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5/25/2016
INDIANA SCHOOL BOARD HOLDS HEARING ON POTENTIAL SCHOOL CLOSURE
The Indiana School Board held a special public hearing last night on the topic of closing one of the elementary schools. The hearing came from discussion at recent school board meetings and the board applying for PlanCon funding from the state.  The plan that was approved at the May 10th meeting by an 8-1 vote would include building a new Ben Franklin Elementary school, improvements for East Pike and Eisenhower, but as part of those plans, Horace Mann would be closed.   Those who gave testimony at last night’s hearing were against closing the school for a variety of reasons.  Eric Barker said he felt that economically, it would not help the district.   While Brandon Vick said that the decision to close a school would disregard any decisions made by parents to move to the Indiana area. There will be a 90 day “cooling-off” period before a vote can be taken on the matter, meaning the earliest the board can vote on this would be at the board’s first meeting in September.  The board also said that there are no plans to close any schools for the upcoming school year.
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5/25/2016
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PLAN DISCUSSED AT MEETING
A meeting on the Transportation Improvement Plan was held Tuesday afternoon. The meeting was to go over the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s four-year plan for the 10-county region as far as transportation issues go.  Many of the projects that are part of the 2017-2020 TIP plan for Indiana County are bridge maintenance projects ranging from three bridges on Route 119 to smaller bridges on roads in the community. Matt Pavlosky with the SPC talks about how important these meetings are to rural communities like Indiana. People have a chance to comment on the plan by contacting the commission directly at www.spcregion.org.  You can also find a draft copy of the Transportation Improvement Plan on their website.
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5/25/2016
IUP'S EBERLY COLLEGE OF BUSINESS EARNS RE-ADDCREDITATION
IUP’s Eberly College of Business and Information Technology has had its accreditation reaffirmed by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.  The accreditation, which is required every five years, was ratified on April 29th on a peer review team’s recommendation.   Fewer than five percent of the nation’s 16,000 schools granting business degrees earn AACSB accreditation. Eberly had to meet twenty quality standards to earn the distinction.  Since its founding, the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology has graduated more than 20,000 students.
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5/25/2016
INDIANA MAN INDICTED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY THEFT
An Indiana man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly defrauding the government out of more than $16,000 in Social Security funds.   U.S. Attorney David Hickton says that according to the indictment, 62-year-old Carmen Donofrio “received approximately $16,577 in Supplemental Security Income to which he was not entitled because he had concealed a retirement account from the Social Securty Administration.” The alleged deception occurred between July of 2013 and May of last year.   The one-count indictment is for “theft of government property", and carries a maximum sentence upon conviction of up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.  The actual sentence would be based on the seriousness of the crime and any prior criminal history.  Donofrio’s criminal docket sheet in Indiana County shows only a couple of traffic cases, including a guilty plea for DUI in 2009. 
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5/24/2016
MARION CENTER SCHOOL BOARD HIRES NEW SUPERINTENDENT
At their meeting last night, the Marion Center School Board hired a new district superintendent. The board unanimously approved signing Clint Weimer to a three-year contract.  Weimer has been in the educational field for several years, and is making a return to the Marion Center District, where he was an assistant principal in his past.  Weimer said that he always felt that Marion Center was a good fit. Weimer comes to Marion Center having served as the principal of the Apollo-Ridge High School.  He will take the place of Dr. Frank Garritano, who will retire at the end of June. In other business, the board gave preliminary approval of the 2016-2017 budget, which comes to $24,481,321.  That’s an increase of 1.44%.  The budget includes a 2.6% increase in real estate revenues to cover the difference.  Under this budget, the average property owner would see a tax increase of $25.42.  The budget will be up for final approval in June.
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