October 26, 2019 – So honored to be recognized by the Greater Westmoreland County Labor Council as the 2019 Outstanding Government Official.
October 26, 2019 – Fun morning supporting the Humane Society of Westmoreland County at the annual Whisker Walk. And thanks to Moose for standing in for our shelter dog, Hero, who likes people way more than his fellow dogs!
October 24, 2019 – Yes, we are toasting tonight, with Elliott CEO Mike Lordi and Jeannette Mayor Curtis Antoniak, for a great reason. It’s official…Elliott Group is building a new facility in downtown Jeannette!!! We signed the papers today to transfer to the company the former Jeannette Glass property that the county acquired, demolished and remediated. 100+ new good-paying jobs coming to the heart of the city and the heart of the county!
October 23, 2019 – So honored to be recognized by the Westmoreland Historical Society & Historic Hanna’s Town for our work together to build the new History Education Center at Historic Hanna’s Town.
October 22, 2019 – A fun time tonight with these fine fellas from Cub Scout Pack 236 in Penn Township. Great questions about county government, what a commissioner does, and all sorts of other things.
October 18, 2019 – A fun night delivering a well-deserved tribute to a western PA legend, Dick Groat! It’s not every day I get to hang out with a Major League MVP, College Basketball Hall of Famer and 40-year Pitt hoops broadcaster. He’s also a really, really nice guy and a great storyteller!
October 15, 2019 – Additional emergency response assets in our county. Great job Penn Township Ambulance Association and Murrysville Medic One.
October 13, 2019 – Many, many thanks to these dedicated volunteers who spent a large part of their weekend visiting hundreds of homes in North Huntingdon.
October 12, 2019 – Lots of fun … and only slightly embarrassing … to be a “model” for this morning’s Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP Fashion Show. Great turnout. And everyone looked great. Thanks Lapels, A Fine Men’s Clothier for styling me up!
October 11, 2019 – Greensburg Central Catholic homecoming. GCC vs Jeannette. Hanging with legendary coach (of both schools) Joe Mucci.
October 7, 2019 – In New Kensington to recognize “America’s Best Front Yard”. Kevin Prall and Layne Bennett earned this distinction from “Better Homes & Gardens” magazine out of 900 entries nationwide. I joined the Mayor and Council tonight to give them some well-deserved local recognition. Kudos guys!
October 6, 2019 – Getting our art 1960s style (I know, I should have worn a costume!) at the Big Art Party at the The Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
October 4, 2019 – Checking out the progress of our soon-to-be new-and-improved Mammoth Slide! Great job by John Stas and his crew from Custom Contracting out of Acme. If the weather holds, this awesome new attraction could be open by the end of the month!
September 28, 2019 – Always a good time at the Mt Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival!
September 27, 2019 -Ambitious indeed! The grand unveiling of the Student Achievement Center at our Westmoreland County Community College. What a remarkable renovation that will best train our future workforce and provide affordable education.
September 26, 2019 -There’s a good reason we changed the name to “Center for Active Adults”! These ladies at our New Kensington Center spent hours today knitting and crocheting hats and booties for newborns, as well as “Knitted Knockers” for breast cancer survivors. (Yes, that’s the real charity. Learn more at www.knittedknockers.org). Great job!
September 25, 2019 – So grateful for the continued support of the United Steelworkers. Thank you!
September 23, 2019 – A real pleasure to recognize the 50-year anniversary of the Allegheny Shotokan Karate dojo in North Huntingdon that has been such an important part of Westmoreland County. (Including for me for time when I was young kid!) Sensei Viola is a master in training young people in not just the art of karate, but also disciple and self-confidence.
September 20, 2019 – Mildred Yemc (with her son, Rodney) is one of the members of the 2019 class of our Voter Hall of Fame! We recognized those committed patriots who have voted in every election for 50 years.
September 18, 2019 -Happy 75th anniversary to Hempfield Township’s Midway St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department! And thank you all for your service.
September 17, 2019 – Watch out for theses card sharks in West Newton. They took me to the cleaners playing scat!
September 13, 2019 -Joining county employees (who used a vacation day), employees from Kennametal and residents from The Union Mission to beautify Lloyd Avenue, the southern gateway to Latrobe, as part of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s annual Day of Caring. Great job everybody!
September 12, 2019 -Celebrating those working to make our county’s environment better. My fellow board members from the Westmoreland Conservation District and I honored Lewis and Kate Lobdell of Ligonier and the Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association for their efforts to sustain our precious forestry resources.
September 12, 2019 – Great spending some time with the family of the late Terry Ranieri, reminiscing about the profound positive impact Terry had on our county. He was so loved by all, and gave so much love to Hempfield High School. He also did so much to advance the cause of people with special needs, proving we all have value (whatever our diagnosis), and that everyone can be a valuable community member and is worthy of dignity and respect.
We honored Terry at our Commissioners meeting. So appreciate your time, brothers Danny and Tony, and sister Linda DeFloria.
September 10, 2019 -We’ve always known Ligonier’s “Diamond” was a great place. And now, the American Planning Association agrees, designating the newly reconstructed Diamond as a “Great Place in Pennsylvania”. Our county Planning staff nominated this iconic Westmoreland County public square.
September 9, 2019 – This morning we celebrated 60 years of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School (My wife’s alma mater) and rededicated this important institution, with some members of the first graduating class.
September 7, 2019 – Human trafficking is a horrific crime. And, it doesn’t just happen “someplace else”. Sadly, it occurs even in our county. That’s why I am so impressed by the Blackburn Center’s work to showcase the Courthouse as part of its “Red Sand Project” to raise awareness that no one should slip through the cracks of our society and go unnoticed.
September 3, 2019 – Marking a milestone in two priorities of mine…public safety and environmental protection…with the christening of our new Marine 800 Hazmat boat. “The Rachel T” is the first of its kind in the county and will allow emergency responders to contain spills, test for radioactive material and assist in cleanups.
August 24, 2019 – Livestock auction day at the Westmoreland Fair. I bought a pig from 11-year-old Levi Kerr. And despite my love of bacon, I donated it back to the Fair for its building fund.
August 23, 2019 – Celebrating Latrobe – the birthplace of the banana split! – at the Great America Banana Split Festival.
August 22, 2019 – My thanks to 9-year-old Nick Carbonara from Scottdale and his family for buying the smoker I auctioned off at the annual 4H auction at the Westmoreland Fair. Proceeds from the sale directly benefit the young people in this important program.
August 22, 2019 – We are so fortunate to have a caring and generous business community in Westmoreland County. Many, many thanks for the generosity of Elliott Group and Excel Glass and Granite for supporting Jmaa Midgets. The youth football league organization suffered tremendous loss this summer due to flooding in West Jeannette.
August 17, 2019 – Trails connect our towns, promote healthy vibrant communities, and help enhance tourism. That’s why I was so excited to officially open phase four of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail, connecting Murrysville and Export. Ribbon-cuttings at both ends with big crowds.
August 16, 2019 – Perfect day for a picnic party, celebrating with my friends from the Westmoreland County Blind Association.
August 11, 2019 – Celebrating our firefighters in the City of Arnold with a parade to conclude the annual Western Pennsylvania Firefighters Convention.
August 11, 2019 – Big turnout today for the first-ever Dog Days of Summer event, organized by the county Treasurer’s office. All sorts of information on adoptions, licenses and more, and lots of cute furry faces! I somehow managed to make it out of there without my boys convincing me to adopt another one.
August 8, 2019 – Breaking ground for the new 36-unit Pioneer Apartments in downtown New Kensington. In addition to quality affordable housing, Wesley Family Services will be providing quality services and supports (and 125 jobs!) at the complex. More progress for the city!
July 25, 2019 – So honored to be endorsed by the brave State Troopers of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 62.
July 18, 2019 – Had a blast celebrating the 90+ Birthday Club at Filbern Manor in West Newton. Some of the sweetest (and most energetic!) people you’ll ever meet. The party had it all … music, dancing and poetry.
July 18, 2019 – Congratulations to the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce on the grand opening of its new office. Thanks for all that you do for our business community. And bonus points for trusting me to shoot confetti at a ribbon-cutting!
July 17, 2019 – Guest lecturer this morning in Dr. Dan Holland’s Political Science class at Penn State New Kensington. These impressive young people teach me as much as I teach them!
July 15, 2019 – It’s fair season in Westmoreland County! At the opening ceremonies for the Sewickley Township Community Fair we recognized Edward and JoAnn Hrtyanski as “Friends of the Fair” for their 60 years of dedication.
July 14, 2019 – What an honor and pleasure it has been to help coach these boys all season. A 35-9 record, 8 championship games in 8 tournaments..I could go on an on. But most importantly, these scrappy little 8-year-olds never quit, always worked hard and always as a team. The future of Westmoreland County is in good hands!
A great season by a terrific bunch of kiddos.
July 13, 2019 – Having fun at the Smithton Street Fair celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion Post 790. And making new friends with the night’s headliner Chris Higbee.
July 4, 2019 – Kicking off Independence Day with a Westmoreland County tradition – the Latrobe parade. Happy Fourth of July everyone!
July 3, 2019 – Getting ready for Independence Day with our friends from The Growing Tree Child Development Center. We talked about America’s birthday, voting (with the help of the Cat in the Hat) and even the job of Commissioner.
July 1, 2019 – The 64 American Flags in our Courtyard are not just in celebration of Independence Day. They remember the 64 Westmoreland Countians killed in DUI accidents over the past five years. We joined the Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT this morning to remind everyone to not drink and drive this 4th of July holiday. Stay safe folks!
June 24, 2019 – Great turnout and great discussion for our first-ever regional planning meeting. Elected officials and staff from 11 municipalities in the Alle-Kiski District brainstormed their shared challenges and common opportunities. We’re Reimagining Our Westmoreland!
June 21, 2019 – Closing up the weeklong Veterans Affairs Conference with the annual meeting of the Marine Corps League. Honored to address this esteemed group. We thank you for your service to our country and to your fellow Marines.
June 19, 2019 – Welcoming the next generation of county leaders to the Courthouse this morning as part of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Westmoreland Youth Academy. An impressive group of young people!
June 6, 2019 – Welcome back to Westmoreland County, Governor Tom Wolf. Thanks for taking time to tour our county seat to learn about all the progress in and plans for Greensburg.
May 27, 2019 – Well done, West Newton! A patriotic parade downtown and a beautiful ceremony to mark Memorial Day. Thank you for the honor of being the keynote speaker. We honor those we’ve lost and the families who still grieve. Our country, and our county, are grateful for your service and sacrifice.
May 23, 2019 – So proud and humbled to be recognized tonight as a Norwin Distinguished Alumni. Congratulations to my fellow, and very well-deserving, honorees.
May 16, 2019 – Congratulations to my longtime friend, Chuck Kraft, who is retiring after nearly 50 years of service to Westmoreland County Community College. He served as both faculty and trustee and left an indelible mark on the school. Cheers to a fantastic career helping students, and here’s to a long and happy retirement.
May 16, 2019 – Celebrating the athletic abilities of our older residents at our annual Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Senior Games.
May 13, 2019 – Congratulations to Makayla Noll, recipient of my annual Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center scholarship. Makayla studies Protective Services at the CTC, will graduate from Penn-Trafford, and then attend Pitt-Greensburg to study to be a nurse.
May 10, 2019 – A fun day at the Courthouse today as we welcomed dozens of our employees’ children for Child Government Day. All kinds of fun and educational activities. And there was one wannabe Commissioner who apparently takes his new job very seriously!
May 9, 2019 – A great way to kick off the day…reading to Ms. Vessley’s reading students at Hempfield’s Fort Allen Elementary. A fun bunch of kiddos!
My favorite question was from a little girl who asked me how I look “kinda” young, but have some grey hair. Kids!
May 4, 2019 – Congratulations to Al Maida (55 years) and Cory Snyder (20 years) for your service to the Mount Pleasant VFD. A great time at tonight’s banquet honoring their service. It was my pleasure to serve as the keynote speaker.
May 4, 2019 – A great day in Lower Burrell, swearing in the new “Mayor”, 9-year-old Nico Pampena. Nico has been the target of bullying in recent years, so the city designated today Anti-Bullying Awareness Day. Mayor Richard Callender also named Nico as Mayor For The Day. Great job by Mayor Callendar and city council to raise awareness of this important issue for kids.
It takes courage to stand up to bullies, and also courage to report it. Proud of you, Mayor Nico!
May 2, 2019 – Congratulations to the 2019 Mental Health America of Southwestern PA award winners. Thank you for all that you do for the vulnerable throughout our county Tay Waltenbaugh, Carmen Capozzi of Sage’s Army, Inc. and Deb Thackrah of Feeding the Spirit.
May 1, 2019 – Celebrating the success of the “Teacher in the Workplace” program. Our Workforce Investment Board and Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development worked with 50 teachers from the county’s 17 school districts and more than 20 businesses to develop curriculum to better align education with the workforce demands of today and tomorrow.
April 29, 2019 – The grand opening of our new Vistors Center in New Stanton! Located right next to Sib’s Sweet Shoppe and Hepler’s Hardware on Rt. 119, the center is a destination point for both visitors and residents to learn about all the exciting tourist attractions in Westmoreland County. It will be staffed daily by experts from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.
Oh, and I got to hold a baby kangaroo! (Thanks for the first, Tom Guiher from Living Treasures Animal Park)
April 28, 2019 – Congratulations Ed Christofano, 2019 Mount Pleasant Rotary Citizen of the Year. A well-deserved honor. Service Above Self indeed!
April 24, 2019 – A great day for Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation thanks to the generosity of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and CNX. Our Northmoreland Park now features a brand new accessible playground! Thanks, too, to my new friends from the Appleseed Learning Center for letting me test it out with them.
April 22, 2019 – Day one of autism training for Corrections Officers at our county prison. Over the next two weeks every officer will be trained on the signs of, and the proper response to, people on the autism spectrum. Those with autism are seven times more likely than neurotypical people to come into contact with law enforcement. I organized this important training through the state’s Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training (ASERT) program.
Learn more at http://www.paautism.org.
Awareness. Education. Acceptance.
April 17, 2019 – Kicking off the “Building Your Talent Pipeline” seminar. We’re working to better align employers needs and employees skills. Thanks to all those from the private sector who are partnering with us and our local schools to improve our workforce and economy.
Learn more at https://www.careerhubconnect.com
April 16, 2019 – Celebrating the dignity of work and the right of choice in employment for people with special needs at the Spring Open House of the Westmoreland County Blind Association.
April 10, 2019 – Congratulations to my friend Ron Zona, who is retiring after a stellar 31-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police. Corporal Zona is also the long-time president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 62. Here’s to a long and happy retirement, Corporal!
April 9, 2019 – It’s Week of the Young Child in Westmoreland County. I celebrated by reading to…and playing with…a really fun bunch of kiddos at Today’s Learning Childcare & Education Academy.
April 7, 2019 – Congrats to my fellow Lions on another successful breakfast!
April 4, 2019 – Joining Judge Michele Bononi to recognize Adeline Beighley, who is retiring after 40 years of service to our Juvenile Probation Department. When she started she was the first and only woman to serve in the department. She retires a successful and well-respected Director! Well done, Addie. You’ll be missed.
April 1, 2019 – Light it up blue…it’s Autism Awareness Month in Westmoreland County.
Acceptance. Respect. See things differently
March 30, 2019 – Thanks to everyone who supported Westmoreland County Parks at our annual March for Parks. Through your generosity and support we crossed the million dollar mark in fundraising…money that goes directly back into county park improvements!
March 29, 2019 – Wonderful event at the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit, celebrating the “Champion of the Arts”. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the debut of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, all artists with special needs were invited to create artwork that reflects the message of Fred Rogers. Inspiring!
March 28, 2019 – The grand opening of Tronix3D at the Westmoreland County Community College Advanced Technology Center. The latest in 3D printing to manufacture parts for all sorts of applications. Incorporating the private sector and entrepreneurship into education…exactly what we envisioned when we opened the ATC six years ago.
March 26, 2019 – Plumbers and Pipefitters from throughout the state competing in Latrobe at the 2019 Pennsylvania Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest.
March 20, 2019 – My privilege to welcome more than 200 engineers from throughout the region to the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College for a workshop hosted by the Westmoreland Conservation District to discuss innovative stormwater solutions and conservation best practices. Economic development and environmental protection can work together!
March 16 – Celebrating 100 years of the American Legion with Post 344 Commander Sonny Blasco, Pennsylvania Commander James Vollrath and Jeannette Mayor Curtis Antoniak.
March 14, 2019 – Joining Greensburg Mayor Robb Bell to talk government and public policy as guest lecturers for the fine students in Seton Hill University’s Social Policy class.
March 8, 2019 – Fun night in Youngwood as we honored the winners of our annual Fire Prevention Awards. Congrats to all the students who went home with new bicycles tonight!
March 7, 2019 – Admittedly, some nights on the campaign trail are better than others. Spending the evening eating wings and chili with Rotary President Bill McCabe and Irwin Mayor Bill Hawley as judges for the Norwin Rotary cook-off.
March 7, 2019 – Spreading the word to end the R Word! Fun morning with the great students at Penn-Trafford’s Penn Middle School.
March 4, 2019 – Joining state Senators Jim Brewster and Pat Stefano and Rep. Eric Nelson at Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s marijuana legalization listening tours. A terrific turnout, with thoughtful comments, and some respectful disagreement, about this important issue.
March 2, 2019 – Acceptance. Inclusion. Respect. Our annual “End the R Word” event to celebrate the abilities and achievements of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Take the pledge today to spread the word to end the word …www.spreadtheword.global
March 1, 2019 – Supporting the great work of the Westmoreland County Blind Association and their efforts to help people with special needs. Great job by the Board of Directors (including my wife, April) organizing such a successful event.
February 28, 2019 – Not a typical Thursday in the office when Steelers’ legend Rocky Bleier drops by to say hi.
February 26, 2019 – Joining nonprofit, business and philanthropic leaders at a news conference to kickoff our Complete Count Committee for the 2020 U.S. Census. It’s more important than ever that every person in Westmoreland County is counted. So much of our federal funding for community development and human services is tied to the Census.
February 23, 2019 – Supporting the Westmoreland Cultural Trust and the important work it does throughout the county at the annual Party at The Palace. This year had a Vegas theme. So, of course, we had to renew our wedding vows before an Elvis minister.
February 22, 2019 – My honor to swear in the officers of the Westmoreland County Fire Chiefs Association. Keep up the great work. (And apologies again for my dress … I just finished coaching a 5th grade basketball game!)
February 21, 2019 – Meetin’ and greetin’ in New Kensington with Lower Burrell Mayor Richard Callender, Councilman Rob Hamilton and Arnold’s Aaron Moore.
February 21, 2019 – Proud to proclaim March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month in Westmoreland County. Today we got an early start on the celebration! Thanks to our friends from ACHIEVA and Clelian Heights and other service providers for joining us. Special thanks to Michael, Jeremy and Matt!
February 14, 2019 – Spending some time this talking county government with students at Kiski Area High School . And catching up with their excellent teacher (and fellow Allegheny College alum) Mr. Jim McKenzie.
February 13, 2019 – In Harrisburg, representing Westmoreland County – and Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – as an appointee to the Governors Long-Term Care Council. We’re strategizing ways to best care for older citizens and address the need for direct care workers.
February 10, 2019 – Fun night celebrating Hempfield Youth Basketball. So proud of these little 5th graders I help coach.
February 10, 2019 – So much cuteness in one room! Great crowd and a great time at the Humane Society of Westmoreland County’s annual Have-A-Heart celebration.
February 8, 2019 – Honoring 4H Leaders for their great work to educate, and serve as terrific role models for, young people in the county. Especially Miss Thelma, who’s been a leader for 60 years!
February 7, 2019 – Great work by Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Irv Shipley and Deputy John Dixon, who recently apprehended a drug suspect who had fled from his vehicle during a pursuit. We honored them before today’s Commissioners’ meeting. Great job fellas…a win for the good guys!
February 6, 2019 – Fun visit with 13-year Will Baer from Grapeville, a student at Merakey School in Jeannette. He interviewed me as part of his work to become a Boy Scout 1st class.
January 25, 2019 – Greensburg Mayor Robb Bell, South Greensburg Mayor Kevin Fajt, Southwest Greensburg Mayor Carol Hudock Palcic and Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford join me to support Michael Stewart for Judge.
January 24, 2019 – Joining local government, business and human services leaders for our first Complete Count Committee meeting for the 2020 Census. I am co-chairing this effort to make sure everyone in Westmoreland County is counted. It means so much for our federal funding allocations, community development and reapportionment.
January 17, 2019 – With Governor Tom Wolf to recognize Franklin Regional Superintendant Dr. Gennaro R. Piraino Jr. as 2019 Superintendant of the Year in Pennsylvania. Congrats, and well-deserved, Jamie!
January 14, 2019 – Congratulations on your retirement, Yasuyuki Uruma, Elliott Company CEO. Elliott has meant so much to generations of county workers, including my grandfather and father-in-law, and to Jeannette’s and the county’s economy. Wishing you a long and happy retirement, Uruma-san!
January 9, 2019 – Smiles all around as we award $474,000 in grants to tourism and tourism-related businesses – the highest amount ever in the program’s history! Overnight stays in the county increased by 8 percent last year. Tourism remains a major contributor to the county’s economy.
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