Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 8, 2004 · Page 130
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December 8, 2004

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 130

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Wednesday, December 8, 2004
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Dec 8 2004 4:25:34:260AM W-8 PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2004 Meeting times at issue in school dispute "You can't keep saying everything is fine and great because it isn't. This building is held together with chewing gum and a prayer." Bill Napierski a litany of problems, including antiquated gas lines and urinals, electrical panels that were held up with duct tape, leaky roofs and moldy and decaying ceiling tiles. "You can't keep saying everything is fine and great because it isn't. This building is held together with chewing gum and a prayer." Neither Napierski nor Weaver specified if they favored new construction or renovation, just that something needed to be done. Board member Greg Meiers, who has long opposed the project, later chided that he had an "extra pair of rosary beads and a pack of gum," and suggested that appropriate fixes be made to the buildings or current maintenance and custodial staff be replaced. And failing that, he suggested that the board be replaced as well, via a recall vote. "Put the names down on a sheet," he said. Dan Gigler can be reached at dgiglerpost-gazette.com or By Dan Gigler Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Accusations and refutations marked the evening in another typically hostile meeting of the Moon Area school board. The nearly four-hour meeting Monday night was the first since a controversial board workshop last month which was finished quickly and adjourned before any members of the public had shown up to attend. About 17 people did eventually show that night and were outraged that the board members had left, accusing them of shoddy ethics and dodging further public criticism of a contentious $70 million building and renovation project for the high school and middle school. Many of the same people unleashed their anger but were rebuked by board members who contend that nothing nefarious was afoot. Gary Schisler, husband of former board member Laura Schisler, charged that the board "sunk to a new ethical low," while Joseph Hopper called the board's attitude toward the public "disgraceful" and was applauded when he called for the board's resignation. Hopper's son, Michael, said that, at the very least, the board owed an apology to Moon residents. The board's workshop meetings fall on the fourth Monday of each month, with the first of several committee meetings starting at 6 p.m. These are open to the public, too, although attendance is generally sparse compared with the agenda action items portion of workshop meetings, where items are actually voted on. Those meetings were previously posted on the district's Web site as being scheduled for 7:30 p.m. However, the meeting legal notice, which is published each January in the Allegheny Times, states that workshop meetings would begin immediately after the end of the committee meetings. Board solicitor John Camb-est was adamant and succinct that the meeting was conducted on the up and up and that the with member Peggy Bell's statements that it adjourned without objection from any board members, including Sam Tranter, who seconded the motion for adjournment but later reversed course and sided with Nolfi. Board Vice President Bell presented a sheet that listed the start times and adjournments of every workshop meeting dating to November 1998. The earliest was last month's meeting, which began at 6:40 p.m. and was gaveled out at 6:55 p.m. The latest was on April 23, 2002. It began at 11:20 p.m. and was adjourned five minutes later at 11:25 p.m. Before October 2003, the majority of the workshop meetings began well after 8 p.m., but in the past year, the board has by and large stayed within striking distance of the 7:30 p.m. time. Bell acknowledged that the Web site listing was a mistake, and that it had since been corrected. "Not one board member made a single comment to extend that meeting," Bell said. Discussion was also terse in what has become a staple of every school board meeting oral volleys between residents who oppose the high school and middle school building renovation projects and board members who favor it. But for the first time in months, another voice was heard: people who actually use the buildings on a daily basis. Moon Area High School senior Jessica Weaver expressed her dismay at the lack of input students have had in the process. "Students have hardly gotten any representation here," Weaver said. "I've went to the middle school for three years, and the high school for four years. The rooms are either too hot or too cold. "People are sick all the time. I'm old enough to vote, I should be old enough to write a letter." Bill Napierski, head of the Moon Area teachers union, lashed out at those who would say that nothing is wrong with the middle school building. "I've been in here for 33 years, and you don't have a clue what you're talking about," Napierski said. He then gave Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, which governs meetings of public officials, was not sidestepped in any way. "Nothing was violated on Nov. 22," Cambest said. Board member Barbara Nolfi would not be swayed, calling the Nov. 22 meeting a farce. "The intent was clear. It was a deliberate attempt to circumvent public knowledge, input and viewing," Nolfi said. Don Radovich, often the voice of compromise on the deeply divisive board, disagreed and said that the meeting was "the most harmonious meeting he was ever at." He concurred Some residents still don't know what will happen to their damaged homes !&3toi 'SPBfcAji'TMeri's Boots R fj Exit 17 on 1-70 Western Shoo M-Fio-s"rsatio-s ZA Washington, PA f? Layaway Available N rj 724-228-1225 1 v jnry xfsSX av Gift Certificates v By Andrea Iglar A day after Lea Lester finally replaced the furnace in her Oakdale home, she said many of her neighbors still need help for their flood-damaged residences. "It's not over for these people," Lester said after the monthly borough council meeting last Wednesday. Borough officials have said that at least 18 houses, mostly along Noblestown Road and Clinton Avenue, were damaged badly enough in the Sept. 17 flood to need major repairs or demolishing. Already, two homeowners have razed their Clinton Avenue houses. Other residents, including Peggy and John Blain, still don't know what's going to happen to their homes. "We can't live in the house," John Blain told council. He said his family, including his mother-in-law who owns the property, could not afford to tear it down or rebuild it. About 39 homes and 109 businesses in Oakdale were damaged nearly three months ago when heavy rains swelled Robinson Run, a tributary of Chartiers Creek, and flooded the town. Council said owners of some damaged rental properties have been difficult to find because they live out of town. The bor- Blackhawk John Hay ward was re-elected president and Richard Caputo was re-elected vice president Dec. 2. The board meetings will be 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday each month. $20,000 raised for Oakdale A "Rally for Recovery" benefit raised more than $20,000 for Oakdale businesses affected by the Sept. 17 flood. The total could be higher because all of the contributions haven't been received and counted, said local automotive shop owner Ron Watters. A raffle for various prizes raised about $10,000, Watters said. ough is trying to contact them to discover what, if anything, they plan to do about the structures. Citing health and safety concerns, Councilmen Keith Merli-no and Russ Campbell said that if the owner of an unsalvageable building cannot be located, the borough likely would arrange to demolish it then seek compensation through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If that federal money isn't available, a lien probably would be placed on the property. As the fate of their damaged home remains uncertain, the Blains plan to continue staying with a relative. But John Blain wondered how long the federal disaster relief money he received SCHOOL Carlynton The high school band will present a holiday concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the high school auditorium, Kings Highway, Robinson. An elementary-wide choral and band concert will be presented at (724) 228-7710 1385 Washington Rd. Washington PA The remainder of the money came from the $5 admission charge and miscellaneous donations from legislators, the water company and others. A committee of Oakdale business owners will decide how to distribute the funds. The determination will be based, in part, on how much building, equipment and inventory loss or damage a business suffered and whether the owner had flood insurance, Watters said. Andrea Iglar would last. "If we have to pay rent with the money we got from FEMA, how are we supposed to afford a down-payment on another house?" he wondered. "We're just looking for answers to everything," Peggy Blain said. Borough officials said they are looking at local properties to which people could possibly relocate, and Deb Carr, of Oakdale, said the Rochester-based Christian home building organization, Hosanna Industries, is interested in helping reconstruct some houses. Andrea Iglar is a freelance writer. NEWS 7 p.m. Tuesday also in the high school auditorium. The Junior High Chorus, Senior High Chorus, Girls' Ensemble and Guys' Ensemble will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 in the high school auditorium. Montour Charles Snowden was re-elected president by a 6-3 vote Thursday at the board's reorganization meeting. Larry Tomei was elected vice president unanimously. The board's meeting dates have been changed. Discussion sessions will be at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday each month in the Oasis Room and the regular monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday in the senior high school auditorium. New Brighton Area Edward LeDonnewas re-elected president and Edith Pavlinich was re-elected vice president Dec. 2. Committee meetings will remain at 7:30 p.m. the second Monday each month and the business meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. the third Monday. South Fayette Vincent Lamberti was elected president and Leonard Fornella was elected vice president at the board's reorganization meeting I -ill I I LL STUDENT NEWS Carlynton High School junior Becca Smith and sophomore Dave Weiland were selected by audition for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 1 Senior High District Chorus set for Jan. 29 at Plum High School. Chartiers Valley High School Select Chorus member Monica Gigliotti has been selected by audition for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District Chorus taking place Jan. 29 at Plum High School. Carlynton High School students of the month for November and December were Elizabeth McNamara, senior; Kelly Grogan, junior; Allison McNamara, sophomore; Sarah Szczypinski, freshman; Lauren Uffelman, grade eight; and Rachel Calorie, grade seven. Character Education Students of the Month at J. A. Allard Elementary School in Moon are: Ruth Anderson, kindergarten; Brittany Doyle, first grade; Rachel Chodikov, second grade; Alyx Evans, third grade; Katie Peters, fourth grade; Kristen Sniezek, fifth grade. Carlynton High School students Jacob Dulick, Megan Kosky and Ray Sevacko were selected for the citywide "Get With It!" campaign against tobacco. They will be featured on more than 20 billboards in the Pittsburgh area, representing Carlynton and their desire to be tobacco-free. The billboards will debut next Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Craf-ton and Carnegie. Monday night. Committee meetings will continue at 7 p.m. third Tuesday each month and the business meeting will continue at 7 p.m. in the High School Conference Center. Sto-Rox The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program will be introduced into the middle school with a Jan. 5 school assembly. At the elementary school, the bullying prevention program will be introduced along with character education in February. West Allegheny John Scott was re-elected president and Carl DeCarlo was re-elected vice president last Wednesday at the board's reorganization meeting. The board will continue to hold its committee meetings at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesday each month and the regular meeting will remain at 7:30 p.m. the third Wednesday. All meetings are in Donaldson Elementary School. Adult and student volunteers recently erected a 430-foot split-rail fence in an environmental education program to enclose a wetlands area and increase plant and animal life behind Wilson Elementary School in Findlay. This project was funded by a $1,000 grant from the Environmental Education Committee of Allegheny Mountain Section of Air and Waste Management Association. Wilson students and staff were assisted by Mark McConnell, Jesse Lesko, Tom Robertson, Mike Oswalt, Doug King and Steve Yurkowski. 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