May 2, 2024

This Meeting was recorded for Accuracy

Meeting was opened by Lou McLaughlin at 7 PM.

Present:  Lewis McLaughlin, Solicitor Michael Smith, Keith St.Clair, Gladine McMaster, Dan Short, JR, Sue Bartow

Absent:  none

Public Attendance: Mellissa Miller, Kim Botteicher, Dave Peightel,  Adrien Cameron,  John Kovac,  Bob Stull, Amy Lickenfelt, R. Jones, Kari G., Michelle B., Tiffany McKendrick, Janine Wood, Joe Wood, Lori Garland, Georgiana Wheeler, Dave Shanner, Crystal Baird, Sharon Mundorff, Diann Wynn, William, Beth Thompson, Eileen Clawson-Gaul, Kristen Cruise

Old Business:

Approval of April minutes

Amy asked why more of the minutes were not inputted on paper.  The recordings from last month said much more.  Lou said this month is not going to be like last month. Everyone interrupting when others are speaking.  Someone in the audience asked if anyone could listen to the recordings.  Lou again said with everyone speaking at the same time it is too difficult to record what everyone was saying. 

 Lou said he has several question to ask but it will be directed to Kim. 

After review by council Dan Short motioned to approve April minutes, 2nd by Lou. All in favor, motion passed.

Approval of Treasurer Report

 After review by council Gladine motioned to approve treasurer report, 2nd by Dan Short.  All in favor motion passed.

Solicitor Report:

Michael presented council with answers to questions presented from prior meeting.

Questions to be addressed:

  1. May the borough limit participation at council meetings to residents of the borough?

Answer:  The Sunshine Act states:

Council,,,,,, shall provide a reasonable opportunity at each advertised regular meeting and advertised special meeting for residents….. or for both to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation which are or may be before the board or council prior to taking official action.  The board or council has the option to accept all public comments at the beginning of the meeting…. The board or council may defer the comment period to the next regular meeting or a special meeting occurring in advance of the next meeting.

65 Pa.Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann.§ 710.1 (West)

In a 2023 opinion, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said this regarding public participation in meetings:

It is reasonable for a city to restrict the individuals who may speak at meetings to those individuals who have a direct stake in the business of the city – e.g., citizens of the city or those who receive a utility service from the city – so long as that restriction is not based on the speaker’s viewpoint.  A bona fide residency requirement, as we have here, does not restrict speech based on a speaker’s viewpoint but instead restricts speech at meetings on the basis of residency.”  Miller v. Goggin, 672 F. Supp. 3d 14 37 (E.D. PA. 2023)

  1. May individuals secretly record a council meeting?

Answer:   Because council meetings are public, members of the public are permitted to record them. 

The Sunshine Act states as follows:

“Except as provided in subsection (b.) A person attending a meeting of an agency shall have the right to use recording devices to record all the proceedings.  Nothing in this section shall prohibit the agency from adopting an enforcing reasonable rules for their use under section 710 (relating to rules and regulations for conduct of meetings),” 65 PA. Stat. and Cross. Satat. Ann §711 (West)

The last section, regarding reasonable rules for their use, would support the argument that the council could order that no one record the meeting secretly- perhaps the sign-in sheet could indicate whether a person intends to record the meeting.

  1.  Are the ordinances presented at the last meeting acceptable?

Answer:  While I believe that some additions would need to be made to the ordinances – including language indicating the reasons for undertaking the ordinances – in general it would appear that the following statute does authorize the borough to enact ordinances requiring licenses and license fees:

8 PA. C.S. §1202 (201) (i) (A) states that “the specific powers of the borough shall include…. (20) To provide for the prohibition, licensing and regulation of businesses as follows: (i) to prohibit, license, and regulate by ordinance the following (a) The carrying on of any manufacture, art, trade, or business which may be noxious or offensive and prejudicial to the public health or safety of the inhabitants, “and (ii) boroughs may prohibit, license, and regulate businesses unless prohibited by law.”

All that would need to be done would be to follow the general procedure for passing an ordinance.

However, needle exchange programs are, I believe, already illegal statewide because they can be considered distributing drug paraphernalia.

Lou made a comment to Mr. Jones about the video that was posted on Facebook that Council already passed an Ordinance to stop FAVOR from opening the Washington Street location.  He stated is was a lie.  Council did not pass anything.  Mr. Jones said he heard to story so he posted the information on Facebook.

Mr. Jones said what has bothered him was the fact that the council was going to shut the center down.

Lou said whoever told you this must not have been at the meeting because nothing was ever said about closing the center.   Mr. Jones said can we know by the end of this meeting whether you are shutting us down or not.

Special Guest: Kim from FAVOR

Kim said she had things to hand out to council on items they have accomplished.

Lou said he wants a plan for the building for council. 

Kim said she has plans for both facilities. 

Kim said at the last meeting that she had asked if anyone had any questions and no one said anything so we left.  It was after we left that the discussion was made to close us down. 

Lou said nothing of the sort happened.  We did ask our solicitor to look into several things, and we have the right to do so, however no one said we were closing you down. 

Lou said he would like to have a plan for that building.  Kim said she has a plan to give council.  She said she has every article that was post in the papers about the center, and she never said about housing all those people up there. 

Lou said he did not read the paper. 

Kim said all the things that are going around including Sue getting signatures from residents to close the center down.  Is was also said that Sue was representing the council. 

Also the signage at the center.  Our IRS document stated FAVOR of Western Pa, Bolivar Community Center Incorporated.  .  That is how our tax document from IRS has it. 

Lou said council made no actions on this.  We did not instruct anyone to go around for us. 

Keith also said that children have every right to go thru the center, but adults he has no pity for adults. 

He also apologizes for not attending a meeting after he said he would. 

Mr. Jones said the reason he made those videos was because of the conversations he has heard from so many people.  He was out of line and apologizes to everyone in town. .   It was not my intention to upset so many people in town. 

Kim said she is putting only 2 rooms for traditional housing.  That is it. 

Kim presented the documents to council as follows:

  • FAVOR (Faces and Voice of Recovery) – Western PA, Bolivar Community Center (which has been our official name from the beginning) is a PA 501c3 non-profit corporation.  We are governed by an Executive Board consisting of President, Vice president, Secretary and Treasurer.  We have anywhere from 10-12 advisory board members at any given time.  We are 100% governed by peers, which means all members are in recovery themselves or they are a family member in recovery with their loved one.  We have by-laws and a Policy and Procedurals Manual.  We have an Executive Director, a Center Director / CRS, a Recovery to Work Navigator/ CRS/ grant writer, and loads of volunteers!
  • We exist to be the gateway to recovery for Western PA communities.  Our services are 100% free thanks to a $500K grant from the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) and was matched with a $500K from agencies, organization, businesses, and corporations that we built a trusting relationship with.  We were one of only 30 grants awarded in over 423 counties in 13 states that are considered the Appalachian Region. Why? Because rural communities are considered underserved in the addiction recovery movement.  We are at high rise of SUD (Substance Use disorder), AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) OUD (Opioid Use Disorder). And therefore ultimately overdoses resulting in death. 
  • We will NOT be opening a transitional housing (24-72 hrs. max stays) program for years, there is simply no grant that will fund that right now.  In 7 years only a few have stayed – we pay hotel for many.
  • We do not have a Syringe Service Program., it is illegal in PA.    The article was a change for me to promote what I believe in and to hopefully change the PA laws concerning SSP for the future.  I personally before having the center would supply harm reduction to those who needed… that’s why I have so much passion and knowledge on the subject…. Hence the interview. That has not happened since 2018 (I’M actually sad to say).
  • We do not have contracts with any rehab or facility, therefore we can help folks get to where they need to go in an environment that would work best for them.  I.e. outdoor focused treatment, spiritual facility, classroom type facility, etc.
  • We are well aware of the laws, regulations and permits required. We are 100% in compliance with all of them.  We are well equipped with insurance (costs us $9K/ yr.)
  • I will not be answering questions tonight because it only leads to arguments, if there is anything else I or my staff or volunteers can answer for you, you will have to come in at 6:30 every Tuesday night in the bottom floor of my flower shop on Lincoln Street.  It will be there EVERY Tuesday night as I have been for 7 years.  No one here attends any event or educational opportunities we’ve had, so we brought this information to you this evening.  My group is open to talking with you on Tuesdays @ 6:30 PM

Our future plans and Initiatives:

Receive the grants we applied for: SAMSHA Grant, DDAP grant, 2 smaller grants. The purpose is to hire 3 more fulltime CRS/CPS employees and a part-time assistant, 6 CRS/CPS classes (25 per class) per year for 3 years.

Finish the remodeling the Bolivar Community Center (formerly the Methodist Church)

Have an employee at the Community Center every day.  Keep it opened for elderly to meet, play cards, have desserts, coloring, do puzzles, whatever they want to do.

Have the kitchen/dining area at the Community Center inspected. Open for showers and birthday parties, anything that folks need a place to hold small events.

At least once a month have a program/event for families

Free movie nights, comedy/magician shows (one coming up June 7th) Art Exhibits, music/band karaoke nights… anything the community would like to see in the Community Center.

Partner with Penn State Extension and Westmoreland Food Bank to bring community cooking and nutrition classes. Paperwork already in for this program.

Continue to develop our Kidz Krew group.  Hire therapist for children with special needs. Art and music therapy on a regular basis. Kidz Krew currently only meets once a month.

Teen programs.  Lot of ideas on this! Purchase and electronic dart board. We already have a pool table and foosball.

Celebrate Recovery Program.  NA and AA back at the RCO. (Covid shut down those groups)

Spirituality Group this will be starting in mid May. Cross Talk.  Will be a much needed Spirituality path of recovery for those that want to participate.

Grief Group an already implemented group for those grieving to share their experiences and helpful tips to work through grief. This group is the first Monday of each month, but we will promote and hopefully have the staff and materials to go to twice a month. So many need support, love and understanding.

FAVOR Talks- like the famous TED talks.  Well known and trusted addiction specialists, mental health therapists/ advocates and recovery advocates can share information and ideas about recovery and mental health help.  This would be open to any positive talk through! We’ve put in a grant for professional video/ sound equipment.

Our Accomplishments.

  • Received  the ARC INSPIRE – R2W Grant totally 1M
  • Hired 3 full-time staff w/full benefits
  • AHN Mobile Unit financial assistance of 150K
  • Vital Strategies grants totaling 200K
  • 3830 engagements with individuals and families Just in 2023 alone
  • Purchased the Bolivar Methodist Church
  • 177 Businesses have been served through engagement with FAVOR
  • Aprox 400+ unique engagements (unique engagements mean face to face and either agreed to detox and/ or treatment, or was referred to a different agency for help… perhaps MH help at Western PSYC or Clarion PSYC)
  • Hosted 65 events – free events for the community. Karaoke, Thanksgiving dinners, Easter Egg Huts, Kidz Krew programs, Santa Brunch, Recovery Month event: breaking down the boarders, several dinners or events for charity, clothing drives, food drives, Pathway Cafes, parent’s Café, First Responder’s picnic, Sober New Years Eve Events.. I’m sure there’s some I’m forgetting.
  • 300 Free trainings for CRS,CPS, CFRS, CPSS, CFPS, Family Coach Certification (Certified Recovery Specialist, Certified Peer support, Community Health Worker, Certified Family Recovery Specialist, Certified Peer Support Supervisor, Certified Family Peer Specialist)

Keith spoke his opinion- he will look at it and try not to have his personal thoughts to judge his decision

On the program.

Kim said she is going to run the church like K & K. Church will be for fun stuff for the community and everything else will be at K & K. 

Public Comment:

Diann Wynn question the food bank.   Diann heard about the food bank. Will it be weekly at K & K and asked Kim to post on Facebook.  It should be for the community.

Cory question to Kim was “In the past 7 years how many people have stayed at the Flower Shop?”

Kim replied that we have had 5 people in 7 years to stay there.  Cory, said so why do you need another building.  I don't need the building for housing.  It is for a community center for the town. 

Cory said you really need to keep this entire town informed of what you will be doing there.

He said he doesn't agree with the center, he doesn't like the idea of a community center.  My concern is focused with the children at the center.  We don't know what you are actually doing. 

Cory said he would like to see more of detail for what you are going to do. 

We put posted out all the time.  We put posters at the post office and all around town. 

Amy asked about the cameras at the lower park.  She wanted to know if they were real or just fake to deter people. Does the alarm go off when someone is down there? 

Pat said the cameras are definitely real.  Pat said our alarm company notifies us when they see something going on that isn't supposed to be down there.  Did they not notify you when a truck was down there doing wheelies and throwing stone around?  If you have a day and a possible time then I can check the cameras and if need be for the police.  We have had PSP several times get a copy of incidents and parents as well.  Parks has also used recordings of incidents and have gotten good results when needed.

Adrien spoke up.  Directed her first part to Mr. Jones.  He commented on Facebook that council isn’t honest enough to tell the public what we’re planning.  The last meeting we held on April 4, was OPEN to the PUBLIC. Kim was here.  During the public comment, a resident of town presented the licensing information to council.  Immediately before he gave council the papers, he said “Kim, I am glad you’re here tonight so you get to hear this information firsthand.” The motion to have our attorney look into the annual licensing fee documentation presented to us was made during that same, Open, Public meeting.  It is not councils’ fault Kim came to the meeting and opted to leave before it was over.

To my knowledge no one in the audience during the February and March meetings said they want FAVOR closed indefinitely.  The people in this town do not want Kim housing individuals in the FAVOR buildings while awaiting a bed in rehab. Their reasoning behind this is legitimate.

First, where is FAVOR’s occupancy permit through the Department of labor and industry showing either location is legally eligible and safe to house individuals overnight according to code despite Kim claiming it’s full of mold?  You can’t provide council with one because there isn’t one according to labor and industry; therefore you are illegally housing individuals.

Does FAVOR have and/or need license through the department of drug and alcohol programs permitting them to house people overnight?

Where is a copy of FAVOR’s liability insurance certificate for council to see proving there is coverage if there happens to be injuries or damages to people and/or property within the community?

Does FAVOR have a written policy and procedure manual?

What is the procedure FAVOR takes if a client leaves their facility at night?  Because according to Kim at one of the meetings, if she has someone sleeping in one of the churches, she will have two of FAVOR’s staff follow that person around town and call the state police if they try to break into any vehicles, houses, etc.  This is not safe for your staff, the individual, nor the community.

What is the procedure FAVOR takes if adults seeking treatment bring their children along with them and expect to stay the night in one of the buildings?

Kim, you’ve said that FAVOR is not a syringe program yet there is an article online stating how you have made sterile syringes available to people who use drugs.  You have said FAVOR’s location on Washington Street will not be an emergency housing shelter yet the entire article written on its grand opening was specifically about just that.  You claim that all the articles written about you have false information.  If every single article ever written about you and/or FAVOR is inaccurate, why do you still continue to participate in such articles?  Why have you not taken to social media and being a keyboard warrior in the articles?  You have no issue taking to social media and being a keyboard warrior when it comes to bashing council and the residents within this town.  You also have no issue getting others to do the same without having told them all the facts and both sides of the story.  At the end of the day, the non-educated small town folks in this town not wanting you to house individuals at your facilities without the proper permits, insurances, etc. is validated because this IS in our back yard. 

Beth spoke up next. She wants the center in town.  I can't understand why the town doesn't want them here.  I was born and raised here. I work in criminal justice.  I have seen what this woman has done for this town.  My god open your eyes.  At one time I was on council and fought like hell for a cop.  Everyone else fought me on this to not get a cop.  We are a target town and lawless town.  They can come in town and do what they want.  Like it or not Kim is not the enemy.  Why won't we give Kim a chance to help the town?  If we don't give Kim the chance to help people then they will be breaking into their homes. 

Kim wants to know what council is going to do with the fees and taxes.  We would like to be informed as soon as possible.  Lou said after we get the plans for the building, then council will make a decision. 

Just bring your itinerary with you next time.  Also do you have an occupancy permit?  Just bring it here. 

 Lou said no one wants to shut down the center, we just want to be sure that the residents are safe. 

Lou called an executive session at 7:45 PM.  Personnel matters.

Council returned from executive at 7:50 PM

Results of meeting. 

Hire Don Wynn as 2nd Boro worker.  He to work 17 hours per week at the rate of $15 per hour. 

This is pending he passes a physical, drug, and alcohol test and also has a clean driving record. 

Pat to set up for the tests.  Motion made by Sue to hire Don, 2nd by Dan Sort contingent he passes all final requirements.

Update on zoning ordinance for town,

Michael said he has not heard anything back for the county or state yet. Put on agenda again for June.

Road closure information for Legion Memorial Day Parade.

Pat presented road closure request for Legion.

Legion requesting the alley located between 2nd & 3rd between Washington and Market from 7:30 to 11 AM.

Market to Shaffer St at 3rd Street & 2nd & 3rd Street from Washington to Market Street from 7:30 to 11AM.

Close intersection at 4th -5th-6th along parade route from 9AM to 10:30 AM

Line-up is at 8:30 AM at Shomo Corner West Bolivar. Parade starts at 9 AM with a stop at the June McDermott Cemetery for a brief ceremony before proceeding to Bolivar Legion at 3rd & Market for another brief ceremony.

All temporary road closures will be provided by the American Legion and the Fire Dept. personnel.

John said the State Police may be coming to help handle the road closures.  Spoke to Penndot, they said the insurance company needed to put something else on the insurance then they will approve. 

Pat said when you get the Penndot permit that borough will need a copy of the permit. 

Motion made by Sue, 2nd by Keith to close the streets for the parade.  All in favor motion passed. 

Update on purchase of pipe and backflow valve for Kovac water issue.

Council discussed with John the problem with the drainage and broken pipes on his property causing the flooding when it rains. 

Lou said the black corrugated pipe 8 “is $6.58 a foot.  Borough deals with LB Water.  John had another company quote.  John said he needs to quote so he can get is from Joe Hill. 

John to put pipe in.  Pat mentioned to John that whoever he gets the piping from he needs to let me know so I can get to the company our tax exemption information and also we are a part of CoStars. 

John to cc me when he gets his quote.

We also have an account with Pleasant Unity Supply also.  They will have no problem delivering. 

Motion up to $1,000 made to purchase 60’ @ $7.00 made by Sue, 2nd by Lou, all in favor motion passed.

No other old business to discuss:

New Business:

McCormick Taylor invoices:

Pat received an invoice from McCormick Taylor stating we owed $706.51. They said they kept the CDBG project open in case there were any issues/questions during the period of the contractor’s maintenance bond.  As more than a year has passed since completion, they were sending the final closeout amount for payment.

Pat presented a spread sheet of all the payments made to McCormick Taylor she kept throughout the project and it also reflected the balance due of $706.51.  With this payment it closes out the project and we no longer owe anything to McCormick Taylor. 

Mosquito spraying by county

The county sent a message to us informing us of the spraying throughout the summer months.  They will start spraying May 6, 2024 thru Oct 11, 2024. 

Payroll transfer for $20,000 to cover wages.

Pat said in January she did not ask for any payroll transfer at that time.  We were still working on payroll figures from the prior year.  She is now asking for approval to transfer $20,000 over to cover wages.  This should last until at least October.  Motion made by Keith, 2nd by Gladine to transfer the funds from general to payroll.  All in favor motion passed. 

Yard sale date is set for June 15- 7 AM to 1 PM

Does everyone agree with the date?     Fire Dept always does the 2nd week in June.   

Clean- Up Days is set for June 22, from 8 am to 3 PM. Lower park.

Rates are as follows:

$5. Per car and $10 per ½ ton pickup, and small trailers

$15 per dump truck and large trailers

No paints, tires, refrigerators, air conditions, TV’s or computers will be accepted on Clean up Days

Also nothing containing FREON

Letter from concerned citizens in town.

To Whom It May Concern:

Is has come to my attention that there are people making efforts to shut down the two FAVOR centers in Bolivar PA.  They probably have not had the disease of addiction hit someone they love. I hope that is the case. If so, we are happy for them and will pray they never have to endure the efforts of this disease.

I have had addiction come late in my life. I was devastated to find out my loved one as in addiction. I thought I said and did all the right things to keep addiction out of my family only to find it didn't matter.  Addiction doesn't discriminate. Is hits young and old, rich and poor, black and white, male and female, religious or not.

I didn't know what to do. I knew I had to find someone to talk to so I could help my loved one. I found the FAVOR center in Bolivar and started attending meetings. What I learned was that I couldn't help my loved one until I was educated about the disease.

I have been attending Tuesday night meetings now for 6 years. I have learned so much and have gotten support through the many ups and downs.  I can proudly say today that my loved one is no longer addicted and is on the way to a promising future.

It can happen! It takes time, support, and education. Remember, no one wakes up one day and says "I want to be an addict". Everyone is important to someone, and every life matters.

Addiction is here. It has hit this town as it has hit many towns across the country to date. We did not bring it here but, we would like to end it. Turning away from addiction will not make is go away.  Is will make is grow stronger. We ask that the community and officials don't fight us- fight addiction.

Support us. We are a non-profit with many volunteers giving of their time. We take donations and can always use more volunteers. Finally, I call upon the community and officials to join us on Tuesdays evenings. Knowledge is strength. These centers are making a difference. Join us and make the fight stronger.

Signed. Mr. Blair.

Any other business to discuss.

Mayor report:

Mayor had a noise complaint.  I took care of it.

3 people cut grass. Can't enforce ordinance until Boro gets parks done.

Potholes - Lou said need to get cold patch.  Need to patch Ray Clawson, and Graveyard Hill road. 

Sue -  Talked to Penndot about cleaning Market Street before the parade. 

John and Sue cleaned Market Street for Memorial Day.  Sue asked Clark to have people along the route to have their grass nice for parade. 

Street Commissioner Report:

Lou said he and Paul took plow and spreader off the truck.  Paul cut the lower ball field before his surgery.

Keith did the upper park and put gas in the mower.

This past week, Scott Belford, Jim Harris, Ben West, Jeffery and Myers Miller all pitched in to cut the upper park. 

Sewage Report

Sue said meeting is next week. 

Parks & Rec

Mellissa said she finds it appalling that no one called to have the grass cut in the park

Mellissa asked the council not to come into the office and harasses Pat about parks affairs. Pat is the secretary and does not have voting rights for the park.  If you need to complain to someone contact Mellissa or Brittany. 

The plastic, Thank you for letting us store the plastic here at the borough.  It is better than my front porch.

Mellissa is asking permission to get rid of wooden structure at the park.  John to take it since the Legion donated the Jungle Jim years ago.  Parks need council permission for John to be on Borough property to take his structure. 

Lou motion for John to take is 2nd by Boone, all in favor, motion passed.

Mellissa also spoke about the new steps going in at the upper park.  Wagner concrete did remove the old steps and put the stones by the concession stand.  Parks is going to use them elsewhere in the park. 

Parks is starting their events on Sunday May 26.  We still have several cow plop tickets left.  The bricks will be delivered next week.  Anything the Mr. Wagner has messed up in the parks he will fix it up. 

That s all I have to say.

Lou asked if anything thing else needs discussing.  If not, motion to close at 8:20 PM made by Boone, 2nd by Sue.


Patricia Betts