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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
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.
Hopewell residents to pay more
in taxes, garbage fees in 2020
The Hopewell Township Commissioners recently approved a 2-mill tax increase for 2020, the first increase since 2010.

They also replaced Waste Management with Valley Waste Services, which was the low bidder for removal of garbage, bulky waste, yard waste and certain recyclable materials.Residents will see their bills increase by only about $5 for the year.

Township manager Jamie Yurcina said the tax hike was necessary to avoid deficit spending.

He said that 41 percent of the township’s general fund goes toward expenses associated with its police department.

The current police contract ends Dec. 31, with an arbitrator set to listen to both sides in January.
Hopewell orders VFW post
to cease shooting at its range
(Dec. 19, 2019)

Hopewell Township Zoning Officer John Bates has informed Robert Young Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8805 that “no further or future gun range activities” are permitted at is Stone Quarry Road property.

In a recent letter, Bates wrote that the post in is violation of a zoning ordinance adopted in 2004.

“Specifically, the VFW is located in the R-1 Residential-Agricultural District” and that “uses do not include any provisions for gun ranges to be operated therein …”

“If the VFW has received approval or has some nonconforming status to operate a gun range … the burden of proof would be on the VFW present that evidence.”

Bates said the post has 30 days to appeal to the township’s zoning hearing board. Continued violations could result in fines of $500 daily, he wrote.

The state Department of Environmental Protection previously said that the Hopewell 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 the post “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.)

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.”

Residents have complained about lead and noise
Residents of Stone Quarry and Morrow roads in the area of the post have been complaining to the 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 township commissioners on Aug. 26.

Board to discuss future of Hopewell Area school buildings
On Monday, Jan. 13, the Hopewell Area School Board will begin discussing the future of its five school buildings in earnest

The 7 p.m. meeting will focus on where fourth-graders will be taught going forward.

Last month, VEBH Architects presented a feasibility study of district facilities.

Among the challenges identified was the growth of the elementary population, and the lack of classroom space to accommodate students
Currently, the high school building houses students in grades 9 through 12. The junior high houses students in grades 5 through 8

Three elementary schools – Hopewell Elementary (“Kane Road”), Independence and Margaret Ross – educate students from kindergarten through grade 4.

Several options were provided by VEBH for board consideration. The entire report can be found here.