Looking back again at 2012 in the Independent-Observer
By Paul Paterra
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
The following is a review of news from September through December 2012 as presented in the pages of The Independent-Observer.
• West Overton Museum opens for tours, the first since renovations began 16 months prior. A complete overhaul of the museum's mission and space is part of the revitalization project.
• Woodcrest Senior Living Community celebrates an expansion and renovation of its facility. The project includes a new wing built onto the apartments, a new chapel, an emergency generator, a four-bay garage, new roofs, carpeting and furniture and the addition of a sprinkler system.
• Carolyn Hart retires after 30 years as postmaster of the Everson Post Office.
• Everson Police Chief Mark Grippo resigns over salary issues.
• St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Everson celebrates its 125th anniversary with a dinner event attended by about 400 people, including Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.
• Countryside Plaza in East Huntingdon sells to PDQ Properties Corp. and ProVest Properties LLC of Florida.
•The Geyer Performing Arts Center returns to service after two weeks without power. The woes started when an electricity meter in the back of the building is apparently struck by a motor vehicle. The loss of electrical services resulted in the postponement of the “Curious Savage.”
• Sue Killinger, Scottdale Borough's longtime secretary dies at the age of 67. She had retired in March after 38 years on the job.
• The annual Scottdale Fall Festival is held and draws in its typical large crowd.
• William Rumbaugh, 77, receives a service award in recognition of his 30 years of service to the Scottdale post office.
• Kevin Murrell assumes post as new pastor of Everson Evangelical Church.
•Cross-country team members Josh Dei and Riley Beistel earn medals at the prestigious Slippery Rock Invitational. Dei places 17th among Class AA boys and Beistel fourth in the girls competition in the same classification.
• Excela Frick Hospital unveils $2.6 million in upgrades to its facilities and services, including private rooms, expanded critical care capabilities and enhanced technology for cardiac care.
• Members of the Southmoreland girls soccer team wear pink jerseys in a game against Uniontown to support the fight against breast cancer.
• Southmoreland football team captures its first win of the season after four defeats with a 37-13 victory over Waynesburg. Quarterback Dakota Datz rushes for 223 yards and three touchdowns and running back Jake Pisula chips in with 144 yards and two scores on the ground.
• Zoe Ripple and Emily Helms are crowned as queens of Southmoreland's annual homecoming festivities.
• Freshman Riley Beistel shatters the 15-year-old Southmoreland course record by positing a time of 21:55. The old record was 22:14, set in 1997 by Jennifer Anthony. Beistel eventually qualifies for the PIAA cross country championship, where she finishes 124th out of 239 runners in Class AA.
• Colton Baker, 6, of Scottdale has a birthday party at Hot Shots, but donates all of the gifts to Madisyn's Angels. The organization provides Christmas gifts to children in need in the Southmoreland and Mt. Pleasant school districts.
• Southmoreland School Directors vote down the idea of having Business Manager Bill Salem develop a three-year financial plan. Those who pushed for the move said it would allow the district to prepare for any deficit it might face.
• Everson Council approves the International Property Maintenance Code.
• Southmoreland wins “Hunger Games” challenge over Mt. Pleasant. The two districts engaged in a competition to collect the most canned goods to be delivered to the Westmoreland County Food Bank in Delmont. Southmoreland collected 2,025 pounds of food.
• Data reveals Southmoreland School District does well for the most part in Adequate Yearly Progress. However, students at the high school level fall under AYP levels in reading and math.
• Kelly Linn resigns as executive director of West Overton Museums amid calls from board members to cut her pay and her concerns that a renovation already underway has been abandoned.
• Chris Fabian resigns after three years as Southmoreland boys soccer coach.
• Southmoreland Middle School is one of 10 in the country honored as a Breakthrough School, through the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in conjunction with MetLife. The program recognizes middle schools and high schools that serve large numbers of students living in poverty and are displaying high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement.
• Mt. Pleasant Township firefighters pitch the idea for an annual fee to help fund fire stations.
• “Anthony's Cure Jam” raises $6,200 to help with care for Anthony Maccarelli, 2, of Scottdale, who is afflicted with mitochondrial disease. The event was headlined by local musician Chris Higbee.
• Scottdale District Judge Charles Moore pleads guilty to a summary charge of improper stopping. State police said Moore stopped at the scene of an accident on Route 119 and refused to move after firefighters advised him to keep moving. Moore's attorney, Kenneth Burkey, said the charges resulted from “a misundertanding.”
• East Huntingdon supervisors approve a budget that does not include a tax increase, like they have done for numerous years.
• Bullskin Township Supervisors pass a budget for 2013 that does not include a tax increase. The township has not raised taxes in more than 50 years.
•Scottdale Council approves a spending plan for 2013 that keeps the millage rate at 20 mills, holding the line on property taxes.
• Southmoreland School Board approves the hiring of the accounting firm of Cypher and Cypher of Canonsburg to help with the district's annual financial report. The board also voted to have administration present three proposals from outside firms for potential audits of the 2012-2013 school year.
• Scottdale borough begins a campaign to raise money for a new police vehicle. Mayor Chuck King pledges his 2012-13 salary to aid in the effort.
• Former Southmoreland High School teacher Bob Percy has a book published called “Profiles of Service and Sacrifice, Citizens of Scottdale and Vicinity at War 1941-1945.” The book tells the stories of local people involved in World War II.
• Some fifth-grade students at Southmoreland Elementary School use money given as an annual gift by the parent-teachers association to give gifts to children less fortunate. The students donate $15 to Madisyn's Angels.
• Dakota Datz, Chas King, Jake Beistel and Jake Pisula are named to the Class AA Keystone Conference all-conference football team.
• Jake Beistel (heavyweight) and Austin Griffiths (106 pounds) capture the championships of the Chartiers-Houston Invitational wrestling tournament in their weight classes. Griffiths also places first and Beistel second in the Southmoreland Holiday Tournament.
• A vigil is held at the Scottdale Volunteer Fire Department to remember those who lost their lives in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
• The annual Toys-for-Tots drive, spearheaded by Jim Carson, owner of Carson's tavern, and Southmoreland Middle School, generates 150-200 toys for children whose parents can't afford to buy them gifts at Christmas.
•Everson Council passes a budget for 2013 that does not include a tax increase, but does hike police presence in the borough.
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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