Watsontown to explore developing skate park

Three individuals were recognized Monday for the miles they logged participating in the Watsontown Walks program. Those recognized were, from left, Kevin Muffly, top walker; Pearl Keefer, most miles for an individual over 70; and Sofi Yetter, most miles for an individual under 12.

WATSONTOWN — Could a skate park be coming to Watsontown? Council on Monday approved a motion to explore the possibility of developing a skate park in the borough.

Council member Dan Folk proposed the motion, noting that Williamsport recently opened a skate park which is situated within a flood zone.

“I’d like to see something like that in Watsontown,” Folk said. “The one in Williamsport is all cement.”

As the facility is cement, he said if floodwaters sweep through the park, it can simply be hosed down after the water recedes.

In approving the motion, it was stressed that council will only be exploring the possibility of establishing a skate park in the community.

“This is to get started with it, get the walls in motion, see how much it is going to cost us,” Folk said. “There are grants available, different funding (sources) available.”

During his report to council, police Chief Rod Witherite said since K-9 Mariska was placed into service in January, the use of the drug-detection dog has resulted in $9,205 worth of drugs being seized, as well as $7,000 in drug money.

Since January, Witherite said Mariska and her handler, Officer Tim Kiefaber, have conducted 27 searches of homes and vehicles. In addition, the two have held 10 public demonstrations for schools, civic organizations and churches.

The use of Mariska has resulted in the following amount of drugs being seized: Two pounds of marijuana; 38 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of heroin, 6 grams of methamphetamine, 4 synthetic hallucinogens and 60 narcotic pills.

Fifteen criminal arrests have been made through the use of the dog.

“We are always looking for funding to keep this (K-9 program) going,” Witherite said. “We are well funded at this time.

Council Vice President Ken Hollenbach questioned why the department spent nearly $1,000 in overtime staffing the community’s National Night Out event. He said other borough employees worked at the event on a voluntary basis.

Witherite said the compensation for officers who took part in National Night Out was carried out in accordance with the police contract.

He described National Night Out as a worthy event for the department to be involved with.

“They are a very dedicated bunch of officers,” Witherite said. “Their lives are on the line every day. They could be shot or called into duty (while staffing National Night Out).”

Council recognized three community members for the miles they logged participating in the Watsontown Walks program.

“During the months of July and August the borough sponsored a contest to encourage our residents to get outside and moving,” council President Greg Miller said. “We had 40 people register and 19 of them turned in their tracking forms by the Sept. 5 deadline.”

The top walker, Kevin Muffly, was recognized during the meeting. He logged 1,262 1/2 miles. Pearl Keefer, who logged 106 1/2 miles, was recognized as the individual over age 70 who logged the most miles.

Sofi Yetter, who recorded 35 1/2 miles, was recognized as the individual under age 12 who logged the most miles.

Based on the completed forms, Miller said 3,543 miles were logged by the 19 individuals who turned their forms in.

“We were very pleased with the participation and with the results,” he said. “We plan to do this again in the spring.”

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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