Looking back in Greene County hisotry
A look at some of the headlines gracing the pages of the Observer-Reporter and Waynesburg Republican this week in Greene County history:
Consol Coal files complaint against noise ordinance
WAYNESBURG – Consolidation Coal Co. filed a complaint Thursday asking the Greene County court to enjoin Wayne Township from enforcing its noise ordinance at the company’s mining operations.
Consol operates the Blacksville Mine No. 2 in Wayne Township. A similar court action involving the township’s noise ordinance was filed in May by Foundation Coal, which also mines coal in the township.
Consol maintains that its mining operations, including surface operations, are regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection under the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act.
All of the mine’s surface operations are authorized under the company’s state mining permit as defined by SMCRA, the complaint said.
Therefore, local regulations of those activities, including those included in the noise ordinance, are preempted by provisions of SMCRA, it said.
The complaint notes that noise is primarily generated by mine ventilation fans. The fans, however, are necessary to provide the underground mine with fresh air and to protect it from the accumulation of explosive gases, the company said.
Microburst blamed for damage
WAYNESBURG – Scotty Adams of Braden Street had heard the wind and rain pick up and was just closing the front window when leaves and tree branches smacked hard against the glass.
Adams said he thought a branch had been blown against the side of his house by the wind accompanying the Tuesday evening storm.
“I figured maybe a tree branch fell; I didn’t figure the whole tree had fallen,” he said.
But that is exactly what happened. What struck his house was the 60- to 70-foot high maple tree that had stood at the corner of his lot.
Adams said he was lucky that limbs kept the tree from breaking through the front window he was closing.
But other large limbs did smack the house, damaging the roof and hitting two of his cars, one parked in the driveway and the other out front.
He wasn’t the only one to escape harm. Just minutes before the tree fell, his son-in-law and two grandchildren had left in a car that was parked right at the spot where a large part of the tree landed.
“We were really lucky,” Adams said. “But the way I look at, it nobody got hurt. This,” he said, surveying the damage, “can be replaced.”
The severe thunderstorm passed through the county about 7:15 p.m. The brief 15- to 20-minute storm knocked down trees and tree limbs and left about 4,600 customers without power.
Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the damage probably was caused by a microburst, or straight line winds, that accompanied the storm.
Some granges still ‘doing for others’
Say the word grange and many people remember their parents going to meetings at grange halls that once dotted the rural landscape of America. They might have tagged along as kids, becoming part of junior granges as they grew up.
For many, grange evokes fond memories of a rural lifestyle that is in the process of passing into history.
In rural Greene County, the grange is still making history happen with projects that are built around the old-time farming tradition of neighbor helping neighbor.
It’s called, simply, “doing for others.”
When not having open meetings to bring the public in for special programs, grange members meet in “regular session,” and that’s when the details of these projects get hammered out. Just ask Aleppo Grange Treasurer Bill Hewitt.
“It takes some planning,” Hewitt said. “We volunteer to do the monthly food pantry here at our hall.
Group to fight building plans in S.E. Greene
WAYNESBURG – A group of residents in Southeastern Greene School District has begun to organize to oppose the district’s plan to construct a new building.
“We really don’t need a new school. What we do need are alternatives we can live with,” said Tom Fox, a district resident who will hold a rally at his home July 21 for those who are against the district’s building plan.
“People in this area can’t afford one more dime in school taxes,” Fox said.
The board announced last month that it would proceed with plans to construct a new building to house kindergarten through 12th grade and replace the district’s two existing schools. The new building is expected to cost about $18 million.
School officials said a new building is needed because of the poor condition of existing schools and because renovation costs would almost equal the costs of a new building.
Fox said petitions have been circulating in the district, and so far almost 1,000 people have signed them indicating they are against the district’s building plan.
The district has only about 683 students and, according to Standard & Poor’s school evaluations, is losing 23 students a year, Fox said.
Walton Hall succumbs to wrecking crew
WAYNESBURG – Walton Hall on the Waynesburg College campus survived the rigors of dormitory students and hospital patients for the past four decades, but Bill Hopkin’s wrecking crew was too much June 28th.
The three-story, brick structure, which had been condemned for many years, came tumbling down, leaving a highly noticeable vacant lot. The future of the lot is uncertain at the time.
Falling building materials jogged the memories of many local citizens who over the years saw the building serve as a women’s dormitory and a hospital.
The building ceased to be a dormitory in 1971, but had been used for storage, art studios, sorority meeting rooms and classrooms rented by the Intermediate Unit at various times during the past 17 years.
Named for Sen. D.S. Walton, who was largely responsible for obtaining a state grant of $15,000 in 1907, the building cost $16,990 to construct in 1908-09.
County pay hikes strongly challenged
Pay raises for employees in Greene County “row offices” are up in the air pending a ruling by the county solicitor on whether or not the county salary board can legally approve expenditures which would exceed reserve funds set up in the 1968 county budget.
The salary board consists of the three commissioners, county treasurer and individual officeholders when wages of employees in their offices are being considered.
County Commissioner Herman Gugliotta said that in his opinion granting of pay hikes to all employees in line with those approved last week for two individual employees would subject the salary board to a taxpayers’ suit.