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California

The 158th commencement at California University of Pennsylvania, to be held over two days this week, will be televised via cable.

Graduate students will receive their degrees at 7 p.m. Friday and undergraduates at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hamer Hall.

Cal graduate Charles C. Keller, senior counsel at the law firm of Peacock Keller & Ecker, of Washington, Pa., will speak to the graduates at both ceremonies.

California University Television will broadcast both ceremonies live on Armstrong Cable in California (Channel 39) and Connellsville (Channel 61). Atlantic Broadband Communications (Channel 21) and Comcast Mon Valley (Channel 13) also will air the ceremonies.

Cecil

Supervisors approved a request Wednesday to rezone 11.6 acres at Blue Jay and Raven drives from a residential district to a parks, recreation and athletics district.

Angelo Falconi donated the land to the township's Youth Baseball Association on the condition the land was rezoned. Ron Fleeher presented supervisors with drawings of plans for the land, including four baseball fields and a picnic area.

Fort Cherry Schools

Taxes in the district probably will be raised next school year.

Early looks at next year's $13.6 million budget show taxes are going to need to increase, but exactly how much is not certain, district Treasurer Paul Sroka said Wednesday.

"We're trying to maximize our resources so we don't have to raise taxes too much," he said, adding that district officials were considering ways to reduce some expenses.

Some figures, such as fuel prices, insurance costs and teacher salaries, remain unknown, Sroka said.

A preliminary budget will be presented to the school board at a special meeting May 17. The final budget will be considered at the board's regular June 28 meeting.

North Strabane

Supervisors agreed Wednesday to employ a consultant to help develop an ordinance that could facilitate the improvement of the township's parks.

Environmental Planning and Design of Pittsburgh was hired for $7,305 to help draft a law that would require the developers of housing plans to dedicate either land or money to the township for public recreational use.

The drafting process, which will last about three or four months, will be overseen by the parks and recreation board.

According to township officials, developers tend to prefer giving up money rather than land. This practice is permitted by the state as long as the fees are used to help implement a certain type of overall parks and recreation plan. North Strabane already has such a plan; it aims to expand a central public park area near the municipal offices off Route 519.

An emergency phone will be installed at the entrance of the North Strabane Police Department.

The public phone will be set up to dial 911 in case someone needs emergency assistance when the police station is closed, Manager Frank Siffrinn said.

The station is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Supervisors voted Wednesday to buy and install the phone for about $850.

Peters

Tennis players in Peters who have long awaited a new tennis center must wait even longer.

Council was poised to approve a bid Monday for the construction of a modular tennis center off the walkway to the tennis bubble until members found that the project did not include a basement.

Council had received two bids on the 1,120-square-foot structure, $124,000 from Diamondwood Construction and $198,497 from the Amato Group.

Assistant Manager Paul Lauer said, at those costs, the one-story building would include only crawl space, not a full basement. Lauer said Diamondwood estimated it could include a basement for $38,000.

Solicitor William Johnson advised council to rebid the project if it wanted a basement included rather than merely adding it as a change order to the project. Council decided to table the current bids it received and to re-advertise for a structure with a basement that could be used for storage.

The rebidding will push the project back about two months, Lauer said, with a completion date now around Thanksgiving rather than shortly after Labor Day.

Council last week awarded an $800,119 contract to Pompei & Sons for the 2004 road resurfacing project.

It will include resurfacing 11 roads and the parking lots at Peterswood Park.

South Strabane

Supervisors approved Wednesday exempting people whose annual income is less than $10,000 from paying per capita tax.

The request for the township to pass the exemption came from Jim Shargots, director of fiscal services for Trinity Area School District, township Manager John Stickle said. The school board passed the same exemption at its March 18 meeting.

The township's previous income limit was $5,000. The change won't affect the township's revenue greatly, but it will ease the tax burden on senior citizens and students, Chairman Charles Kosey said.



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