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Crooks says he won't seek 3rd term

Bedford County’s Democratic commissioner said he won’t seek another term when his expires at the end of 2019.

C. Paul Crooks of Cumberland Valley, elected to his first term in 2011, said he officially told the board members of the Bedford County Development Association Thursday morning he wouldn’t seek re-election.

“I think it’s time for my wife (Mary) and I to have some time together,” Crooks said in an interview Thursday.

“I’ll be 78 1/2 years old and this is my third job after I officially retired,” Crooks said.

He said he and his fellow commissioners were able to accomplish projects and improvements he wanted to see when he first wanted to become commissioner and then when he sought reelection.

“When I ran this election (in 2011), there were things I wanted to get accomplished and I’ve seen them accomplished,” he said.

Among the efforts he saw advance are the solar project that is estimated to save the county $5.3 million over 30 years including about $100,000 the first year in the operation of the jail, county office building, and the Bedford County Library building. The project is scheduled to be ready in July.

“I’d like to see first full year electric bill for the jail and courthouse and part of the library building,” he said.

A six-acre solar project based at the jail will provide the power.

Another project that is moving ahead after years stuck in neutral is The Old PA Pike trail near Breezewood. An authority from Bedford and Fulton counties is shepherding the project that will redevelop the 8.5-mile section of the old turnpike into a hiking/biking trail.

“They now have the money the Bittners gave both Bedford and Fulton counties,” Crooks said of the Gateway Travel owners. The Bittners donated $10,000 in 2014 to the establishment of the authority.

“I’d like to be involved in the big deal when it’s opened and people are hiking and biking on it,” Crooks said. When that might occur is still undetermined.

Another project that will become reality is cell phone coverage for emergency services in the Hyndman area. The project received significant backing from state and local officials and from U.S. Sen. Bob Casey following the Aug. 2, 2017, CSX train derailment that caused an explosion and fire that caused the town to evacuate temporarily.

He also said it’s significant that he and fellow commissioners have restarted the county’s agricultural land preservation effort that is guided by the Bedford County Conservation District and the county planning commission.

“For a long time, we didn’t have our farmland preservation program and we were able to get that back together.” A committee has been appointed to oversee that program, he said.

Fellow Commissioner Josh Lang said Crooks’ experience in the private sector has been a benefit for the county.

Crooks was a retired plant manager with more than 37 years of experience in all phases of manufacturing when he first ran for commissioner.

He was born and raised in Everett and graduated from Everett High School in 1959. He spent four years in the military and then returned to Bedford County. He worked and was a business partner in Everett before working at Kelly Springfield Tire Company, formerly located in Cumberland, Md., where he worked for 18 years.

Crooks announcement now leaves the field wide open for the Democratic candidates. Typically, the Democrat is the minority commissioner in the county where Republicans have about a 2-to-1 advantage.

Crooks said his eight years were successful as a whole.

He said he was thankful for the opportunity.

I thank people for having faith in me,” Crooks said.


Local
featured
Work begins on Everett Theater

Work on the Everett Theater renovation project has started with the demolition of the rear portion of the building.

Crews began tearing down the dilapidated apartments behind the former theater on East Main Street late last week.

The nonprofit group Reimagine Everett took over ownership of the property this past fall with hopes of renovating the theater into a new performing arts and community center.

“This is part of our efforts to make Everett a recreation destination,” said Teresa Burd, chairwoman of the nonprofit.

Burd said the theater project follows the construction of an amphitheater at Tenley Park in 2017, which is used to host a number of concerts during the year. The park is operated by the Everett Area Recreation Board.

Zane Lingenfelter Excavating of Bedford is handling the demolition.

Burd said the rear of the building and the former Granatelli’s bar need to be removed for safety reasons.

She said the former bar has particularly bad water damage.

“There’s more damage to its roof than anywhere,” she said.

Continuous rain over the summer and into the early parts of winter added to the damage, Burd said. Local leaders questioned the stability of the structure and whether it would withstand the winter.

“That’s why we rushed to get this going,” she said.

Crews have much of the rear apartments torn down, although Burd said it will take some time to haul the debris away.

Once the rear of the building is down, Burd said the former bar in front will need to be taken down.

“It’s in between two buildings so it’ll mainly have to be done manually,” Burd said, noting a new wall will need to be built on the side of the theater. “Once that building (the bar) is removed, a portion of the theater will be exposed.”

The demolition has drawn the attention of residents around the borough.

“I think there’s more spectators at the demolition than we had when the amphitheater opened,” Burd joked, referencing the stage at Tenley Park.

Burd said Reimagine Everett has been attempting to explain to people the need for the buildings to come down and its plans for the theater.

“It’s bittersweet for a lot of people,” she said.

Burd she nonprofit has a Facebook page dedicated to keeping the community updated on the work.

“We want to be as transparent as possible,” she said.

Demolition of the apartments and the bar is expected to be done in about six weeks.

The nonprofit then will look to replace the roof on the theater, which Burd said also has water damage.

“It’s going to be a big job,” she said. “Once we’re finished with the demolition, we’ll go on to the roof.”

The group is hoping to begin fundraising to help pay for the needed repairs. Burd said it also will be applying for a number of different grants.

“That’s the only way we can make this happen,” she said.

Burd said local dollars are still needed as many of the grants will require the group to match a percentage of the funding.

Everett Borough helped fund the demolition with a $100,000 loan through the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s revolving loan program. The nonprofit won’t need to pay back the loan unless it sells the property at some point in the future.

Reimagine Everett estimated total renovation work will exceed $500,000.

The theater was originally built in 1923 and will be celebrating its centennial in four years.

Burd said the nonprofit is hopeful renovations will be done in time to celebrate the centennial.

The plan is for the landmark theater to serve as a performing arts and community center. Burd said it will feature live entertainment and other community functions.

“We want it to be used at all times,” she said.

She also is hopeful it can have a screen for showing film.

Burd said the new center will be one of the pieces to help revitalize the community. She said efforts to save the theater and its marquee are important because it’s a recognizable part of the town’s history.

“I just can’t imagine Everett without that marquee,” she said.

Reimagine Everett is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reimagineverett. Donations can be made on its website, www. reimagineverett.org.


News
Liberty approves police deal with Saxton

SAXTON — The Liberty Township supervisors approved a three-year intermunicipal police services agreement with neighboring Saxton Borough during their reorganization meeting earlier this week.

The new agreement, which was the topic of considerable debate during the past few months between the supervisors and borough officials, became effective Jan. 1, and covers a 36-month period, said Chairman Brian Weaver. The approval was unanimous with supervisors John Black and Dick McClure also voting yes.

“The agreement was beneficial to both municipalities,” Weaver noted. “After much discussion, both parties reached common ground in the negotiations.” Also, the police coverage in the township will include Stonerstown and East Saxton as well as periodic patrols of the rest of the municipality.

During the negotiation period, the sticking point centered around the cost of police services, for which the township was asked to make a monthly payment. The new agreement calls for the township to pay $2,500 a month the first year, $3,000 a month in 2020 and $3,500 a month starting in 2021.

In addition, the township will be responsible for a one-time contribution of $2,500 for police equipment outlined in a USDA grant funding arrangement.

As part of the agreement, the township will also share the cost of police training, Weaver said. Also, the township will have a bigger say at quarterly police committee meetings between the two municipalities.

Also, the borough will continue to provide police vehicles and be responsible for fuel costs and other police related expenses, the chairman noted.

“What we’re doing is just contracting with Saxton Borough for police coverage for the township.”

Saxton Borough Council ratified the three-year police services agreement last month.

Turning to reorganization business, the supervisors agreed to retain Weaver for his 21st term as chairman, while Black will begin his 18th year as vice chairman. All three supervisors will share positions as roadmasters during 2019.

Other reorganizational business included the retention of:

—Anna Black, township secretary.

—Bedford attorney Brad Allison, township solicitor.

—Bedford County Sanitary Corp., township sewage enforcement officer.

—Keystone Collections of Bedford, township wage tax collector.

—First National Bank, Saxton office, township depository.

—EADS Group, Altoona, as township consulting engineers.

The supervisors will continue to hold monthly meetings at 7 p.m., the first Monday of the month in the municipal building in Stonerstown except for Labor Day, 2019. That meeting will take place a week later at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9.


News
DBI gets ready to " Feel the Heat"

It’s time to let Downtown Bedford Inc. (DBI) help you beat the chilly weather with the sixth annual Feel the Heat Chili and Soup Cook off.

This year’s event will take place Jan. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature more than 14 restaurants where participants will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite soup or chili of the day.

“I think what people like is they get to vote for their favorites and then they sit around and wait for the results. And it’s exciting for not only the restaurants to compete but for the people to come out and vote,” Main Street Manager Tonya Grimes said.

The event will also feature a number of stops where musicians will be located, Locality, Bad Luck Lover Boys; Pigeon Hills Studios, Charlie McClanahan; HeBrews, Eric Delozier; Briar Valley Winery, Borrowed Time; Founders Crossing, Happy Hour; Oak Spring Winery, Coltt Winter Lepley and Deepwood Gallery where the musical act has not been determined yet.

Grimes added that new to this year’s event is the participation of the Moose Lodge, US Hotel and TaCopacetic.

Event goers can have their pictures taken with Chilly the Snowman, the event’s mascot, or on an ice sculpture that is being created by Shaun Coopersmith of East Freedom.

Participants will be able to hand in their completed ballots for a chance to win a Hoss’s gift basket and $50 in Bedford Bucks.

Tickets are $18 and are available from the DBI Facebook page, the DBI office or HeBrews. The First 200 individuals to purchase tickets online will receive a “Too Hot to Handle” goody bag that contains coupons to local businesses, chili necklaces and other items.


—Photo Submitted  

Martha Thomas poses with her birthday cake.


News
Top of the Morning

A produce giveaway will be held today.

The Bedford food pantry will have a giveaway from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring an ACCESS, pantry, produce or military identification card. Bring a container for the food. The warehouse is located on School Street near Bedford Elementary.

Alumni to be honored at basketball game next weekend.

The Chestnut Ridge boys basketball team invites basketball alumni to attend its game on Friday, Jan. 18, beginning at 6 p.m. Alumni will register upon arrival and will be announced at halftime of the varsity game.

The Bedford County Historical Society is seeking nominations for “Historian of the Year” for 2018.

The nominee will be honored at the annual History Banquet on Saturday, April 27 at the Hall at Kinton’s Knob. Any resident/group/citizen of Bedford County or member of the Historical Society of Bedford County is eligible to be nominated. Qualifications include involvement in the past year (2018) with the history of Bedford County through research, restoration, writing, collection, preservation, etc. This may be a cumulative work over a period of years, but it needs to have been finished, accomplished, or completed in 2018. Submit nominations in the form of a letter or essay stating why you feel the nominee is worthy of this title. Send nominations no later than Jan. 25 c/o “Historian of the Year” Committee, Bedford County Historical Society, 6441 Lincoln Highway, Bedford, PA 15522.


Obituaries
Obituaries on Page A12

James, Donald E., 79, of Milligan Cove Rd., Manns Choice, died Thursday Jan. 3, 2019. Arrangements Incomplete, Geisel Funeral Home Schellsburg. Obituary in Monday’s Gazette.

Long, Florine LaRue (Carberry) 89, of Saxton, formerly of Prattville, Ala. and Agnos, Ark. died on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Arrangements are incomplete and are under the direction of the Curtis A. Heath Funeral Home Inc. Broad Top City, Pa. Obituary in Mondays Gazette.

Smith, Helen Grace, 68, of Pine Ridge Road, Clearville.

Weber, Eric B., 48, of Miller Road, Schellsburg, died Thursday Jan. 3, 2019. Arrangements incomplete, Geisel Funeral Home Schellsburg. Obituary in Monday’s Gazette.


Obituaries
Obituaries on page A16

(Obituaries on Page A16)

Buttry-Sadler, Gloria, 75, of Fishertown, died on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at the Palliative care unit at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Imler. Arrangements are by Leslie-Miller Funeral Home, Claysburg. Obituary will appear in next week’s Gazette. www.lesliemillerfuneralhome.com

Diehl, Bernice M. Diehl, 88, of Vassar Drive, Edwardsville, Ill., formerly of Manns Choice.

Leister, Angela S., 49, of Kennells Mill.

Riley, Christina M. “Chrissy,” 24, of McConnellsburg.

Stiffler, Frances M., 96, of Imler.