STRATTANVILLE — Clarion-Limestone Elementary School students experienced one of the school’s holiday traditions – the kindergarten Christmas Program.
The program includes students from all five of the school’s kindergarten classes. These students sing holiday songs in a 45-minute performance in the C-L Area High School auditorium to the delight of their classmates, who make up the audience.
While many of the songs were sung as a group, there were also songs that were sung by each individual classroom group. The classes are numbered A through E. Classroom parts included: Acrostic choral reading, Five Little Christmas Trees, Nine Little Reindeer and Shy Santa, Five Little Snowmen and Angel Band and Chubby Snowman.
Other holiday favorites included: We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, Away in the Manger and One Small Voice.
BROOKVILLE — The Brookville Borough Council held a brief reorganizational meeting before its regular meeting Monday night.
Phil Hynes was unanimously re-elected as president of the council. Other officers elected were Karen Allgeier as vice president and Bill Kutz as pro-tem president. Allgeier had held the pro-tem president position last year and Kutz had been vice president. Both were elected to their new positions unanimously.
Once the elections were completed and the reorganization meeting adjourned, Mayor Richard Beck, who had presided over the meeting, handed the gavel over to Hynes for the regular council meeting.
“Well, thank you all for your confidence and we’ll see if we get through another couple of years here,” Hynes quipped as he took the gavel.
Future council meetings will return to the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. A change that began in 2019 will also continue this year with the first meeting of the month being a full meeting and the second meeting of the month being shorter – with no department head reports – and followed by committee meetings.
Jayne Crissman spoke Monday night on behalf of a fairly new nonprofit organization in Brookville – Stray Cat Central. She along with Sierra Barber (president of the organization) LeeAnn Swartz and Lisa Possa attended council to get input as to how they should handle the trapping of cats. They did not want to get into trouble for humanely trapping someone’s cat that was loose in a neighborhood.
The group traps stray cats, gets them spayed or neutered and releases them back into the same area. This way the cat population does not continue to grow and inter-breeding is stopped. The group has also fostered some of the cats and found them homes.
“We’re foster-based, which LeeAnn does some fostering for us. We get the kittens maybe from somebody’s wood pile, somebody’s barn, somebody’s garage. They call us and say, ‘we have kittens. Can you help us because we don’t want any more.’ So we’ll take them to the fosters. We do it on donations,” Crissman said.
Several businesses have helped the organization by providing cat food, vitamins, etc.
“We kind of need help,” Crissman told council. “Because if somebody calls us what’s our chain of command, like what do we do? We don’t have the authority to just go take these cats off of the street.”
The members of Stray Cat Central knocks on doors and getting some feedback.
“We went to a guy in Pickering Street and said, Is this your kitty?
“And he’s like, ‘Yeah.’
“Is it fixed? “No.”
“Are you waiting to get it fixed? ‘I can’t afford it. I don’t even have a car.’
“I said, how about if we take your kitty; we get a fixed; it’s $40. Jefferson Animal Clinic is working with us to help get a spay and neuter clinic set up. And he’s like, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’
“So we took his kitty, we brought it back. He gave us $40. The next time he went shopping, he dropped off a present at our door. And he’s like, ‘Thank you girls. It meant a lot.’
“But that’s not the case with every situation,” Crissman said. “So if we get calls, what are we supposed to do? Like how would you guys like us to handle it? Because we want to help try to relocate some.”
She added that she wasn’t asking the borough for money right now. The group is trying to do it all through donations. Students at the school raised $357 on Pennies for Kitties for fourth and fifth graders.
The group is trying to set up a spay/neuter clinic once a month as a way to combat the over population of felines in the borough. The next clinic is Jan. 18 at the Jefferson Animal Clinic, she said. Last month they had 16 cats spayed/neutered, which cost them around $1,600.
The group has also adopted out more than 50 kittens since it formed in September. Hynes said, “We appreciate your efforts here. And we know it’s a problem...we’ll support you as best as we can and try to get the word out.”
Police Chief Vince Markle gave a brief report, noting that the police department had 185 calls this month, 41 assists, 106 traffic citations, 141 warnings, 16 parking tickets, 17 misdemeanors and 14 summaries.
“We had 12 DUIs this month and nine of those were drug,” Markle told council. “The officers are doing a great job on detecting the drugs when they’re stopping these cars. They’re not just stopping and going up to the window. They’re actually taking a little bit of time checking the vehicle and checking the driver.”
He noted that two officers have completed SRO (School Resource Officer) school a couple of months back and there are two officers currently at SRO school.
Officers Andrew Turnbull and Mickey Stormer split the Officers of the Year award as they actually tied, Markle noted.
Newly elected Brookville Fire Chief Chris Henry attended Monday’s council meeting and gave some of the fire company’s stats for 2019.
In the 2019 year-end-report, Henry said the fire company had 215 alarms last year with 166 of them being in the borough. The company provided aid to Pine Creek Fire Department 15 times, Sigel FD, eight; Corsica and Reynoldsville, seven; Punxsutawney, five; Summerville, four; Warsaw Township, two; and Brockway, one. Under a breakdown of calls, he said the most numerous were vehicle traffic, 51; trees down, 25; automatic fire alarms, 23; structural fires, 22; EMS assists, 13; carbon monoxide alarms, 12; transfers to other fire stations for standby, 11; electrical lines/utility lines down, 11; vehicle fires, 10; natural gas, nine; flooding calls, six; fuel spills, six; traffic control calls, six; brush/grass fires, five; hazardous materials, two; physical rescues, two; and one investigation.
“We averaged eight members per call. An average four minute response time, which is excellent for a volunteer fire company. The fire department does deserve kudos for that fast response time,” Henry said.
He also submitted some alarm assignments for council to review. He said there were additions to the assignments such as formulation of a tanker alarm in case of a large fire and going to the creek for water. Nothing else changed, he said, adding that no fire company was taken off.
Council unanimously voted to approve the chief’s recommendation to change the three box calls to add the tanker alarm assignment.
Borough solicitor Jim Dennison brought two possible zoning changes to council’s attention Monday night. Both are being recommended by the borough planning commission.
The first is in the area of Beverage-Air, Progess Street. The change would take zoning from office-commercial to industrial. Dennison said it was his understanding that the company is seeking to expand, adding that the current zoning was likely a mistake and should have remained industrial which it had been before. The zoning change would make it a light industrial one area.
The second zoning change request came from further out Progress Street. That request is to change zoning from office-commercial to medium density residential. This zoning change would allow for apartment buildings and condos to be constructed.
Dennison wasn’t asking for any action on the zoning changes Monday night but rather just letting council know the requests would be coming and that he would have the ordinances for the next meeting.
New council member
Todd Gumpher attended his first council meeting as a newly elected member.
With Gumpher coming onto council, borough manager Dana Schreckengost asked if anyone wanted to reopen the 2020 budget. Council did not.
Schreckengost noted that there were several committees and boards up for re-appoinments.
Council approved Bob Moss for another five-year term on the Brookville Municipal Authority; Eric Zents for another five-year term on the Code Enforcement Appeal Board; and Judi Anthony for another one-year term on the Council Vacancy Board.
The council is currently seeking individuals for three other openings: a five-year term on the Shade Tree Committee; a five-year term on the Zoning Hearing Board; and a three-year term on the Library Board. Anyone interested in any of these three vacancies can contact Schreckengost at the borough office.
Council received one bid for the electric bike, however that bid did not meet the minumum bid amount. Council voted to table rebidding the bike until April.
Council will next meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the borough complex.
BROOKVILLE — Jolene Hartle says being the executive director of the Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce doesn’t feel like a job because she is so excited to meet area business owners and find out how the chamber can help them.
Hartle, originally from Sigel, worked in human relations (HR) for about 16 years. She had moved to the Lucinda area of Clarion County and lived there for 34 years before moving back to the Sigel area two years ago to be closer to her mother. She worked in HR at the Clarion County Courthouse and later for eight years at Colony Homes in Shippenville, before moving into sales at Colony Homes. She enjoyed the work but the drive of 45 minutes, especially in the winter, was rough.
When she saw the job opening at the Chamber in the newspaper she was excited about the possibility of being back closer to her home and getting involved in the community.
“When I interviewed and got this position I was really excited because I’m going out and visiting all the businesses. I would like to do for them what they need done. I would like to help the community and the businesses to grow and I’m just really happy to be back. I want to help the businesses help the people so I’m just going out visiting and asking what I can do,” Hartle, who was hired October 28, says.
Hartle says she loves being in the comunity and that events, such as the wine walk, “are so much fun.”
The annual wine walk was held during Victorian Christmas at the beginning of December. Hartle said 309 people took part in it. “That was a lot of fun. We got the radio involved and people out there singing.” She said she is hoping to have more events like the wine walk in the future.
“I’m loving meeting the people and actually meeting some old high school people; that’s a lot of fun too. Yes, I’m really enjoying this,” she said of her new role.
While Hartle’s hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., she says she does go out to connect with businesses but puts up a sign on the Chamber’s door as to when she’ll be back. “If somebody needs to talk to her after 2:30 p.m I’m more than willing to be available,” she says.
She is hoping to get businesses to interact more with the chamber and tell her what they need. “I would like to do a lot for the businesses. I want the businesses to come to me and say ‘I have this event’ or ‘I have this going on’ or anything. It could be they have an employee birthday. I’m more than willing to go to the businesses or wherever they’re act, take pictures, help market...I just want to do for the businesses what they need and I want them to be happy with the Chamber. I guess a lot of communication is what I’m looking for from the businesses – both good and bad. There’s always something that can be improved. And hopefully will have a lot of positive changes.”
The Chamber’s events beyond the wine walk also has a wing fling, an annual dinner, eggs and issues on a quarterly basis, and has done an annual golf tournament. This year, Hartles says, the Chamber is looking to possibly do something different in place of the golf tournament, especially something that will draw people to town.
The Chamber has also held mixers, including a combined chamber mixer with the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce. She looks forward to doing more combined chamber mixers as she believes they are beneficial to businesses in seeing how others do things as well as great networking opportunities.
The chamber board will have it’s first meeting Wednesday and normally meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Jefferson Manor. Hartle says she has a full board – all 12 seats have been filled. She is looking forward to working with the board to help businesses grow and prosper.