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Community invited to domestic violence forum

| Friday, Oct. 3, 2003

More than 544 domestic violence victims and their significant others received counseling services in Armstrong County between July 2002 and June 2003, and more than 124 people were provided shelter here for a total of 2,591 days in that span of time.

With that in mind, county commissioners began October by adopting a proclamation deeming it Domestic Violence Awareness Month at Thursday's public meeting.

The proclamation, prepared by Jo Ellen Bowman of HAVIN, Inc. (Helping Abuse Victims In Need), stressed the violation to a person's privacy, dignity, security and humanity due to domestic violence and the subsequent need for a coordinated community effort to put a stop to it here.

"We're planning a Community Response to Domestic Violence Forum on Oct. 23 at Lenape Heights Golf Course ballroom, and all are invited," Bowman said.

Other business included commissioners' approval of revisions to the county Agricultural Land Preservation Board Bylaws and Policies draft, which most notably included the reduction of the annual production rate for county farmers to qualify from $50,000 to $25,000.

"Washington County's (agricultural production rate for farms) is actually $15,000, our board decided that ($25,000) was a reasonable figure for this county so that some farms that are productive, active farms will not be excluded," said Chris Rearick of the county's Department of Planning & Development.

"This is the final step required for the Agricultural Land Preservation Board before we file the policy to the state to be approved, and at this point (the state) is prepared to give their final approval upon recommendation by the board of commissioners."

Commissioners also approved a resolution to submit a Fiscal Year 2003-04 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Grant of $94,643 for the county's Buttermilk Falls Bridge covering project, with construction slated to begin in 2005.

Upon completion, a county official attending the meeting said the covered bridge will be met by the Rail-To-Trails hiker/biker path currently under construction and subsequently will connect the path to the opposite bank of Cowanshannock Creek.

The Allegheny Valley Land Trust will hold a public plans display for the Cowanshannock North Trail Section at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 in the commissioner's conference room, located in the county courthouse annex, according to Jared Anthony, an Americorps volunteer working with AVLT.

Commissioners also approved a $41,825 construction contract to be awarded to Pietropaolo Excavating, Inc., of Greensburg for the construction of Laurel Road water line extension project in Parks Township, which will be paid for by the county's Fiscal Year 2002 Community Development Block Grant funds, funds from Kittanning Borough and a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Grant.

W.G. Land Co. of Champion, Pa., was also granted approval by commissioners to receive a $70,000 construction contract for improvements to Kittanning Community Park project, as associated with the county on behalf of Kittanning Borough's FY 2002 Community Development Block Grant funds, funds from Kittanning Borough and a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Grant.

Lastly, commissioners reappointed the following individuals to Tri-County Workforce Investment Board, Inc.: Jeff Fullerton, Karl Harris, Philip Tack and Richard Vesley of Kittanning as private sector representatives; Terry Kinney, Rich Palilla, Janet Talerico and Royce Young as public sector representatives; Indiana County Commissioner Bernie Smith as local government representative; and Margaret Fallica as at large representative.

Commissioners also announced that October 6 is the last day to register to vote for the November election, and by 5 p.m. Oct. 28 is the deadline for county Absentee Ballot applications.

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