In My Opinion By Kris Yaniello

Keep up with happenings in and around northern
Blair County with “In My Opinion,” a weekly column by
The Daily Herald’s Staff Writer, Kris Yaniello.

As winter clenches its fists to let us all know that the warm weather is behind us, the pleasant welcome mat of the Thanksgiving holiday has swept under our feet. I have had more years than I have wanted where Thanksgiving wasn’t much of a “thanks” or “giving”, but a lot of things have changed in my life – so I’m really feeling the anticipation of the holiday season.
With tonight being Thanksgiving Eve, I was thinking about what I was thankful for. I figured that if I was going to share that with Daily Herald readers, I didn’t want to make it as much personal, but rather more from a community viewpoint. There’s many great aspects of Tyrone and northern Blair County that sometimes gets overlooked or taken for granted, so I wanted to show my appreciation for those people and places for whatever it is worth.
• We’ve lost some good people this year in Tyrone. People who have contributed to the betterment of Tyrone and its residents. People like Lamoine Zimmerman, Bob Maser, Steve Michaels, and others had spent countless hours of their own time helping Tyrone in one facet or another. It’s always sad when we lose people like that, but watching other people step up to fill the voids left behind is heartwarming. To me, that’s what defines a community like ours – the people who put others ahead of themselves.
• Tyrone Borough Council has taken its share of criticism with the ongoing issue of Gamesa’s proposed wind farm on Ice Mountain. When council does vote, its members will be deciding on one of the biggest issues to perhaps ever come up before council. The wind farm decision has been looming for three years, which is a long time, but the wind farm will be here for 30 years if approved. Council should be thanked for taking their time on something that has Tyrone residents split at the seam. The knowledge council has gained just in the last year on wind energy pros and cons is well worth the wait, all while managing to perhaps not raise our taxes in the borough’s 2009 proposed budget that is waiting to be reviewed.
• The Tyrone Area School District and its tireless efforts to always make sound economic decisions on school projects. Superintendent Dr. William Miller, Business Manager Cathy Peachey, the school board, and other administrators consistently make the right decisions. Not everyone may agree, but their work shows when school district taxes are not raised and the school improves. It’s not just money either, the school district provides a safe environment for the children and youth of Tyrone to attain the best education possible. As far as the school board goes, go to a board meeting sometime and it’s not hard to see that each member sincerely cares about the staff and the kids in the schools.
• Tyrone Mayor Jim Kilmartin has set an example for all who dream. Not only does he fulfill his duties as mayor by always keeping an ear to the streets and being open for discussion, criticism, or suggestions, he has built a safe harbor for the youth of Tyrone in the Joshua House. He has made an impact in my life and I could never thank him enough for that. I feel that Tyrone residents can rest assure that Jim will always make the best decisions for our community. If Tyrone wants to grow and prosper, then the right person is our mayor. It’s evident in what he has done with the Joshua House in a mere 10 years.
• Tyrone Borough Police Chief Joe Beachem and his officers, all of the fire departments, and emergency personnel are so vital to our community. Chief Beachem and his staff had the biggest and most threatening task of all to accomplish, ridding our streets of drugs. The selling or using of narcotics in a small community like Tyrone can destroy its very fabric, but that wasn’t an option for our police department. The progress they have made in recent years is commendable, but the effort put forth is astounding.
• All the men and women who educate and coach the youth of Tyrone are the same people who turn into the Zimmerman’s and Maser’s of past years. People like John Franco or Kevin Soellner, who take what was given to them by someone and give it back to another. All teachers take on the task of arguably the most important job in the country, and do it for far less monetary value. All of these people aren’t in it for the money, but for the joy of watching a kid learn something new, whether in school or sports.
• Our National Guard in Iraq and all of the present and past men and women serving in the military. We have Thanksgiving because of what these servants of freedom do. Thanking them and praying for their safety is the least we can do.
• The Sample News Group provides a daily newspaper to Tyrone and northern Blair County. This newspaper is the smallest daily paper in the state. Our owner, Scoop Sample, keeps this paper alive and puts trusts in his employees to keep it going. We’re trying to make some changes at the Herald to provide a more local news oriented paper, so hopefully the community will jump on board and help support something that most small towns do not have.
• Many thanks goes out to all of the people in Tyrone, Bellwood-Antis, and the rest of northern Blair County who are committed to making a difference in their communities. It’s easy to say what should or should not be done, but those critics are usually the ones who aren’t involved in anything. Be pro-active in the community and make a difference in someone’s life or in some cause.
• Last but not least, I’m extremely thankful for my family, loved ones, and friends. My fiancee Christina, her family and mine, and our daughter, Chase, has been a blessing in my life. Waking up in the morning and knowing that there are two young ladies in my life depending on my love and support, as I depend on theirs, is the most thankful part of me. Nothing can replace that.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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