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Youngwood will recycle storm debris

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Public works employees in Youngwood live by the maxim of “waste not, want not.”

So far, four borough residents have signed up to receive free firewood as it becomes available throughout the routine duties of the workers.

The program, instituted Jan. 1, will prevent the public works complex at 508 S. Third St. from becoming cluttered with wood cleared from roadways, the Park ‘n Pool and the Five Star Trail.

“There are no estimates of how much wood anyone will get,” said John Storey Jr., head of the public works department. “It will depend on the clean-up of any deadfall or downed trees in the event of a storm.

“We are doing everything we can to provide good hardwood, but if people want pine to burn in their outdoor fire pits that could be available also,” he said.

Residents can sign up by filling out a one-page form, available at the borough office on South Sixth Street or on the Internet by going under recycling at www.youngwood.org.

The form functions as a release from any liability on the borough's part in the possible delivery of available firewood. It includes wording ensuring that the resident stores and burns the wood responsibly.

Diane Derco, secretary of the 1.3-square-mile borough, said that Storey brought up the firewood-giveaway issues while seeking approval from borough council.

“It was more of everyone's idea, and falls in line with the recycling program,” Storey said. A single-stream collection program began Jan. 7 with hauler Republic Services Inc.

There are no guarantees that firewood will be available for residents who sign up for the first-come, first-served program.

Storey stressed that the priority will be clearing roadways and not delivering firewood to residents.

“In the last two years, luckily we missed being hit by damaging storms,” Storey said.

Giving away the cut wood, as it becomes available, is a service officials are happy to provide.

“Providing free firewood is a nice perk for residents,” Councilwoman Mary Ann Klingensmith said.

The program will not include the wood from three oak trees that were removed from the borough building site by R & K Landscaping of Greensburg.

Two served as sentinels to the main entrance and one was at the nearby playground.

“One was pretty rotted out,” said R & K Landscaping owner Ray Keller. “These trees were at least 100 years old. It took three days to remove them and three tri-axle trucks to haul them away.”

Keller said he didn't get to keep the approximately 30 cords of oak from this job. It went to the man who hauled away the wood, he said.

Rose Domenick is a freelance writer.

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