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A little maintenance goes a long way for lawn & garden equipment

By JENNIFER

COMPSTON-STROUGH

Managing Editor

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Charlie Galownia says a little basic maintenance will keep lawn and garden equipment running well and serving homeowners for many years.

He should know — after all, he’s spent more than two decades teaching small engine technology at Belmont Career Center. Galownia has 28 students in the program this term, and they work on everything from lawn mowers and weed trimmers to boats, jet skis, golf carts, motorcycles and all sorts of all-terrain vehicles.

The school or people affiliated with it own most of those machines, but sometimes students work on items brought in by members of the public. Galownia said that work is done free of charge, as long as the owner buys the necessary parts. Sometimes people who receive this service make a donation to the school.

But folks who follow Galownia’s advice and maintain their equipment probably won’t need to have it repaired at the career center or anyplace else. He recommends the following for good home maintenance of equipment:

∫ Run all the gasoline out of lawn mowers and other equipment before putting the machines away for the winter;

∫ Clean old grass, dirt and debris from mower decks and other surfaces frequently, and especially before putting items in storage;

∫ Avoid spraying equipment off with a garden hose – instead use a Shop Vac or an air compressor to remove debris; and

∫ Avoid leaving equipment out in the elements, where wind and rain can cause damage.

“Keep your equipment in good shape and it will take good care of you,” he said.

Galownia said his classes always contain a mix of boys and girls, though small engine technology is considered a “non-traditional” course for girls. For many years, he said, the program targeted students with developmental disabilities, but today any student of the career center can take up the course of study.

Students who graduate from the small engine program find employment in many fields, Galownia said. Among the fields where his former students work are tire shops, golf courses, the oil and gas industry, motorcycle and ATV dealerships, farms coal mines and trucking.

For more information about the program or the career center, call 740-695-9130.

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