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Township supervisors contemplate emergency plan

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:05 p.m.

Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Co. President Bob Fry reported at the monthly Cook Township supervisors meeting last week, that the township needs to create an emergency plan to respond to a possible failure of the dam at Donegal Lake.

Fry said the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections conducted a survey to determine what lakes could be considered high hazard, which includes Donegal Lake and its tail waters.

“DEP sent paperwork to Donegal Township and Ligonier Township, but they never considered us and it flows the whole way through Cook Township,” Fry said. “Ninety-eight percent of the damage would be in Cook Township, not in Donegal or Ligonier. By the time it gets to Ligonier the water is going to be spread out. We have to have an emergency plan within the township to cover a failure.”

The supervisors signed an ordinance authorizing the township to join the Central Westmoreland Council of Governments. Supervisor Richard Umbaugh said the move would mean significant savings on health insurance.

“By joining the COG, they are telling us we can have another substantial savings on our health insurance,” Umbaugh said. “We had a $60,000 dollar savings last year, and now we'll get a better group rate.”

Also during the meeting, the supervisors appointed Paul Adams and Faith Lechner to the board of directors for the Cook Township Community Center. Adams is a former board member, who resigned as the result of his work schedule. However, community center volunteer Pat Piper said he has retired and is now able to return to his position as a director.

“I know Paul very well,” Umbaugh said. “He has been on the board before and worked well before.”

Piper also spoke on behalf of Adams.

“Paul is actually changing his schedule so that he can come back. He is going to really work hard for us,” Piper said.

Piper said she has known Lechner for many years and thinks she will work well at the community center, saying “Faith was one of my Girl Scout for years and she was just a wonderful Scout.”

After the appointments, supervisors suggested the board implement a system of committees to hand various aspects of the community center, such as fundraising, grounds keeping, building maintenance, and playground oversight. Umbaugh explained that a committee system would take some of the burden off of the directors and allow them to administrate more efficiently.

“I think it will help tremendously,” Umbaugh said. “Each board member would chair a committee and they could pull their group of people from the community to help so that it's not one person doing everything. They can start getting more volunteers involved, who aren't necessarily board members. Then you will be able to pull your future board members out of the committees. We've got a good workforce over there, and this might bring a bigger workforce in.”

In other news:

• Meetings for the community center board of directors will be the first Tuesday of every month, starting 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at the community center.

• The Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Co. board meetings will be the second Thursday of the month, beginning 7 p.m. tonight. The fire company will also offer bingo 6:15 p.m. every Sunday at the fire hall.

The next Cook Township supervisors meeting is 4 p.m. Feb. 6, in the supervisors' office located on Route 711.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.