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500th open heart surgery for center

The Ed Dardanell Heart and Vascular Center at Forbes Regional Hospital recently performed its 500th open heart surgery.

The milestone capped a year in which the health care facility had been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Pittsburgh.

And, its open heart program was rated one of the 50 best programs in the nation by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

The milestone recipient was Ricky Mauk of New Florence, who had open heart surgery Dec. 16.

In addition to open heart surgery, the center offers heart services such as cardiac catheterization and interventional cardiology and invasive peripheral vascular procedures including interventions, a cardiothoracic intensive care unit, accredited stroke and chest pain centers, diagnostic testing, an electrophysiology lab and a telemetry unit.


Reviews will begin for candidates

Neighbors Unite Wilkinsburg, a nonpartisan, grass-roots organization that encourages participation in local government, will begin reviewing qualifications of candidates for the May 17 primary election.

The organization traditionally endorses candidates for Wilkinsburg council and mayor.

Donna Bour, chairwoman of the organization, said this year they're planning to consider endorsements of candidates for the Wilkinsburg school board.

"We need to have a viable school system, providing children with quality education, if our community as a whole is to thrive. We welcome hearing from candidates with ideas for improvement and the energy and commitment to make progress," she said in a written statement.

An endorsement includes the group's financial and organizational support.

Candidates seeking endorsement must stand for the following principles: insist on responsible fiscal management, encourage redevelopment, stabilize borough management personnel, cooperate with state and county governments and uphold professional ethics, according to the organization.

To be considered, candidates should submit a biographical sketch and/or resume, along with a brief statement explaining reasons for seeking endorsement.



Business owner won't be charged

An Irwin business owner who was cited by Irwin officials for violating the borough sign ordinance will not face charges.

Borough officials last week withdrew a summons served to Tom Witman in late December for placing a hand-made sign in the window of a vacant storefront he owns at the corner of Main and Third Street.

The sign read, "Good riddance, Donn. Your dream was our nightmare."

He was referring to former borough Main Street Program Manager Donn Henderson's departure after five years. Funding for the program, which amounted to about $280,000 over five years, expired Dec. 31.

The two men had been odds throughout Mr. Henderson's tenure.

Mr. Witman planned to appeal the citation before District Judge Douglas Weimer, but the charge was dropped before a hearing could be scheduled.

Borough manager Mary Benko would not comment on the citation.


Gas drilling ordinance delayed

Planning director/engineer Andy Blenko told residents Monday night that the township hopes to have an ordinance regulating gas drilling ready by next month.

Township administrators and the planning commission have been trying for almost a year to come up with regulations, and commissioners had been expected to adopt regulations this month.

Township manager John Shepherd said he prefers not to release details in a draft of proposed regulations without a favorable recommendation by the planning commission.

Noise has become a sticking point. Mr. Blenko told planners the drilling process in Marcellus Shale operations involves noise.

"But how can the township adopt drilling regulations without restricting noise? I'm not sure we can achieve that without all other construction activities being regulated, too," he said.

"Drillers have expressed interest in our effort to develop guidelines to regulate drilling," Mr. Blenko disclosed. "That's one reason the administration wants to keep mum until the commissioners get a chance to review the draft of the proposed ordinance."


Walmart drilling noise brings complaints

Residents of the upscale Lincoln Hills and Legends housing developments have complained to township officials about noise related to site development for Mills Pointe.

Last spring and summer, crews from Sipple Construction Co., the contractor for DeBartolo Construction/Irwin which is developing the retail plaza, went to a 24/7 schedule to prepare the site for a new Walmart super center.

"Walmart gave DeBartolo a deadline,' said Mr. Blenko. "The only way they could make it was working around the clock. We talked with Mr. Sipple, but since the township does not have restrictions on noise, there was not much else we could do."


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