Looking back at Greene County history

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A look at some of the headlines gracing the pages of the Observer-Reporter and Waynesburg Republican this week in Greene County history:


5 years ago: Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2008

Lake Wilma reopens


to fishermen after closing


Lake Wilma, a 19-acre lake in Wayne Township closed in August as a the result of an issue involving regulatory oversight, has been reopened to local fishermen.


The lake was closed Aug. 13 by the owner, Consol Energy Inc., after the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration required the company to enforce federal work site regulations at the site.


The lake, originally developed as a clean water reservoir for the company’s former Blacksville No. 1 Mine, had been under the regulatory authority of MSHA in regard to safety and dam integrity.


MSHA had allowed Consol to open the lake to the public for recreation while the company’s application to have oversight transferred to the state Department of Environmental Protection was in the works.



Streetscape work


set for spring


WAYNESBURG – Members of Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful have been talking about the long-awaited streetscape project for years, and at the group’s annual garden party Thursday, one speaker promised that it will finally come to fruition this spring.


Waynesburg P&B, along with borough officials and others, have been planning a facelift for the sidewalks and streets of the downtown business district since 2005. Organizers have set construction start dates several times, but problems – with finances, logistics and most recently utility line relocation – have delayed the project.


Greene County Commissioner Pam Snyder noted that people have been waiting for the tree-lined streets and decorative sidewalks for quite some time.


“You will start to see dirt move on the streetscape project very soon,” Snyder said at the garden party, an outdoor gathering in which Waynesburg P&B reviews the activities and accomplishments for the year.


Earlier this year, commissioners convinced the state Department of Transportation to redirect $605,000 that would have been used for the Greene River Trail, a bicycle trail in the northeastern part of the county, for the streetscape project. The project received another $1 million in state aid in 2006.


Waynesburg University and borough council also have pledged money. That should be enough to revamp two blocks on High Street, from Morgan to Washington streets, and about three blocks on Washington, leading to the university campus.


PennDOT plans to award contracts for the project in March.


10 years ago: Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2003

Plan for Greene Co. ATV


trail gets bumpy reception


GREENSBORO – Plans for the development of an all-terrain vehicle trail in southeastern Greene County received a rather rough reception from the community at a public meeting Tuesday.


The third and final meeting on the feasibility study for the proposed trail, held in the Greensboro Fire Hall, drew about 75 residents many of whom appeared to oppose plans to establish a trail in their backyard.


“I work six days a week, and I like a day off,” said Bob Kelly, who lives close to the propose site.


On his day off, Kelly said, he just wants peace and quiet. “If you put 80 (ATVs) out there, don’t tell me I’m not going to hear it,” he said. His wife, Karen, presented a petition signed by 112 people in the area who oppose the plan.


Scott Blair, who open the meeting, said one of the most important aspects of the feasibility study is to determine if the local community is interested in the project.


He told those assembled that although he believed the trail would help boost the local economy, the county wouldn’t put the trail there if the community didn’t want it. “I don’t want to be anywhere where I’m not wanted,” he said.



Seniors sought


to test water


WAYNESBURG – Some older Greene Countians soon will get their feet wet – literally – in a project that could improve watersheds across the region.


Greene County Area Agency on Aging is trying to attract senior citizens as volunteers to test water quality in local streams and creeks. The local effort is part of Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps’ statewide push to use senior citizen volunteers to detect pollution and other impurities in the watersheds.


“Water quality is an important issue nationwide,” said Ruth Enci of the Area Agency on Aging. “It’s the type of thing where you don ‘t miss it until you don ‘t have it anymore.”


Testers will collect water samples monthly from various streams, creeks or the Monongahela River. They will monitor the water’s appearance and odor as well as use test kits to determine the water’s properties.


25 years ago: Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 1988

West Greene walks;


schools closed


ROGERSVILLE – Schools in the West Greene School District will be closed starting Sept. 30 in the wake of a decision by the West Greene Education to strike the district because of lack of progress in contract negotiations.


Dan Scannell of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, head negotiator for the teachers, said the teachers will strike and will continue the work stoppage until the association has a contract with the district.


Scannell said what “pushed everyone over the edge” is the board’s refusal to even consider long-term solutions presented by the association that would lessen the costs of the contract to the district.


45 years ago: Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 1968

New section of I-79


near completion


October 30 has been set as the target date for opening of Interstate 79 between Ruff Creek and Washington.


Harold N. Harper, deputy district highway engineer, said that Section 3 is virtually complete. It is the only section between Waynesburg and Washington which is still under construction.


All concreting has been completed and virtually all of the berms have been finished. Some shoulder work remains to be done, guard rails have to be placed, and cleanup work must be completed.


Once that is done, the State Highways Department will be in the position to erect signs and do the lining – the final steps to be taken.


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