Special Interest Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

In My Opinion By Kris Yaniello

I think my co-workers and myself get much of the local news in the Tyrone and Bellwood area covered. It may not always be a big breaking news story, but we don’t have a lot of that in northern Blair County. There’s only three of us, and really only two full-time writers, because our editor, Christina, isn’t required to write many stories with all of her other responsibilities at the paper.
The unique aspect of our small local newspaper is that we have the opportunity to feature local stories and news on the front page every day. I try to cover the Tyrone area items, and Amanda heads up the Bellwood-Antis area, and we all kind of do a little bit in both areas when needed. It’s news and spotlights on people that most of the time readers won’t get in bigger newspapers. Some people like it, and some don’t.
Recently, I wrote a couple of articles featuring two of Snyder Township’s supervisors, and I’m looking forward to writing one more story on the last of the three elected officials in the township at the end of the week. My goal, as I believe the goal of the two men I sat down with had, was to highlight Snyder Township and discuss what’s been going on in the township.
Of course, as expected, the negativity from township residents came pouring in via phone or visitation. I have no problem with that at all, and no one was disrespectful to me or anyone else at the paper. But, I think those who were upset with the articles were misguided in what the stories were suppose to be about.
I’ve been to Snyder Township meetings, and I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that they are ridiculous. People in the audience are rude and speak when they shouldn’t be. I cover other meetings, like Tyrone Borough, and I have covered meetings in Antis Township and Bellwood Borough in the past, and I have never witnessed what I see at Snyder Township.
To be real honest, it should be unacceptable. Other municipalities provide a public comment section in a meeting where a person has five minutes to speak, and that’s it. Supervisors or councilpersons don’t have to even respond to the comments. Not everyone who speaks at Snyder Township meetings are rude, I’m really not trying to portray that, but those who are far exceed those who aren’t.
There is absolutely no way other local municipalities would even allow what goes on in Snyder Township. It may happen once or twice, but it would definitely be put to an end. Even with the windmill issue in Tyrone Borough, I have never seen anyone disrespect or heckle a councilperson during a public meeting.
People take things very personally, which that’s hard to fault someone for, especially when an issue in Snyder Township deals directly with that individual or organization. What boggles my mind is, much of the time those issues are trying to get resolved by the supervisors for the betterment and safety of the residents in the township.
My story last Wednesday on Supervisor Bob Nelson and this past Monday’s story on board chairman Charlie Diehl were not at all trying to re-hash old news or take any personal shots at anyone. What was in the articles were solely the words and thoughts of the supervisors. If something was said wrong or misunderstood by one of them, well, people make mistakes.
My point is that everything seems to always be negative in Snyder Township. And the funny thing is, the supervisors who are always taking a bashing at meetings or out of meetings, are the same supervisors the majority of the people in the township elect.
It seems like there are plenty of township residents at meetings who have some spare time on their hands, so why don’t some of those people who are so critical about the township’s decisions run for a supervisor’s seat?
Charlie Diehl takes most of the flack, but he’s the same man that’s been on the board for 13 years. The people have voted him in several times, so he must be doing something right. I sat with that man for over an hour when we did the story on him, and he lives and breathes Snyder Township. I don’t think he would put up with what he has to all the time if he didn’t.
Anyway, my boss couldn’t pay me enough to cover a Snyder Township meeting. When I do have to cover a meeting, it’s only because our editor is unable to attend, and she just happens to be my fiancée, so I do it more out of kindness. The sad thing is, when I go out there to the township building, there’s so many faces I know and consider to be friendly with – it almost makes me feel ashamed of myself for not wanting to be there.
Common sense erases that feeling quickly. I’ve had my own problems in the past, but if I do ever question my normality, all I need to do is attend a township meeting. There, I feel sane.
Whether it’s the volunteer fire hall in Bald Eagle, Snyder Drive by the Chill & Grille, or the need for some recreation facilities – each one of those issues should be looked at as a positive thing.
No one wants to see the brave volunteer firemen at Bald Eagle not have their station, and that’s exactly what would happen if good records of funds aren’t kept. Local volunteer fire companies become extinct every day in this country because of just that.
No one wants to see a child get hit by a car on Snyder Drive just because someone was using it to enter the restaurant to go eat dinner one evening. Maybe that might never happen, but what if it did?
And why don’t people want to see a recreation and ball field area in the township? All the Golden Eagle football games and other sports at Tyrone that people so love to go watch, those kids get their start in youth leagues.
When I was growing up, Bald Eagle baseball was something that was respected. I played on some good baseball teams, and many of our most talented kids came from, you guess it, Bald Eagle. We’ve had two professional baseball players from Tyrone the past 20 years, Tony Sharer and Scott Gummo, who were both born and raised in Bald Eagle.
But it’s also a place where people don’t like to be told what to do, at least from what is shown at township meetings. It isn’t the Wild Wild West, it’s Snyder Township.
Writing this column doesn’t make me right or wrong, it’s just my opinion. I guess I just wish more people in Snyder Township would work together, instead of against each other. It’s a really great place where people have a lot more freedom to do what they want in a beautiful and rural setting.
Sometimes people just enjoy taking advantage of that freedom. Sometimes the answer is staring at you in the mirror.