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Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

Mar 07

Cranberry’s growing school spirit

Posted on March 7, 2016 at 3:15 PM by Jerry Andree

Like every other homeowner in Cranberry, I spend a lot more on school taxes than on my Township or County taxes.  So, like everyone else in Cranberry, I’ve wanted to make sure I’m getting value for it. 

Fifteen years ago, my own three kids were enrolled in Seneca Valley.  It was a positive experience for them.  The system worked – serving my children well, preparing them for college and grooming them for lives as responsible adults.  At the same time, as engaged parents, my wife and I went to school open houses, came to parent-teacher meetings, attended school events, and became acquainted with a number of the district’s staff, faculty, and administration members.  That reinforced our feeling that we were getting real value from Seneca Valley. 

My kids are grown now, but so has my appreciation for the school district.  Over the years my kids were students, Seneca Valley worked steadily to raise the bar of achievement.  That effort has continued, and it’s been noticed by third-parties – by people who don’t have kids in the district.  Pittsburgh Business Times has ranked Seneca Valley in the top fifth of its regional rankings for several years now, part of a long upward progression that the district has experienced.  In effect, it has gone from being a good school district to being a very good district.

I’d like to believe that Cranberry Township has played a part in that progress.  Every year, dozens of high school students come asking for some form of Township support for their senior projects, and we do our best to accommodate them.  Girls from the district’s STEM-FEMS program have come into our parks and neighborhoods to stencil caution signs on our catch basins.  And just last week, a class from Haine Middle School came to our Board of Supervisors meeting with a PowerPoint presentation about protecting our region’s watershed.

On a more personal note, my wife and I continue to attend academic, sporting, art, and musical events put on by our school district.  At each event, we are impressed with the passion and talent of the students and staff we see there.  Just this past weekend, we attended the high school’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and we were blown away, as were many of the other parents, grandparents and friends of the cast who came there.

If you have kids in the district’s schools, you already know what I’m talking about.  But if you don’t, I would encourage you to attend some of the many events mounted by Seneca Valley, whether they’re theatrical, athletic, scientific or social, and see what I mean.  After all, you’re already paying for them.  The full calendar of events is available on the district’s website, www.svsd.net

Seneca Valley provides important support to our community and we are delighted to cheer them on.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and your experiences with our schools.  You can reach me at jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org
Feb 16

Welcome Genco

Posted on February 16, 2016 at 2:13 PM by Jerry Andree

Two years ago, Verizon Wireless moved out of a building in Cranberry Woods which had been used to house one of its call centers over the previous ten years.  At the time they left, I remember there was considerable hand wringing and anguish, driven by a belief that the loss of such a major corporate resident would do irreparable damage to Cranberry’s economy.  

Yet somehow, the sky didn’t fall.  Verizon, like every other company, has evolving needs. And over the course of its time in Cranberry, those needs changed.  However that doesn’t worry me.  In fact, if the business environment here were static and never-changed, that would be a source of much greater concern.  

During my 25 years in Cranberry, I have seen lots of companies arrive, expand, merge, divest, upsize, downsize, move laterally, and do just about everything else you would expect in a dynamic economy.  That’s normal.  And it’s not just the business-to-business giants and technology companies here.  The same thing applies to our retail community; stores come and stores go.  Markets change.  And new companies step in to capitalize on the opportunity. 

For decades, our Board has worked to make Cranberry the sort of community that businesses of all sorts – but particularly technology firms and knowledge-based companies – would find attractive.  That includes creating appealing work sites, convenient highway access, an educated workforce, rapid access to Pittsburgh International, and a strong consumer market as well as a premier residential community. 

We thought it was only a matter of time until another capable company would move into the space that Verizon vacated.  Now we’ve learned that one has, in fact, leased that building. The company is Genco, a division of FedEx, which describes its business as a third-party logistics provider.  That involves handling merchandise returns for hundreds of vendors and hundreds of thousands of customers throughout North America.  

We are delighted to welcome Genco to Cranberry Township.  Its decision to come here further confirms the vision of our Board and the hard work of our staff in making Cranberry one of the nation’s premier business communities.  It is also a tribute to MSA Safety which concurred in that vision and worked to create this outstanding, world-class business park.

I would love to hear your thoughts about our growing business community.  You can reach me at Jerry.Andree@cranberrytownship.org

Jan 25

Getting the lead out

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 4:16 PM by Jerry Andree

Each spring Cranberry, like every other supplier of drinking water, issues a report to its customers on the results of lab tests that look for all sorts of potential contaminants, including lead.  And for decades our tests haven’t detected any lead at all.  Our recent report is here.

But the current crisis in Flint, Michigan, where lead in the drinking water has reached dangerous levels, has alarmed people all over the country.  In just the past few days, I’ve received a dozen calls from our own residents asking if that could happen here.  And the answer is no.  Why?

Generally, lead in tap water doesn’t actually come from the water source, it results from corrosion of old pipes used to distribute the water and from household plumbing fixtures that contain lead, including lead solder.  Corrosives in the water result from inadequate treatment at the water plant.  

Lead used to be a common alloy in pipes and solder back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when many municipal water systems were first constructed.  But when health problems linked to lead became known, its use was discontinued, and there hasn’t been any lead in new plumbing for decades.  In fact, for the past 30 years, it’s been illegal to have lead in any component of drinking water systems.  But communities whose buildings and water systems were built before the transition have the potential for problems like the one in Flint.

Cranberry didn’t introduce municipal water service until about 60 years ago.  By that time, pipe composition had already begun to change.  Today, the water lines in Cranberry are made of either cast iron, copper or plastic, none of which contain lead.  Beyond that, the West View Water Authority, from whom we buy all of our drinking water, continually tests for conditions that could cause corrosion, including pH levels.

Beyond that, we have been testing for lead and other potential contaminants in some of our older homes in Cranberry for decades, and we’ve never found a detectable level.  So rest assured that lead is not now, and is unlikely to ever become, a problem in Cranberry’s drinking water. 

That said, however, we will remain vigilant for lead as well as for other impurities and we will do everything we can to ensure our residents of a high quality water supply for generations to come.

I would love to hear your thoughts about our water system.  You can write to me at:Jerry Andree.