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									                                 A Bi-Weekly Update on
                            Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

                 February 24, 2006  Volume 5  Issue 3 

Benefit Concert February 25 for Twin Lakes Skate Park
       The Westmoreland Street Park Alliance is sponsoring a benefit concert on
Saturday, February 25, from 7:00 to 1:00 p.m., to raise funds for the construction of the
Regional Skate Park project at Twin Lakes Park. The concert will be held at the
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in Village Hall, Room 118.
       The Alliance will collect a minimum $5 donation to the project from everyone
who attends the concert. All funds raised will be used to support the planning and
construction of the Twin Lakes Park Regional Skate Park.
       Five bands have donated their services to raise funds for the skate park and will
perform throughout the evening. The following is a list of performers and their websites
for more information, if available: Pianist Laura Evans; Vale and Year,
(;         Sounddrive       (;
Evergreen Movement (; and Fromthegroundup
       The event is co-sponsored by Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation,
fromthegroundup and Rogo Designs.
       For more information, contact Tim Krupar, event coordinator, at 724-837-4454.

                                        Art Project Grants Offered
                                                The Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks
        In This Issue:
                                        and Recreation and the Pennsylvania Council on the
 Economic Development                   Arts are offering grants to non-profit organizations to
 Seminar . . . . . . . . . . . Page 2   support art-related projects and activities that will
                                        benefit Westmoreland County residents. The awards
 BattleBots IQ . . . . . . .Page 3      are designed to stimulate arts programming in
                                        Westmoreland County. This year, $8,850 is available
 Hanna’s Town . . . . . .Page 4         in grants.
                                                Applications for funding are available now
 Proclamations . . . . . . Page 5       through the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks
                                        and Recreation.       Local arts organizations and
    Send us your feedback               governmental units engaged in the display or
           E-mail:                      production of arts activities are eligible to apply.
                                        Eligible arts activities include projects involving
                                        music, theater, dance and other performing arts.
Window to Westmoreland                                                February 24, 2006

        A qualified, independent review board will review all applications received by
Friday, March 17, 2006. Up to 60 percent project funding is available only for direct
costs of proposed projects, not for general administration, capital expenses or in-kind
costs. Also ineligible are activities that are not open to the general public, take place
outside Westmoreland County, have a religious purpose, or serve as vehicles for prizes,
fund raising or academic credit.
        The grant funds are for projects taking place from May 15 to September 30, 2006,
and all applicants will be notified of grant awards by May 1.
        Applications may be obtained at the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and
Recreation, 194 Donohoe Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.
        For application information, call 724-830-3950.

Labor Management Committee Hosts Economic Development Seminar
        The Westmoreland County Area Labor-Management Committee (WCALMC)
hosted its fourth annual countywide economic development seminar, entitled
“Westmoreland County: State of the Economy IV,” on Tuesday, November 15, 2005.
        Panel members represented a variety of local organizations closely linked to
economic development in the region and included Tom Balya, Westmoreland County
Commissioner; William Ceriani of the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis;
Alexander Graziani of the Smart Growth Partnerships of Westmoreland County; Dr.
Andrew Herr of Saint Vincent College; Deputy Secretary Robert O’Brien from the
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; John Skiavo of the Economic Growth
Connection of Westmoreland; April Steffey from the Westmoreland County Industrial
Development Corporation; and William Thompson from the Westmoreland-Fayette
Workforce Investment Board.
        Several key points were made during the two-hour seminar, which focused on the
local economic outlook as compared to the state and national averages. William Ceriani,
PA Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, stated that Westmoreland County is
doing a bit better than Pennsylvania and the U.S. in terms of recovering from the 2001
recession, and wages have not experienced as much adverse effect as employment.
Westmoreland County is also outpacing the commonwealth in job growth. The most
significant job loss in the county has been in the manufacturing sector, which lost
approximately 5,000 jobs between 2001 and 2005.
        John Skiavo from the Economic Growth Connection also commented on the
importance of improving transportation, in order to entice new businesses to locate within
the county. Skiavo noted that more than $150 million will be spent on transportation
projects in the 2005-06 fiscal year. Of those investments, the Laurel Connector/Laurel
Valley Transportation Improvement Project was noted as a key component in upgrading
the local infrastructure. The connector will provide a more direct route between the New
Stanton/Sony area and the county airport.
        Alex Graziani from the Smart Growth Partnership provided the audience with an
overview of the county’s comprehensive plan for Unity Township and the Route 30
corridor. The plan focuses on sound land use with a practical combination of residential
and commercial areas centered around a safe and efficient transportation corridor. With a
median home sale price of $307,000, Unity Township is an important growth area for
Westmoreland County.

Window to Westmoreland                                                   February 24, 2006

         The County’s economic development leaders also spoke of the creation of the
“Westmoreland Development Council,” which will encompass all of the private and
public sector development agencies under one roof. This partnership is aimed at creating
a more efficient and “user-friendly” system within the county, where resources can be
shared and projects completed using a team approach to economic development.
         Approximately 40 people attended the fourth annual seminar, which is open to
both WCALMC members and the public at large.
         Anyone interested in attaining more information about local and state workforce
statistics may access a wealth of valuable information online at

New Manufacturing Facility Opens in Arnold
        County Commissioners Tom Balya and Tom Ceraso helped welcome a new
employer to the Alle-Kiski Valley on February 10. Total Industrial and Packaging
Corporation (TIP), a small, woman-owned business based in McKees Rocks, Allegheny
County, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its new polypropylene
bag manufacturing facility located in Arnold, Westmoreland County.
        The facility, which will be operated by a division of TIP known as All American
Bag and Packaging, occupies approximately 52,000 square feet of space in Building 210
of the Schreiber Industrial Park. The facility includes office space, loading dock,
production facility and warehousing for raw materials and finished goods. The facility
completed and passed all qualification tests on February 6, 2006, and production is
        The facility will initially produce polypropylene sand bags to fulfill a Department
of Defense contract. The company envisions expanding its product lines to include other
types of Polypropylene bags and products for government agencies, industrial,
agricultural and retail uses.
        The manufacturing facility will initially create a minimum of approximately 150
new jobs in an area of southwestern Pennsylvania that has a significant need for new
jobs. TIP anticipates that employment can expand to as many as 400 jobs when the plant
begins operating at full capacity.
        For more information, contact Christin Miller of Total Industrial and Packaging
Corporation at 412-331-8301.

WIB’s “BattleBots IQ” Competition Set for May 13
        BattleBots IQ is an educational program created by the producers of the wildly
successful BattleBots television series in which homemade, remote controlled robots
face-off in competition. As the television show grew in popularity, so did the number of
student fans who wanted to build competitive robots of their own. It soon became
evident that this activity – the sport of robots in competition – had the unique potential to
impact middle school, high school and college students in a powerful and positive way.
        Through the process of robot building, student's imaginations are captured as they
design, build and compete with their own robotic creations; and through this hands-on
effort students gain practical knowledge of math, science, engineering and

Window to Westmoreland                                                February 24, 2006

        The reception to the BattleBots IQ program in the educational, manufacturing and
technology communities has been overwhelming. What started as a program for middle
and high schools has grown to include post secondary schools and institutions.
Manufacturing and technology sectors have been impressed with what the program has
done in creating an awareness of the manufacturing industry that until now was
somewhat lackluster.
        The Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board (WIB) hosted a teacher
training course in January for 21 local Career and Technology Center teachers at the
Westmoreland County Community College. These teachers spent three intense days
learning all about Battlebots IQ and will now implement the curriculum in their local
        The schools represented were Butler County AVTS, Central Westmoreland CTC,
Eastern Westmoreland CTC, Forbes Road CTC, Lenape Tech, Northern Westmoreland
CTC and Steel Center AVTS.
        Teams will be formed in each school to build battlebots and will compete in a
Battlebots IQ competition. The competition is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May
13, at Westmoreland Mall.
        For more information, contact the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment
Board at 724-755-2145 or visit

Volunteers Needed at Historic Hanna’s Town
        The Westmoreland County Historical Society will hold a series of orientations for
those interested in working as volunteers at Historic Hanna’s Town. Volunteers are
needed to work in the gift shop and to lead tours, particularly for school groups.
Orientation for new tour guides will be held Saturday, March 11, from 9:30 a.m. to noon,
at the society’s library at 41 W. Otterman Street, Suite 310, in Greensburg.
        Orientation sessions for all new and experienced Historic Hanna’s Town
volunteer tour guides will be held Saturdays, April 22 and 29, from 9:30 a.m. to noon,
and for gift shop volunteers April 29, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., at the historic site.
        Historic Hanna’s Town was founded in 1773 and was the first county seat and site
of the first English colonial court west of the Allegheny Mountains. The town was
attacked and burned on July 13, 1783, by a raiding party of Indians and their British
        Historic Hanna’s Town is administered through a partnership of the
Westmoreland County Historical Society and Westmoreland County Department of Parks
and Recreation.
        Advanced registration is requested. For more information or to register for the
orientation sessions, contact Joanna Moyar, education coordinator for the Westmoreland
County Historical Society at 724-836-1800 (extension 12).

Historical Society Plans Genealogical Trip to Carnegie Library
       The Westmoreland County Historical Society is sponsoring a bus trip from
Greensburg to Pittsburgh to use the resources of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical
Society in the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library.
       The daylong trip is planned for Monday, April 24. The bus will leave at 8:45 a.m.
and return at approximately 8:00 p.m. The group will receive an orientation to the

Window to Westmoreland                                                 February 24, 2006

various resources available in the Pennsylvania Department, which include federal census
enumeration schedules for the entire state; vital records index’s for Pennsylvania,
Virginia, Ohio and New York; Sanborn maps on microfilm for Pennsylvania; county
histories for all of the Pennsylvania in book and on microfilm; Ancestry on-line and
much more. Volunteers from the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society will be
available to guide the group to resource material and answer questions.
        The package is $40 for historical society members and $45 for non-members.
The fee includes bus fare, dinner (lunch is on your own) and gratuities. Space is limited.
The deadline for registration is Wednesday, April 12.
        To learn more about the Pennsylvania Department, visit the Carnegie Library’s
website at
        For more information or to make a reservation, call the Westmoreland County
Historical Society at 724-836-1800.

(Editor’s Note: the following proclamations were approved at the February 23
Commissioners’ Public Meeting.)
In Recognition of the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau Task Force
        Whereas, the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau Task Force was
appointed by the Board of Commissioners in September 2004 to conduct an independent,
comprehensive study of the Children’s Bureau to improve and strengthen the agency
responsible for the protection of innocent children who, through no fault of their own, are
abused or neglected; and
        Whereas, the Task force members, Phyllis Eldridge, Mary Ann Gawelek,
Thomas Horan, Robert Krupey and Gerome Spino, brought to the study diverse
backgrounds and unique perspectives, but above all recognized that our children are our
most precious resource; and
        Whereas, the Task Force performed an in-depth analysis of the Children’s
Bureau and submitted recommended improvements for the agency in November 2005
that covered a wide spectrum of areas including facilities and equipment, personnel and
workload, and communications and outreach; and
        Whereas, the County announced a series of action steps in February 2006, based
on the work of the Task Force, that will help strengthen the vital services the agency
provides; and
        Whereas, all residents of Westmoreland County – not just those who use the
services of the Children’s Bureau – owe the Task Force a debt of gratitude for their
        Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom
Ceraso and Phil Light, do hereby thank the members of the Westmoreland County
Children’s Bureau Task Force for their selfless service and professional efforts, and value
their significant contributions toward ensuring the safety and well being of the county’s
most vulnerable children.
        In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and cause the Seal of the
County to be affixed this 23rd day of February 2006.
The Prudential Spirit Of Community Awards - Gordon Vanscoy

Window to Westmoreland                                                   February 24, 2006

        Whereas, however effective government may be in serving the needs of its
citizens, the soul of our county and its vitality as a place to live and work depend on the
relationship of families, friends and neighbors; and
        Whereas, strengthening those bonds is not as much in the hands of institutions or
governments as it is in the hearts of the people-individuals who volunteer to help people
of all ages, races and religions cope with illnesses, overcome hardships and barriers,
adjust to social changes, and fulfill their potential, these volunteers are the unrecognized,
unsung heroes of our society; and
        Whereas, Gordon Vanscoy, recently named as one of our state's top honorees in
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program, exemplifies the value of volunteer
community service, and is a role model to our youth as well as adult in our county; and
        Whereas, Gordon is being recognized by this organization for organizing a three-
week school and community fund-raising drive that yielded more than $60,000 to aid
victims of Hurricane Katrina. By working with the Red Cross, school and community
leaders, Gordon and other teen volunteers collected donations at 13 schools, local retail
stores and a community fair; and
        Whereas, a surprising number of volunteers in communities across the nation are
like Gordon, a student contributing time without expectation of reward, other than the
gratification that comes from helping others.
        Therefore, we the Commissioners of Westmoreland County, Tom Balya, Tom
Ceraso and Phil Light, do hereby commend Gordon Vanscoy, our Prudential Spirit of
Community Award Honoree, for his outstanding volunteer contribution to others and our
county, and proclaim February 23, 2006 as the "Gordon Vanscoy Prudential Spirit of
Community Recognition Day" in Westmoreland County.
        In Witness Thereof, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Seal of the
County to be affixed this 23rd day of February, 2006.

Window to Westmoreland                                         February 24, 2006

               Window to Westmoreland
       Volume 5  Issue 3  February 24, 2006
    A bi-weekly update on Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

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

                               Ted Kopas
            Dan Carpenter, Bruce Hotchkiss, Jennifer Kemerer,
             Joanna Moyar, Heidi Petrosky Raymond Roberts

                           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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