The South at a glance

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Food collection next month

Members of the police and fire departments and Tri-Community South Emergency Service will be collecting food and money to help feed the hungry this holiday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 14. at Bethel Park Shop 'N Save and Walmart on Route 88.

Details: Officer Tom Rigatti at 412-831-6800, ext. 104, or email

* The Bethel Park Police Department is taking applications for its 2014 Citizen Police Academy and Law Enforcement Apprenticeship Programs, which begin Jan. 15 at the high school.

Applications are on

Each of the free programs runs for 12 weeks. Residents and business owners can apply for the citizen academy; high schoolers for LEAP.


Library roof repairs underway

Workers are placing new shingles on the roof of Heritage Public Library in McDonald.

A crew from Tasz Construction of Bulger was expected to finish the work this month.

After a year of fundraising and several major donations, the library raised $17,512 needed to replace about 6,500 square feet of defective roof shingles, library director Jen Swearman said last week.

"[The roofers] fit the library in at the last minute," she said. "I was super-duper thrilled because otherwise I was afraid it would leak over the winter."

The library collected $10,254 through community and patron fundraising. Major donations came from Giant Eagle in McDonald, Range Resources in Cecil and CentiMark Corp. in Canonsburg, Ms. Swearman said.

The firm 84 Lumber awarded the library a $4,000 credit for materials and Republic Services donated a Dumpster.

The library, 52 Fourth St., serves McDonald and the Washington County communities of Midway, Mount Pleasant and Robinson.

* Police began a one-year, $13,000 contract Oct. 1 to enforce the speed limit in West Middletown, Washington County.

Police Chief Mark Dorsey said officers are spending 10 hours a week in the tiny borough to help curb speeding on Route 844.

Through separate agreements, McDonald police also provide services to the Washington County communities of Burgettstown, Midway, Robinson and Independence.


Athletic field lights too costly, commissioners say

Commissioners heard from representatives of the township athletic association, who unveiled the results of an internal study indicating that more field space was needed for the 3,200 township residents who participate in recreational sports leagues. The deficit could be addressed by lighting the four athletic fields in the Boyce-Mayview Park to allow for evening games and practices, but the estimated cost of more than $1 million seems insurmountable for now, commissioners said last week.

The results were announced during a meeting.

Representatives said there has been a 19 percent uptick in league participation since 2009, resulting in 17 new teams that need practice fields. The association collects $16,000 in user fees each year, which could be applied to the cost. Temporary lights installed at the fields for six weeks this summer didn't create a nuisance for neighbors, representatives said, and no complaints were forwarded to the township.

Commissioners said they spent $5 million to build the fields several years ago and are committed to no tax increases for residents. They said that doesn't mean the fields won't be lighted, but the process may take a year or more of financial planning and public input.

"We're going to have to get creative if we're going to do this," commission Chairman Robert Orchowski said.

Also last week, commissioners:

* Heard a request from the developers of Siena at St. Clair to rezone their 26-acre tract at the corner of Route 19 and Fort Couch Road from a special business district to special business and mixed use district, a new zoning designation. The change was spawned by a lawsuit brought by residents who claimed that a text amendment in the special business district constituted a map change and thus a zoning change. The development would still include a Whole Foods grocer, along with several restaurants, offices, retail shops and 33 housing units. A public hearing into the request is scheduled to continue Dec. 2. If the new zoning district is approved, the developer would again have to seek a conditional use approval to begin construction. It had previously won approval after months of public debate in October 2011. Mr. Orchowski said there would not be multiple public hearings for the new request.

* Reviewed options for a new, five-year trash and recycling contract through the South Hills Area Council of Governments. Commissioners are considering an option that would allow automated collection of recyclables with a 65-gallon wheeled cart. Though more expensive in the first few years, the automated collection is expected to increase recycling by as much as 50 percent, thus lowering the township's cost for trash disposal in the next contract. Neighboring Peters and Scott townships recently approved the automated option and northern municipalities, including Ross and Shaler, have said they've seen dramatic increases in recycling and less garbage since using the automated system in recent years. Automated collection uses a truck with arms that pick up the cans at the curb, while traditional collection involves workers who empty the smaller containers by hand. Commissioners are expected to make a decision at the December township meeting.


No tax increase planned

Residents got some good news earlier this month when manager David Montz said the borough's proposed 2014 budget contains no tax increase and garbage collection will remain as a municipal responsibility.

Residents will be mailed copies of the proposed spending plan tomorrow and council will hold a public budget review session at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

* Action was tabled on a solid waste contract because of an undisclosed discrepancy in the bids. The bidders are Republic Services and Waste Management.

* Council adopted and approved a three-year arbitration award for the borough's nine-member police force that will provide increases of 3 percent in 2013 and 3.25 percent in 2014 and 2015.

* Council unanimously approved the state Department of Transportation's request to repave Greentree Road between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. in May. The affected area will extend from McMonigle to Carnahan Road. The repaving is necessary because of a recent waterline replacement project along the road.

Mr. Montz said PennDOT plans to put down new concrete and temporary asphalt in that section.

By working at night when traffic is reduced, the new surface will be completed more quickly, officials agreed. Workers will be able to complete 200-300 feet a day.

* Councilman Edward Schenck noted that the borough now owns the Green Tree Cemetery on Greentree Road.

Formerly known as the German cemetery, the property was purchased in 1873 by the German United Evangelical Congregation in Temperanceville and later associated with the United Church of Christ in the Elliott section of Pittsburgh.

Because the church's membership has dwindled, the borough has taken over the property, as well as $90,000 of church funds for its upkeep. Mr. Montz estimated that it will cost $5,000-$7,000 to maintain the cemetery, which is located near the Nature Reserve and across from Banbury Lane and Silver Oak Drive.

More than 1,300 graves are in the cemetery.

Mr. Schenck said the borough may be looking for volunteers to help keep up the cemetery. More information about the site can be found at

* Councilman Rino Lindsay reported that 300 pounds of unused prescription drugs were collected in the most recent Drug Enforcement Agency Take Back Day. That amount is about 50 percent more than was gathered in the spring collection.

Councilman Mark Sampogna said the Green Tree Library is starting a process to develop a new strategic plan. He also reported the recent book sale netted the library $5,500. Unsold books were donated.

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