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Indiana County receives reduced hazardous materials grant

| Thursday, March 6, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Indiana County Commissioners have voted to accept a Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant awarded through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

The grant requires a local match of 20 percent, Indiana County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Stutzman said at the commissioners' Feb. 26 meeting. The local match will be paid by the EMA using Act 165 funds, Stutzman said, and wil not come from the county's general fund.

“Those are funds that the county and the state receive for chemical storage, so if a facility like one of the power plants, if they're storing chemicals of a certain kind in a certain quantity, they have to pay a fee. They pay a fee to Labor and Industry at the state level, and they pay a fee to the county,” he said.

The county EMA received less HMEP grant funding this year than it had previously, Stutzman said.

“Last year, we submitted $66,000 worth of expenses to PEMA in our application for this grant and they've chosen to fund $16,900 of that,” Stutzman said.

Commissioners also appointed six members and one alternate to the Local Emergency Planning Commission. Carson Greene, Richard Gibbons, John Bertolino, Milt Lady, James Dickson and county commissioner Patricia Evanko were appointed to terms expiring February 2016 with commissioner Michael Baker appointed as an alternate.

Commissioners approved a contract with Wessel & Co. to complete its audit of former Blairsville Borough tax collector Carol Tarasovich, who resigned in January. The remainder of the audit could cost the county up to $1,500. The audit's cost is prorated among the county, borough and Blairsville-Saltsburg School District.

The commissioners approved contracts adding United Presbyterian Church of Blairsville and Penn Run Church of the Bretheren to the county Department of Human Services' database. The additions bring the total number of participating partners enrolled in the database to 22.

The commissioners tabled for further review a request from Peoples Natural Gas, which wants to acquire a right of way to run a gas pipeline and place a measuring and regulating station on the corner of the county jail property along Fyock Road in White Township.

Commissioners approved proclamations honoring longtime public servant John “Jack” Hammerle of Indiana and the Reschini family.

Hammerle spent 18 years as a member of the Indiana Area School Board, 23 years on the county housing authority and 36 years on the redevelopment authority after being one of the authority's original members. He also served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955 during the Korean War.

Rose Reschini founded the Reschini Insurance Agency in 1938. According to the proclamation, the agency was the first of its kind in the nation and the first such agency in Pennsylvania founded by a woman. Rose's husband, Joseph Reschini, joined the agency in 1941 and their son, Roger, joined in 1964 and became president of the agency in 1979 when the agency was incorporated. Roger Reschini's son joined the Reschini Group in 2006 as chief operating officer.

The proclamation will be presented Tuesday when the Reschinis receive the 2014 Distinguished Family Business Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Center for Family Business at the Eberly College of Business.

Commissioners received an update on the Challenger Learning Center project during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The center has secured 10 acres on the Indiana County Technology Center property for the space science facility, according to project committee member Vicki Smith.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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