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Special report:
Shell picks Potter
The economic effect of Shell Oil building a petrochemical plant on the former Horsehead site in Potter, and/or another company building a similar plant on the Aliquippa riverfront cannot be overstated.
"An informed citizen is the only true repository of the American will."
      -- Thomas Jefferson
TODAY
QuippaDrone
GetGo looking for liquor license,
Primanti's thinking about Center site

Giant Eagle is seeking the transfer of a liquor license so that it can sell beer and wine at a GetGo store to be built on the site of the shuttered Toys “R” Us in Center Township.

Township development director Frank Vescio said Giant Eagle bought the location along Route 18 at auction for $3.75 million, outbidding rival Sheetz by about $1 million.

Vescio also said that Primanti Bros., the eatery noted for piling French fries and cole slaw on their sandwiches, is looking to open a location in a former drug store in the Walmart Plaza, though a building permit has not yet been issued.

The chain operates 44 restaurants in seven states.
Hopewell awards bids for road repairs
(Aug. 26, 2019)

Several roads and a municipal parking lot will be improved under a contract awarded Monday by the Hopewell Township Commissioners.

The bid of $444,180 awarded to Youngblood Paving Inc. of Wampum was slightly less than the township had estimated.

To get an overlay are:
Washington Street between Harding and McKinely avevues
Cleveland Avenue from Washington Street to Brodhead Road
Roosevelt Avenue from Washington Street to Brodhead Road

To be tarred and chipped are:
Longvue Avenue/Sohn Road from Brodhead Road to Sweet Briar Drive, Sweet Briar Drive to the depository and the depository to the 90 degree bend
Creese/Juniata streets
Boake Drive
Davidson Lane
Rhode Island Avenue from Maratta Road to Massachusetts Avenue
Beaver Lakes Boulevard
West Main Street

Youngblood will also tar and chip the Hopewell Township Municipal Building parking lot.

Hopewell VFW shooting range draws ire
of Department of Environmental Protection
(Sept. 9, 2019)

The state Department of Environmental Protection says Hopewell’s VFW post is not meeting its obligations under a consent order and agreement (COA) with the department regarding lead in the soil from its gun range.

Lauren Fraley, community relations coordinator for the DEP’s Southwest Regional Office, said that the Robert Young Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8805 “agreed that lead and lead-contaminated soils at the post needed to be remediated because its continued presence at the site poses a potential source of groundwater pollution …”

(A COA is issued by an administrative agency such as DEP, and is not to be confused with a consent decree, which is a court order.)

“While DEP has attempted to work with VFW Post 8805 to achieve the corrective actions agreed to and required in the COA, the post is months late in compliance with its obligations,” Fraley said.

Current commander Cliff Walker did not respond to a phone message left for him at the post, nor to a message sent to the post’s email address asking for his comment.

The post ‘intends to complete its obligations’
However, Attorney Lawrence E. Bolind Jr., whose signature appears on the COA on behalf of the VFW, said that “The post agreed to certain things to avoid litigation.”

He said the post remains in contact with a contractor interested in performing the remediation, and that the VFW “intends to complete its obligations.”

“The money is there, but we are at the mercy of the weather and the remediator,” Bolind said. “We’re good citizens, and we want to follow the law. The post wants to be a good neighbor.”

The COA states that the club has been operating a shooting range at its 138 Stone Quarry Road property since about 1970, and that no lead remediation has ever been performed there.

The COA – signed by then-post commander Benjamin Barrett – calls for the VFW to remediate soil backstops “through removal and disposal of lead impacted soils …” and manage stormwater runoff from the range.

The COA states that “in the event that the VFW fails to comply in a timely manner with any term or provisions of this Consent Order and Agreement, the VFW shall be in violation of this Consent Order and Agreement, and, in addition to other applicable remedies shall … pay a civil penalty in the amount of $250.00 per day … “

The DEP has yet to actually levy a fine.

Noise is also a point of contention
Residents of Stone Quarry and Morrow roads in the area of the post have been complaining to the Hopewell Township Commissioners about both the lead and the noise emanating from the shooting range.

“We want that gun range to cease to exist,” Morrow Road resident Ed Burak told the commissioners on Aug. 26.

A July 2019 letter from Hopewell zoning officer John Bates to the post notes that “I have received constant complaints concerning the excessive noise created by the group participation of gun training exercises conducted by groups outside the post 8805 membership.”

His letter says the post is directed to “cease and desist” operation of the range within 30 days of his letter, or it could be fined $500 a day.

Bolind responded to Bates later that same month, contending that the range was established “prior to any implemented zoning ordinances” and is “grandfathered” in regarding the use of the post’s property.

Hopewell Dog Park, a local Scout's Eagle project, has its grand opening
Hopewell Area High School student and Eagle Scout candidate Chandler Dameron recently cut the ribbon on his project a dog park at Hopewell Community Park. CLICK HERE TO SEE A GALLERY of photos from the Oct. 26 event.
bv today photos
Oct. 26 provided a dog day afternoon for Hopewell canines as a project four years in the making was officially opened.

For his ambitious Eagle Scout project, Chandler Dameron raised more than $25,000 to build a dog park in Hopewell.

He had the assistance of many local businesses and groups, including his sister's Girl Scout troop, which provided the park's agility equipment.

The park is on Laird Road, near the entrance of the community park.

It features separate areas for agility, large dogs and small/elderly dogs, as well as an area in which leashed dogs can frolic in a stream.