Support makes local 30-Hour Famine a success

We would like to thank the communities of Slippery Rock and Grove City for their generous donations of food and money for area food banks. Crestfield Camp and Conference Center, a ministry of Pittsburgh Presbytery, which is located in Slippery Rock, sponsored a 30-Hour Famine retreat the weekend of Feb. 25 through 27.

Thirteen Presbyterian churches from Pittsburgh and the surrounding area brought 160 youth and their leaders to the retreat. During the fast, the retreaters went out into the communities for various mission opportunities. Collecting food for area food shelters by going door to door in local neighborhoods and asking for food donations at local grocery stores was one of the primary missions.

The youth spent time with residents of three personal care homes in addition to doing service work at East Main Presbyterian Church in Grove City, the Lighthouse Foundation in Butler County, and at Crestfield Camp and Conference Center doing physical labor and clean-up. Cookies were also delivered to community workers during a prayer walk through Slippery Rock Borough.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of people of the communities of Slippery Rock and Grove City, the retreaters collected 1,566 pounds of food and $132, which has been divided between Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard in Slippery Rock and the Grove City Community Food Pantry.

The youth and leaders’ favorite part of the retreat was going out into the communities and experiencing the generosity of the people they encountered. We hope those who served were a blessing to those of you who encountered them, as well.

Rev. Betty L. Angelini

Executive Director, Crestfield Camp & Conference Center

Becky Little

Program Director

Pa. budget needs to protect mental health services

The Pennsylvania community-based providers who help our citizens with mental health, intellectual disabilities or addition were relieved to hear Gov. Tom Corbett vow, during his 2011-12 budget address, to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

Every day, the 200 staff of Community Counseling Center of Mercer County (CCC) assist individuals and families who need a strong safety net to support them toward independence and self-sufficiency. CCC serves more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians yearly, many of whom are enrolled in state programs funded by the Department of Public Welfare.

Over the past several years, the state budget has either cut or flat-lined funding for services designed to assist Pennsylvanians who cope with mental and behavioral challenges.

While other state programs received funding increases, many agencies struggled to remain open and some did not succeed.

In his proposed budget, the governor did not fund a newly created Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. We understand and support his position that it is better to use limited funding on treatment rather than administration.

CCC will work with state lawmakers as they craft a state budget. We understand that fiscal discipline requires a shared sacrifice. However, lawmakers need to understand that our most vulnerable citizens coping with intellectual disabilities, mental health issues and addiction have shouldered much of that sacrifice in the past several years.

Now is the time to draft a spending plan for our state that is responsible and protects those who need our services the most.

Angelo Stamoolis

Chief Executive Officer

Community Counseling Center of Mercer County

Home sprinklers should be option, not mandated

Since the home fire sprinkler mandate went into effect on Jan. 1, the issue has received much attention from media and prospective home buyers who believe that installing sprinklers in new homes should be a choice they make--not a government requirement. California and Pennsylvania are the only two states that adopted this residential requirement for new one- and two-family homes.

New home permits have all but disappeared since the code mandate was required. Among the reasons are installation and maintenance costs, home insurance issues, appraisals denied for market values, and the complexity and costs for private water systems.

Mercer County Builders Association (MCBA) is not opposed to the installation in new homes. Our members will install sprinklers for anyone who would like to have the system. The best solution to the current debate is to offer sprinklers as an option to all new home buyers. This would not force sprinkler systems on thos who prefer hard wired/battery backup smoke detectors, currently required in our statewide residential code.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed, 154 to 39, House Bill 377, which repealed the sprinkler mandate. We thank the House representatives who voted for the repeal, which protects consumer choice and private property rights. The next step is the Senate. I urge them to take the same swift action.

Walking our talk: MCBA provided our legislators 1,200-plus signatures supporting the repeal. For updates on this and other issues, I invite the public to attend our meetings or contact MCBA at 724-475-4834 or e-mail mcbuilders@myepath.com.

Terry McConnell

McConnell Construction

MCBA Past President

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