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Blind spot at the intersection of Diamond and Hunts alleyways sparks discussion

BROOKVILLE — A trial change in a borough alley has caused a local couple to share their concerns with Brookville Borough council members last week.

Mr. and Mrs. John “Jack” Huber reside at 254 Madison Avenue and access their parking area off of Diamond Alley.

Council, at the request of the Brookville Volunteer Fire Company, had made Diamond Alley going uphill from Madison Avenue to Hunts Alley one way for a trial period of 90 days. The request had been made because of close calls by firefighters turning up Diamond Alley and having close calls with vehicles coming down the alley. The firefighters turn up the alley to get to their only parking, which is diagonal off of Diamond Alley going up toward the fire hall.

Huber said having his parking area off of Diamond Alley forces him to travel through the intersection of Hunts Alley and Diamond Alley four times a day. Hunts Alley runs parallel to Main Street and is situated between Main Street and Madison Avenue.

Huber said that there is a blind corner at the intersection of the two alleyways, adding that visibility from Diamond Alley looking west on Hunts Alley is only about five feet. He noted that there is some traffic on Hunts Alley as well as parked cars. During the day he estimated 20-25 vehicles during the day and 10-15 at night.

“Hunts Alley is used by tractor trailers and other delivery trucks for Main Street stores. This often determines which direction you can travel on this alley. If there are trucks on both east and west sides of Hunts (Alley), drivers are forced to continue on Diamond (Alley) to Main Street. At this intersection pedestrians are not visible to the driver,” Huber said, reading from a sheet of typed points he wanted to bring to council’s attention.

Besides the problem with exiting Diamond Alley onto Main Street, Huber noted that during the winter the alley is an uphill grade and, being made of brick, can become very icy. “Sometimes you can go down, but not up,” he said, adding that “This is an alley. Snow plowing, anti-skid and salt are secondary to streets like Madison Avenue.”

Huber said he had lived on Madison Avenue at his current address since 1989 and has not witnessed any accidents in the area of the Madison Avenue and Diamond Alley intersection related to the firefighters. “Most residents know to avoid the area or be extemely cautious when the fire siren goes off,” he said.

“Since the (one-way) signage was placed (in December), I was in a near miss accident at the blind intersection of Diamond (Alley) and Hunts Alley. I was on the one-way stretch of Diamond, turning left on Hunts Alley and could not see the car traveling on Hunts Alley from west to east. We both stopped in the nick of time to avoid the collision. The other driver was giving me choice words and was sure that I was in the wrong. There are no signs at this intersection to indicate who has the right of way. The reality is that neither driver can see the other at this corner of the intersection,” Huber said.

He then challenged council members to “take a drive up the one-way section of Diamond Alley from Madison Avenue, and turn left on Hunts Alley heading west. Do this on a weekday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at your own risk. How safe do you feel making the turn?”

Huber is not upset with the fire company making the request for safety reasons but asked council to try to figure out a way to make it safer.

Part of the issue is that the Wilson Printing Company building, which now will house North Fork Brewing, is situated right on the edge of the corner at the intersection of the two alleyways making it difficult for drivers to see traffic coming up Diamond Alley or west on Hunts Alley.

“I think it’s a scary thing and that’s one reason why I bring it up. And like I said, I had a near miss and we were head to head. But the truth is you can’t see, you just can’t see. So if I’m going to be forced to drive through that intersection every day, I want to be able to see where I’m going,” Huber said.

Councilwoman Karen Allgeier asked borough Police Chief Vince Markle if stop signs or a mirror like the one situated on Jenks Street near the school would help in this situation.

Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Pearsall noted that the firefighters have to go up Diamond Alley to park, they cannot go down. “It’s the only parking we have besides behind the fire hall, which is very little” space.

It was mentioned that whistle isn’t blown for every fire. The siren only goes off when there’s something on or near Main Street, solicitor Jim Dennison commented.

Pearsall said the siren was shut off at a certain at night until morning and for certain calls it does not blow. “And we did have it shut off there for awhile because it was tripping there by accident for a tornado warning,” Pearsall said.

He added that firefighters have had issues coming up the alley with other motorists coming down, as the alley is basically one lane. “That’s the only real issue we have with it is getting into our parking places.”

Changing the firefighters parking spaces so that they angled down the alley rather than up would be worst according to both Pearsall and Huber.

“I certainly don’t want to stop the fire department from doing their job, that’s certainly not my issue. My issue is that you’re forced into that blind intersection. Even though you pull up there, you stop, you can’t see anything. So what do you do. You start inching out and hope for the best, that’s all you can do,” Huber said.

The stop sign idea was ruled out because of limited space. Another idea that was floated was to have a red strobe light at the intersection that would go off to stop traffic when the sirens sounded and once the sirens stopped, most of the firefighters would already have arrived and normal traffic flow could resume.

The matter was turned over to the council’s street committee to come up with a solution that would work for everyone.

Alex Nelson 

The newest edition to their setup is the Second Strike Magic Mirror, a full length mirror photo booth, with plenty of props to go with it.

Being the 'Life of the Party'

CORSICA — Chris and Tracey Morris are two locals that have pretty regular lives. Chris Morris has a Monday to Friday job as a drafting and design guy. They live in the small town of Corsica. But they spend the rest of their time under flashing lights and thumping music, always the life of the party.

The Morrises are the owners of Second Strike DJ Service, and are quite literally the life of the party. They bring the speakers, music, lights, and personality to the events for which they are hired. They have different sound systems that allow them to fit to any type of party.

“I enjoy the feeling of being a personality, and giving people a good time,” Chris Morris said about being a DJ.

They started DJing back in November 2011 as more of a hobby. The reason they made the jump to buy a DJ set up was because of Relay For Life. They were already involved with the event, and it needed a DJ that could project sound to the entire area used. With that in mind, the Morrises bought their original set up from Thunder and Lightning DJ service. Chris Morris is a cancer survivor himself, and they have continued to DJ for the Jefferson County Relay every year since. They have done as many as four relays in one year.

Relay For Life is what started it, but they played a couple other places as well. They continued to go under the name of the old owners, but after a couple of months they wanted to have their own identity. It was Second Strike DJ Service from then on.

The first wedding they played is what made them think they could take it from a hobby to a pro service. Their first paid gig was at the Hourglass Bar in Brookville. Most of their early work was done in bars around the area. Now they mostly do weddings. During the winter months they can be found at Brookville Lanes during their Rockin’ Bowl events.

Soon after they got their set up, they started changing music over to digital. They got the collection of CDs that Thunder and Lightning had gathered, but it was time consuming when someone requested a song. Early on, they would make mix CDs of the most popular songs to have on hand. Today, Chris Morris still keeps a CD drive with his laptop so he can burn CDs to the computer system to play them.

Today, Morris has a subscription with Promo Only, a music service specifically for professional DJs. He gets about 20-30 new songs a day from the service and can pick which ones he wants to add to his collection. He currently has about 18,000 songs on his laptop.

Most of their set up that they use today is new. The speakers they have are the only things left from the original system.

“Every year we buy something new,” Tracey Morris explained about their equipment.

The lights on the system are all fairly new. The music is constantly being updated. They have set ups that range from 600 watts to 20,000 watts. They explained that they are always upgrading and thinking outside the box.

The newest edition to their setup is the Second Strike Magic Mirror. This is a photo booth that can be set up along with their DJ equipment. Bought recently in November, the booth is a full length mirror that people can stand in front of to have pictures taken. It will print out a 4x6 photo with themed frames in just 13 seconds. The entire mirror is a touch screen interface that patrons use to get their pictures.

“I put just as much time into this as I do my full-time job,” Chris Morris said.

They are already booking into the 2020 year, though they do still have some dates available for 2019. All of their business is done through word of mouth, they don’t do any advertising but do have a Facebook page.

They are happy with the current size of the business, because they are still able to do everything themselves.

“If you hire me, you get me,” Chris said.

The couple have even packed their system into the back of their Challenger to drive to Gettysburg to DJ the wedding of an 85- and 91-year-old. They explained that this was one of the more interesting events they had ever done, but still a good time.

“When they’re having fun, we’re having fun,” Tracey Morris said.

The Morris’ explained that they enjoy the happiness they can bring to people through DJ’ing. They always like to interact with their crowd and play games. From all the different events they have done, they always enjoy when they can enhance the mood of the room.

Patti Slaughter 

First-graders who will be in Jill McLaughlin’s room played a “Getting To Know You” game Thursday morning during an orientation program at Pinecreek Elementary School.

Alex Nelson 

Chris Morris takes his place behind the computer of his sound system.

Photo submitted 

The set up that is used at weddings gives a more elegant booth for the Morrises to do their work from.

municipal authority

BROOKVILLE — The federal government shutdown has reached down to the local level, causing the Brookville Municipal Authority to consider alternative ways of paying the contractors involved in the completion of the new waste water treatment facility.

Requisitions for payment this month included $161,061.81 from Global Heavy Corporation and $10,845 from Gwin, Dobson & Foreman. Approved by the board, they must be paid within 30 days.

“With the federal government shut down, USDA will not reimburse us till that is resolved,” borough manager Dana Schreckengost said. “In order to keep our contractors happy and keep things progressing,” she proposed that “we pay the money and whenever the federal government opens back up, we will be reimbursed. We are temporarily down at this time.”

She told the board that “this happened at no better time” because the BMA has two CDs that “are getting ready to mature on January 22.”

After a brief discussion the board authorized the finance committee to use the CDs to pay the requisitions. If the shutdown ends before January 22, the committee can choose the best rate of interest and reinvest the money.

If the shutdown continues indefinitely, “we have funds in place, have contingencies in place, that we can fund it for a couple months on our own, without the federal government,” Schreckengost said.

Work on the new plant is progressing well, engineer Josh Gunnett said. Both the general and mechanical work, as well as the electrical work, are nearing 90 percent completion.

Because of many lost days of work due to inclement weather between April 2017 and October 2018, Global Heavy requested a change order adding 37 days for completion of the project. The board also approved an additional $5,325.90 in the change order for changes in some equipment.

Gunnett said approving the change order will move the substantial completion date to February 20, with May 21 as the final completion date. He does not anticipate any problems with those new dates. “We have been running the new plant since December 11. We did have a pretty big storm here a few weeks ago that put 5 million gallons through, and the plant handled it. They are behind schedule, but I do think we’ve already met the DEP requirements,” he said.

In related action, the board approved a recommendation from water commissioner Clyde Bullers that American Resource Recovery Corp. be paid $6,879 to do the RBC recycling from the old plant. Gunnett said that demolition of the old sewage treatment plant is already underway.

In other action:

  • the board authorized the opening of a new PLGIT account of about $66,000 for a short lived asset reserve, required by USDA. The money represents a percentage of the equipment cost in the new facility, and will be used for replacement of equipment in the future.
  • the board reviewed the treatment plant chemical bids opened at last month’s meeting, and on the recommendation of the engineer accepted the lowest bid for each of the chemicals.
  • Gunnett reported briefly on the DCED small water and sewer grant application for waterline rehabilitation to Franklin Avenue. He said the site has been surveyed and hopes to have the final design ready for approval at next month’s meeting. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.
  • Gunnett said he also hopes to have a new agreement from PennDOT for the February meeting in regards to the improvements on the Routes 322 and 28 project.
  • accountant Kerry Swineford told the board that the new software is proving to be a good choice, as he begins end-of-the-year reports

The next regular meeting of the Brookville Municipal Authority will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 12 in the Borough Complex.

Alex Nelson 

Some examples of the photos that can be printed from their new photo booth.