I saw a post on Facebook the other day that will certainly apply to most everyone as school begins on Monday. It comes from a site called Stop for the Bus.

It says, “As we near the start of a new school year, remember to STOP when you see a stopped school bus with flashing lights and stop-arm extended.”

It also mentioned a few other helpful reminders.

“Whether behind or in front of a school bus, you must STOP when red lights are flashing. Be especially mindful of the area within 10 feet of the bus, and remain stopped until the bus begins to move again.”

As for students, it recommends staying three giant steps away from the curb while waiting for the bus. It also reminds kids to always cross in front of the bus, and remain seated while the bus is moving.

As simple and easy as this may sound, you’d be surprised how many people will not follow these tips. If you don’t believe me, ask most bus drivers.

Anyway, this week’s shoutout goes to all of our fantastic bus drivers who will be hauling our children to and from school this year. You guys and gals are the greatest, and thank you for all that you do!

I want to wish everyone a very safe and happy school year!

* * *

A lot of people have been asking if Derry’s annual Railroad Days festival will be held this year. So far, the answer is yes!

As of now, the festival, which is entering its 31st year, is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

However, there will be a few changes to this year’s prestigious event, as the Hobo Picnic and the bonfire have been canceled.

The Hobo Picnic has taken place the Thursday before the festival while the bonfire was held the following night.

A parade will kickoff the festivities at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. The parade route is scheduled to begin at A.V. Germano Hall in Derry Borough and proceed across Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Food, craft and sales vendors will be on hand during the two-day event and will be located on South Chestnut Street and East Second Avenue.

Entertainment will also play a major role during the festivities on the main stage, located in the First Commonwealth Bank parking lot beside Mossback Park. The parking area will contain chairs and picnic tables that will be spread apart to maintain social distancing.

A couple of the top headliners to perform include, The Steel City Yacht Club and The Andy Davis Band.

The Steel City Yacht Club is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and the Andy Davis Band is set to take the stage 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

Pandemic safety precautions and guidelines will be in place during the festival, and hand sanitizer will be available at vendor booths. In addition, signs will placed throughout area reminding the public of safety guidelines and precautions.

The public will not be permitted to access the municipal building’s restrooms during the festival. However, portable toilets will be provided.

The caboose gift shop will be open to the public under social distancing guidelines. Masks will also be encouraged to wear.

Stay tuned for more information about Railroad Days in future columns. Additionally, more information about the festival and forms for vendors and sponsors can be obtained on the Derry Railroad Days Facebook page.

* * *

Derry Township Tax Collectors Debby Zello writes in with some new and important information.

“Beginning Monday, Aug. 31, the Derry Township Tax Office will be open WITH STRICT GUIDELINES. We are continuing to encourage everyone to mail your real estate and per capita payments to: Derry Township Tax Office, 978 N. Chestnut St. Ext., Derry, Pa., 15627.

If you must enter the tax office, you need to follow these guidelines: A mask is required when entering the administration building and tax office, One person allowed in the real estate tax office at a time, One person permitted to wait inside in a chair outside of the real estate tax office, all others must wait outside, maintaining 6-foot social distancing until openings become available inside.

If a paid receipt is requested you need to include the entire statement along with a self addressed envelope. THERE ARE NO CHANGES IN THE DUE DATES FOR THE RECENTLY MAILED FALL/SCHOOL REAL ESTATE TAX BILLS. The 2020 spring county/township real estate tax bills 2% discount period has been extended until Aug. 31, 2020. The face period for the 2020 county/township real estate tax is Sept. 1 until Dec. 31. The penalty period was eliminated for 2020 for the county township taxes. Office will be closed Friday, Sept. 4, and Monday, Sept. 7. Have a GREAT Labor Day!”

* * *

Derry Township Supervisor David Slifka, who serves as vice chairman, secretary and treasurer, has announced that the regular meeting of the Derry Township Board of Supervisors scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 1 has been changed to 3:30 p.m. and will be closed to the public. The agenda for the meeting will be posted on the township website and Facebook page. Those wishing to make public comment on the agenda can do so by sending to derrytownship@comcast.net or calling 724-694-8835 by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1.

* * *

The Chestnut Ridge Post 444 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Derry is still accepting donations for the flag pole project, which is planning to place a 30-foot flag pole at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Derry.

The post is hoping to dedicate it on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, in honor of area veterans, present, future and past.

Donations can be sent or dropped off at Derry Credit Union, 160 East First Ave., Derry.

The Derry VFW is still an active post, supporting veterans in the Derry Area. The post has a trained service officer, who can and will help any veteran with any issues they may have.

As with all other organizations, the post is looking for new members.

If interested, the post meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the Derry American Legion.

Any questions, call post quartermaster Chris Johnston at 724-694-2538. For information, go to www.VFW.org. The post would like to thank everyone who has donated.

* * *

Derry Area School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (CCLC) Director Debbie Gray writes in to share information about the after-school program best known as “aft3r@dasd”.

The program is set to begin virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Features of the program include: Academic Enrichment, Coding, Graphic Design, Homework Help, Service Learning, Social Emotional Learning, STEM/STEAM Activities, Targeted Tutoring, Technology Support and more.

To register, you may go online to cclc.dasd.us. Once you have registered, a follow up email will be sent to you to confirm.

For more information, email Debbie at dgray@dasd.us.

Sign up today!

* * *

Derry Borough Council meetings will hold its work sessions and regular monthly meetings for the remainder of 2020 at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at A.V. Germano Hall, located at 100 W. Second St., Derry.

Work sessions are scheduled for Sept. 1, Oct. 6, Nov. 20 and Dec. 1. The regular monthly meetings are set for Sept. 8, Oct. 13, Nov. 17 and Dec. 8.

* * *

Idlewild & SoakZone will end its 2020 season early this year because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Idlewild and its sister parks — Kennywood in West Mifflin and Sandcastle Water Park in Homestead — will now close Monday, Sept. 7.

According to the park’s website, Idlewild will now focus on the future, as it plans for an “unforgettable” season in 2021. According to the website, the park is planning a variety of surprises and promises that better days are ahead.

* * *

Have a great weekend!

* * *

Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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