Christmas in the Park aids three groups

The Follansbee Christmas in the Park Committee on Monday presented $2,500 each to the Anderson Children’s Home, the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program and the family of Willow Moore, a local girl with special medical needs. The money was raised through vendors’ booths fees and drawings held during the two-day festival. On hand were, front, from left, Tina Salisbury and her daughter, Willow; Ed Wilkerson of Follansbee R.E.A.C.H.; Josh Swartz, Anderson Children’s Home; Bill Kocher, Follansbee R.E.A.C.H.; and Kathy Santoro, co-chair for the festival: and back, committee member Dana Griffin; Matt Moore, Willow’s father; committee members Donna Taibi Sullivan, Stacey Williams and Nina Meca; and Bill Secrist, festival co-chair. — Warren Scott

FOLLANSBEE — As co-chair of the Christmas in the Park committee, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro has said that much like the holiday that inspired it, the annual festival promotes the spirit of giving.

And this year proceeds from vendors’ fees and drawings held during the two-day festival netted $7,500, which was divided equally among three local causes.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Santoro, co-chair Bill Secrist and other members of the event’s volunteer committee presented $2,500 each to:

— The Anderson Children’s Home. Begun years ago as a conventional orphanage, it has been home for many years to children with severe mental and physical impairments.

— The Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program. In its 45th year, the local volunteer-run food pantry feeds about 30 households.

— The family of Willow Moore, an 11-year-old Windsor Heights girl with Charcot Marietooth disease, a hereditary neurological disorder that causes bone deformity, muscle spasms and neuropathy. She is the daughter of Tina Salisbury and Matt Moore, who said Willow was diagnosed at age 4 and last year underwent corrective surgery. Her parents said she may be required to undergo more surgery in the future.

The donations continue a tradition of supporting the two local charities and a local child with special medical needs.

Santoro said the donations wouldn’t have been possible if not for the hard work of her committee, the involvement of vendors, support of local businesses and council, the aid of Cindy Jeneskee and other city personnel and the many festival-goers who purchase chances for the drawings.

Council also heard Monday from local developer Jim Joseph, who sought approval for the establishment of a trailer park in the flat area above the Ameriwash car wash off Archer Hill Road.

Joseph said there are plans to gradually develop 48 lots in the 4-to-5-acre site to meet a demand for temporary lodging for workers in the oil and gas industry, including those involved in the construction of a proposed power plant in the Colliers area.

He said his business will extend utilities to the site.

Fifth Ward Councilman Scott McMahon said he’s not opposed to future development but knows many residents of nearby Highland Hills don’t support the proposal. He said he’d like to see their questions and concerns addressed before council votes on it.

Joseph said he’s worked with the city for four years, wants to maintain a good relationship with council and hopes the development can be done to its satisfaction.

In other business:

¯ Fourth Ward Councilman Rudy Cipriani said Parkview residents have expressed concern about drivers speeding and ignoring stop signs there. He said City Police patrols have helped to curb the problem and he’s hopeful that will remain a deterrent so other measures, such as speed bumps, aren’t needed.

In related business, City Manager John DeStefano agreed to post a large mirror atop Marquette Avenue, at Cipriani’s request, to improve visibility for drivers turning there.

¯ When the issue of funding for Community Days arose, Cipriani and McMahon said if the cost for fireworks exceeds $10,000, as expected, bids should be sought.

¯ First Ward Councilman George Robinson said the basketball court at Mahan Playground and backboards for the hoops are deteriorating and should be addressed. In response, council made plans to discuss park improvements in January. Robinson also asked whether the city’s portable ice skating rink will be put up this winter, which led to a discussion of problems associated with it. No action was taken on the rink on Monday