,000.

Borough Manager Eden Ratliff test-drove the vehicles late last week, and said the two unmarked vehicles have run 107,000 and 120,000 miles, respectively.

“It’s not always the years and the amount of miles, but how well the cars were taken care of,” Ratliff relayed from Interim Police Chief Johnathan Freel. “These vehicles in Plum received oil changes every 2,000 miles (and) regular maintenance from two in-house mechanics.”

These police cars have been well taken care of.”

One vehicle is all black while another has a black-and-white color scheme.

Both Interim Police Chief Freel and Ratliff were hopeful to have one or both of the vehicles road-ready next month.

Councilwoman Beth Bowser made the motion to pay for the two vehicles.

“We have to depend on our automobiles to respond to calls – two out of three in our fleet have transmission problems, so we figured it was an inexpensive way and a quality choice for the money (Plum Borough) is asking for to keep our police department in-service,” Bowser said.

“I think it’s a very good financial deal to make. They are more secure in terms of reliability than the ones in our current fleet.”

Bowser said these deals are also a good indicator Chief Freel is off to a good start.

“He’s very excited – he’s made a world of changes already in such a short amount of time. Needed changes,” Bowser said.

Councilwoman – and Police Committee chair – Vicki Schaub opposed the purchase.

“I don’t think we had time to really search (the vehicles) out as far as seeing all the records on the cars,” Schaub said. “I didn’t like the high mileage. Yes, the cars we have are pretty beat and weren’t taken care of, and I wonder if these were taken care of. I’d rather see us sell two or three cars and get a new car.”

Newly-elected Councilman Tyson Klukan also had concerns. He hoped all financial figures were available, unlike some items in Ratliff’s report.

“We would have to purchase the decals separately – which is something we’re looking into,” Ratliff said. “It does not coming with the LED (light) package or siren package – that will also have to be purchased separately and put inside the cars.”

A photo is displayed of one of the Plum Borough cars that Ford City is trying to purchase. (submitted photo)

Both vehicles will also need to be inspected, and the purchase will need to be approved by Plum Borough.

The vehicles will replace two existing police vehicle that will go out-for-bid: including an unmarked white Crown Victoria with 160,000 miles and a Crown Victoria police vehicle that has run about 90,000 miles.

The white Crown Victoria is currently driven regularly by Ordinance Enforcement Officer Michele Meixelberger.

Both vehicles have had transmission problems.

According to the municipality’s webpage, Plum Borough Police t is comprised of 26 full-time police officers, including a Chief of Police, a Lieutenant, six Sergeants, two detectives, two School Resource Officers, and a K-9. The Department also has a three member civilian support staff which includes a police records administrator and two police records clerks.

As per a different motion, council members will also pay for global positioning systems for all three Ford City Police vehicles at an unknown cost.

A meeting on the upcoming 2016 budget will be held this Friday morning at the Borough office.

Council members approved to advertise the 16.65 mill tax ordinance last night via a 3-2 vote.

Schaub and Council Vice-President Jerry Miklos opposed the motion.

The tax ordinance calls for a .75 mill tax decrease


Veterans Receive Thanksgiving Donations

Kids Club members (front to back) Lyla Firment, Matty Panchik, Bella Firment and Allie Panchik deliver food donations to Mechling-Shakley Supervisor Brian Johns with Kittanning Elks Exalted Ruler Dan Gallagher. (submitted photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

Veterans at the Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center in Cowansville will have a Thanksgiving feast this Thursday… for free, courtesy of the Kittanning Elks Kids’ Club.

Kids Club Co-Chair Ashleah Firment helped kids transport nearly a dozen boxes of food to the veterans center Monday evening and explained the service project.

“We put the boxes out at the beginning of October. We put it in the newsletter, posted it in the grill room and in the dining room for members when they come in for dinner, for an event (or) just stopping in to socialize to drop something off on their way in,” Firment said. “It started with two boxes – which I wasn’t sure if we were going to fill them all the way up initially – and it turned into a whole hallway full.”

The boxes did not include a handful of turkeys and other perishable items (including bacon, sausage, butter, eggs and milk) in the walk-in cooler bought through monetary donations from lodge events.

Firment hoped veterans were as surprised with the result as she was.

Items came from members and community residents – as well as Firment’s daughters, six-year-old Bella and four-year-old Lyla by way of Firment’s pantry.

“We try to talk about things the Elks stands for – giving back, charity, fidelity – and we always do a community service project,” Firment said. “Last year, we donated items to the (Armstrong County) Health Center – we purchased 100 gifts and delivered them room-to-room.”

“It’s not super-exciting for them, but it is educational and as members, it teaches our kids the Elks is about socializing with your friends, but also something bigger too.”

Due to the response, Firment said the service project may continue next year.

The Kids Club meets September through May and has grown during the past four years. Exalted Ruler Dan Gallagher also attends events frequently.


OBIT: Tara Johns (Kittanning)

Tara Johns, 26, of Kittanning, died Friday, November 20, 2015.

She was born February 25, 1989, in Kittanning, and was a graduate of Ford City High School.

Tara liked riding Harleys and spending time with her children and family.

Tara was full of life and loved by many. She was a very lovable person and would help anyone in need.

She is survived by het father, Carl (Michelle) Toy; mother, Missy Hartzell (Ed Grates); husband, James Johns; two children: Keirsten, Kylie and Kendra Pyle; three sisters: Amber Kaymark, Tabitha Demark and Brittany Bove; two brothers: Carl Toy and Duston Toy; grandparents, Lona and Howard Booher; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by grandparents, Casey and Helen Toy.

Friends were received from 2-4 and 7-9PM Monday, November 23, 2015 as well as from 10AM until time of services at 11AM today – Tuesday, November 24, at the Snyder-Crissman Funeral Home in Kittanning.

Pastor Rodney Miller will be officiating.

Interment in Mt. Union/Davis Cemetery in West Valley.

Harvest Community Church will be serving a luncheon after the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the funeral home for funeral expenses.