REYNOLDSVILLE — At its recent meeting, the Reynoldsville Borough Council dealt with an issue plaguing other communities small and large across the country – drug abuse.

Residents Nichole and Gary Walk addressed the council about police matters, specifically what was being done about the drug problem in the borough. Though cautioned by council president TJ Sliwinski not to “discuss ongoing police matters” in an open forum, Nichole Walk asked borough police Chief Troy Bell why it took “12 years” for drug matters to be addressed in her neighborhood.

Bell explained that before coming to Reynoldsville, he did not have much experience with drug investigations and the Jefferson County Drug Task Force. Later, he observed Officer Tammy Murray working investigations in Brockway. When Murray became available, Bell asked that she become a part of the Reynoldsville Borough Police Department and help with drug investigations since she had the experience and connections. Bell said when he gets information on drug deals, he refers the investigation to Sgt. Murray. He added that he and Murray should be looked at “as a team.”

When Walk asked about the status of Murray on the force, Mayor Louie “Peach” Caltagarone, who is in charge of the police department, assured her there were no issues and that “we all get along.” Sliwinski reiterated that statement, adding, “(we) have a very good police department here.”

When Walk asked if borough representatives met with Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett about the issue, Caltagarone and some members of council said they did on a monthly basis.

Sliwinski encouraged borough residents who had concerns about drug issues to speak with Caltagarone who works with the police department on a day to day basis. They can also talk to council members Robin McMillan, Robert Crosby and Billy Cebulskie, who make up the police committee.

Drug arrests have been made in the borough in recent months. According to an article in the July 10 issue of The Courier Express, Murray was assisting parole officers in serving a warrant on Jackie Yohe III at a Grant Street residence. A search of the apartment purportedly uncovered two bricks of heroin valued at $2,100.

On July 6, Murray filed charges against Yohe including possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and recklessly endangering another person. In addition, charges were filed against Tonya Pearce-Werner, the person who leased the residence where Yohe was located. Pearce-Werner was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of children.

Computers for police vehicles

In another police matter, Murray asked about purchasing new computers for the police vehicles. She is researching the equipment with the help of the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department, which recently upgraded its equipment. A donation will help offset some of the cost, which is estimated to be $5,500 dollars for each unit installed. Murray will get three estimates and bring the matter back to the council at a later date.

Old statue

What to do with a statue commemorating the Civil War was a topic of discussion also.

Reynoldsville Pool Manager Jill Heffner asked for help in moving the statue from its current location near the pool. She said she was concerned that, though it was in “decent shape,” the statue is leaning and could pose a safety hazard.

In the discussion between Heffner and council members it was suggested that the statue might be moved to the American Legion property along Route 950 if the organization was interested.

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Hirings/Bids

The council hired Joe Weyant for the borough crew retroactive to August 20. They also opened and awarded bids for used equipment to the highest bidder, Emery Wykoff, who lives near Reynoldsville.

Electronics disposal

Because of the overwhelming response, council decided to change the way borough residents can dispose of old electronics. The old practice was to collect them at the borough garage, but the amount of items became too much to handle.

Borough Secretary Jacqueline Dixon said that after discussing the matter with Advanced Disposal, it was decided residents can drop off old electronics at Advanced Disposal’s main office located at 6330 US-219 near Brockway during regular business hours. Dixon stressed that only Reynoldsville Borough residents are eligible for the program and they must provide proof of residency.

Flooding

Recent heavy rains brought flooding in Reynoldsville. Street and Sewer committee member councilman Ralph “Tucker” August reported that one of the problem areas, a portion of Pitch Pine Run, will have to be dredged and that permission has been obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Sliwinski asked about the flood control area that is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. Areas along the project, especially the baseball fields, were under water once again after heavy rains on September 8-9. He requested that the Corps be contacted for discussions about what to do about the problem.

Power surge

A power surge caused by a recent storm damaged the control box for the 10th Street traffic light. Parts are difficult to obtain since they are obsolete. A temporary fix is in place until the permanent solution can be found. Council voted to authorize the borough crew to obtain what it needs to get the problem solved.

Code enforcement

Among the items reported by Code Enforcement Officer Larry Kirkwood were problems with vacant buildings. The council decided to research ordinances that give the borough more leverage when dealing with the problem. There was also a discussion about the condition of sidewalks in the borough, especially along Main Street.

Executive session

Council ended the meeting with an executive session for a personnel matter.

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