Commissioners commemorate D-Day anniversary; donate to Aleppo veterans’ monument

June 5, 2014
New Aleppo veterans’ monument

WAYNESBURG – Greene County commissioners Thursday issued a proclamation commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. The invasion was the largest seaborne invasion in history, beginning the end of World War II and leading to an Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Whiskey 7 – one of the nearly 1,300 Douglas C-47’s that supported the Normandy invasion and the lead aircraft of the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron – returned to Normandy this week to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations. The aircraft is dropping members of the Liberty Jump Team over the original D-Day drop zones.

Chief pilot of the Whiskey 7 is Chris Polhemus, a professional pilot from Carmichaels. The proclamation commemorates the historical impact of D-Day and congratulates Polhemus on the honor of returning Whiskey 7 to Normandy.

Accepting the proclamation on behalf of Polhemus and the Carmichaels Area Chamber of Commerce were John and Ruth Enci of Carmichaels. The Encis also accepted proclamations from state Sen. Tim Solobay and state Rep. Pam Snyder.

Also, the commissioners presented a $2,000 donation to Aleppo Township to support the recent replacement of the community’s veterans’ monument. The new four-piece granite monument was installed last month in Aleppo and dedicated during a ceremony on Memorial Day. It features the engraved names of nearly 300 local veterans who served in conflicts from World War I through Vietnam, with space for about 30-40 more names. Anyone with additional names of veterans from the Aleppo area can call the Aleppo Township supervisors at 724-428-3875.

The commissioners also reached settlement statements for property acquisition and temporary easement for construction among three property owners for a bridge over Craynes Run in Washington Township.

The agreements are for $607.50 with Frederick R. Juskovich; $1,521 with Glenn and Deborah Berry; and $1,012 with Dorothy M. Cunningham.

In other business, it was announced the county received a a $54,000 bid from Mark Behm of Jefferson for the purchase of the Hughes House. Commissioner Chuck Morris said 30 days must elapse before the county can authorize the private sale, in accordance with state law.

This is the second offer the county received for the sale of the historic house in Jefferson. A single offer during the first round of bidding was rejected because it failed to meet the property’s appraised value.

The county accepted ownership of the property in 2003 after the state completed a $700,000 restoration of the two-story stone building, constructed by Hughes one of the county’s early settlers.

Under the agreement, in which the county gained ownership of the building, the county can sell the property. However, all proceeds must be returned to the state, except for expenses incurred by the county to sell the property, which include the costs of the appraisal and advertising.

The county earlier received inquiries about purchasing the property from several people interested only in the lots and by representatives of Jefferson Borough, who wanted to use it for a borough building. The only bid received for the property, however, was from a private buyer.

At the time Commissioner Archie Trader said he believed if no bids were received that met the appraised value on the second round of bidding, the county could discuss turning the building over to a nonprofit organization, contingent on the state’s approval.

The building has been vacant since March 2013, when Greene County Library System closed the community reading center it operated in the building since its restoration.

The county could not find a use for the building that justified its expense and decided to put the building up for sale. The county was paying for the costs of maintaining the building, including heating costs, which were expensive.

The property, which includes the two-story stone house and 2.26 acres of land, is included on the National Register of Historical Places and the new owner will have to abide by historic covenants.

The covenants generally would require that any major changes proposed for the building be approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Jon Stevens was the Observer-Reporter’s Greene County bureau chief. During his 41 years with the O-R, he covered county government, courts and politics, and won statewide and regional writing awards.

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