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May 17 walk/run will close streets in Youngwood

| Thursday, May 7, 2015, 2:11 p.m.

Sections of three streets in Youngwood will be closed May 17 for a walk and run being held in memory of a borough firefighter who died last year.

During a meeting Monday, borough council approved closing Depot Street, from Second Street to the borough line; First Street, from Chestnut Street to Depot Street; and Hillis Street, for the Jeffrey “Lance” Wentzel 5K Run and Walk.

The closures will take effect around 7 a.m. and last until approximately noon, borough manager Diane Schaeffer said.

Wentzel, 57, an avid runner in addition to being a firefighter, died March 22, 2014, after being struck by a train in North Versailles while he was searching with others for a missing woman. The Allegheny County medical examiner's office ruled his death an accident.

Wentzel served as a firefighter for 35 years and volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Ironically, Wentzel was the first to sign up for the race in its inaugural year two years ago, when the proceeds benefited the new borough playground.

Race proceeds will go to the fire department this time and be used to set up a scholarship fund at Westmoreland County Community College in Wentzel's memory for a student interested in majoring in fire science or a related public service field, said Lloyd Crago, council president and fire chief.

The race sponsor, the Youngwood Area Business Association, expects to continue the tribute to Wentzel in the future, said group President Tina Nobile.

Organizers hope 300 to 500 participants will take to the race course this year, including area firefighters.

Last year, more than 300 runners and walkers took part, Nobile said.

The race will go from the fire hall to the Five Star Trail and then wind through the community college, organizers said.

Competitions will be held in seven different age groups.

In another matter, council awarded a contract for $214,498 to Derry Construction Co. to do soft-spot repair, milling and paving of Silvis Farm Road from Depot Street to the borough line. The contract is contingent upon a review by the borough engineer and solicitor.

The annual Memorial Day parade, sponsored by the Youngwood VFW and borough fire department, will begin 9:30 a.m. May 26, with the memorial service to be held 11 a.m. at the Youngwood Cemetery.

Bob Stilles is a writer for Trib Total Media.