The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 2, 2013

Shenango River Lake rec areas casualty of shutdown

MERCER COUNTY — Outdoors enthusiasts didn’t have to wait long to find out if the federal government shutdown would hit them where it hurts.

Recreational activities under control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were shut down at Shenango River Lake Tuesday morning as a result of the budget crisis. Those attempting to enter campgrounds and access areas were greeted with gated roads and closed signs. A couple people said they were shooed away by park rangers.

The Corps’ Pittsburgh District, which covers all of western Pennsylvania, part of eastern Ohio, northern Virginia and Maryland, began erecting closed signs over all of its recreation areas, said spokeswoman Carol Davis.

“Shenango Lake is like all other government sites which are basically shutting down,’’ she said. “All public access has been closed.’’

The closing means public launch areas for boats are also inaccessible – with one notable exception.  

RC’s Marina in Clark is open and operating through its lease arrangement with the Corps.

“The government shutdown will have no impact to our out-grantees or concessionaires,’’ Davis said.

An employee at the marina said RC’s would be open for probably a couple more weeks; it normally closes as colder weather arrives and water levels fall. RC’s had previously told owners to remove their boats by the end of Tuesday.

All campers currently in Army Corps campgrounds must depart no later than 8 p.m. today.Wednesday Campers will receive a refund for any unused portion of their reservations, by calling 888-448-1474. As long as the parks are closed, future reservations will be automatically canceled.

However, Davis emphasized that critical safety areas are still being maintained – including the Shenango Dam.

“We are still 100 percent protecting the public,’’ she said. “If there are any major flooding issues, we’re going to be out there and involved.’’

Those wanting to complain about the campground and park shutdowns will find it hard because the Corps began shutting down its Facebook page and other social media sites.  

Even the military will take its lumps locally during the shutdown, said Lt. Col. Larry Scheetz, Mercer County veterans affairs director. Some civilian employees for the Army Reserves have been furloughed, with full-time reservists being told to fill in the holes at reserves centers such Pendel-Caminiti in Farrell, he said.

Scheetz said he was told an upcoming weekend drill for the Farrell center has been canceled. Nobody answered the listed phone number for the center Tuesday evening.

If the government shutdown lingers, it will eventually affect the Pennsylvania National Guard, Scheetz said.

“Even though it’s state sponsored and financed, they get their money from the federal government,’’ he explained.

Critical veterans’ needs such as medical care, mental health services and nursing centers are not affected. All local veterans claims are being filed and processed as normal. And the shutdown will not affect monthly Veterans’ Administration checks, Scheetz said.

But things can change.

“Federal benefits may be impacted if the budget impasse lasts beyond a month,’’ Scheetz said. “What I tell you today may not be the same tomorrow.’’

And if you’re planning a vacation to Washington, D.C., or a national park, you might need to make new plans.

Masury resident Paul Saternow is vacationing the great American West and found he couldn’t get to the fabled Devils Tower because the park was closed. Instead, he went to a golf course. There were plenty of others in the same boat.

“There’s a bunch of people on the road now that aren’t very happy,’’ he said.

Now headed to Yellowstone, Saternow said he wasn’t optimistic that park would be open either.

“If that isn’t open I guess we go find another golf course,’’ he said. “We may end up getting home a lot sooner than we thought.’’

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo