BENNETT: What’s Right About the County?

by Jack Bennett

As I begin to write this week, my one hope is that you are as gratified as I am with what I saw  and experienced in our county this past week.  (List is not all-inclusive)

1.  The new Richard G. Snyder YMCA Campus at 1150 North Water Street in Kittanning. A dream has finally come true for Armstrong County as the new YMCA prepares to open on May 29th, just three weeks away.  I had the opportunity to walk thru the new facility about two months ago with the CEO Gary Miller and again last Friday.    On the first trip, we entered thru a wooden 4 x 8 that covered the entrance area and walked to the pool area, just a hole in the ground at that time.  Now it’s nearly completed and filled with water.  The area for the pool must be three if not four times the size of the old  pool.   It is bright and cheery with three separate pools for use.  One ‘lap’ pool, one family pool and one therapeutic pool for people with special needs.  A huge exercise room is on the second floor with two stair cases and an elevator providing access.  The view is great too, as one side is of the pool, the other is of the gym and a third  is of the river.  Many additional offices and smaller training rooms are available. Plans for additions have already been implemented into the current structure when other facilities become needed.  Many, many other features are available.  Go see for yourself. Sign up at the old “Y” on the 10th (Thursday) for a tour of the new facility, which by the way opens on May 29th.

A teen driver sits in the simulator that tests his reaction to driving response while texting. Peer Awareness technician Jason Cunningham runs the computerized program.

2.  Driver Awareness Day at West Shamokin High School.  On Wednesday of this past week, I had the opportunity to attend and broadcast from West Shamokin during their conduct of Driver Awareness Days for the students10 thru 12 grade.  Students were given the opportunity to drive a simulator car (rigged  by computer) and text at the same time to show them what can and does happen behind the wheel.  One senior remarked, “I thought I could “beat” the  machine because I can text without looking at the key pad.   I still couldn’t control the car.” Other activities included:, checking out the blind areas for a coal truck driver (actually getting in a new truck), riding peddle cars around a track with “impalement” goggles on, taking an inventory of what was wrong with a car, a seat belt competition of ” buckle up”  and  then move to the next seat,   walk a straight line with goggles on and finally several local  insurance companies were on board to provide info.   The Shannock Valley Car Club was the passing out info and Stan Berdell was there and Donna Oberlander’s office was also represented. In my view, all high schools of the district should run such a program.  Thanks go to Mr. Dave Powers,  Mrs. Brigitte Kennedy, and Principal Kirk Lorigan for their support in arranging for the days activities.

3.  The National Day of Prayer.  The Tri-Ministerium (Worthington, Kittanning and Ford City) participated in the day with special programs conducted at Salem Baptist Church in the morning, Ford City conducted the service in the park at noon with the Rev Tom Bonomo as main speaker and the evening service was held at the First Church of God in Kittanning Such diverse  locations were suggested to attract additional attendees from previous years when the program was held in the park at Kittanning or Divine Redeemer School in Ford City at noon.

4.  Plans are well underway for the 6th Annual Memorial Day Parade in Kittanning.  For many years the parade had been missing from the day’s activities until revived by AMVETS,  Post 13, Kittanning.  Together with the John T. Crawford Camp #43, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Sara A. Crawford Ladies Auxiliary,  the combined parade and service in the John Murtha Amphitheater was begun again in 2007. Each year the parade has gotten larger and the program better.   A perennial favorite is the medley of service songs played for the veterans who rise and are recognized when “their” song is played.

5.  A new event this year will be conduced on the 19th of May at the Pony Farm Trap & Gun Club.  The Sportsmen’s Family Event sponsored by Sen Don White, Rep Jeff Pyle and Rep Donna Oberlander will feature the opportunity for area residents to fire hand guns, rifles, and shotguns under the direct supervision of members of the Firearms Owners against Crime from Pittsburgh as well as NRA qualified instructors from the Pony Farm.  Other activities will include but are not limited to: archery, fishing, boating and wildlife displays.  Refreshments will be available.   Call 724-543-3026 for further information.

Many other activities are on going as we speak.  Please contact me at 724-548-8000 if you have an activity you would like to have highlighted.


  • By Setter, May 8, 2012 @ 3:02 PM

    How can a Club which has run off the Boy Scouts, NRA Youth day, absconded with trout from the Fish Commission, then posted members only signs, and all with the self serving Jeff Pyle busy looking the other way while they removed a Handicapped fishing area from the community have the guts to hold a “Sportsmen’s Family Event”.
    This takes hipocracy to a whole new level!

  • By mark, May 8, 2012 @ 6:02 PM

    Setter, you`ve peaked my interest. Give me the facts about all this. Thank you.

  • By thewhiskeyrunangler, May 8, 2012 @ 9:17 PM

    I agree with Setter…What kind of sportsman club would close one of the few children and handicapped fishing areas that we have in this county and post it “MEMBERS ONLY”, and “NO FISHING”? And because this so-called sportsman club posted this section of Glade Run “MEMBERS ONLY” all of the sportsmen of Pennsylvania loses another piece of a great trout stream that was developed and improved with their tax dollars.

    You’re right Mr. Bennett, THIS IS A CALL FOR ACTION. As long as this section of Glade Run is closed to the public, I for one will boycott anything that this sportsman club does and will remember the politicians who support them!

  • By Setter, May 9, 2012 @ 7:52 AM

    Mark, The facts? You want me to do the research and reporting? Start with the front page of the Leader Times, April 15, 2011. Speak with the leader of the Boy Scout troop involved. Speak with the gentleman who operates the Youth NRA day. Check with the Pa Attourney Generals office for the complaint filed. I’ve done all of the above including contacting Mr Pyles office, Mr White’s office, the head of the Pa Fish Commission ( too expensive to pursue prosecution )and numerous other individuals in an effort to save one of three handicapped fishing ares in the county. The Pony Farm Club is not a sportsman’s club, but rather an exclusive playground for Mr Pyle and his cronies.

  • By unclbuck, May 9, 2012 @ 12:13 PM

    Armstrong Disability Investigative Group has been working to rectify this situation ever since they closed it. It was not a handicapped person, a child, or an elderly person who burnt the picnic table. Remember they recieved $33,000.00 to install the handicap fishing. The monies came from a court settlement in Butler County. It was fine money collected from a cement co for pollution. Also contac Dave Rupert Soil Concervation office. And ask how much tax dollars were given. D.I.G. meets every second Monday 1:00 pm. at the Area of Aging. Please attend we will be glad to share all of our findings, concerning this matter. Not just Jeff Pyle was notified all of our local politicians have been notified. But, no one cares to do ANYTHING!

  • By beverson, May 9, 2012 @ 12:40 PM

    According to Jack Bennett on today’s WTYM Morning Show, the club has re-opened the area to handicapped fishing and it is posted as such. If you care to hear his comments, you may do so at

  • By mark, May 9, 2012 @ 5:48 PM

    setter, I apologize for not knowing everything that occurs is this community. Why I don`t doesn`t matter.I assure you it isn`t because I don`t care. I use this paper for info and that`s about all the time I get to learn. I appreciate the info but not the sarcasm. Thank you.

  • By createawareness, May 9, 2012 @ 5:59 PM

    I, as well, am fully aware of the situation posed to the former Scout Troop. My husband and myself have spoken in length to one of the leaders affected.
    What an injustice was posed against these youth! Mr. Bennett, as well, is directly involved with this “exclusive, elite” club from what we were told.

  • By Setter, May 9, 2012 @ 8:15 PM

    Mr. Bennett is to be commended for addressing a response to the comments referencing the Pony Farm Club, however, taking down the signs on a stream that the Fish Commission has now removed from the stocking program is akin to permmiting fishing on Market Street in Kittanning. The damage cannot be repaired until conversations with the Fish Commission assuring them that the waters will remain open results in that area being once again added to the stocking program. As per a letter from Mr. John Arway, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, a written agreement will be required between the Club and the Commission in order to restock this section of Glade Run.
    The site was designated a “Childrens and Handicapped Fishing Area” as per the Permit Registration filed by the Armstrong Conservation District.
    Children and Handicapped should be helped not hindered, and certainly should not be punished due to the actions of a few.
    Communication of changes in policy must be publicized in order to change public opinion and resolve the public perception of what used to be a well thought of and respected Club.
    At least Mr. Bennett is making an effort to discuss and hopefully repair the damages.

  • By billbell, May 9, 2012 @ 9:30 PM

    I, too, contacted Rep. Pyle’s office and Sen. White’s concerning the closing of the kids and handicap area. Not only was a lot of public money put into the area, but the ultimate slap on the face was that his area was stocked full of trout just PRIOR to it being closed. Many a child and family looked forward to fishing in an area that would allow them to have the most success.

    I’m very disappointed that Rep. Pyle continues to cavort with this club and be a party to touting it as a family organization. It’s too bad that Rep. Oberlander didn’t do her homework before she tied her name to this farce.

    I’m proud to say that I’m no longer a member of this club and am happy to offer “free advertisement” for them about their actions any time their name comes up.

    I believe there is a reputable club along Buffalo Creek that knows what is right and good for the community. Maybe Mr. Bennett should include them on this list instead of the contemptible pony farm club?

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