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Committee donates camera to Delmont police

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 8:28 a.m.

Delmont Mayor Jim Bortz doesn't expect a film clip from the police department's new surveillance camera to end up on a reality cop show.

In fact, he hopes that the borough lawmen never experience such dramatic, traumatic incidents.

What Bortz does anticipate is that the recently installed camera will provide the department with more safety and documentation of their duties.

For those opportunities, the borough is grateful to the Delmont Apple 'n Arts Festival, whose committee members donated $6,400 to purchase the camera.

It's just one of the many ways that the festival organizers return their profits to the town.

'The whole idea (of the festival) is to give back to the Shields Farm and to the community so that there will be a farm in the future,' said Sally Burton, who is on the committee.

The 100-plus acres of land were owned by R.J. Shields in the early 1800s. His descendants, the Fred Ewing family, donated it to Delmont Borough more than two decades ago.

Autumn events held there for the past 20 years started small and grew into the popular event that last October drew more than 35,000 visitors. Admission is free, but profits come from parking and vendors' fees.

Last year the committee donated $20,000 to the borough for road improvements at the farm. Profits from 1999 renovated the log house that's used during the town's popular Christmas pilgrimage that takes place on part of the farm.

'We did the chinking, put in a new furnace and had the electric updated,' Burton said.

In other recent farm improvements, the committee paid for electrical work, water fountains, a sound system at the amphitheater, and for finishing the installation of a fence.

'We also make generous donations to organizations when their members help us, such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, youth groups at the Presbyterian Church, and the Masons from Export,' Burton said.

Last year the local Meals on Wheels organization received $500 from the sale of entries in the festival's Apple Bake contest. The committee is arranging the installation of a 20-foot flagpole at the farm, and the flag will be donated by the office of state Rep. Joseph Markosek, a Monroeville Democrat.

They are also going to pay for another video camera for the borough's second police car.

'This is wonderful,' Bortz said. 'There are incidents in the past where a camera would have really come in handy.'

The surveillance equipment is mounted in the grille of the patrol car and the small viewing screen is inside. Taping is activated when the emergency red lights are turned on, but the officer can override that automatic feature.

'You never know what kind of situation that an officer would find himself in that we may need to have documented,' Bortz said. 'We're a small town but we have all the same things that a big city has, like drugs. You'd be naive to think that that's not around.'

He's pleased with the festival committee's generosity, which he also considers a reflection of the residents' pride in having their own police department. The borough, which has a population just under 2,500, has three full-time and five part-time cops.

'I've lived here for 42 years and we've had a police department for as long as I can remember,' Bortz said. 'The residents want it, and they like the idea of round-the-clock coverage. I also give credit to council, which authorizes money for what we ask for.'

Members of the festival committee are glad to help out, too.

'We heard that they needed the cameras, so we got them,' Burton said.

Coming attractions


This year's Apple 'n Arts Festival at Shields Farm in Delmont will be held 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 20 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21.

Attractions include radio personality Jack Bogut, Patsy and Egidio Faiella on acoustic guitar and mandolin, Jane and Tim Powell with the Bubba Hyde Band, and the Mainline Blue Grass Gospel Band.

There will be an apple baking contest, a horse-drawn wagon train, arts and crafts vendors, a chainsaw sculptor, children's activities and pumpkin painting. The apple baking contest will be held Oct. 21. Deadline for entries is Oct. 18.

Once again, there will be old-fashioned hayrides on the grounds and demonstrations by the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association of a 100-year-old cider press making fresh apple cider. There will also be demonstrations of whole wheat and buckwheat being converted into flour on a stone grinding mill and corn being ground into meal.

On display will be an antique gas engine, an operating sawmill and antique tractors. Tractor pulls will be held for children and adults.

The third annual non-denominational Sunday morning worship will be held 10 a.m. Oct. 21 in the amphitheater.

Parking costs $3 per car. Handicapped parking and wheelchairs are available. For the second year, organizers are selling festival flags to homes and businesses to dress up the borough for the event.

The red and tan flags are 28-by-42 inches and read 'Delmont Apple 'n Arts Festival.' They cost $10.60 each and may be purchased at Burton's Interiors on Route 66 in Delmont or by calling the festival's voice-mail line at 724-325-8867.

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