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Editorials

Laurels & Lances: Norwin center a real service to older citizens

| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:55 p.m.
Sherri Kovalcin, 57, of North Huntingdon, the managing director of the Norwin Community Resource Center, poses for a portrait during the 'silver seniors' exercise class, on Friday, April 13, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Sherri Kovalcin, 57, of North Huntingdon, the managing director of the Norwin Community Resource Center, poses for a portrait during the 'silver seniors' exercise class, on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Laurel: To the women who run the Norwin Community Resource Center.

The nonprofit group provides a variety of activities for older adults who want to be active. It offers exercise classes, computer instruction, art, cooking and health initiatives. Not to mention social groups like card clubs.

The intent is to give older people, including those who live alone, a better chance of not becoming socially isolated.

Behind the effort are Sherri Kovalcin, a certified activity director, and Rose Buric, who rely on about 15 volunteers.

The center's popularity can be seen in the increase in class registrations. There were more than 10,400 in 2013, the center's first full year, and over 17,700 last year.

It's a real community service for the area's older residents.

Lance: To the North Huntingdon Township Board of Commissioners. It is hard to imagine a group of seven politicians taking longer to decide on hiring a new police chief than this group, which has seen two new members elected since a 4-3 vote to fire Andrew Lisiecki in September 2016.

Based on the 14-month delay in actually starting the hiring process, in part because one manager resigned and another had to be hired, these commissioners have lifted indecision and procrastination to a high art. Only internal candidates were being considered when the search process began at the beginning of the year, and it looks like the list has been whittled down to two officers.

Still, it seems these seven commissioners would have a hard time deciding who would lead a two-car police escort.

Lance: To the South Butler School District. A math lesson is in order.

The school district risks losing up to $60,000 because the state says its students only got 179 days of instruction instead of the required 180. The $60,000 represents the state's one day reimbursement to South Butler for operating the district.

The problem is tied to the teachers' strike that began in mid-March and ended at the beginning of April.

It also deals with counting days that the teachers work, including training days when students aren't present, vs. counting only school days when classes are in session.

The district got itself in a bind when its accounting, the teachers' union and the state didn't jibe.

It can't just add another school day, because that would go against one set of rules laid down by the state and a second that limits the number of days the teachers can work (187).

District officials say from now on they'll only count days when students are in the classroom. Which sounds exactly like what an “instructional day” should be.

We presume that the $60,000 will come out of South Butler's own budget.

What an expensive lesson to learn.

Laurel: To the city of New Kensington, which has slated eight more blighted buildings for demolition.

The best part is that they're mostly housing in residential neighborhoods. The demolitions will be paid for with federal Community Development Block Grant money.

City Clerk Dennis Scarpiniti said the city wants to raze the buildings to relieve potential liability on the city.

“People can wander in them. They could get hurt. ... We'd rather have a lot that potentially we might be able to sell to a neighbor.”

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