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									A Bi-Weekly Update on Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
November 21, 2003  Volume 2  Issue 24  www.co.westmoreland.pa.us

13 New Families Created Today in Celebration of Adoption Day
As part of the local celebration of National Adoption Month this November, Westmoreland County today marked Adoption Day with a ceremony in the County Courthouse. The theme for this year’s Adoption Day was “Kings and Queens for the Day.” The ceremony finalized 19 adoptions to create 13 new families. Today’s event commenced with opening remarks from Marilyn McSparrin, director of the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau, and the Honorable Daniel Ackerman, President Judge, followed by a proclamation in honor of Westmoreland County’s Adoption Day presented by the Board of Commissioners. Judges Rita Hathaway, Anthony Marsili, John Driscoll and Al Bell presided over adoption hearings for 19 remarkable children, who have been in the legal custody of the Children’s Bureau. The children range in age from one to 17 ½ years. The following is demographic information on the children finalized into 13 “forever” families: eight children are under the age of five, four children are between the ages of five and In This Issue: 10, and seven children are older than 10. Six sibling Holiday Help groups were finalized (12 children into six families). Programs . . . . . . . . . . Page 2 A sibling group is defined as siblings being adopted by the same family. Pennsylvania defines “older New County children” as children older than age eight, due to the Smoking Policy . . . . . Page 3 difficulty in locating adoptive families for this age range. Economic Development Currently, Pennsylvania has approximately Seminar . . . . . . . . . . . Page 4 1,331 children in need of an adoptive home. Pennsylvania, through the Statewide Adoption IT Help For Network (SWAN), has launched a massive Nonprofits . . . . . . . . . Page 5 recruitment program to locate families for the state’s older waiting children. Subsequent to this year’s Proclamations . . . . . . Page 6 Adoption Day, the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau will still have more than 21 children waiting Send us your feedback for an adoptive placement. E-mail: Those families considering adoption should FKopas@co.westmoreland.pa.us contact the Children’s Bureau at 724-830-3300.

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Refreshments and entertainment were provided to the families and guests at the Adoption Day ceremonies. Each child also received a gift bag. The gift bags were made up of items donated from businesses and individuals throughout the county. The Children’s Bureau is the county agency that is responsible for protecting children. If it becomes necessary to separate a child from the family due to abuse or neglect concerns, the agency first works toward a safe reunification of that child with the family. If that is not possible, the agency works towards finding a permanent home for the child, and adoption is sometimes that permanency option. For more information about adoption or about foster care, contact the Children’s Bureau at 724-830-3300 or the SWAN Helpline toll-free at 800-585-SWAN.

Children’s Bureau Leads Holiday Present Drive
The Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau is conducting a Christmas Present Drive for families that have had involvement with the office. A Christmas present bulletin has been established in the Children’s Bureau office on the third floor of the County Courthouse with names of children in need of clothes and toys. County Employees may now come to the office and take a name (or names) from the board. Information concerning age/sex/clothing size/special needs is included. Wrapped presents should be returned to the Children’s Bureau for delivery no later than Thursday, December 11. Due to employee generosity and 48 partner organizations, 1,247 names were distributed for presents last year. Nearly 300 foster children received $45 Kmart gift certificates and 101 children received winter jackets. For more information, contact Children’s Bureau Supervisor Wallie Tobin at 724830-3300 or e-mail wtobin@co.westmoreland.pa.us.

Holiday Help Through County’s “Miracle of Giving” Program
The county’s Information and Referral Helpline is sponsoring it's annual “Miracle Of Giving" program for families in Westmoreland County suffering from terminal illnesses and devastating circumstances. Since its inception, the program has helped a multitude of county families celebrate a happier holiday season. Examples of the families who benefit from the “Miracle of Giving” program include: the family of a young single mother who recently had a stroke; the family of another single mother who recently passed away; a six-yearold boy who is very ill and has a feeding tube; and a 14-year-old girl who is very ill and is having surgery again in December. The Helpline is now soliciting donations to help families in need this season. Any contributions, large or small, are greatly appreciated. Contributions must be received in the office of Information and Referral no later than Friday, December 12. The office is located in Suite 108A of the Westmoreland County Courthouse. To help these families have a happier holiday season, contact Information and Referral at 724-830-3110.

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County Facilities “Smoke-Free” January 1, 2004
At its November 20 public meeting, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a new smoking policy for all county facilities. The policy applies to all courthouse employees and visitors. Effective Jan. 1, 2004, the County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex are hereby designated “Smoke-Free,” meaning smoking is no longer permitted in any indoor areas. This designation pertains to all indoor areas of the Courthouse and Courthouse Annex, including, but not limited to, offices of Elected Officials, Judges’ chambers, other private offices, the Snack Bar, conference rooms and all formerly permitted indoor smoking areas. The “Smoke-Free” designation applies to all County-owned facilities in addition to the Courthouse and Courthouse Annex, including Courthouse Extension, Public Works, Juvenile Center and Public Safety/911 Center. The exceptions to this policy are the County Prison, where smoking is permitted in inmate housing units, staff dining room, staff training room and fully-enclosed private offices at the occupant’s discretion, as outlined in the previous policy, and Westmoreland Manor, where smoking is permitted in designated areas outlined in the Manor’s existing policy. Smoking is not permitted in any county vehicles transporting the public, including, but not limited to, Manor residents, Juvenile Center residents, and County Prison inmates or work crews. In addition, smoking is not permitted directly in front of the Main Entrance of the Courthouse. Smoking is permitted in designated outdoor areas of Courthouse Square, where ashtrays are stationed. Signed copies of the new smoking policy are available in the Chief Clerk’s office in the Commissioners’ Suite on the first floor of the County Courthouse. The passage of the new smoking policy coincided with the November 20 celebration of the “Great American Smokeout,” an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society to help smokers give up cigarettes. The Westmoreland County Penn State Cooperative Extension Office offers programs to help smokers kick the habit and can provide free motivational speakers and information on quitting. Those interested can contact the Extension Office at 724-8371402. For more information on smoking cessation programs, call the Pennsylvania Quitline at 877-724-1090 or visit www.westmorelandtobaccofree.org.

Geese Hunting Resumes At County Parks
Due to recurring problems from an increased resident geese population, restricted hunting is once again allowed in county parks. Hunting for resident geese will be permitted at the lakefront area of Westmoreland County’s Chestnut Ridge Park, Bridgeport Dam Park, Mammoth Park, Twin Lakes Park and Northmoreland Park in September. The hunting is consistent with federal law and Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations. Special hunting dates and times have been set. Hunting is only limited to four days, November 18, 19, 25 and 26, from dawn to 9:00 a.m. The lakefront areas of the parks will be closed to the public at these times to permit safe hunting.

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Hunters are permitted to set decoys, hunt the fly zones and retrieve the bagged game with dogs in the designated safe hunting areas the adjoin the lakes. For more information, contact Adrian Horvath, maintenance and development coordinator, at 724-830-3950 or e-mail ahorvath@co.westmoreland.pa.us, or Captain Nick Caesar of the Westmoreland County Park Police at 724-853-4672 or e-mail ncaesar@co.westmoreland.pa.us.

Economic Development Seminar Scheduled for Dec. 3 at WCCC
The Westmoreland County Area Labor-Management Committee will host its Second Annual Economic Development Seminar on Wednesday, December 3, 2003, from 8:00-10:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Hall Amphitheater at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood. “Westmoreland County: State of the Economy II” focuses on the latest economic trends in Westmoreland County, as well as the region, and will feature a panel of guest speakers who work closely with countywide economic development. Slated to participate in the panel discussion are: County Commissioner Tom Balya, Alex Graziani of the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, John Skiavo of the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, Andrew Stofan of the Latrobe Area Chamber of Commerce and Bill Thompson of the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board. In addition to the guest speakers, two additional potential speakers – a regional economist and a representative from the state Department of Community and Economic Development – have been invited to participate in the panel discussion. The registration deadline is December 1. To register, call 724-925-4247 or e-mail wcalmc@westmoreland.cc.pa.us.

Swearing-In Ceremony for County Elected Officials Dec. 31
Swearing-in ceremonies for the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas and county elected officials will be held Wednesday, December 31, at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony will be held in Judge Debra Pezze’s courtroom on the mezzanine floor of the County Courthouse. During the event those elected in the November 4 General Election will be sworn in and take their oath of office. Taking the oath will be newly elected Judge of the Court of Common Pleas Christopher Feliciani; the incoming Board of Commissioners, Tom Balya, Tom Ceraso and Terry Marolt; Controller-Elect Carmen Pedcione; Sheriff Chris Scherer; Recorder of Deeds Tom Murphy; Treasurer Kathlyn O’Brien; and Register of Wills Earl Keim. There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room on the first floor of the Courthouse. Due to limited seating, attendance at the ceremony is by invitation only. For more information, contact Westmoreland County Information and Referral in 724-830-3110.

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Medicare Savings Available for Eligible Seniors
The Area Agency on Aging is reminding eligible seniors who qualify for the Medicare Part B Payment Assistance Program through their local County Assistance Office that they could save up to $58.70 per month. A person qualifies for some level of assistance if they meet the following guidelines:  Are eligible for Medicare Part A.  Financial resources (stocks, bonds, savings accounts, etc.) do not exceed $4,000 for one person or $6,000 for a couple. Some items, such as home, one automobile, burial plots, home furnishings and jewelry, do not count as resources. If the combined face value of a live insurance policy is less than $1,500, it is also excluded.  If monthly income is at or below $769 (individual) or $1,030 (couple), the person may qualify for the program called Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) that pays Medicare premiums, deductible and coinsurance.  If monthly income is at or below $918 (individual) or $1,232 (couple), the person may qualify for the program called Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) that pays the Medicare Part B premium. For 2003, this is $58.70 per month.  If monthly income is at or below $1,031 (individual) or $1,384 (couple), the person may qualify for the program called Qualified Individual 1 (QI-1), which pays the Medicare Part B premium. For 2003, this is $58.70 per month. For more information about this program or to apply, contact the County Assistance Office toll-free at 800-905-5413.

Information Technology Help Available for Nonprofit Groups
A new support group, through the YWCA, is underway for information technology staff at county nonprofit agencies. “Burgers and Bytes” is designed for all non-profit staff engaged in technology management. Once a month, participants can relax, enjoy dinner and discuss their technology issues with other non-profit techs. Food and the resources will be provided. The first meeting will be held January 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the Olive Garden, 1085 E Pittsburgh St, Greensburg (by Barnes and Noble). Meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month thereafter. There is a $15 charge to cover the cost of food and materials. Computer classes and employee computer training are available at the YWCA, in a very comfortable learning environment of only six per class, with a large screen that displays the instructor’s computer. The computer lab offers computer classes Monday through Friday all year long. Morning, afternoon and evening classes are available. The YWCA works with PA CareerLink, in that it offers 50 percent scholarships for a computer class for people referred by the CareerLink. Approximately 98 percent of participants decide to continue taking additional computer classes. Financial aid from the YWCA is available, and eligible participants can receive up to a full scholarship. For more information or to RSVP for “Burgers and Bytes,” contact Gina McGrath at GinaM@ywcawestmoreland.org or call 724-834-9390 (Extension 20).

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Proclamations
(Editor’s Note: the following proclamations were approved at the November 20 Commissioners’ Public Meeting.) In Honor of the Relick Family Whereas, on August 30, 2003, at 12:45 a.m., Judy Relick and her husband, John, were awoken by a loud noise, and upon going outside found a burning truck crashed into a tree near their Cook Township home; and Whereas, Judy called 911 while John and his son, Aron, bravely and without concern for themselves, pulled the driver from the burning truck; and Whereas, John and Aron acted without regard for their own personal safety and exhibited a level of concern and compassion that is truly inspiring; and Whereas, we as citizens of Westmoreland County should honor and recognize these individuals for their acts of heroism. Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom Ceraso and P. Scott Conner, do hereby recognize and honor John, Judy and Aron Relick for their acts of heroism and bravery. In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set out hands and cause the Seal of the County to be affixed this 20th day of November 2003. In Recognition of Jay S. Pifer, Chief Operating Officer, Allegheny Energy Whereas, Jay S. Pifer, a native of Ridgway, Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State University and from Clarion State University; and Whereas, Jay Pifer has been employed by Allegheny Energy for 40 years, and was appointed President of West Penn Power Co. in 1990. In 1995 he was also appointed President of Monongahela Power Co. and The Potomac Edison Co, becoming President of Allegheny Power; and Whereas, under his leadership Allegheny Power became recognized as a worldclass delivery business and was ranked number one in the nation in customer satisfaction among the 30 largest electric and gas companies and ranked second in the east and in the top 10 nationally by JD Power and Associates; and Whereas, Jay Pifer served as Interim Chief Executive Officer at Allegheny and is now the Chief Operating Officer for Allegheny Energy, overseeing Allegheny Power and Allegheny Energy Supply businesses as well as Human Resources and Administration, Communications and External Affairs; and Whereas, Jay Pifer has remained active in community affairs, serving on the boards of Waynesburg College, Penn State University Advisory Board, University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, and United Way, and has served as honorary chair of the NAACP banquet. Jay currently serves as Director of the Westmoreland Trust and of TEAM Pennsylvania, and as a member of such civic organizations as the Advisory Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy; and Whereas, Jay has received Penn State University’s Alumni Fellow Award, the highest award of the Alumni Association, and Penn State University's Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award. He is an ordained Lay Pastor in the United Methodist Church, and has been a frequent speaker at college commencements and other conferences and seminars; and Whereas, Jay Pifer will be retiring from Allegheny Energy on December 1, 2003.

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Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Thomas Ceraso and P. Scott Conner, do hereby recognize Jay Pifer for his service to Allegheny Energy and the residents of Westmoreland County, and wish him well in his retirement. In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and cause the Seal of the County to be affixed this 20th day of November 2003. Amy Misselli: Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient Whereas, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America is the world’s largest organization for girls, serving 2.7 million girls by building character and skills for success in the real world. With the guidance of trained and dedicated leaders, girls develop life-skill qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, such as strong moral values, a social conscience, and the certainty of their own potential; and Whereas, having completed all the requirements set forth by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, the Girl Scout Council of Westmoreland, Inc. is proud to announce that Amy Misselli, Laurel Highlands Service Unit, Troop #5091 was found worthy of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award; and Whereas, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the culmination of years of involvement and hard work and is considered the highest level of accomplishment by a scout, she must first earn four Cadette and Senior Girl Scout Interest Project awards, earn the Career Exploration Pin, earn the Senior Girl Scout Leadership Award, earn the Senior Girl Scout Challenge Pin and then complete the most significant requirement, the performance of a Gold Award Service Project, which benefits the community and involves at least 50 hours of work; and Whereas, Amy organized and led the music for her community Vacation Bible School and taught grades pre-school through sixth grade. Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom Ceraso, and P. Scott Conner, do hereby recognize the accomplishments of Amy Misselli as a proven leader among her peers and wish her continued success in her future endeavors. In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the County to be affixed this 20th day of November 2003. Amanda Nelson: Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient Whereas, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America is the world’s largest organization for girls, serving 2.7 million girls by building character and skills for success in the real world. With the guidance of trained and dedicated leaders, girls develop life-skill qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, such as strong moral values, a social conscience, and the certainty of their own potential; and Whereas, having completed all the requirements set forth by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, the Girl Scout Council of Westmoreland, Inc. is proud to announce that Amanda Nelson, Laurel Highlands Service Unit, Troop #5091 was found worthy of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award; and Whereas, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the culmination of years of involvement and hard work and is considered the highest level of accomplishment by a scout, she must first earn four Cadette and Senior Girl Scout Interest Project awards, earn the Career Exploration Pin, earn the Senior Girl Scout Leadership Award, earn the Senior Girl Scout

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Challenge Pin and then complete the most significant requirement, the performance of a Gold Award Service Project, which benefits the community and involves at least 50 hours of work; and Whereas, Amanda organized and led a Praise Fest, which is a worship service. She also included games and a dinner before the worship service. Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom Ceraso, and P. Scott Conner, do hereby recognize the accomplishments of Amanda Nelson as a proven leader among her peers and wish her continued success in her future endeavors. In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the County to be affixed this 20th day of November 2003. National Adoption Month: November 2003 Whereas, National Adoption Week was first proclaimed in Massachusetts in 1976. The number of states declaring a special week to recognize adoption gradually increased, leading to the inception of National Adoption Month in 1990; and Whereas, according to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, of the approximately 588,000 children currently in foster care, more than 131,000 children are waiting for permanent families; and Whereas, Westmoreland County currently has 311 children in foster care. Forty percent of children in foster care return to their parent or legal guardian, thirty percent are adopted, twenty-five percent are placed in other planned permanent living arrangements, and five percent are placed with relatives; and Whereas, through adoption Americans can forever change not only a child’s life but also their own. By providing children in need with the opportunity to grow and succeed through adoption, we can help them become confident, compassionate and successful members of society; and Whereas, on Friday, November 21, 2003, Westmoreland County will hold ceremonies to finalize 19 adoptions that will create 13 new families. Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Thomas Ceraso and P. Scott Conner, do hereby proclaim November 2003 as National Adoption Month and November 21, 2003, as National Adoption Day in Westmoreland County. In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and cause the Seal of the County to be affixed this 20th day of November 2003.

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Window to Westmoreland
Volume 2  Issue 24  November 21, 2003
A bi-weekly update on Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Westmoreland County Courthouse 2 North Main Street, Suite 101 Greensburg, Pennsylvania 15601 800-442-6926 Editor: Ted Kopas Contributors: Nick Caesar, Ray DuCoeur, Elicia George, Wanda Layman, Gina McGrath, Heidi Petras, Carol Petrusky, Wallie Tobin

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

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