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South Strabane, Washington residents want dog park

South Strabane Township resident Leigh Lyons asked the township supervisors Tuesday to put a dog park in Community Park.

Her German shepherd, Mia, isn’t the only dog in the greater Washington area that needs a place to run around free of a leash. Residents in Washington have also asked for an off-leash area to be put in at Washington Park.

“The closest one is Mingo Creek Park, and that’s 35 minutes away,” Lyons said.

She reached out to South Strabane Township manager Brandon Stanick last month about pitching the idea. She started an online campaign and has about 127 signatures, not all of whom are township residents.

“I wanted to show that there is a lot of interest,” she said. “I hope they’ll consider it.”

There are multiple areas, Lyons said, that would work for an off-leash space, if fencing were installed. She said the park already has multiple waste and bag stations to encourage dog walkers to clean up after their pooches.

“My proposition is that they could do it cost-effectively and would only need to spend money on a fence,” she said. “I think it would be a very low cost for a high reward.”

Another township resident, Andrew Meek, said he would also like to see a dog park set up in the area.

“I know our dog would be happy,” he said. “I really think that traveling to Mingo Creek is just too far.”

Meek said he usually takes his dog to Washington Park, where he walks him on a leash since there’s not a dog park there, either.

“But I think he’d rather run free,” Meek said.

Alena Helmar of Houston asked on a local community Facebook page if anyone knew of a nearby dog park for her to take her dachshund, Schnitzel. She said she doesn’t like Mingo’s dog park because it’s not completely fenced in and there are large holes under the fence that a smaller dog like hers could sneak under.

“I take him for walks on a leash, and my mom has a fenced-in yard, so I take him there sometimes,” Helmar said. “It’s better that they have the ability to run off-leash and get better exercise at their pace to get their energy out.”

Stanick said the township would consider Lyons’ suggestion and look into how feasible it would be for the park to have an off-leash area.

“We don’t want to just put up some fencing,” he said. “If we’re going to do it, we want to do it right.”

That’s exactly what city officials said about a 2-year-long process of getting a dog park area in Washington Park. City Mayor Scott Putnam said they’ve been planning the dog park for an area past the Pony field and the elementary school.

Range Resources even donated the fencing for it about a year ago, he said, but it hasn’t been a priority project.

“We’ve had some maintenance issues going on at the park, so that’s been on the back burner,” he said.

Lynn Galluze, the city’s computer systems coordinator, said the fence still needs to be put up around the area that’s just under an acre.

“We need to make sure the area is contained,” she said. “We don’t want to lose anybody’s puppies.”

The land needed to be flattened out, she said, so when the city did its pond project in the park, they used the dredged pond material to level it, Galluze said.

“Some of the material taken out of the pond was deposited where the dog park would be,” she said. “It is a work in progress.”

The city was considering whether there was enough parking in that area for a dog park. Galluze said she’d also like the city to consider getting water up there, but in a way that it could be shut off in the winter, so pipes don’t freeze.

“It’s not just a case of putting a fence up,” she said. “We want to make sure we do it the right way for a dog park. It’s still on the books. We just need to move it to the top and get it done.”

PUC approves settlement for Centerville crossing

State utility regulators signed off on plans for new safety measures at a Centerville railroad crossing, 18 months after a collision with a train there sent the driver of a tractor-trailer to the hospital.

The five-member Public Utility Commission unanimously approved the settlement – which includes a new sign barring tractor-trailers from making left-hand turns from Route 88 onto Maple Glenn Road – on Aug. 29, adopting the recommendation of an administrative law judge regarding the joint deal involving the borough government, railway owner Norfolk Southern, state Department of Transportation and PUC independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement.

“We’re happy that there’s a resolution and pleased that everybody is going to work jointly and cooperatively to make safety improvements for the crossing,” said PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen.

The PUC initiated an investigation in the months after a train crashed into a rig carrying hydrochloric acid as it was driving over the tracks on March 6, 2018, spilling 40,000 pounds of acid and prompting the temporary evacuation of nearby houses. Ohio truck driver Jacob Shank’s injuries were severe enough that he was flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

It was the sixth incident involving a train and a vehicle at the spot since 1990.

It was initially unclear if the crossing was public or private. The commission declared it public at the borough’s request late last year.

Under the settlement, the local government agreed to install the no-left-turn sign for trucks at the intersection, which is about 25 feet north of where Maple Glenn crosses the single set of tracks.

There is already an advance warning sign on the highway for vehicles heading south toward the intersection, but borough officials also agreed to add a flashing warning signal on Route 88 and stop lines to the approaches on Maple Glenn.

The railway company agreed to install a 30-foot cantilever with an electronic bell, plus an apparatus that will trigger the arm and the bell to block the crossing while trains pass.

All work is to be completed by June 30, 2021.

PennDOT agreed to reimburse Norfolk Southern for its costs under the deal using funds from money earmarked for projects to make public crossings less dangerous.

PUC documents say about 18 trains travel through the crossing per day at speeds of 20 to 40 mph.

Mon River Dock – which owns property adjacent to the crossing and operates the business where the truck was to make the delivery – wasn’t formally a party to the settlement. Nevertheless, it said in a letter to the commission that it would share the borough’s costs.

The borough – whose police department is pursuing a criminal case against Shank – and the property owner agreed on another point, the commission said in its order.

“Both the Borough and Mon River Dock noted that they remained concerned about the speed of the trains through the crossing but recognized that relief must be pursued in other forums as the Commission does not have jurisdiction of the issue,” according to the order.

Associated Press 

Chewy and nutty pearl barley stars in this hearty bowl dish

Associated Press

Associated Press

This photo provided by America’s Test Kitchen shows a Barley Bowl with Roasted Carrots and Snow Peas in Boston. This recipe appears in the cookbook “Vegan for Everybody.”

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Woman's body found in port-a-potty on W&J's campus

A woman’s body was found in a port-a-potty at a construction site on the campus of Washington & Jefferson College Tuesday morning.

The coroner’s office identified the woman as Margaret Esther Tinglum, 30, of Hermitage.

Washington Police Department is currently investigating Tinglum’s death. The coroner’s office is investigating it as a suspected overdose.

The site where Tinglum was found is at 207 E. Beau St. A spokesperson for the school said a contractor discovered the door was locked just before 7 a.m. and contacted Campus and Public Safety.

Tinglum was pronounced dead at 7:55 a.m.

She was not a student at Washington & Jefferson and had no apparent affiliation to the school, according to the spokesperson. She also was not known to the contractors.

Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Eva Chatterjee-Sutton responded to the incident in an emailed statement.

“The woman was not a W&J student, and it does not appear that the woman was affiliated with W&J College. ... This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no reason to be concerned about campus safety,” Chatterjee-Sutton said. “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased in this tragic situation.”