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Retirement of sergeant in Whitehall leads to police force promotion

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A retirement from the 20-member Whitehall police force will lead to the department's first promotion in nearly eight years, officials said.

Written exams for officers seeking to be promoted to sergeant will be conducted next week, said Councilman Bill Veith, who heads council's public safety committee. The oral portion of the exam will be held in early October.

Whitehall leaders are looking to promote one officer to sergeant after Sgt. Jay Hardman retired in January, deputy police Chief Richard Danko said. The department typically has four sergeants, which allows one to oversee each crew. Hardman's retirement left a shortage.

Any officer who has been with the Whitehall department for at least five years is eligible to test for the promotion, Danko said. Officials hope to have a new sergeant in place sometime in November, he said.

Community day

Whitehall council members lauded the borough's Aug. 24 community day.

Most of the day's festivities drew large crowds, particularly the Doc McStuffins booth, council members said.

Yet, by the end of the day, crowds dwindled for the final act — “American Idol” season 11 finalist Adam Brock, Mayor James Nowalk said.

“There were very few people there and it bothers me that we're not getting more attendance. Here's a guy who's on ‘American Idol' and he's just singing away down there and the crowd was just not what it should have been for someone of that magnitude,” Nowalk said.

The mayor suggested sending out a Swiftreach mass notification system phone message to Whitehall residents before the annual event, highlighting the biggest parts of the day.

Bus update

Whitehall Councilwoman Linda Book said she hopes to get feedback on a meeting she recently had with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald about cuts made to Port Authority bus routes in the South Hills, particularly the elimination of the 51C on Baptist Road.

Book said she and Fitzgerald reviewed maps of the area to see how the elimination of bus routes affected residents.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

Solar panels

A Whitehall councilwoman is asking colleagues to expedite the crafting of an ordinance that would place restrictions on solar panels before the mounted structures begin to cause problems in the borough.

“I can just see a resident putting solar panels in the south side of their yard, which happens to be the front side, and a lot of people being upset about it,” Councilwoman Kathy DePuy said last week. “I do think that we need to get that moving.”

“There is some guidance,” DePuy said.

An ordinance is being drafted by the Whitehall planning commission.

DePuy suggested that borough leaders consider placing a solar panel on the pool house roof “one of the days -- creating our own energy system,” since the panels now are becoming smaller, she said, laughing.

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