September 20, 2008

Petition Supports Dismissed Connellsville Officer

By Judy Kroeger

Several hundred people have signed a petition requesting Connellsville City Council reinstate fired health, code and zoning officer Rita Bornstein.

Daniel Wiltrout presented council a petition with 447 names requesting the city reinstate Bornstein, who was fired after a hearing last month. Bornstein was fined by the State Ethics Commission for using city time and a computer for code work for other municipalities.

"You did a grave injustice," Wiltrout said. "I think the state punished that woman enough."

He gave examples of Bornstein's work to rid the city of rats and one Saturday when she came to Connell Run and brought state officials to inspect and clean an ink spill from the creek. He said the city has eight houses "unfit for human habitation and five have families living in them."

Wiltrout said not having a health officer also meant restaurants, groceries and bars could not be inspected.

"If bars don't get inspected, they'll lose their liquor license. I think you made a bad mistake," he said. "Everyone who shops or eats in this area needs to know the place is inspected twice a year."

Mayor Judy Reed said she has been in contact with the state Department of Health about bringing inspectors from the Southwestern Division if necessary.

Robin Bubarth, owner of Bud Murphy's Sports Bar & Restaurant, said her health inspection expires next month.

Reed said she would contact the state and advised any other business owners with inspections due soon to contact City Hall.

Reed said the city will advertise for a new health officer. The minimum requirements are an associate arts degree consisting of 60 units, with 15 in the biological or physical sciences, and passing a test administered by the Department of Health. Physicians and registered nurses are eligible to take the test, Reed said.

She encouraged anyone interested in receiving certification to contact the Department of Health.

In other business, council:

Approved appointing a Mayor's Committee dedicated to historic preservation and community enhancement. Reed said this is separate from the Connellsville Historical Society. The committee is necessary to enable the city to be eligible for grants. No names were presented.

Voted to shift $3,000 in Community Development Block Grant money from the Highlands Hospital courtyard project to the armory project. Reed said the courtyard project was not a permitted use of the funds according to the state. Councilman Charles Matthews cast the only dissenting vote.

Accepted a bid of $1,130 from Rogers Auto Sales, Rogers, Ohio, for a 2004 Chevrolet Impala.

Rejected all bids for a 1998 Jeep Cherokee because they were too low. Council did not take action to readvertise the vehicle.

Connellsville will mark its designation as a Trail Town on the Great Allegheny Passage with Celebration Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 27. The event in Yough River Park will also include the unveiling of two major art works on the Yough River Trail and two information kiosks in the park. Family events, including art and bike safety, will also take place. City cleanup day will be Oct. 11. No tires, construction materials or household hazardous waste will be collected.

The New Haven Hose Company Halloween parade will start at 7 p.m. Oct. 28, with a route to be determined. This will be the 100th Halloween parade sponsored by the volunteer fire department.

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