Politics

New Chamber Director Settles In, Set Goals

“First week on the job and we already lost Trader Horn,” Ray Santillo joked as he worked on arranging his new desk. Santillo is the new executive director the Ellwood City Area Chamber of Commerce, a role he began on Monday, Jan. 11. Although there are many challenges ahead, he has a matching enthusiasm for the work and the Ellwood area. Santillo is a lifelong resident of Ellwood City, who raised four children here and says he is blessed that they all live nearby. He made his career with Riverside school district as a teacher, coach and ultimately principal of…


Council Appoints One Full-Time Patrol Officer Over Objections Raised by Two Members

In a 5-2 vote, Ellwood City borough council appointed a full-time patrol officer on Monday, Jan. 19. The officer is also the nephew of recently sworn-in council member George Celli. The new full-time officer, Jonathan Fauzey, has been working part-time since a previous council hired him in August 2013. Monday’s vote had similarities to the vote almost two and a half years ago to hire Fauzey as part-time. In both votes, council members Judi Dici and Marilyn Mancini voted against the motion but were defeated by a majority that included Celli. Dici and Celli have been off council since losing…


Committee Approves Vogel Bill Reducing General Assembly Size

The Senate State Government Committee today (Jan. 20) approved legislation introduced by Senator Elder Vogel that would reduce the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Senate Bill 488, which would decrease the Senate from 50 to 45 Senatorial Districts and the House of Representatives from 203 to 153 districts, now goes to the full Senate for consideration. “This is a bill that I have been working to get passed since I was elected to the Senate. When I first ran for office, one consistent message I heard from voters was that the size and scope of the Pennsylvania General Assembly…


Borough Council January Meeting Brief

The following is a brief summary of the Ellwood City Borough Council meeting held on Jan. 19: Visitors Ralph Chiappetta, a former council member, asked council if the police department had implemented a schedule change passed by council last year and intended to reduce overtime. Council members replied that as that is Mayor Anthony J. Court’s duty, they are not yet aware if the changes have been implemented. Chiappetta asked council to find out and to authorize Borough Solicitor Ed Leymarie to obtain a writ of mandamus if the mayor doesn’t comply. Appointments/Resignations Ellwood City Library Board- Norma Zingaro and…


One of Perry School’s Boilers to Be Replaced

In a unanimous vote on Jan. 14, the Ellwood City School Board decided to replace a broken boiler at Perry Lower Intermediate at a cost of $90,000. Perry has two boilers but only one is needed to properly heat the building. Both are over 50 years old and are well past their expected years of service, according to Business Manager Richard Zarone. “It could last five years, it could last five minutes,” Zarone said regarding the functional old boiler. Zarone presented the board with an option to replace both boilers at a cost of $150,000. Replacing both this year would…


Three School Board Members Wish to Change Ellwood City Festival’s Relationship with District

Although they were shut down by a majority vote on Jan. 14, three Ellwood City school board members wanted to change the district’s relationship with the Ellwood City Festival Committee. Erica Gray, Jennifer Tomon and Danielle Woodhead, all new members as of December, voted no on a routine annual motion to approve the Festival Committee’s request to use district property. “It’s our property. We should negotiate directly with the organizations that will be using it,” Tomon had said at Monday’s agenda meeting. The property specified in the motion includes the old Ewing Park School ground and the parking lot on…


School Board January Meeting Brief

The following is a brief summary of the Ellwood City Area School Board meeting held on Thursday, Jan. 14: Awards/Recognitions Perry Lower Intermediate was recognized as a 2016 Distinguished Title I School. Only five percent of Title I schools in the state receive this recognition and this is the second year in a row Perry earned this honor. Maddy McCommons was undefeated in three rounds of Linguistics, an academic competition, and thus qualified for the state competition. Molly McCommons, a 7th grader at Lincoln, went undefeated in Propaganda Identification, an academic competition, and also won another competition, Presidents, for which…


EC School Board Gives the Go Ahead for Two Makerspace Labs

The Ellwood City school board granted conditional approval for makerspace labs at Hartman Intermediate and Lincoln High School in a 6-2 vote yesterday. The motion, as passed, approves the administration’s plan for two workshops and will provide the necessary funding to adopt the programs for the 2016-17 school year. In addition, the board will hire a teacher for the Lincoln workshop. This is a significantly different wording than originally proposed, which would have committed to providing $150,000, which the administration said is the minimum cost required to have two functional workshops. The board plans on launching a community fundraising campaign,…


Ellwood City Athletic Director Proposes Reforms for Equipment Purchasing and Field Upgrades

At Monday’s agenda setting meeting, Athletic Director Darin Morella presented several major ideas to the Ellwood City Area School Board. Foremost, Morella, who was appointed AD this past summer, wished to reorganize the method with which the athletic department purchases equipment in order to cut down on wasted equipment, save money and have equipment arrive in a more timely fashion. His proposal is in cooperation with Richard Zarone, the district’s business manager. As it is currently done, all sports order their equipment at the same time, around May. The athletic department then is responsible for ensuring the orders arrive and…


Ellwood City School Board to Vote on Makerspace Funding Tonight

The Ellwood City Area School Board will vote on a motion tonight that will give approximately $150,000 in funding for makerspace workshops in Hartman Intermediate School and Lincoln High School. As of now, the board appears to be split 5-4 into two factions. The larger faction supports the full amount and the smaller faction, a reduced amount. However, the motion will be presented to the board for the full amount. A makerspace workshop is a creative space with high tech equipment such as 3d printers and robotics. Unlike a traditional classroom, students guide the learning through trial and error with…