Looking back at Greene County history
A look at some of the headlines gracing the pages of the Observer-Reporter and Waynesburg Republican this week in Greene County history.
Humane Society receives $2,500 grant
WAYNESBURG – The Humane Society of Greene County received a $2,500 discretionary grant Monday from the Community Foundation of Greene County.
The money will be awarded for the “Break the Cycle of Violence” project to purchase equipment and supplies for the animal control officer at the shelter to offset expenses associated with the 300 abuse calls responded to each year.
“The generosity of Community Foundation’s board of directors is both appreciated and needed in our community,” said Cal Abercrombie, president of the humane society’s board of directors.
The abuse program was founded in 1987 by Jane Gapen, executive director of the Greene County Humane Society. Gapen also serves as abuse officer along with Derek and Denise Foreman and Kevin Gray, who volunteer their time and are licensed and trained by the state Department of Agriculture.
The first dog rescued, in 1987, was named Champ. Champ was found among truck engines, car parts and grease, with no shelter from the weather.
He crouched with fear and trembled when approached, feared loud noise and was severely malnourished.
“I later learned Champ’s owner would dispose of other dogs by shooting them as they stood near Champ. It was then that I realized the desperate need for an animal abuse program in Greene County,” Gapen said.
Architect hopes plan ‘inspires’ borough
WAYNESBURG – The architectural firm that has guided much of the expansion of the Waynesburg University campus in recent years unveiled a master plan Tuesday for the rest of Waynesburg Borough.
The architectural firm JJR had been commissioned by the university to develop the plan. The university agreed to pay for the firm’s services.
The plan’s centerpiece focuses on developing what was called a “healthy downtown,” where people would be encouraged to come to eat, shop or to go to a show.
The plan will build on the streetscape program now being planned that will involve developing tree-lined streets with decorative sidewalks on portions of High and Washington streets.
The plan would extend streetscape improvements to all of Washington Street from Greene Street to the university, to the remainder of the High Street business district and to Church Street between High and Greene streets.
Another key element would be development of a “courthouse square” – an open, green space behind the courthouse, stretching from the courthouse to Greene Street, where people could meet and activities be held.
The plan also considers creating additional parking areas and pedestrian walkways between parking areas and High Street as well as between the university and downtown and for preserving the green hillsides that now are a big part of the area’s beauty.
Both Mayor Blair Zimmerman and county Commissioner Pam Snyder spoke favorably of the plan and cited the importance of attracting students downtown.
Former SE Greene principal ordered to pay back salary
WAYNESBURG – Southeastern Greene School District’s former elementary principal will have to reimburse her old employer for the salary and benefits she recieved while on sabbatical two years ago, Greene County Judge William Nalitz ruled Thursday.
Dr. Shirley A. Dickinson was on leave for professional development during the 2001-02 school year. She resigned soon after the start of the 2002 term to accept a position in Bethel Park School District.
The district sued in February, claiming that it is entitled to reimbursement, since Dickinson failed to return to the district for at least one school term after her sabbatical, which is a clause found in the Pennsylvania School Code.
The district was required to pay Dickinson fringe benefits and half of her regular salary while she was on leave. This compensation totaled $43,313.96, and Dickinson will have to pay that full amount, according to Nalitz’s summary judgment.
Dickinson’s sabbatical ran from July 15, 2001, to July 15, 2002. On Sept. 3, 2002, she submitted her letter of resignation.
“Obviously, at least part of the reason qualified employees are encouraged to go on sabbatical for professional development is so that they can better serve the district and their pupils by becoming better educated teachers, administrators (and) principals,” Nalitz wrote in his opinion. “But, this taxpayer subsidy of professional development must be repaid, either by service or by cash.”
In court papers, Dickinson claimed that no one told her, either before or after her sabbatical, that she would have to return to the district for a year, or else reimburse the district for her salary. Nalitz wrote that ignorance of the law is not a viable excuse.
Waynesburg car dealer bestowed Distinguished Service Award
WAYNESBURG – Waynesburg Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen Robert W. Fox as the 2003 Distinguished Service Award recipient. He will be recognized at the chamber of commerce’s Annual Membership Meeting and Banquet on Nov. 22 in the dining hall at Waynesburg College.
Fox has been a member of the Waynesburg Fire Department for more than 55 years, having served as its president for more than 20 years.
Fox has been an active member longer than any other person in the company’s 77-year history and is still responding to calls.
He has answered more calls than any other member. His devotion and hard work culminated in the presentation of a Distinguished Service Award given to him by the fire company in 1988.
Central Greene School Board and Greene County Industrial Development Authority have been beneficiaries of his service in the past.
He has been a director of Greene County Industrial Development Inc. and director of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Greene County since 1990. He is past president of Waynesburg Lions Club and has been designated as a Melvin Jones fellow of the Lions Club Foundation.
He has served as president of Pennsylvania Automotive Association and has served terms on various dealer committees.
He is currently serving as president of Pennsylvania Automotive Association’s Foundation Committee, and in 2002, he was named a recipient of the TIME Magazine Quality Dealer Award (TMQDA) for exceptional performance in their new car dealerships and distinguished community service.
Fox was chosen from a field of nominees submitted by local residents. The award is based on contribution to community welfare and betterment, participation in all-around community activities and civic enterprises; evidence of lasting contributions to community welfare; evidence of leadership ability; success in own vocation and personal and business progress; and cooperation with individuals and organizations. It has no relation to work performed for the chamber of commerce.
$1.1 million offer for Curry Home
WAYNESBURG The Greene County commissioners received an offer of $1.1 million for the Curry Memorial Home from the Meritcare Corp. of Pittsburgh, the same company that operates the 120-bed Franklin Care Center nursing home in Franklin Township near Waynesburg.
The bid for the 111-bed county nursing home, presented as a “letter of intent,” was the only one received.
The commissioners voted to accept the offer, subject to a review by county Solicitor David Hook as to whether it is legitimate and complies with the law.
At the same time it was noted that Service Employees International Union, Local 585, has already filed a complaint with the Greene County /Court in an effort to block the sale. The union represents most of the 150 people employed at the nursing home.
Vo-Tech work is under way
A groundbreaking ceremony was held to officially mark the start of construction of Greene County’s $1.9 million vocational-technical school.
Some 75 persons. Including school board members and school administrators from throughout the county, assembled at the site adjoining the Central Greene School District’s new high school for a brief ceremony.
The building is expected to be ready for occupancy by January 1970.
The construction contracts total $1,348,474, with another $600,000 earmarked for equipment and other costs. The project is being financed through the State Public School Building Authority.
The vo-tech school is being constructed and will be administered by the Greene County School Board.