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Rain causes more flooding at Southmoreland's Russ Grimm Field

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Kelly Vernon | The independent-Observer
Russ Grimm Field (shown here Aug. 26) was flooded once again during an Aug. 28 storm.

Two heavy rainstorms in the matter of five days wreaked some havoc in western Pennsylvania, especially in some specific areas in Scottdale and surrounding communities.

The story of Russ Grimm Field, home base for many Southmoreland High School athletic events, has been well documented and the process to repair it seems to have hit the proverbial snag.

After the field-turf surface, which was installed in 2006, was ripped and crinkled due to the Aug. 23 storm, more flooding occurred as heavy rain fell upon the field Aug. 28.

“It got flooded again,” said Superintendent John Molnar. “We're not doing anything until we determine where the source of the water is. That field's been down there a long time and it's never done this before, now it's done this twice in five days.”

Molnar said school district officials planned to meet with East Huntingdon Township Supervisors in hopes of determining the problem and moving toward a solution.

“We want to get it remediated before we spend a lot of money on repairing or replacing,” he said. “We have a bid booklet ready to go for repair but we have to determine where the water is coming from. What new variable is there that wasn't there before.... Something is different, we need to find out what that something is.”

Athletic Director Charlie Swink said he is talking with schools on the soccer teams' schedules about possibly switching locations. For example, if the Scotties play a school twice and the first game is scheduled for Southmoreland perhaps that game can be moved to the other school while the later game in the season can be played at Russ Grimm Field if it is repaired by then. Other options are the soccer field at Southmoreland Elementary School or one located up the hill from and behind the high school. Neither field has lights so the times of the game would have to be changed.

A girls non-section soccer game with Bentworth will be played at noon Saturday at Southmoreland Elementary School.

“We're really going week to week,” Swink said.

In Scottdale, a portion of North Broadway — primarily in the area of Dairy Haus — was closed for a period of time due to the Aug. 28 storm.

The barrier in place on North Broadway did not serve as a deterrent to the driver of a large truck. He calmly moved barriers to be able to drive his rig through, replaced them and shouted before leaving. “There was no sign saying the road was closed. There was no way I was turning this (truck) around.”

Mt. Pleasant Road had ponds in several spots, with vehicles taking on almost a mini-lake in the area of Seventh Street.

Borough Manager Angelo Pallone was inspecting property in the borough for about 2 12 hours Aug. 28 and said the West Park area was the hardest hit, much like Aug. 23.

He admitted he was impressed at the cooperation of residents of that neighborhood, helping each other to get through a trying time.

Pallone said the storms have resulted in some property damage for borough residents, especially with items in their garages and basements.

“Some people had water in their basements,” Pallone said. “There's not much you can do when water gets up like that, two inches in one hour... We're going to continue to talk to people. We're going to look at things and see if there's anything different the borough can do. It was an act of God. Several areas had the same thing. If we were unique, I'd say we have a problem and we would have to take care of it.”

A representative of the Scottdale Volunteer Fire Department said the department's duties in the borough mainly focused on pumping houses in the West Park plan.

However, the borough's swift water rescue team was called on to assist in Donegal where people were trapped in homes and vehicles.

Also, problems arose on Bullskin and Mt. Pleasant due to the Aug. 28 storm.

According to Fayette 911, Route 119 North in Bullskin near Marion Motors was closed for a short period because of flooding. One lane was later opened with Bullskin firefighters directing traffic. Bullskin also reported flooding on Route 119 near the Sheetz store.

Moyer Road in Bullskin was reported to have flooded, and the road surface was buckling. At one point, Bullskin firefighters were called to a home along Moyer Road for a fuel spill in the basement. Approximately 50 gallons of fuel reportedly had leaked.

Everson Valley, East End and North Bellview were among those flooded in Bullskin.

Bob and Cheryl Shumar, who run the Patriot Company Store out of their residence at 2317 Route 31 in Mt. Pleasant Township, stared on in somber silence recently as several feet of brown, foul-smelling, debris-littered water overtook the couple's backyard.

“We're right on the elbow of this creek, so when it floods, this is what happens,” Cheryl Shumar said. “When this goes away, there will be a giant sandbar in its place.”

Westmoreland County 911 reported 150 flooding calls between 3 and 4 p.m. Aug. 28.

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