CUMRU Twp., Pa. – The Monarch Whisperers descended upon the Cumru Township commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night.
The group of students from Cumru Elementary School told the commissioners about a school project, supervised by Jane Marie McKay, a 28-year veteran of the Governor Mifflin School District, that was intended to restore the health of Rabbit Run Stream and increase the monarch butterfly population in the area.
The stream runs along the western edge of the property containing the Governor Mifflin Intermediate School, Cumru Elementary School, and Mifflin Park Elementary School and drains into Angelica Creek.
Members of the whisperers surveyed the stream area and found trash and grass clippings in the water. The students said that unbeknownst to most homeowners, dumping grass clippings in water depletes oxygen in the stream and damages the riparian environment, thus harming monarch butterflies.
As a symbol of what can be done to improve the situation, members of the Monarch Whisperers gave each commissioner a packet of milkweed seeds. Milkweed is the only source of food for monarch caterpillars and provides all the nourishment needed to transform the caterpillar into the butterfly.
The commissioners heard a brief presentation by Brent Erb, a ranger at Nolde Forest State Park. Erb said that he wanted to get the word out to residents that the park closes at sundown, and that dogs must be on leashes and cannot run free.
Erb also updated the commissioners on the park's recent acquisition of nearly 60 additional acres intended to help protect the watershed. Work is underway to mark boundaries along the largest parcel situated off Oregon Road.
The commissioners unanimously authorized the promotion of township police Ofc. Michael Bezner to sergeant, effective Jan. 20. In addition, the termination of an unnamed township police officer for disciplinary reasons was approved. Also, conditional offers of employment were made to two candidates for the fire department.
The commissioners authorized the purchase of two new and one used Ford Explorer police vehicles for a price not to exceed $99,000. Also, the purchase of 15 new replacement air packs for the fire department for $150,000 was approved.
The commissioners authorized an escrow release in the amount of $83,202.40 for the Kantner Lanes Twins subdivision; approved payment of $232,916.82 to Wexcon for the 2019 sanitary sewer replacement project; and approved payment of $32,838.75 to Construction Masters for the sanitary sewer replacement for the Brecon Lane utility replacement project.
Township engineer Joseph Rogosky reported that he was in the process of getting prices to complete the remediation of slope failures along Church Road and Yorkshire Road.