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Student-decorated plows to push snow, safety on Westmoreland roads

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, 12:06 a.m.
Conemaugh Valley High School's entry in PennDOT's 2016 Paint the Plow contest was voted the Facebook 'fan favorite' among participating Cambria County schools.
Conemaugh Valley High School's entry in PennDOT's 2016 Paint the Plow contest was voted the Facebook 'fan favorite' among participating Cambria County schools.

Westmoreland County drivers should be prepared when snow flies to meet a Knight battling Old Man Winter on state roads in North Huntingdon or a Wildcat slashing through drifts in Unity.

Norwin High School and Greater Latrobe Senior High, where those respective mascots are based, are among 10 schools in the county that are taking part this year in PennDOT's expanding Paint the Plow winter safety promotion.

PennDOT District 12 spokesman Raymond Deep explained the participating schools each will receive a state plow blade to paint with an image that reinforces safe driving on snow- and ice-covered roads. The painting on the unique canvas also may express local pride, by incorporating the school's mascot and colors, and will be used on trucks that clear roads near the school.

Student artists must include the safety slogan: “Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.”

“This is a great opportunity to create safety awareness for drivers and students just beginning to drive themselves, as well as showcase the students' imagination and artistic talents,” PennDOT District 12 Executive Joseph Szczur said in a prepared statement.

“We're hoping they use some of their school spirit,” Deep said of the students. “It will be interesting when (the plow operators) are driving around in the school district.”

In addition to Greater Latrobe and Norwin, other Westmoreland schools taking part in the program include Penn-Trafford and Yough high schools, Trafford Elementary and Middle schools, Harrison Park Elementary, Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, Westmoreland Intermediate Unit's Clairview School and Adelphoi Village's charter school.

Three other high schools in District 12 have signed up: Laurel Highlands in Fayette County, Peters Township in Washington County and Waynesburg Central in Greene County.

Deep said plow blades will be delivered to the schools at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year and, after painting, will be collected by Oct. 6.

The decorated blades will be judged by a panel to determine

a winning design in each county and will be displayed on PennDOT's Facebook page for a “fan favorite” award in each county. The elementary entries will be judged separately, Deep noted.

PennDOT's plow-painting contest began in 2015 in Cambria County, after officials there were inspired by a similar program conducted by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“This is the first time District 12 is doing it,” Deep said.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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