As another year draws to a close, the Greene County Courier takes a trip back in time to review the biggest local news that arose in 2021.
The 2021 Year in Review will be published in two installments. This week we feature eight important news that occurred in the first six months of the year.
The following articles are presented in chronological order. They are not ranked in order of importance or priority.
Area school districts update COVID-19 education plans
The year started where the previous year left off, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all aspects of the lives of residents in the area. This included county school districts, which announced updates in early January on plans for continuing hybrid, distance or in-person teaching models.
The Carmichaels Area School District announced on January 7 its decision to continue virtual learning until January, due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 in the region, while the school district administration de Central Greene announced that students will continue distance learning until January 19 inclusive. , which had been necessitated by recommendations from the state education and health departments.
The Jefferson-Morgan School District announced that the students would return Jan. 11 in hybrid mode and be split into two groups; and the West Greene School District announced on Jan.6 that its distance learning model will be extended through Jan.15, with the hope that Kindergarten to Grade 12 students could resume in-person classes on Tuesday, 19th. January.
Commissioners designate county as Second Amendment sanctuary
Greene County commissioners announced in February that they had voted to designate the county as a Second Amendment sanctuary. The Second Amendment Sanctuary’s resolution states that the county would not recognize the application of new laws that change Second Amendment rights.
The three-member board of directors unanimously approved the measure and made the announcement public on February 4, joining their Fayette County counterparts, who passed a similar resolution in January.
The resolution affirms Greene County’s support for rights currently granted under the state and United States constitutions regarding the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.
“This resolution does not confer any new rights or privileges,” Commissioner Mike Belding said in the announcement. “But whether you are an occasional hunter, an advocate for youth activities like the Hunting Hills Hawkeyes and school shooting teams, or an individual who exercises the right to own guns for home / self-defense.” This resolution protects your current gun ownership rights against future counterfeiting in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Greene County Sheriff Marcus Simms and District Attorney David Russo also backed the resolution.
Renovations begin after county airport administration building burned
Renovations began at the administration building at Greene County Airport in April, a month after a March 24 fire ravaged the radio room of the control tower.
The fire was contained in the circular room with a panoramic view of the airport runway, although the smoke and water used to fight the blaze damaged other areas of the building and displaced the Airport Diner. and the office of District Judge Glenn Bates.
County commissioners approved a declaration of emergency for the building at their April 8 meeting. Officials said renovations would take some time as the county examines local codes and disability laws that have changed since the building opened in 1992, as well as whether the building’s electrical work need to be improved.
Bates and his team continue to work in an office in the county courthouse.
Private Eric Graham, the State Police Fire Marshal who investigated the blaze, said the blaze was an accident. He said the fire was caused by the “spontaneous heating” of chemical-coated cleaning rags left in the radio room, which he said were being used for storage at the time.
Ryerson’s ‘Overhaul’ Project Goes Forward
In an interview with the Messenger in April, Ryerson Station State Park Superintendent Alan Johnson said County State Park near Wind Ridge in western Greene County was continuing its “Ryerson Overhaul” plan ongoing and massive, which includes the modernization of its campgrounds and the construction of a new aquatic center.
The “Ryerson Revision” plan was announced in June 2015 after it was determined that the Duke Lake Dam, which was reportedly damaged by long-term mining nearby a decade earlier, could not be rebuilt. due to the continuous movement of the ground.
A 2013 $ 36 million settlement payment from Consol Energy, which has denied liability for damage to the dam, is being used for a host of park improvements to its campgrounds, pool, trails and trails. streams for fishing.
Johnson has said construction of the new aquatic center – which will include an improved swimming pool and spray park – is expected to be completed in the near future, and he expects “heavy use” of the facility when it officially opens to the public.
Johnson said a new parking lot with solar panels was also being installed, where the old swimming pool previously stood.
Company announces major broadband expansion plans
Kinetic by Windstream announced two projects in April to bring gigabit speeds through broadband expansion in Greene County, with one of those projects completed.
Kinetic completed its fiber optic construction project for 7,300 customer homes in Bobtown, Carmichaels, Greensboro, Jefferson, Mt. Morris and Waynesburg through a partnership with the county. Most of these customers previously had access to speeds below 25 mMbps.
Gigabit speed will not cause any slowdown or buffering when accessing the internet for work from home, virtual school, or streaming entertainment options.
The project is made possible by funding from the CARES Act provided by Greene County Commissioners and capital from Kinetic.
Officials also announced in April that additional upgrades were underway for a project to bring increased speeds to more than 1,000 customers in Brave, Graysville, Rogersville and Waynesburg, the statement said.
These two projects Kinetic announced by Windstream are in addition to a project that was completed in the summer of 2020, where more than 5,000 homes and businesses have benefited from broadband upgrades and expansion.
Authorities announce $ 100,000 in funding for Rices Landing project
The Commonwealth Funding Authority approved a $ 100,000 grant in May to be used to demolish a building in Rices Landing which officials say poses a health and safety risk.
State Representative Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, and State Senator Camera Bartolotta, of the Township of R-Carroll, said the old bank building in Rices Landing had been vacant for many years, resulting in several breakdowns and dangerous conditions for pedestrians and traffic along Main Street.
Snyder said the CFA Blight Remediation program will be “of great help” to Rices Landing and enable the expedited removal of a hazardous building and provide “an excellent redevelopment opportunity to spur future economic growth.”
The Commonwealth Financing Authority funds a multitude of projects that help businesses and communities succeed and prosper, including those focused on development, water quality, energy infrastructure and more.
Man dies at dead end in Cumberland Township
Broken windows and smashed doors at a mobile home in Cumberland Township were already barricaded on May 26, a day after its resident kept police at bay for nearly 12 hours before dying shortly after being evicted from the House.
The standoff ended with the death of Jeffry Christopher in the back of an ambulance after soldiers dragged him from his residence at 76 Route 88 Mobile Home Park at around 9:15 a.m. on May 25. Christopher, 59, was pronounced dead at WHS-Greene Hospital around noon. same day.
According to court documents, Christopher fired two shots at officers early on May 25 after Cumberland Township police were called to his home when a family member called 911 for a welfare check mental around 10 p.m. on May 24.
Witnesses said they saw the specialized state police response team put on bulletproof vests and weapons and deploy an armored vehicle approaching Christopher’s mobile home and puncturing the walls , windows and doors when he refused to surrender.
$ 800,000 in state funding allocated to housing initiatives
Officials announced in June that Greene County had been approved to receive $ 700,000 in state grants for the purchase and clean-up of six dilapidated homes across the county and $ 100,000 in grants for the agency. nonprofit Blueprints.
The grants were made through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund, which was established in 2010 to help create, rehabilitate and support affordable housing throughout Pennsylvania.
Funding for the grants is provided by impact fees charged on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale area and by the existing state property transfer tax.
Officials said the projects that received funding from the grant involve the Greene County Redevelopment Authority, which is separate from the county as its own authority, board and bylaws, but works in close collaboration with county organizations.
The $ 700,000 is for the County’s “From Burn to Shard: New Homes Where Burn Once Was There” County initiative; RACG received funding to build new homes where the plague once existed.
Officials also said that the $ 100,000 PHARE funding allocated to Blueprints, in partnership with RACG and the county, will help increase the number of low and moderate income families able to purchase quality affordable homes in the community of. their choice in the county.