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Sewickley Township rec director gives positive report

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:50 p.m.

A cold-weather river plunge and an increase in Internet presence has pumped fresh blood into Sewickley Township's park and recreation coffers.

Supervisor Chairman Alan Fossi kicked off the new year by taking part in the annual “Go Jump in the River” event Jan. 1 at Connellsville Park. Fossi's chilling dive brought a warm smile to members of the recreation board as he raised $1,050 for a new multi-flavored fountain machine for the township's Crabapple Park and Pool in Herminie.

At the Jan. 15 municipal meeting, recreation director Janet Schork applauded Fossi's fundraising effort as well as the community in general for an increase in use of the Highland Avenue recreation center in Herminie.

“Everything at the recreation center is running very well and we are almost filled to capacity, both evenings and weekends,” said Schork of the facility that also accommodates overflow of the high school baseball, lacrosse and soccer programs. “Lease rentals for weekend birthday parties are already ahead of what we had all of last year, and we are really pleased about that.“

Schork said free sports clinics for football and soccer are filling in available times on Saturdays.

“I don't know if it's because we're on the website, but we're very happy about it,” said Schork. “I just booked a birthday party for the first Saturday in March, which was the first opening we had available. That is definitely an increase over last year and much of that is word of mouth.”

The director said the township's website lists rates, dates and times for use of the facility.

Starting this month cardiovascular and body sculpting classes are being offered by fitness trainer Nikki Smith. Cost for the Saturday morning class is $5.

Schork said monthly dances for youngsters in kindergarten through grade six are also well supported. A Snowball Dance with DJ Brandie is scheduled for Saturday.

The recreation center is open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

The adjoining library will host the community Crime Watch's annual Police Academy Feb. 25 to Apr. 8 for interested persons age 18 and older. Coordinator Charles McGrew said speakers for the educational classes will include a district attorney, coroner, county sheriff, judge, state police, etc. Applications are available at the library.

Also at the monthly meeting, Fossi announced the township started collecting recyclables at its municipal building along Mars Hill Road this month. He said the project is part of the township's new refuse contract with Waste Management, Inc. A list of recyclables, including paper products, bottles, chipboard, cardboard, some plastics, etc., are listed on the website. The independently operated site at the township library no longer accepts recyclables, Fossi said.

Supervisor Wanda Layman said the township is in the process of supplying the new hauler with billing addresses because a record of township customers was not forwarded by the former collector. She said senior discounts will continue to be available with acceptable proof of age.

Under old business, Fossi said public comment meetings regarding possible contracting for part-time police protection will be scheduled in February at the Herminie, Hutchinson, Rillton and Lowber fire halls. The decision follows concerns expressed in December that crime activity has increased in some areas of the township.

The township currently relies on state police from the Greensburg barracks to provide police protection.

“Some people are claiming an increased drug activity in the Herminie area, but we really don't know for a fact if there is an actual increase in the number of incidents,” Fossi said. “We don't have those figures. We would have to get those records from the state police.”

Fossi said dates for the meetings will be announced on the township website after he confirms arrangements with the fire company chiefs.

Colleen Pollock is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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