"Sounds like they're terrorizing the town"; Shenandoah residents air concerns about vandalizing youth.
By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Shenandoah residents came out in force to Monday's borough council meeting, to air concerns about recent incidents involving a group of boys between the ages of 9 and 14, with plans to create new community watch-esque group to try to counteract the actions.
"I moved here about 13 years ago, from Springfield, Massachusetts. I moved here to raise my family." Tammy Theriaque, Shenandoah, said at the council meeting. "This is a nice town, but things changed in January, when my two oldest sons had a gun held to their head on their way home from Shenandoah Mennonite bible studies. As soon as they came home, I called the police. Nobody came, nobody responded to me. About an hour later, I got a call from a patrolman saying 'Well, we would come out, but we're dealing with a domestic dispute right now'. I heard nothing back. I tried to call the chief of police the next day, nobody would get back to me. About a month later, the same group of kids held a knife to two of my sons' classmate's head."
"Since then, I've had constant property damaged by these kids." Theiaque added.
"I had all my fence in my yard broken, and my neighbor's gate was broken, during the daytime. I have their pictures on my phone. They were actually caught." Linda Fritz added.
"No matter what we do, we had floodlights on, it's in an area surrounded by houses, in fenced yards, there are signs up, even when our dogs barked, we turned the floodlights on, and we came out, they weren't discouraged." Fritz added.
"Let's get all their pictures to the police. Something's gotta be done here, and it's gotta be done quick. It sounds like they're terrorizing the town." Councilman Paul Holland said.
"What I'm here for, is because, there's one, two, three, possibly more of us that are interested in something called 'SAVY', Shenandoah Against Vandalism By Youth. It would be like a community watch. I know we no longer have a community watch. We're a group of citizens that would like to walk the streets and report these things and see what we could do." Theriaque added. "I just want this place to be safe. I don't want to see them damage the little league field, the football field or anything else in this town."
"My opinion, as president of council, and I feel the rest of council would have no problem with you forming that committee." Council President Leo Pietkiewicz said.
"No problem at all." Holland added.
"And we give you our support on it, anything we can." Pietkiewicz added.
"In all fairness, with our garage and things (that were vandalized), the case is being handled, however, one of the kids is 9. They cannot prosecute this child." Debby McGinn added.
"They could have Children and Youth get involved." Mayor Andrew Szczyglak said.
"Children and Youth are involved with this family already. However, we're talking probably between both vehicles in the garage, $16,000 (in damages)." McGinn added. "A Porsche and a 1962 Dodge Dart... They're bold."
"They're snipering in broad daylight, at 5:30 at night, I'm out there cooking, and my husband says 'Oh my god, there's a little cabron on the roof over there shooting at me.' And sure enough, there he is, two of them, with their father, on the roof, shooting at my neighbor's dogs." Theriaque added.
"Were the police notified?" Holland asked.
"Yup." Theriaque answered.
"Did they come?" Holland asked.
"They came and they left." Theriaque answered.
"Could you do me a favor? The next time you have to call the police, could you get a name of the officer who responds?" Szczyglak asked. "Because, if I approach one of my officers and it's not them who responded to the call, they don't know what's going on. Anyone from the public, when you call the police, if they come to your house, ask them their name, so, if there's a problem, I know what officer I have to speak with."
"I'm just trying to prevent something bigger from happening." Theriaque added.
"I'm gonna call the chief tonight, and have a meeting with him tomorrow morning, and see exactly what's being done with these individuals, and with the ongoing investigations on the vandalism you have brought to my attention tonight." Szczyglak concluded.
According to a borough official after the meeting, the children involved have been charged. No further information could be provided at the time.
In other business, Shenandoah Borough Council purchased the following properties for $1, for demolition,
Council approved the 2017 Street Paving Program, which will begin after July 4th. North White Street from Coal to Washington, and South Chestnut Street from Poplar to Cherry will undergo a full depth reconstruction. Landis C. Deck & Sons will complete the project at a total cost of $59,939.
Council also took steps towards the demolition of dilapidated properties at Coal and Race Streets in the borough. Council approved a motion "if there is no appeal as of noon (Tuesday), that we solicit bids at a special meeting to start demolition on (the properties)." The motion carried unanimously.
A Handicap Parking Application for 223 East Coal Street was tabled until the next meeting, while borough solicitor Joseph Baranko gathers information regarding permit-specific handicap parking spaces.
"I'm having people calling me saying they've paid for this spot, but yet, I'm being told other people could park there who have a handicapped placard. I don't know what to tell these people. Is it any person who has a handicapped placard can park there? Can we do (reserved spots)?" Szczyglak asked
"Yes and yes... The handicapped parking issue is actually governed by the motor vehicle code, which authorizes a municipality to establish handicapped parking rights, but, without a designated permitting mechanism, meaning, what McAdoo borough is going to do now is, we have a standard placard that says 'Handicapped Parking', but 'Permit No. 1, Permit No. 2', which correlates to that applicant that made the payment. But otherwise, it's just a placard there. A standard placard with the blue lines, anyone could park there, anyone with a handicap license plate or the mirror hang." Solicitor Baranko said.
Council changed the borough's energy provider to Your Choice Energy, based on the recommendation of borough consultant/manager Joe Palubinsky.
"We would pay a rate of .05188 over 57 months. Our current charge right now is .0719, so we would be saving, by taking Your Choice Energy, money on our electric bill for the borough." Pietkiewicz said during the meeting.