After months of waiting, South Middleton Township officials learned late Thursday afternoon that Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has released $2.4 million in promised funding for repairs to Children’s Lake.
“... We received notice from the state Fish and Boat Commission that the governor’s office has made funds available for Children’s Lake,” solicitor Bryan Salzmann announced to applause at Thursday night’s township supervisors meeting.
“You really stuck with this,” Supervisor Tom Faley told Salzmann. Township supervisors also credited Wolf’s office, state Sen. Mike Regan, and the community in general for seeing the job through.
“The effort to ‘Save the Lake’ has been a prime example of what the public and private sector can do together when they work in unison,” Regan said in a news release Friday.
In November 2017, Wolf signed a deficit patch measure for the state’s $3.2 billion budget that included a $2.4 million appropriation to the state Fish and Boat Commission for repairs to Children’s Lake. At the time, township officials remained uncertain when Wolf’s office would release the money.
Last year, South Middleton procured the $400,000 needed to begin the project’s design phase, including $150,000 from the township’s local design funds, $25,000 from F&M Trust and $12,500 each from Allen Distribution and R.S. Mowery & Sons. This, along with $200,000 pledged by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, was considered enough to cover engineering costs for repairs to the lake.
A Save The Lake organization was founded in 2017 with the backing of the Bubbler Foundation to accept charitable, tax-deductible donations from the community and corporate sponsors. Since its inception, Save The Lake raised more than $10,000 through the sale of merchandise and donations.
Save The Lake co-chairs Liz Knouse and Jorie Hanson said they were “beyond excited” about Thursday’s news. Knouse said she wants to add a “d” to the clusters of Save The Lake signs set throughout Boiling Spring so that they will read, “Saved The Lake.”
“We want to make sure people will know. We not only saved the lake, but it’s going to be better than before,” Knouse said.
Salzmann said the project as approved by the state will involve a lot more than just repairing a leaky dam. Project components will include:
Salzmann said officials hope to see project engineering completed by the end of 2018 and construction begin in 2019. Mostly likely, work would begin in the fall or winter when the lake is at its lowest level and take around a year to complete.
“We have the money. Now we have to design and build it. We’re jumping ahead by years with the way we got this funded,” Salzmann said.
Rick Rovegno brought inspiration from the past to benefit children in the future as he accepted this year’s Molly Pitcher Award from the Exchange Club of Carlisle Friday night, and made a donation to the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.
Presented by the Exchange Club of Carlisle, the Molly Pitcher Award honors local residents who have made extraordinary and outstanding volunteer contributions to their church, their country, their community and their profession.
Presented every year since 1969, the Molly Pitcher Award is named after Mary Ludwig Hays McCaully, who became famous as Molly Pitcher and who was reputed to be a heroine in the Revolutionary War after bringing water to artillerymen under fire.
“It is humbling to me to be placed in a category with so many other previous recipients who I have learned a great deal from,” Rovegno said.
Those past recipients are people like the late Dr. H. Robert “Doc” Davis. Rovegno said he spoke to Davis on many occasions when he was a county commissioner and always appreciated his insight. Jimmy George, co-owner of George’s Flowers in Carlisle, has also been a mentor for Rovegno, often serving as a source for advice on political and public policy issues, as well as business issues since both men were self-employed.
As formative as those relationships may have been, Rovegno’s greatest influences are a little closer to home.
“Much of our inspiration comes from our families. The examples of how to live a life with meaning comes from our families,” Rovegno said.
His paternal grandfather has become a particular inspiration.
“This was a man I never really knew in life, but is a role model to me now of how to volunteer and how to live a life,” Rovegno said.
Born in 1895, Eugene “Butch” Rovegno became fascinated with flight back in the day when airplanes were still called flying machines. He enlisted in the Navy in 1916, but transferred to the Marine Corps when he discovered they would allow him to fly. So Butch ended up flying SPAD fighters over France in 1917 and 1918 during World War I.
After the war, Butch married Margaret Stuart Cowie, and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He was an engineer designing flight systems in Nashville on Dec. 7, 1941.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Butch and Margaret reached a mutual decision that he would once again volunteer his service to the country. The local recruiting station said they appreciated his patriotism, but said that, at the age of 46, he was too old — until he reminded them he could fly planes.
A few months later, he was in eastern England serving as the chief engineer for the 100th Bombardment Group, helping to establish air bases for offensive operations against the Nazi war machine. Butch was a reassuring presence for the men, many of whom were 20 years or more younger than him on the ground and in the air. Butch would bring coffee and food out to the airplane mechanics in the middle of the night, and then jump in to help them as they worked to get planes ready for bombing runs. From his post in the control tower, he also talked heavily damaged bombers in for a safe landing.
In 2012, Rovegno spoke at a dedication ceremony for a conference room at Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall, which was being named in honor of his grandfather. The day after the ceremony, Rovegno took a cab to Thorpe Abbotts, his grandfather’s old airbase, where he walked around the grounds and visited the museum to the 100th that is now there.
An older gentleman introduced himself, and proceeded to tell a story about Butch. In 1942, Butch had gone into the nearby town to ask the town leaders for the names of any child who would not be getting a gift at Christmas. Butch wrote home to Margaret, who bought gifts and sent them to England. Butch convinced one of the “more robustly sized” airmen to dress up as Santa and deliver the gifts, Rovegno said.
Rovegno was curious about the origin of the story so he asked the gentleman how he heard about it. The man replied that he didn’t have to hear it from someone else. He was one of the children.
“Butch is in the middle of fighting a world war that, at that time, we weren’t winning,” Rovengo said. “But he felt so strongly about children that he wanted every child to feel valued and every child to feel loved and every child to understand that there was still humanity even though the entire world was at war.”
Rovegno tied his grandfather’s work all those years ago to the work CASA and the Exchange Club are doing today to improve the lives of children.
“The work that CASA does and the work that the Exchange Club does will be remembered by these children decades from now,” he said.
Anita Brewster, program director for CASA, said its volunteers go through 50 hours of training to become the “eyes and ears of the court.” The volunteers are appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of the child in court. Many of the children are victims of abuse and/or neglect.
Since the program’s inception in 2001, 220 volunteers have been sworn in. The volunteers commit to working with a child or a group of siblings until the court decides that a safe, permanent home has been established. For some children, that may take some time. As a result, some CASA volunteers have been advocating for their assigned children for eight years or more.
“We can’t fix the problems, but we can be a voice for these kids,” Brewster said.
As a county commissioner, Rovegno supported the work of CASA through the budget process.
“I’ve always appreciated, as a county commissioner, the work of CASA and the role it plays for our children here in the county court system,” he said.
The county commissioners through the years have supported CASA, but there are always additional expenses that come up, such as the training that volunteers have to pay for out of their own pockets. Understanding that, Rovegno and his wife, Karen, decided to make a donation to CASA through the Rick and Karen Rovegno Trust in memory, and in honor of, Eugene and Margaret Rovegno.
Brewster said the donation from the Rovegnos could be used in a variety of ways, including assistance with paying for training and conferences, volunteer recognition, team development, program events, special projects, technical support and professional enhancement.
Chartered in 1949, the Exchange Club of Carlisle emphasizes child abuse prevention in cooperation with Parent Works Inc., and sponsors Americanism, community service and youth programs. It dedicates, in various public buildings in the Carlisle area, a collection of documents known as Freedom Shrines that is fundamental to the history and government of the United States.
“I want to recognize the outstanding work that CASA and the Exchange Club do in ensuring, to the extent possible, that every child feels loved and valued in this life,” Rovegno said.
Rovegno served three terms as a Cumberland County commissioner in addition to serving on the South Middleton Planning Commission and the Cumberland County Municipal Authority. He has also served as president of the Cumberland Conservation Collaborative, as a member of the board of directors of Capital Area Transit, and as a member of the Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition.
His community service also includes service on the board of directors for the Helen H. Stevens Community Mental Health Center, Greater Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce and the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center. He has also served as an adviser to Explorer Post 189 of the Boy Scouts of America, and is the co-founder and trustee of the Rick and Karen Rovegno Trust, which supports education, the arts, libraries and the environment.
Esch McCombie, president of the board of directors of Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center, said Rovegno has been generous with his time and money over two decades. He’s also been active in promoting the theater, and has led the organization’s fund development over the past two years.
“Rick understands that less than 50 percent of our expenses are covered by ticket sales. So it is donors and sponsors like Rick and those he seeks out that allow the theater to exist. The theater is in its best financial shape in years. Without a doubt, Rick’s efforts and contributions are a substantial reason for that,” McCombie said.
Shippensburg University has also honored Rovegno with the Jesse Heiges Distinguished Alumnus Award for his professional accomplishments, as well as his public and volunteer service.
Rovegno is a 1974 graduate of Carlisle High School and a 1978 graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in business administration. He owns and operates three enterprises, Rovegno’s of Carlisle Inc., a residential and commercial energy conservation company, and two real estate development and property management companies, Rovegno Properties and Rovegno Real Estate Partners. He resides in South Middleton Township with his wife of 36 years, Karen Jaasund Rovegno.
A Mechanicsburg man is welcoming members of the public to join him for a Second Amendment rally Sunday that will be held opposite a “Cease Fire” rally organized by students at Carlisle High School.
David Delp said his rally is pro-Second Amendment and will present an opposing side to what those in the Cease Fire rally are calling for.
“I’ve been thinking about it since last month,” he said, adding that he has rarely heard a conservative voice in the media after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“You have school students walking out. They can walk out of the school to protest guns, but they can’t walk in school to pray,” Delp said. “I’ve had enough of that.”
Delp’s response is to some students who have organized walkouts at area schools on March 14, as well as organized community rallies on the Square in Carlisle.
Carlisle High School students organized a “Cease Fire” rally for 2 p.m. Sunday on the steps of the Old Courthouse, and Delp said he will be across the street at the same time. The Cease Fire rally, according to organizers, is a way to demand “sensible gun control.”
Another rally is scheduled in Carlisle for Sunday, March 18, this one also at 2 p.m. and organized by Cumberland Valley students.
Carlisle students organizing this Sunday’s rally said they respect the significance of the right to bear arms but want gun control to prevent school shootings. Delp said their voices don’t mirror what many think in Cumberland County.
“Carlisle and Mechanicsburg are conservative areas, and they don’t agree with ‘Cease Fire,’” he said.
As of Friday morning, Delp was still planning his rally and did not know who else will be involved Sunday.
Residents of Carlisle borough are now allowed to keep chickens in their backyards.
The Borough Council unanimously approved an ordinance at its Thursday meeting that allows residents in the R-1 (low density residential) district to keep chickens, as would any resident whose lot area is 5,000 square feet or more. Property owners in the institutional zoning district could also keep chickens, provided the lot is 5,000 square feet or more.
The ordinance also requires that chickens be kept in a coop or shelter designed to adhere to state standards or regulations concerning animal protection or health standards. The shelter is required to be placed a minimum of 60 feet away from any residential structures. It is also to be fully screened and buffered by fencing and/or vegetation so that it can’t be seen by the public.
Residents will be permitted to have four chickens, none of which may be a rooster.
Bedding in the shelter must be changed daily and disposed of weekly, and is not allowed to be stored openly. Chickens are also only permitted to be kept in the backyard of the lot.
Eggs or chickens may not be sold commercially or as a home occupation.
Any slaughtering of chickens is required to be done in the residence of the property or another principal structure on the lot.
Annual permits carrying a $50 fee will be required to keep chickens. The permits would be required to be renewed annually after an inspection.