DuBOIS — Concerned about a proposal to move fifth-graders to the middle school, parents peacefully protested on the sidewalk in front of the Administrative Center on Liberty Boulevard Thursday evening, an hour before the DuBois Area School Board meeting, where a vote on the issue took place.
Still, the board voted, 7-2, in favor of the reconfiguration of the DuBois Area Middle School from grades 6-8 to grades 5-8, effective with the 2018-19 school year and to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Education of this decision. Directors David Schwab and Sam Armagost voted no. Lee Mitchell, Ben Haugh, Patty Fish, Larry Salone, Jeff Madinger, Randy Curley and Mark Gilga voted in favor.
The concerned parents who participated called it “a show of resistance.”
Those participating brought signs that said, “Vote No,” or “Let Kids Be Kids,” “5th=Elementary” or something similar.
They weren’t allowed to hold signs on district property but they were permitted on the sidewalks.
In a 6-3 vote, the board also voted to approve KCBA Architects to design and document a new elementary school at Wasson Elementary as per their Jan. 22 proposal letter and pending solicitor approval of the architectural contract. Voting against were Armagost, Schwab and Haugh.
Another proposal from the EADS Group to perform the civil engineering/land development services for a new elementary school at Wasson Elementary was approved in a 5-4 vote. Voting against were Armagost, Schwab, Haugh and Salone.
In a 9-0 vote, the board also authorized the board business manager to commit $5,996,000 of the unassigned general fund balance for future repairs and maintenance of district buildings.
After the votes, many of the concerned parents left the meeting.
BROCKWAY — There are roughly 15,000 trout swimming inside the water treatment plant in Brandy Camp, and their numbers may soon swell to 20,000 thanks to the addition of a new tank.
The plant has for several years housed a trout nursery operation that provides fish for stocking in local public streams. The new tank comes courtesy of monetary donations from several area service organizations and government entities.
The plant is managed by the Toby Creek Watershed Association, which formed 50 years ago with the goal of ridding Little Toby Creek, – an Elk County tributary of the Clarion River – of acid drainage from old coal mines. Some 500 gallons are pumped into the plant for treatment every second.
Water that flows in red comes out clear and ideal, founder Bill Sabatose said, for raising fish.
“I think a little bit out of the box. I’m a chemist,” Sabtose said. “I thought, ‘Well, we have all this pure water, why don’t we do something with it?’ And it came to mind, ‘Why don’t we grow fish?”
Water brought into the plant is aerated and treated with potassium permanganate. It is then separated from the iron that contaminates and gives it a red color.
Some of the treated water goes into large tanks where brown, brook, rainbow and golden palomino trout are raised, while the rest flows back out into the creek. The Association is provided trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Each tank simulates a current, costs about $75,000 and can contain about 5,000 fish. The Fish and Boat Commission, Elk County Commissioners, Brockway Area Kaimanns and the Stackpole-Hall Foundation all pitched in to help the Association purchase the new tank.
Sabatose said that the trout raised at the plant are stocked in local public streams. When the Association first formed 50 years ago, he said, there were those who doubted that the polluted water in the area would ever again support fish life.
Now those same streams, he said, are drawing the interest of new and young fishers.
“There’s nothing like seeing a young kid catch a fish and their eyes light up,” he said.
DuBOIS — “It’s fun, it’s daring, it’s for a good cause.” Those were the words Paula DuBois of the DuBois YMCA used to describe the upcoming sixth annual Polar Plunge.
In cooperation with the Treasure Lake Property Owners’ Association Winterfest 2018, the DuBois YMCA is holding a Polar Plunge at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Treasure Lake Marina.
Participants must be 12 years and older and can choose to compete in the best costume contest. New this year is the Chicken Coop for those too chicken to take the plunge.
DuBois said the Chicken Coop works like this: Persons should place a donation, with a minimum of $10, to put someone into the Chicken Coop who is afraid to take the Polar Plunge. Donations can also be placed to get someone back of the Coop, she said.
The event is a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.
“It keeps the prices reasonable or free for our youth activities,” said DuBois. “We never want a child to be turned away. The money from the fundraiser also supports all of the YMCA’s children’s programs.
Last year, approximately $1,000 was raised during the Polar Plunge.
Registration is available up to the event.
For more information, visit www.duboisymca.org or call DuBois at 814-375-9622.
Winterfest 2018 begins at 11 a.m. with the Polar Plunge. There will be other events and activities throughout the day in Treasure Lake. For more information, contact Lori Corcoran at 371-0711, ext. 903.