Politics

Ellwood School Board Cuts Music Teacher Position

“I’m asking you to reconsider hiring an Elementary Music Teacher,” Renee Pitrelli, a parent at yesterday’s Board meeting, said. “It would be in the school district’s best interest even just part-time.” Last night’s Ellwood City School Board meeting seemed to be much more mild than the one last month. The flood of forty parents concerned over the Elementary Music Teacher position who rushed May’s meeting dwindled down to six yesterday. With the budget to be decided, it seemed like most of the supporters had already given up hope before receiving the final decision. For those of you who don’t know,…


Borough Ordinance Now Allows Free Parking After 5 P.M.

At a special Ellwood City Council meeting held last Thursday, borough council changed its parking enforcement rules to now allow free parking after 5 p.m. within the borough. This comes after a wave of parking tickets were issued on Lawrence Avenue during business after-hours. Over 25 tickets have now been voided per the request of Mayor Anthony Court. The original metering ordinance called for enforcement from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. but had gone largely unnoticed until the wave of ticketing after 6 p.m. in late-February was brought to light. This also comes after a meeting in January when council…


Borough Manager Announces Retirement

As he flipped through an album of Ellwood City photos from years gone by, Dom Viccari had a glow in his eyes. Viccari loves Ellwood City, but he said it’s time to step down as borough manager—a job he has proudly held since April of 2006. Viccari announced his retirement at Monday’s borough council meeting. Viccari talked about the opening of the Emporium and many other celebrations over the years with a hint of nostalgia. His smile grew wide as he flipped the photo album’s pages and talked about the 90 feet of birthday cakes that was a highlight at…


Ellwood Schools to Add Armed Security Guards

Ellwood City School District voted unanimously on Thursday to implement armed security guards to each of their district schools beginning in a matter of weeks. According to the district superintendent Frank Aloi, they will have an armed security guard at each of their four schools, one at Lincoln High School and one at Perry, Hartman and North Side elementary schools, as part of an increase in their school security and safety. Aloi said they hope to have the security guards make their presence in the schools within two to three weeks. The group providing the security service, OSA Global, is…


A New Nativity Scene to Be Unveiled

Ellwood City borough workers began setting up holiday decorations on the front lawn of the Municipal Building on Friday; yet, one display was missing – the Nativity Scene. Because of a threatened lawsuit by Freedom from Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis., the Nativity Scene will be off borough property for the first time in over 50 years. Instead, a Santa Claus and snowman decorate the spot formerly reserved for the religious display. With the help of attorney Joseph Bellissimo, a new nativity will be erected a few blocks away from its former spot. Bellissimo, owner of the former St. Agatha…


Board Discusses Fate of Former Elementary School

Last month, Walnut Ridge Elementary School was officially closed. Now, the school board is prepared to sell the once smallest of the district’s elementary schools. This decision is coupled with the selling of Ewing Park school’s contents – a school that was also a former elementary school in the district. All the members of the Ellwood City School Board were in favor Thursday night of receiving an appraisal and exploring the sale of the Walnut Ridge school building. In its final school year, Walnut Ridge held approximately 140 students. Because of its size, the district, facing huge deficits from the…


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It’s Official: Walnut Ridge Closed

The Ellwood City School District officially closed Walnut Ridge Elementary School on Thursday with a 5-0 vote during the school board meeting. This is step one of the final plan to reduce the number of elementary schools in the district to two. The school board also agreed to the reconfiguring of the three remaining elementary schools: North Side Primary – Kindergarten through grade 2, Perry Lower Intermediate – grades 3 and 4, and Hartman Intermediate – grades 5 and 6. Closing of Walnut Ridge was necessary because the district will be losing $1.65 million in state funding. Under PA Governor…


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Group Approved of Final Racing License

A harness racetrack and casino in Lawrence County is one step closer to becoming a reality. Since 2003, developers have been trying to get a track/casino in western PA’s Mahoning Township, but with numerous altercations, the project has been practically at a standstill. In a special Tuesday morning meeting, the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission voted to approve American Harness Tracks the last of the state’s four harness racing licenses. This comes as great news for officials in Lawrence County, as one of the commission’s regulations is that American Harness Tracks keep the project, formally known as Valley View Downs, at…


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Ewing Park School to Come Down After Festival

A contract was awarded last week to a Pittsburgh area company for the demolition of the Ewing Park School, effective immediately after the completion of the Arts, Crafts, and Food Festival in Ellwood City. Following a collection of 12 bids from companies in three different states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, the school board selected the lowest bid of $48,000 submitted by A.W. McNabb of Oakdale, Pa. for the demolition. A bid for the demolition went as high as $143,000 and the average bid was approximately $83,000. The closest company to Ellwood City to submit a bid was Dressler Excavating…


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School District Leaves Photo Situation Alone

Last night, with over 15 area photographers in attendance, the Ellwood City Area School Board announced they removed the proposed plan of using one company for all of the school’s photos from the meeting’s agenda. “As you can see, there are a lot of personal photographers that would hurt from this and could potentially put them out of business,” board member Bob Stevenson said. On Monday, the school board proposed the idea of using Clark’s Studio of New Castle as the sole photography company for the district – they would have the exclusive rights of taking all school photos including…