New Castle News

Local News

June 11, 2014

Bessemer curfew to be enforced

NEW CASTLE — Police will begin enforcing Bessemer’s curfew more strictly following residents’ complaints about unruly youth.

Bessemer has a 9 p.m. curfew in the borough’s three parks and a 10 p.m. curfew elsewhere for youth under 18.

Laurie Siddall of East Poland Avenue attended Monday’s council meeting with five other residents. She told council that since school let out last week, youths have been congregating at night at the Pumphouse, an area near her home where there is a playground and basketball court.

She said loud cars were driving around about 10:30 p.m. one night and youth were tossing “works bombs” which are homemade devices made with drain cleaner.

She said high school-age boys and girls were all over her property making noise and using bad language, and others were racing up and down the street and screaming.

She said she called the Pennsylvania State Police because no Bessemer police were on duty and it took 45 minutes for them to respond.

A Bessemer native, Siddall said that while it goes on every summer, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

She added, “Someone’s going to get hurt,” and told council the parents should be held accountable for their childrens’ actions.

Another woman reported youths running in the middle of the road and driving cars on the beach at Bessemer Lake Park.

Council members agreed to order curfew signs to be posted in Lake Park, Kennedy Park and the Pumphouse, dusk to dawn security lights for the Pumphouse and gates at Bessemer Lake Park.

Borough officials acknowledged they are short a few police officers because of resignations. But on the agenda Monday was hiring of five more part-time officers and council members said they will be on the road and enforcing the curfew as soon as they are trained.

The new police officers were hired at $14 an hour for a 350-hour probationary period. They are Matt Kennedy, Brian Watkins, Matt Smock, Dan Tressler and Jim Lombardo.

John Kliem, council president, said that once the probation is completed, their hourly wage will go up to $16.23.

The hirings bring the force to seven part-timers. Two officers recently resigned. Kliem said the five hirings will allow enough officers to fill in when needed for vacations and illness.

Also Monday, council extended a 2 percent raise to borough employees for the year. These include two full-time street workers and a part-time secretary. They will be given pending a positive evaluation.

The first one was approved Monday for Jim Nelson, public works manager, retroactive to his employment anniversary date.

Council also accepted the resignation of councilman Ryan Ray, effective immediately. He will be moving out of the borough.

Ray has three and a half years left in his second term. Council asked that anyone interested in filling the seat until the next general election in two years contact them.

Candidates must be registered voters who have lived in the borough for a year. If council does not fill the seat in 30 days, the borough nominating committee must do so

Council also:

•Granted time-and-a-half pay to police officers for borough holidays.

•Received thanks from representatives of Mooca House for help with the Memorial Day 5-K race that raised $6,000.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)

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