Local Medicare Counseling Sessions Planned

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

medicare1Potter County Human Services (PCHS) has been helping Medicare recipients sort through their options and sign up for benefits. “There is a vast amount of information associated with Medicare,” said PCHS’s Barbara Busch. “Much of it is complicated and it changes every year. Information is available to help you make informed decisions about your Medicare choices, protect your rights and possibly lower your out of pocket expenses.” PCHS has trained counselors to share advice about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid, and Long-Term Care Insurance. Two more open enrollment events are available: Monday, Nov. 20, 10:30 am to 7 pm, at the Coudersport Public Library; and Monday, Dec. 4, 9 am to 4 pm at Potter County Human Services in Roulette. To schedule an appointment or learn more, call 1-800-800-2560 or 814-544-7315.

Collaborative Continues To Fill Local Jobs

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

Bob Wicker

now-hiringBridging the gap between local schools and employers in the region who are seeking certain skills is one of the top priorities for the Northern Tier Educational Collaborative, which will continue into the new year. Area school administrators and other collaborative members who are involved in local education and job training meet regularly at the Potter County Education Center to implement the program. Bob Wicker, former Oswayo Valley School District superintendent, has been spearheading the program. Among partners are the Potter County Education Council; the Seneca Highlands Career and Technical Center (formerly vo-tech school); 10 public school district affiliates; and local employers seeking to benefit from an influx of trained job applicants.

An adult education element is also part of the plan, as is an outreach to workforce development agencies in the region. Projects that have been implemented so far include an industry advisory council, career fairs in local schools, and “educator in the workplace” programs. A related program uses career mentors to work directly with students at area schools.

Wicker welcomes input from the public, particularly local employers and educators, guidance counselors or administrators. He can be reached at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street in Coudersport, telephone 274-4877.

An economic/employment profile of Potter and six other counties in the region reinforced the need for improvements. North Central Workforce Investment Board conducted the study, which showed that employers prefer to hire locally, but have been frustrated by the lack of qualified job applicants. It calls for improvements in the use of government resources to address the opportunities for job growth locally in the oil and gas industries, finance, administrative support, waste management, real estate, tourism, health care and social assistance sectors.

Opiod Epidemic Hitting Home In Potter County

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

Some eye-opening statistics on the local drug epidemic were shared during a presentation to Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover. Colleen Wilber, director of drug and alcohol services for the county, confirmed that abuse of opiods – including heroin – has eclipsed alcohol in referrals to her agency. She hastened to add that alcohol abuse remains a serious problem. There has been a significant increase in heroin overdoses in Potter County, some of them fatal, Wilber said.

She pointed out that a larger proportion of clients than ever, some 89 percent, are being referred by the criminal justice system for addiction assessment and treatment. Others are through self-reporting or are being referred by Children and Youth Services. While opioid use and abuse is pervasive, she added, her office has noticed an increase in the diagnosis of methamphetamine as a primary drug of choice, as well as a consistent rate of chronic marijuana use. Wilber detailed a series of steps her agency and the legal system have been taking to address addiction issues, ranging from treatment courts and evidenced-based school programs, to prescription take-back boxes and making more effective use of data collection and analysis.

Driving Tours Spotlight Potter County History

October 25th, 2017 Comments off

April22NewHistoryTourGuidePotter County Historical Society has released a new guide that offers six options for those who wish to explore the county’s roots. It’s designed as a tool to deepen local residents’ appreciation of their heritage and assist tourists who are looking for interesting adventures, according to society president David Castano. Copies of the 80-page booklet are available at the PCHS museum on North Main Street in Coudersport.

Six routes are laid out in the guide based on regions of Potter County. The booklet contains summaries of local industries, individuals and communities. Road maps with directions have been added to each section. Dozens of archival photos provide an important visual element to the engaging text. On the Northwestern Tour, drivers can see the site of a pallisaded Native American village dating back to the late Fifteenth Century. The Southeastern Tour recalls the rise and fall of the village of Cross Fork, which was teeming with a population of 2,500 or more residents plus twice that many itinerants during the lumber book of the early Twentieth Century. PCHS dedicated the booklet to the late Bob and Maxine Currin, each of whom was active with the society. They were known to take regular driving tours to explore Potter County history.

Latest Potter County Veterans News Now Available

October 25th, 2017 Comments off

Latest edition of the quarterly newsletter, Potter County Veterans News, is now available. Among the more timely stories in the Oct.-Dec. 2017 edition is the announcement of Potter County’s acceptance as a partner in the national Commemoration of the Vietnam War Initiative, a project of Congress and the Defense Department. Plans are being made to hold a local high-profile Vietnam Veterans Recognition Dinner and Memorial Service in 2018. Other stories focus on the recent ceremony to honor Korean War casualty William Sadewasser at the Ulysses Cemetery; a poignant account of a Galeton family’s reckoning with the loss of Navy sailor Anthony Bernard Caracciolo in the sinking of the USS Juneau; an American Legion/Boy Scouts flag retirement ceremony in Shinglehouse; updates on the Potter County Veterans Gravestone Restoration Project; special statewide honors for Coudersport American Legion Post 192; and reports on new scams that are targeting veterans and on proposals to expand the reach of VA health care through telemedicine. The Oct.-Dec. 2017 edition and all past issues of Potter County Veterans News are available on the county website, pottercountypa.net, or by contacting Dawn Wooster, executive secretary for the Potter County Commissioners, at 814-274- 8290, extension 207.

Results Of Local Groundwater Study Being Compiled

October 25th, 2017 Comments off

Dan Galeone (left) circulated some preliminary findings as the USGS compiles results. At right is Potter County Conservation District manager Jason Childs,

Preliminary results from a historic analysis of the groundwater in Potter County were shared with members of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group last week. Dan Galeone, hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said a full report won’t be released until next spring. USGS partnered with the Potter County Board of Commissioners to conduct the comprehensive study to provide data on the quality and constituents of the county’s groundwater. The information will be invaluable for public policy-makers, industries, regulatory agencies and others seeking to protect water when sites are chosen for certain types of development.

A state grant is covering the bulk of expenses for the study. Some 47 water wells in strategic locations were sampled. Data is being assembled and analyzed in a cumulative fashion, with the identity of individual well owners protected. Confidential findings from the analysis will be provided to each owner. Groundwater can contain a variety of suspended and dissolved substances such as bacteria, minerals and gases. These substances are often naturally occurring, but water quality can also be influenced by human activities.

Galeone said total coliform bacteria was found in 24 samples and e. coli bacteria in 10. These results are not unusual, he added, but they should be understood by well owners. They will be advised of water treatment options. Two of the wells were found to contain arsenic, which may or may not be naturally occurring. Testing was also conducted for dozens of metals, dissolved gases and nutrients. Once USGS has finished compiling and analyzing results, a complete report will be released. Local officials could opt for a public meeting to share the findings.

In other business at this week’s meeting:

  • Charlie Tuttle, chair of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, reported on the installation of 24/7 monitors on the supplies of nearly every public drinking water source in Potter County.
  • Water Quality Work Group Chairman Jason Childs discussed the successful installation of a “bottomless culvert” that will open 11 miles of Ludington Run in Genesee Township for fish migration. Childs credited Potter County Conservation District staffers Jared Dickerson, Alex Veto and Glenn Dunn II for their work, in partnership with Trout Unlimited and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
  • Invasive plants continue to spread across many river corridors in Potter County. Upper Allegheny Watershed Association has been cutting and spraying Japanese knotweed infestations that are choking out native plants in the Sweden Valley area. Eradication work is also planned in the Genesee area. Kim Bohn, coordinator for the Sinnemahoning Invasive Plant Management Area, is working to adopt two other management areas in the Genesee and Allegheny watersheds to combat invasive plants.
  • Potter County Conservation District is supporting the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s ongoing clean-up of illegal dumping sites. Next work sessions are planned for Oct. 28 in the Loucks Mills and Rowley Road areas of Bingham Township, and for Oct. 31 off Burleson Avenue in Roulette.
  • Jared Dickerson reported on an ambitious plan to improve native trout habitat on a five-mile section of Slider’s Branch, a tributary of Kettle Creek, by installing large wood debris structures. Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources is also involved on the project.

More information on the Water Quality Work Group is available from Jason Childs at 814-320-4012.