Politics

Former Police Chief Sues Borough

Former police chief Mark Romutis is suing the Borough of Ellwood City. Romutis filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Monday, October 19 at the Lawrence County Courthouse. According to court documents, the lawsuit is four-pronged: breech of contract, breech of policy violation, breech of implied covenant, and interference with prospective economic advantage. Romutis is seeking $35,000 for each of the claims for a total of $140,000. The lawsuit rests on the grounds that the reason for the police chief’s abrupt removal violated the terms of his contract and has limited his employment prospects. Romutis served as police chief from January…


Police Cruiser Purchase Causes Dissension in Council

Council voted to purchase a new police cruiser at Monday’s council meeting on October 19. However, the vote was not unanimous. Council members Ralph Chiapetta and David DeCaria voted no. Chiappetta said that due to low patrol hours in the police department (about 2.4/man hour), he couldn’t justify purchasing a new cruiser. “The police department has been focusing on drug activity while other crimes, such as vandalism, are on the rise,” Chiappetta said. David DeCaria joined Chiappetta in the dissenting vote, adding that the decision “won’t affect the safety of officers or the public.” However, the other five members of…


Council Members Disagree on Revision to Civil Service Regulations

The Ellwood City Borough Council was poised to adopt revised civil service regulations at its voting meeting on Monday, Oct. 19. However, after council member Connie MacDonald raised several questions during the agenda setting meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, council agreed to table the motion for further discussion. MacDonald felt the regulations should include a credit check in the civil service commission’s background check. He also felt the borough should require police officer’s to have a college education, either a bachelors or associates. “In this day and age, we should hire the most qualified people and encourage people to have…


Riverside Parents Inquire about Co-Op Wrestling with Ellwood City

Several parents attended the Riverside School Board agenda setting meeting on Monday, Oct. 12 to inquire about a potential Riverside wrestling program. Visitor Rani Schweiger asked the Board if there was interest in either establishing a Riverside wrestling team or forming a Co-Op with Ellwood City. Superintendent Dr. David Arney said that because of how imminent winter sports season is, it is more practical to look into having Riverside athletes wrestle as independents for the 2015-16 school year. Schweiger countered that wrestling as an independent is an entirely different experience for athletes than having the support of a team. “My…


Strike Averted, School Tomorrow! Tentative Agreement Reached

Around 9 p.m. tonight, the Ellwood City School Board and the Ellwood Area Education Association reached a tentative agreement. As such, a strike has been avoided, and there will be school tomorrow as normal. Today’s negotiation, which began at 6 p.m., concluded a series of negotiations since the last contract expired on June 30. Following today’s agreement, Board Vice President LeRoy Cortez thanked the teachers for their patience. “We’ve reached an agreement that I believe is fair to both sides,” Cortez said. The threat of a strike loomed over the district since Wednesday, Oct. 9 when the Education Association announced…


Strike! Ellwood City Teachers Threaten to Strike on Tuesday

The Ellwood Area Education Association will strike on Tuesday if no agreement is reached with the Ellwood City Area School Board by then. The association announced its intention to strike Wednesday following a failed negotiation meeting. Contract negotiations had been ongoing since the expiration of the previous contract on June 30. The Ellwood Area Education’s Association showed up in force at Thursday’s school board meeting. Members of the Parent-Teacher Association and Ellwood City Kitchen Cabinet also attended to show support for a compromise. Subsequently, the meeting was held in the cafeteria instead of the meeting room to accommodate the visitors….


School Board Discusses Driver’s Ed, Business Week and Perry School Sign

In addition to written and verbal statements by the Ellwood City Little Wolverines, the Ellwood City Area School Board discussed several other issues at its agenda setting meeting on Monday, Oct. 6. Board Member Renee Pitrelli asked if the “behind the wheel” portion of driver’s education could be restored. The school district used to offer the course after school which, when completed, provided a driver’s insurance deduction. According to Vice President LeRoy Cortez, the school board eliminated the course in 2011 simply because of a budget shortage due to Harrisburg’s statewide public education subsidy reduction. Board Member Bob Stevenson said…


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Ellwood City Little Wolverines Presents Concerns to Ellwood City School Board

Over thirty parents and children arrived at the Ellwood City school board’s agenda meeting yesterday in response to the Athletic Director’s decision to forbid the use of Helling Stadium to the Ellwood City Little Wolverines on Sunday due to rain on Saturday. The decision was made with concerns to safety and potential damages to the field and the board stated it supported the action taken by Athletic Director Darin Morrella. The visitors, collectively representing the Ellwood City Little Wolverines, were morbidly upset because the game was Senior Night for the ECLW, and the cancellation forced the three scheduled games to…


Weekend Rain Leads to Relocation of Youth Football Games

The Ellwood City Little Wolverines were supposed to play three games on Sunday afternoon. The day was to be the organization’s Senior Night for Sixth Graders. However, following the Junior Varsity game on Saturday, Athletic Director Darin Morella chose to cancel the PowderPuff games scheduled for 4 p.m. and the Little Wolverines games on Sunday. The games were relocated to Central Valley. According to the ECLW, this resulted in lower attendance, an estimated loss of $4810 and destroyed the spirit of Senior Night. According to School Board Vice President LeRoy Cortez, the decision was both a financial and safety concern….


Borough Issues Mass Property Citations

The Ellwood City Borough filed 16 property citations on Friday, Sept. 26 with District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright. This is part of an ongoing campaign by the borough to enforce property codes on rental and business properties. According to Borough Manager Robert Villella, the concerned properties have had prolonged code violations, and the owners have repeatedly neglected to correct the infractions. Villella said that it was more appropriate for the borough to act by filing citations through the magistrate rather than placing a lien on the property. The 16 citations were for five properties, with one of the properties, 335…