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					Westmoreland County
Board of Commissioners
Tom Balya
      Chairman                                    A Bi-Weekly Update on
Thomas C. Ceraso                             Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
      Vice Chairman
P. Scott Conner                                May 9, 2003 Volume 2 Issue 10

County’s New Mobile Emergency Command Post Now In Service
        The Board of Commissioners joined U.S. Congressman John P. Murtha (D-12th
District) and local emergency service providers April 28 to dedicate the County’s new
Mobile Command and Communications Center.
        The morning dedication took place outside Mount Pleasant Fire Department’s
Central Station – just one of the many local communities that will benefit from the new
Mobile Command Center, which was made possible through a federal grant from
Congressman Murtha.
        "This Mobile Command Center is a tremendous asset for all the citizens and
communities in Westmoreland County because it greatly improves the ability to respond
to all sorts of emergencies or disasters,” Congressman Murtha said. “I am proud that I
was able to help with funding, but certainly the leadership and vision of Commissioners
Tom Balya and Tom Ceraso were essential in building the support and cooperation
                                     among all of the emergency responders involved."
       In This Issue:                         “Westmoreland County is unquestionably better
                                     prepared to respond to emergencies today,”
West Nile Virus                      Commissioner Tom Balya said. “Congressman Murtha
Program . . . . . . . . . . .Page 2  continues to play a crucial role in helping keep county
                                     residents safe and ensuring our first responders are best
Election Day . . . . . . . Page 4    prepared. The Mobile Command Post is just one of the
                                     initiatives we have undertaken with his support. Our
Manor Dedication. . . Page 4         new 800-MHz radio system is the perfect complement,
                                     and thanks to Congressman Murtha we are able to
Senior Adult Daily                   furnish every emergency station with compatible
Living Center . . . . . . .Page 5    portable units.”
                                              The $700,000 Mobile Command and
Recycling                            Communications Center was made possible through a
Collection . . . . . . . . . .Page 5 $2 million State and Local Emergency Preparedness
                                     Grant secured by Congressman Murtha. The county is
Proclamations . . . . . . Page 6     using the remaining funds ($1.3 million) to purchase
                                     approximately 1,000 portable radios for the new 800-
     Send us your feedback
                                     MHz high-band emergency radio system.
             E-mail:                  “The Mobile Command Center is a significant
                                     regional asset that will be available to all jurisdictions
Window to Westmoreland                                                         May 9, 2003

during times of emergency or disaster,” Commissioner Tom Ceraso said. “We are very
thankful for Congressman Murtha for his support. He continues to represent the best
interests of the residents of Westmoreland County.”
         At the dedication ceremony, Westmoreland County Director of Public Safety
Rich Matason explained the many benefits of the new Center.
         “The Mobile Command Center has seven complete dispatch positions that allow
us to conduct routine 911 operations from the field,” Matason said. “Since it is a true
‘hot standby’ backup system, we will routinely use the Center to handle dispatch on
demand. Several telecommunications officers will be selected randomly to report to the
mobile site for a portion of their regular shift to perform their dispatch duties.”
         Other benefits of the system include:
          Low-band VHF, high-band VHF, UHF, 800-MHz and vehicular repeater radio
          Terrestrial, wireless and satellite telephone capability, as well as wireless and
             satellite Internet.
          An on-board generator and external lighting system.
          A command area in the vehicle and command tent attached to the curbside of
             the vehicle for long-duration operations. The external tent module has access
             to telephone, TV and radio from external jacks on the vehicle’s curbside.
          Two 359-degree telescoping poled mounted power zoom cameras that allow
             full surveillance of the command post and operational area.
         The Mobile Command and Communications Center is a Freightliner chassis, with
a 30-foot-long “box” to house equipment and personnel. The truck was assembled by
LDV in Wisconsin. The communications equipment installation was performed by
Motorola at Staley’s Communications in Greensburg.
         The Mobile Command Post is part of Westmoreland County’s efforts to greatly
increase its public safety posture. Other initiatives include a new 800-MHz high-band
emergency radio system, which is scheduled to go on-line in July 2004, a readdressing
project to ensure quick response, and a new HAZMAT rescue truck.
         For more information on Westmoreland County’s public safety programs and
initiatives, visit the Department of Public Safety through the County homepage at

West Nile Virus Surveillance And Control Program Underway
        The West Nile Virus Surveillance and Control Program for the 2003 season began
on April 1. Returning as Westmoreland County’s chief technician is Lisa Stipp, who has
anchored the county’s West Nile Virus program since it began three years ago. Also
returning this year is field technician Ben Cramer.
        The Department of Public Safety will be operating the 2003 program using a
$110,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Part of that grant
is being used for a third technician, Leah Kostelnik, a recent graduate of Indiana
University of Pennsylvania and a 2002 intern in the West Nile program.
        To date, a total of 15 mosquito samples have been collected, and 11 of those have
been tested by DEP with no positive results. A total of three birds have also been
collected and tested with negative results.

Window to Westmoreland                                                       May 9, 2003

        This year, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will collect only five birds per
county per week. All calls concerning dead birds must be referred to the Department of
Health at 1-800-PA-HEALTH. The Department of Public Safety is not involved with the
collection of dead birds.
        A state website is available with a vast amount of information on the West Nile
Virus and also posts results of bird and mosquito testing by county on a daily basis.
County residents are encouraged to make periodic visits to this website for the most up-
to-date information on the West Nile Virus in the state. The web address is

Terrorism Awareness Training Classes Available
        Terrorism awareness training is available to all emergency response organizations
in the county. This high-quality training is free, and the Department of Public Safety
provides the training upon request at a local site and at the time and date of a group’s
choosing. Classes can be large or small. Responders who take advantage of the
awareness training program will be awarded two certificates – one from the EMI/NFA
for completion of the “Emergency Response to Terrorism – self-study course” and one
from Region 13 and the Department of Public Safety for completion of the Department of
Justice Disaster Preparedness Program WMD Awareness course.
        Awareness classes recently completed include the County Park Police on March
15, Penn Twp EMA on March 25-26, Westmoreland I.U. on March 31, Norvelt EMS on
April 2 and Unity Township on April 28.
        Awareness classes scheduled for the next few weeks include Alcoa Technical
Center on May 7 and Latrobe Area Hospital on May 12 and 19.
        The Department of Public Safety is strongly urging those departments that have
not yet had at least an awareness class to call Rich Matason or Bill Wright and schedule
one. The classes are instrumental is helping to improve community awareness in order to
be prepared to meet any challenge successfully.
        Public Safety offers a variety of training options for emergency responders:
         The Department of Justice WMD Preparedness Awareness Course – 3 hours
         The Department of Justice WMD Preparedness Operations Course – 4 hours
         The Department of Justice WMD Preparedness ICS Course – 8 hours
         The FEMA/NFA Emergency Response to Terrorism Awareness Course – self
        Currently, Public Safety is also offering the following terrorism awareness
programs for community groups, schools and businesses:
         Terrorism Awareness for the Community – 1.5 hours (also available in video
         Terrorism Awareness for Business and Industry – 1.5 hours
         Terrorism Awareness for the Public Schools – 1.5 hours
         Terrorism Awareness: The Westmoreland County Response Capability – 1.5
        For more information or to register for a course, contact the Department of Public
Safety at 724-600-7301.

Window to Westmoreland                                                        May 9, 2003

Reminder to Vote: Election Day is May 20
        A reminder to all county residents that the Primary Election will be conducted on
Tuesday, May 20. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
        The municipal election features races for several key county positions, including
Commissioner, Controller, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff and Treasurer. Voters will also
choose judicial candidates for the Supreme Court, Superior Court and Court of Common
Pleas, in addition to candidates for township, borough and school board elections.
        The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is May 13, and all absentee ballots
must be completed by May 16.
        For more information on the primary election, including where to vote, contact
the County Elections Bureau at 724-830-3150.

County to Dedicate Improvements at Westmoreland Manor May 12
       Westmoreland County Commissioners will join the staff and residents of
Westmoreland Manor to officially dedicate new capital improvements at the nursing
home. Officials will dedicate Westmoreland Manor’s new lobby and the Eagle Tree
Apartments – new independent living facilities for County seniors. Tours of the Eagle
Tree Apartments will follow the dedication ceremony. The event coincides with the
County’s celebration of National Nursing Home Week.
       The event will be held Monday, May 12, at 1:00 p.m. at Westmoreland Manor,
2480 South Grande Boulevard in Hempfield Township.
       For more information, contact Westmoreland Manor Administrator Maggie
Harper at 724-830-4010.

100-Plus “March for Parks”; Event Raises $7,000
        The first annual March for Parks, sponsored by the Citizen’s Advisory Board for
Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation, on April 26 at Twin Lakes Park was a
tremendous success. More than 100 walkers participated in the March and raised more
than $7,000. The event exceeded all goals and expectations for both participation and
funds raised.
        The Bureau of Parks and Recreation would like to thank all the event sponsors –
71 in all – for all their support and assistance and the many gifts provided for the event.
Thanks also to the marchers for seeking pledges and making donations in support of the
event. Finally, a thank you to the many donors for all the gifts and donations pledged to
marchers in support of the event.
        The top three fundraising teams are as follows:
         First place – Westmoreland County Special Olympics, $551
         Second Place – First Evangelical Lutheran Church Youth Group, $507
         Third Place – the Westmoreland County Solicitor’s Office, $275.
        David Harrold of the Special Olympics Team was the top individual fund-raiser,
gathering the hefty sum of $300.
        Citizen’s Advisory Board members and parks staff members are already making
plans for a bigger and better March for Parks in 2004. All the funds raised go to the
Westmoreland Parks and Recreation Fund in the Community Foundation of
Westmoreland County to help keep Westmoreland County green.

Window to Westmoreland                                                         May 9, 2003

      For more information, including pictures of the event, visit the Bureau of Parks
and Recreation website at

Senior Adult Daily Living Center A Success
        Community Living Care is one of Westmoreland County’s Mental Health/Mental
Retardation program’s contracted providers of Mental Retardation Supports. Community
Living Care offers various programs including residential care, an Adult Training
Facility, Lifeskills program, OBRA supports, In-Home supports, behavioral supports and
the Senior Adult Daily Living Center (SADLC).
        SADLC offers individuals an alternative to a structured day program. Any
individual 60 years and older, or 18 years and older with the diagnosis of a dementia-
related disorder, is eligible to attend the program. SADLC focuses on maintaining skills
in the area of health, leisure, community involvement and activities of daily living.
SADLC visits Herminie Senior Citizen Center weekly to enjoy lunch and listen to a polka
band. Many SADLC participants enjoy arts and crafts, so painting is offered on daily.
All are encouraged to participate, but they may choose to simply relax instead. Everyone
is proud of the artwork displayed on the program walls.
        SADLC currently has six part-time and 12 full-time individuals. SADLC is
licensed annually by the Area Agency on Aging and is located at 115 Vannear Avenue in
Greensburg. Walk-ins are always welcome.
        For more information, contact Sherrie Thropp at 724-830-3617 or e-mail

May 10th Recycling Collection to be Held in Allegheny Township
        PA CleanWays of Westmoreland County, in junction with the Allegheny
Township Supervisors, is sponsoring a tire, battery, appliance and scrap metal collection
on Saturday, May 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Allegheny Township Municipal
Building off Rt. 56 in Leechburg. Tomson Scrap Metal, Brackenridge, and Dan’s Tires,
Dawson, will collect the material for recycling. Students from the Lenape Area Vo-Tech
will provide freon-removal for freon-containing appliances.
        Vehicle batteries, clean scrap metal (no plastic, cloth or rubber attached) and non-
freon containing appliances will be accepted at no charge. No electronic items
(televisions, computers, stereos, microwaves) will also be accepted. Freon-containing
appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and dehumidifiers will be accepted for a
nominal $10 fee. Proceeds from the freon removal will assist Lenape students with their
training and certification fees. The costs for tire disposal are:
         $1.75 per tire for passenger and light truck tires off-rim;
         $2.75 per tire for passenger and light truck tires on-rim;
         $3.00 per ply for heavy truck/tractor tires
        *PA CleanWays members receive a $.50 per tire discount on tire disposal.
        The collection is an easy way for homeowners to get rid of burdensome items in
an environmentally sound manner. Ridding properties of unwanted tires is one of the
most important defenses against the spread of the West Nile Virus.
        PA CleanWays offers many opportunities for people to help clean up their
environment, such as road adoptions, illegal dump cleanups, recycling opportunities and
educational programs for schools and youth groups.

Window to Westmoreland                                                         May 9, 2003

       For more information about the May 10 collection, or other PA CleanWays
programs, call 724-836-4129.

(Editor’s Note: the following proclamations were approved at the May 8 Commissioners
Public Meeting.)
National Drinking Water Week-May 4-10, 2003
        Whereas, with a Nation on alert, and an industry on guard, National Drinking
Water Week is celebrated this year with an international spotlight on security, protection,
and citizen involvement. These “Water Matters” were introduced before Congress last
year, as 21 century safeguards for a Nation dedicated to ensure public health; and
        Whereas, water experts and industry professionals draw on the support of
AWWA, its 15 Member Alliance and the Water Utility Council of America for some of
the safest drinking water in North America. The UN Secretary General stated that water
could be a source of conflict or a “catalyst for cooperation”. 2003 marks the 11th
anniversary of World Water Day in the UN International Year of Freshwater; and
        Whereas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local citizens have
declared resources and set forth initiatives to keep a watchful eye on surface water area
protection (swap). From watersheds to riverfronts, the public is asked to join the water
industry in the protection and conservation of drinking water at its freshwater source; and
        Whereas, like never before, the watchful eye of the public, the stewardship of
water managers, and the leadership of government officials converge to ensure the
production of safe, reliable, drinking water. For over 100 years, water utilities across the
United States, both public and private have demonstrated their dedicated service to
provide safe drinking water for a water-wise consumer.
        Whereas, during National Drinking Water Week the Municipal Authority of
Westmoreland County joins the drinking water public and water utilities across the
Commonwealth, who petition local government with public gratitude, in asking that the
Westmoreland County Commissioners declare May 4-10, 2003, National Drinking Water
        Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom
Ceraso and P. Scott Conner, do hereby proclaim May 4-10, 2003, National Drinking
Water Week.
        In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the
County to be affixed this 8th day of May 2003.

National Hospital Week-May 11-17, 2003
        Whereas, Mercy Jeannette Hospital will be celebrating National Hospital Week,
May 11-17, 2003 on Monday, May 12, 2003; and
        Whereas, the United States Postal Service is issuing a pictorial cancellation
honoring Mercy Jeannette Hospital and celebrating National Hospital Week; and
        Whereas, on Monday, May 12, 2003, the first envelope will be stamped with the
Mercy Jeannette Hospital cancellation during a special ceremony, in which Postal
authorities will be present.
        Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom
Ceraso and P. Scott Conner, do hereby proclaim Monday, May 12, 2003, as “Mercy

Window to Westmoreland                                                        May 9, 2003

Jeannette Hospital Day” in Westmoreland County as a way to celebrate National Hospital
Week, the United States Postal Service pictorial cancellation, and the continued
commitment of serving the people of Jeannette and the surrounding communities.
       In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the
County to be affixed this 8th day of May 2003.

World No Tobacco Day 2003
        Whereas, the health of all people is one true measure of Westmoreland County;
        Whereas, the health of Americans is inseparably linked with the health of people
throughout the world; and
        Whereas, all nations of the world, acting through the World Health Organization,
of which the United States is an active member, are pledged to the goal of health for all in
the year 2003; and
        Whereas, May 31st of each year has been established by the World Health
Organization as World No Tobacco Day-intended to encourage governments,
communities, groups and individuals to become aware of the devastating costs of tobacco
consumption and to take appropriate action; and
        Whereas, the year 2003 theme, “Fashion & Film”, is an opportunity to mobilize
the various sectors of society in communities large and small to promote a way of life
where tobacco use is no longer an accepted norm, realizing the power each sector holds
in promoting a healthy lifestyle; and
        Whereas, the American Association for World Health is encouraging the
promotion of World No Tobacco Day in the United States with strategies for year long
observances stressing the importance of tobacco control, particularly education and
policy efforts to prevent tobacco use and addiction among our young people.
        Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland
County, Tom Balya, Tom Ceraso and P. Scott Conner do hereby proclaim May 31, 2003
as World No Tobacco Day and urge citizens to take part in observances and activities on
this day and throughout the year designed to advance the cause of tobacco control and
prevention by promoting awareness on the devastating economic and human costs of
tobacco use, and by encouraging participation in the world wide efforts of attaining
health for all.
        In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the
County to be affixed this 8th day of May 2003.

Window to Westmoreland                                               May 9, 2003

               Window to Westmoreland
           Volume 2  Issue 10  May 9, 2003
                   A bi-weekly publication of the
            Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners
                        Tom Balya, Chairman
                  Thomas C. Ceraso, Vice Chairman
                      P. Scott Conner, Secretary

                     Westmoreland County Courthouse
                      2 North Main Street, Suite 101
                         Greensburg, PA 15601

                               Ted Kopas
                Dan Carpenter, Elicia George, Ellen Keefe,
                     Rich Matason, Sherrie Thropp

                           We welcome your feedback.
                      Please send comments or suggestions to
               Ted Kopas, Chief of Staff for Chairman Tom Balya,
        via e-mail at or call 724-830-3123.


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