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Ligonier Valley Endowment issues 4th-quarter grants

| Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 9:04 p.m.
Rebecca Emanuele | Trib Total Media
Ligonier Chamber of Commerce executive director Holly Mowrey (left) and executive assistant Kayla Tamer test new Apple iPads by taking photographs of the ice sculptures around the Diamond. Fort Ligonier Days Inc., which works closely with the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, used its fourth quarter Ligonier Valley endowment grant monies to purchase the iPads for the chamber’s office.

Four local nonprofit groups will update inventories and facilities with grants from the Ligonier Valley Endowment.

The endowment bestowed more than $25,000 in fourth-quarter grants to Friends of Linn Run State Park, Ligonier Valley Middle School, the Ligonier Borough Police Department and Fort Ligonier Days Inc., according to endowment president Jack McDowell.

The endowment, part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, reviews applications from groups within Ligonier Valley School District. It has assisted ventures related to health, education, the environment, recreation, the arts, civic endeavors or startup costs, as well as equipment and facility needs, specialized technical research and capital campaigns.

Linn Run State Park's thousands of visitors each year have triggered a need to update some of the park's facilities, according to McDowell. A representative from the park could not be reached, but McDowell said its grant will fund a new energy-efficient rest room and shower that will be accessible to those with physical disabilities.

Students at Ligonier Valley Middle School will enjoy a new selection of books, as the school plans to use its grant to purchase “leveled readers,” or reading materials geared toward the various literacy levels of students, Principal Dave Steimer said.

“A basal reader contains grade-level text, however, within a class, there are varied reading levels and many interests represented,” Steimer said. “Using leveled books addresses the needs of all students.”

Steimer said the books, which encompass a variety of topics geared to interest all students, will be used by all middle school students as part of their language arts instruction.

Ligonier Borough Police Department enhanced its selection of patrol devices by purchasing tasers for its officers with its grant.

The Ligonier Borough Police Department has used its grant to purchase four tasers and accompanying holsters for its officers.

Chief John Berger said the department previously had two tasers, but they were outdated, so if they were to break they could not be repaired.

He said having the tasers can save an officer or subject from getting seriously hurt.

“Not only does it save an officer from maybe being injured, it incapacitates the subject, but there is no permanent damage, as opposed to maybe getting into a physical altercation,” he said.

Fort Ligonier Days Inc., which works closely with the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, used its award to purchase office storage equipment, furniture and two Apple iPads for the chamber office.

“We can go out during our events and take photos and videos with the iPads so we can further market or advertise chamber events,” said Holly Mowrey, executive director.

Mowrey said footage of the recent Ligonier Ice Fest, which the chamber sponsors, appeared on NBC's “Today Show” after producers contacted the chamber about featuring the event in a segment. Footage recorded by executive assistant Kayla Tamer was broadcast during the television show.

The iPads will come in handy during Fort Ligonier Days, Mowrey said.

“We'll be able to use the iPads to video the parade, the entertainment, the crowd, and that will be helpful in future marketing,” she said. “We're planning on doing some television advertising this year. If we are able to do that, the iPad will be really helpful.”

The Ligonier Valley Endowment declined to disclose the specific amounts for each grant.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or