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Westmoreland probation office considers Monessen for Alcohol Highway school

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Monessen is being considered for a satellite location for a safety course offered by the Westmoreland County Adult Probation office.

Speaking to council Monday night, city Controller Wayne Vlasic said the county hopes to locate one Alcohol Highway Safety School at a location in both the northern and southern ends of the county. It is considering Monessen for the southern location.

After 30 years of having a private vendor running the program, Westmoreland County last summer took over the program, which could generate as much as $300,000 in revenue.

Alcohol Highway Safety School is a required course for drunken drivers and is imposed by judges as part of probation sentences for DUI offenses. Defendants are required to attend the school before their probation is completed and they are eligible to have their driver's licenses restored.

Vlasic said the 12 hours of instruction would be held for three hours on the same weekday for four weeks, or for six hours each on a Saturday and Sunday.

Vlasic said the city must negotiate a fee for rental of the city building.

Meanwhile, council is expected to vote Wednesday on a temporary land use agreement with Douglas Education Center.

Jay Clayton, chief financial officer of Douglas Education Center, said the school plans to utilize two properties at Ninth Street and Morgan Avenue, and another near the boat launch, to train drivers to earn their Commercial Driver's License.

Clayton noted that DEC introduced a new eight-month training program for the oil and gas industry last year. In addition to classroom training, the students receive training on heavy equipment.

Clayton said the boat launch will be temporary, saying DEC officials are planning to buy land where the students can practice driving the heavy equipment and trucks. They would be at the boat launch site during the day, 20 to 30 weeks out of the year.

The Morgan Avenue site would require rezoning, likely to light industrial.

“The majority of us want to accommodate Jeff because he's a major player in this town,” Mayor Lou Mavrakis said, referring to DEC President Jeff Imbrescia.

Leonard Billy, city streets department superintendent, discussed a possible agreement with Guttman Oil to purchase diesel fuel for the street and parks department vehicles. Guttman would erect three 500-gallon tanks at no cost to the city. The Speers-based company would have exclusive rights to sell diesel fuel to the city.

Solicitor Al Gaudio said any purchases in excess of $18,500 must be let for bids.

When council meets, the session will begin at 6 p.m. That could change by February.

An ordinance changing the dates and times for council meetings will be voted on. If approved, the work session will be held the second Monday at 5:30 p.m., followed two days later by the work session, moved back to 7 p.m.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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