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New Stanton, Youngwood added to Westmoreland summit

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 4:57 p.m.

Several years ago, Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy came up with an idea to get leaders from several surrounding communities to meet and discuss issues that may be affecting all of them.

Through work and cooperation from other local communities, a summit was organized.

For the past three years, leaders from five municipalities — Connellsville, Mt. Pleasant, Scottdale, Everson and South Connellsville — have broken up into groups and met for several days where they've discussed problems, shared ideas and hopes for their communities during the G-5 Summit.

This year, two new towns will join in the April gathering. With the addition of New Stanton and Youngwood, the event has been renamed — the G7 Summit.

“I think that this is going to be good for us and we are happy to be included,” Youngwood Borough Council Vice President Scott Palmquist said. “We are always trying to find new ways to make things work better for us and this will be a great opportunity for us to network and listen to ideas. We look forward to sharing ideas and meeting our neighbors.”

New Stanton Council President Scott Sistek said his council hopes to share ideas while also listening to what neighboring towns have to deal with and how they handle situations.

“We are excited and we want to thank Mt. Pleasant and the other members for including us this year,” Sistek said. “We are really looking forward to being able to network with other towns and it will be great for all of us to be able to get together. We really think that this is a great opportunity for us.”

Landy said that the final schedule is not yet set. The two new towns will each be asked to host one session.

Although there will be new subjects introduced this year, several of the topics from the last three years will be updated and revisited.

“They might be something that we covered but the new towns didn't,“ Landy said. “We are also adding some new ones.”

Landy said information shared and learned over the years has proven beneficial.

“The idea of the G7 is that same as it ever was,” Landy said. “We want to work with our neighbors.”

Landy said one benefit of the past summits is the opening of communication.

“We know each other now so it's not a problem at all to pick up a phone and call any of them,” Landy said. “We've also worked together to share equipment, which was a big savings, and with all of the towns working together, we can possibly purchase things such as salt at a discount if we can get if for everyone.”

The groups will meet prior to the summit to put the final touches on the schedule and to decide on the topics.

“This can only be a win for everyone involved,” Palmquist said. “We can now all work together to progress into the future.”

The G7 Summit will be held from April 18-20 at the Laurelville Mennonite Church Center.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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