Kasterko named police chief of Meyersdale

November 14, 2018

There’s a new chief in town in Meyersdale.

During a borough council meeting Tuesday night, the board unanimously voted to hire Officer Mark Kasterko as the department’s new head.

Kasterko, who has been acting as chief since shortly after Dan Colflesh stepped down in September, was hired part time at a rate of $22 per hour. Colflesh cited medical coverage at the time for his departure.

Mayor Mike Brant said that Kasterko should work about 32 hours a week as chief. Brant said he brings a “plethora of experience” working in law enforcement.

“I think Officer Kasterko is going to do a wonderful job for the citizens and the borough of Meyersdale,” he said. “He’s going to lead our police department into the path that we want it led down.”

Kasterko, who has been with the department for about five years, said he’s been an officer for 20 years.

“I just look forward to working with everybody and to turn things around down here,” he said. “I’m just happy to help the community.”

He said he hopes to add two to four officers to the department’s ranks. He said he would like to have those officers on the force by January.

Brant said the department employs five part-time officers, including Kasterko.

In addition to policing Meyersdale, the department has an officer at the Meyersdale Area School District eight hours a day, five days a week. The department also polices Salisbury Borough 12 hours a week.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, residents James DiFebo and Becky Kirchner gave an update on a new memorial for the wars in Korea and Vietnam that is to be constructed outside the Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor Community Center along Main Street.

DiFebo said a committee that was formed for the memorial project has gained nonprofit status, which enables it to seek donations.

“We had a lot of support,” he told the council.

He said that the group has a contractor and that construction should start in the spring. A building permit still has to be obtained, he said.

The memorial is to feature a concrete oval platform with three inscribed granite slabs on it: one for each war and one in general. A wall of bricks with the names of area veterans on them is to be built behind the slabs. The bricks are being sold by the committee.

Kirchner said that thus far 30 bricks out of about 100 have been sold and that the committee has raised about $5,000 of the estimated $40,000 price tag.

For the funding, Kirchner said the group has found a possible benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous.

During the presentation, the council unanimously voted to provide electricity to the monument, to insure the structure if possible and to pay fees for borough engineer Kevin Yoder, of Appalachian Engineering Group in Meyersdale, for any necessary work.

“We want to support it theoretically any way we can,” council President Jeff Irwin said. “It’s going to be an asset to the community and certainly something that needs to be done to honor our veterans.”

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