April 2016

A Message from MLCC Board Member Abe Wagner,

Your Mountain Laurel Chamber Board of Directors have been considering what first and lasting impressions people will have when entering or leaving the Laurel Highlands ONCE the Route 31 road work is completed. In his TED TALK (go to www.scenic.org to listen) former Scenic America President, Ed McMahon provides insight into “how the image of a community is fundamentally important to its economic wellbeing”.

The BHHS office that I work out of in Donegal faces Route 31. Every day I see and hear the vehicles that pass by my window. I am constantly reminded that this may be a home to these travelers, a getaway, a onetime visit, a repeat visitor or someone passing by for work. What do they think of when they pass through? How do we get them to stop at our businesses? What can we do to entice them to come back, AND, hopefully tell their family and friends of the wonderful experiences that await them in the Laurel Highlands?

We’d like to get together with you and hear your thoughts and ideas on how we, as a community, can help create a lasting first impression of the Route 31 corridor or as we like to call it, The Gateway to the Laurel Highlands. Join us on Wednesday, April 13th from 6-8 pm at the Donegal Area Community Center for an open discussion on our future. Let’s begin a conversation about what we can do to make this 3.5 mile stretch of highway people will want to return too. If you have a topic that you would like to have on the agenda please give Kris a call at 724-593-8900 of via email mlcc@lhtot.com

Be a part of the change you want to see.


Abe Wagner

MLCC Board of Directors
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
The Preferred Realty
Donegal Office

A Message from the President:

My grandmother used to say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I guess we will see if that holds true in 2016. Everyone has a theory about our weather and why it has not been running in its stereotypical forms. I don’t know the science of the weather phenomenons but I am certain that weather has a direct impact on business in our community. The amount of snow and its timing makes a huge difference to our ski industry. Sunny skies and comfortably warm weather bring tourists to our mountains in the spring, summer and fall. Because we are often the weekend destination for visitors from the nearby cities, the weekend forecast dictates our tourist traffic. When tourism is strong, businesses hire more employees and spend more money with local businesses for maintenance and improvements. Each local business must be prepared for the boom of good weather and the shortfall that comes with rainy days. There’s nothing we can do but prepare and hope.
When the ski season is completed, let’s all THINK SPRING!!!

Carpe Diem
Tom Guiher
MLCC President
Owner Living Treasures Wild Animal Park


A Message from the President:

I often find myself criticizing government for not being “User Friendly” to the citizenry.  We, as citizens, are both the customers and the bosses of our federal, state and local government officials.  Sometimes that is forgotten by those employed by our government officials to provide our services and enforce our regulations.  I feel we have a right to complain about this.  We also have a responsibility to recognize and appreciate our officials when they do their job well.  We want communication that respects our rights and our dignity as citizens. With this in mind, we are currently at the beginning of a project to reconstruct portions of Route 31.  This will cause us some inconvenience in the short term in return for an improved infrastructure.  I, as President of the MLCC would like to thank PENNDOT for working with us to communicate to the residents and businesses that will be affected by this project.  PENNDOT has held various public meetings to provide information and show us their plans.  They have been open to public input and have modified their plans to some degree based on this input.  I’m certain that we all will not be 100% happy with their final plans, but there has been good communication in both directions.   That is the way government is supposed to work.

Project Update – Provided by PENNDOT:

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 12-0’s reconstruction of SR 0031, Section X10, and Donegal Interchange to the SR 0031/SR 0381 Intersection is located in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County and includes safety and capacity improvements along the SR 0031 corridor.  The SR 0031 Section X10 project includes; realignment of SR 0031 to the south at the intersection of the PA turnpike interchange to provide auxiliary turn lanes for PA turnpike bound traffic as well as more capacity for the exiting PA turnpike traffic merging onto SR 0031, two new traffic signals; one at the intersection of SR 0031 and the PA turnpike interchange and the other at the intersection of SR 0031 and SR 0711, and improving the existing horizontal geometry adjacent to the SR 0031 and SR 0381/0711 intersection to increase sight distance as well as a right-turn lane for SR 0031 eastbound traffic turning onto SR 0381/0711. Additionally, the project scope includes relocating King’s Way to form a “plus” intersection with SR 0031 and SR 0711, and the relocation of School House Lane to form a “plus” intersection with SR 0031 and Mountain View Road.

Since our public meeting held on March 24, 2015, we have progressed substantially on the project.  The project is currently in the final design and right-of-way acquisition phase.  We are presently completing field work as you have probably noticed when passing along SR 31.  Contractors have been completing core borings and additional archaeology work at various locations throughout the corridor.  Environmental permit approvals are expected later this year.  We are now working to acquire any necessary right of way and expect to let the project early in 2017.  You may see some utility relocations take place in 2016 prior to the letting, but the actual project construction is slated to begin in 2017 and extend through the 2018 construction season.

Carpe Diem

 Tom Guiher, MLCC President & Owner Living Treasurers Wild Animal Park

By Bob Stiles, triblive.com
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Joe Sarnelli, like other business owners along Route 31 in Donegal, said he hopes changes being proposed by PennDOT for a 2-mile stretch of that highway accomplish two things.

“If it’s going to make traffic flow better and reduce congestion, I’m for it,” said Sarnelli, owner of the eponymous market in Jones Mills. “I think it’s going to keep the traffic moving.”

Read more at triblive.com


By Karl Polacek, triblive.com
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Donegal Borough and Donegal and Mt. Pleasant townships are access points to many destinations in the Laurel Highlands, according to Kris Enberg, executive director of the Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce.

The Donegal exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the access point to many premier recreational and cultural destinations in the region, including Hidden Valley and Seven Spring ski resorts, 8 State Parks, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Duncan House & Kentuck Knob, Idlewild & Soak Zone Amusement Park and historical amenities in Ligonier.

Read more on triblive.com


Notice is hereby given that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, District Mining Operations, has received an application from LCT Energy, LP for a new underground mine permit to be known as Rustic Ridge #1, Permit Application No. 65131301. The proposed mine is located in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County and Saltlick Township, Fayette County.

The Department will hold an Informal Public Conference in an open house format at the Donegal Community Center, 113 Community Center Lane, Donegal, PA 15628 on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.

A Department representative will be available to receive both written and oral testimony regarding the application. Testimony will be placed into public record for the application and considered by Department staff in the application review process. DEP staff will be available to answer general questions on the permit application.

If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend this open house and require an auxiliary aid, service or other accommodation to participate in the proceedings, please contact Kimberly Patterson at (724) 769-1081 to discuss how we may accommodate your needs. If necessary, you may use the AT&T Relay Service by calling 1-800-654-5984 (TDD Users) or 1-800-654-5988 (Voice users) and request that your call be relayed to Kimberly Patterson at 724-769-1081.

Copies of the application are on file for public review at the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds Office, 2 North Main Street, Suite 503, Greensburg, PA 15601 and the Fayette County Recorder of Deeds Office, Fayette County Courthouse, 61 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401.