landowners not maintaining their properties and residents complaining to the board to take action.
Fairview supervisors also passed an ordinance in 2017 that prohibits vehicles from being parked along township roads. As the law was passed, supervisors explained the particulars of it, as they had been hearing misconceptions about the ordinance discussed throughout town.
Under the ordinance, vehicles that are parked on the street and obstructing normal traffic flow will be fined for each day of violation, anywhere from $25 to $300. Police also reserve the right to tow the violating vehicles. However, if the occasional visitor to a property is parked on the side of the road, that person will not be ticketed. Supervisor Orloski stressed that the violations have to occur repeatedly for the ordinance to be enforced and have to greatly restrict traffic, such as narrowing a street from two lanes to one.
This year, Wright Township was deemed one of the safest municipalities in the state, according to a list released by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS). “It’s a great honor I think, to have Wright Township put on the top of the list of safest cities in Pennsylvania,” related Royce Engler, Wright’s Police Chief. “I think it recognizes my police officers, that they are doing a great job.”
The list was compiled by Safewise, a home-security company, and based on 2015 FBI crime report statistics and population data. While the list is titled “Safest Cities in Pennsylvania,” no cities are listed, only municipalities. Wright is the only Mountaintop township included on the list. Other area townships may have made the list, however they didn’t, because the criteria for inclusion specified that a municipality must have a population of over 5,000.
The statistics were narrowed down by the number of violent crimes reported, such as aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery, verses property crimes, like burglary, arson, larceny theft, and motor-vehicle theft. Safewise went on to calculate the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 people in each municipality. All of the municipalities on the list averaged fewer than three property crimes per 1,000 people, which is 90-percent lower than the national average.
The dream for a local dog park, held by many pet owners and by members of Wright Township’s parks and recreation committee, was closer to being realized as the first hurdle in the project –township approval –was cleared in March. Since then, members of the committee have been working hard to raise funds, as the dog park will be paid for completely by donations. The project is initially expected to cost $16,000.
The idea for the dog park came over a year ago, related Laurel Prohaska, of the parks and rec committee. She had been walking her beagle, Molly, on the trails at the municipal park often and Gary Bella, head of maintenance at the park, reported to her that 80-percent of the people who walk on the trails are with dogs.
Prohaska began research on other dog parks throughout the country. Plans for Wright Township’s dog park include two areas, one for small dogs that are 30 pounds and under, and another for larger dogs, over 30 pounds. The park will be created on the grassy area of the municipal park, to the left of the soccer and lacrosse fields and adjacent to the walking trails.
On a different section of the municipal park, Mountaintop’s annual National Night Out was held and was once again packed with families. When local police officers and rescue workers decided to participate in the program three years ago, their goal was to form positive community relations and to establish a bond with area children, showing them that policemen are the good guys, not to be feared but to be trusted and relied upon. At the August event this year, it seemed that goal had been met.
Little kids excitedly ran to greet police officers and try on their equipment; brothers and sisters both high-fived volunteer firemen and climbed onto their giant red trucks; and, for a highlight of the evening, scores of children jumped and pointed in awe as a Life-Flight rescue helicopter circled the field and then dramatically landed near the crowd.
Another event that entertained area children and showed them how their township operates was Local Government Day, an annual event where the professionals in Wright Township open their doors to about 225 students third-graders from Fairview, Rice, and St. Jude’s elementary schools.
In small groups, the students visited and learned about various aspects of the township, including the fire department, ambulance association, department of public works, and the police station. Some operated a municipal backhoe and mounted a steamroller, firetruck, and an ambulance. Other exuberant children were then thrown into a jail cell and they shrieked as they were put there, with some actually asking to be handcuffed –and got their wish, all in good fun.
At its last meeting of the year, as in Fairview, the supervisors of Wright Township said goodbye to a longtime public official, Jerome Uram, who had served 12 years on the board. “He’s done an outstanding job for the township. The input he’s given us has been invaluable,” Chairman Louis Welebob Jr. stated. Turning to Uram, Welebob thanked him for his service and added, “We appreciate the 12 years you have given us.”