2012 IN REVIEW: PART 2
The following is a review of news from May through August 2012 as presented in the pages of The Independent-Observer.
• Southmoreland School District is ranked 33rd out of 104 districts throughout southwestern Pennsylvania by The Pittsburgh Business Times — 134th in the state.
• Scottdale Public Library begins the “Get Caught Reading” program. Anyone caught reading in the community is asked to have their picture taken and receives a raffle ticket to possibly win prizes at lunch-in-the-park events.
• East Huntingdon Supervisors approve a resolution that makes the former Sony Corp. site ready for development as Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zones.
• The Independent-Observer returns to Scottdale at a new location after a brief absence in the borough.
• Plans are announced for a bed and breakfast to come to Scottdale at 700 South Broadway.
• A case of whooping cough (Pertussis) is confirmed at the Southmoreland School District.
• The high school hosts a Life Choices Summit to address issues facing students, such as cyber-bullying and underage drinking.
• Coty Villinger and Brandon Galley of the Southmoreland baseball team, are selected to play in the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game.
• Southmoreland High School has its prom with the theme, “An Evening in Venice.”
• Elementary school student Genesis Harshell wins a contest sponsored by Barnes & Noble in Greensburg with a letter she wrote calling Ron Sekerchak her favorite teacher.
• Southmoreland School Board approves a preliminary budget that would raise taxes an average of $28 annually for Westmoreland County taxpayers and $45 annually for Fayette County property owners.
• An employee of a Mt. Pleasant Township facility for mentally challenged is charged with assault. Adam John Kachmarek, 32, of Mt. Pleasant is accused of punching a deaf resident.
•Emily Lessman, a Southmoreland junior, finishes tied for 12th in the state with 10 other competitors in the high jump.
• Southmoreland High School class of 2012 graduates, with 153 students receiving their diplomas.
• Tina Warrick, 41, of Scottdale, is sentenced to serve two to four years in state prison for using a stolen credit card to charge $12,000 in merchandise.
• Middle school student Courtney Cominsky asks for those attending her 13th birthday party to bring toys and donations to be sent to children on the cancer floor at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
• Southmoreland senior Lauren Snyder wins a $2,500 scholarship in the Edgar Snyder and Associates “Words to be Heard” contest for her essay about not texting and driving.
• Scottdale Council approves a resolution for the federally funded Safe Routes to Schools project in the borough. The borough would be reimbursed with federal funds to be used to make safe walking and biking to school a possibility.
• Bill Chlebowski, an East Huntingdon native and 1986 Southmoreland High School graduate, is promoted to the rank of U.S. Army Colonel.
• Derek Jonathan Sheaffer, 26, of Everson, is charged with allegedly stealing and chasing a forged check from Country Motor Sales, in Bullskin Township.
• Regional family YMCA unveils two new pieces of playground equipment, one geared toward children ages 2-5, while the other contains activities for those ages 5-12.
• Everson Council approves the sewage site facility dealing with a new treatment facility proposed by the Westmoreland/Fayette Municipal Sewage Authority.
•Bob and Donna Beck of Scottdale donates the old Penn Theater building to Mt. Pleasant as part of a revitalization effort in the East End area of Main Street. That vision includes the development of a small park.
•Scottdale's first “Olympics” are deemed a success with people participating in a series of events, including track and field, softball and wiffleball.
• Two criminal complaints are withdrawn against Adam John Kachmarek, 23, of Mt. Pleasant who had been accused of assaulting a resident at a facility for the mentally disabled. Instead, Kachmarek pleads guilty to a summary charge of harassment.
•Southmoreland School Board approves a final budget which includes a 1.66-mill increase for Westmoreland County property owners and .0821-millage increase for those in Fayette County. That results in an average tax increase of $22.56 for home owners in Westmoreland County and $4.52 for those in Fayette County.
•Taney Basinger, 8, of Bullskin Township sings the National Anthem before a Pirates-Astros game at PNC Park.
•Alan Miller, 32, of Alverton dies as a result of injuries suffered while swimming in the Youghiogheny River July 4. He apparently dove into the river near Ohiopyle and struck his head on a rock.
• A ruptured water line causes a loss of about three hours of water service in Ruffsdale.
• John Fesh, 58, of Scottdale dies when his truck collides with a tractor-trailer four miles from Ohio's border with Beaver County.
• Southmoreland School Board agrees to allow Ken Colbert to erect a World War II honor roll on district property, near the entrance to Russ Grimm Field.
• Upper Tyrone supervisors are told the township received a clean audit for 2011.
• School board also revises Policy 707, which deals with groups using district facilities.
• A new sprinkler system at Loucks Park keeps patrons cool during the hot summer months. The project is funded by a donation from the Samuel Hicks Foundation.
• Scottdale Zoning Hearing Board denies a request by three Boy Scouts as part of their plans to create a parklet in a grassy lot next to the Scottdale Volunteer Fire Department station.
• Ricky Wayne Wilson, 17, of East Huntingdon is ruled to be tried as an adult in connection with two house fires set at a neighbor's home in 2011.
• The defending champion Southmoreland in-line hockey team schedules tryouts for the 2012-2013 season.
• Southmoreland School Board discusses the feasibility of closing the district's primary center, it eventually decides not to take that consolidation approach.
• A stinky problem develops in Scottdale with an increase in the population of skunks in the borough. Trapper Caleb Moore is brought in to address the problem.
• Brianna Grimm, 20, of Scottdale archives the rank of first-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Adding to the special achievement is the fact Grimm was diagnosed with the learning disability, Asperger Syndrome, in second grade.
• Scottdale Council renews its contract with Building Inspection Underwriters as the borough's code enforcement officer and approves a three-year contract with the police department.
•Richard Means is recognized as Scottdale Citizen of the Year at the borough's annual Picnic in the Park for his many volunteer activities in the borough.
• Rickey Lee Leonard Jr., 27, of Scottdale is jailed for allegedly threatening and injuring a 13-year old boy and pushing a woman down a flight of stairs.
• John Mickey, 27, of Everson is charged assaulting a boy in Connellsville.
•Regional Family YMCA announces plans to operate before and after school program in Southmoreland.
•Southmoreland girls tennis team opens it season with four non-section wins and a loss in the Section 1-AA opener.
• Football team loses its opener to Jeannette by a 48-6 score.
Next week: September through December.
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.