Two dates have been set so far for local programs by the traveling Civilian Conservation Corps historian and entertainer, Bill Jamerson. He’ll perform at the Emporium Firehall at 4 pm Saturday, May 9, followed by a show at the Coudersport Public Library at 6 pm on Monday, May 11. Additional details will be announced. Jamerson’s hourlong entertaining and educational program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region. It features lighthearted and musical stories that capture the experiences of a young man serving in the CCC, covering camp life, work in the outdoors, social structures and customs. Organization leaders who are interested in hosting one of the shows should contact the Lumber Heritage Region office in Emporium at 486-0213.
Jamerson began researching the CCC almost a quarter-century ago and has produced documentaries, a CD and a historical novel. His character is a 17-year-old boy who leaves the city to work in the remote forest, spending long days planting trees and building roads. More than 2.5 million men enlisted in the CCC, planting more than 3 billion trees across America, 50 million of them in Pennsylvania.
Susquehannock State Forest had 10 camps, eight of which were in Potter County. As work progressed and projects were completed, some camps were closed or relocated. Often, Corps members would move from camp to camp. Remnants are easy to find. The pavilion at Cherry Springs State Park was built by the CCC. In fact, much of the park was created by S-136 (Cherry Springs) and S-88 (Lyman Run), two of the camps in Potter County.
Potter County Conservation District has engaged the services of Palmira Miller from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) as liaison between Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company and organizations involved with a multi-agency effort to clean-up a number of illegal dump sites in the region. Miller has worked with similar programs for several years. Last year, a lengthy investigation by the Conservation District and other agencies resulted in Tennessee agreeing to pay an $800,000 settlement for environmental violations during construction of a pipeline in the region. Some of the money was reserved for remediating illegal dumpsites and reimbursing conservation districts for their investigation expenses. Potter County Conservation District will work with partners such as the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Resources, PEC, local townships or boroughs, and Potter County Solid Waste Authority to choose cleanup sites. Glenn Dunn II was appointed as coordinator of the dumpsite clean-up program.
Latest edition of Shale Gas Roundup is now available. It’s the quarterly newsletter of the Potter County Natural Resource Center and features timely, locally relevant news about shale gas development and related topics, Among highlights of this edition:
- Potter County’s shale gas bounty may lie more in Utica Shale than Marcellus.
- More drilling inevitable on state forest, game and park lands.
- Counties speak out on drilling regulations, future of impact fee.
- Where does Potter County stand in terms of shale gas development?
- Mythbuster: Gas flow increasing in Appalachian Basin.
- DEP’s tougher drilling regulations heading for new public comment period.
To access the April-June 2015 edition as well as all past editions, visit the website pottercountypa.net (newsletter icon is found on the cover page). Copies are also available at the Commissioners Office in the Gunzburger Building (first office on right inside Main Street entrance), or by contacting Dawn Swatsworth at 814-274-8290, extension 207.
Plans are in place for a dedication ceremony at 11 am on Thursday, April 16, marking the designation of the bridge on Rt. 872 in east Coudersport as the Specialist Donald Stiles Memorial Bridge. It’s located near the Coudersport Borough/Eulalia Township border near the Mapleview property and American Legion Post 192. With this occasion, the Potter County Department of Veterans of Affairs will have fulfilled a multi-year mission: to have all nine of Potter County’s Vietnam War casualties memorialized with a bridge named in their honor.
Pennsylvania General Assembly approved the Rt. 872 bridge legislation last year. A native of the Rubbertown section of north Coudersport, U.S. Army Specialist Donald L. Stiles was the community’s first fatality in Vietnam. Spc. Stiles was raised by his grandparents, Edward and Belle Austin Stiles, after his mother Vivian Stiles died when “Donny” was less than two years old. He enlisted in the Army at age 17. He was deployed on Feb. 28, 1967, as an atomic demolition munitions specialist, serving with A Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division. Spc. Stiles was killed in action in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam, on April 2, 1968, after taking another soldier’s place on a mission and being hit by bomb fragments from a land mine.
Organizers are preparing a special keepsake program to be distributed during the April 16 dedication ceremony. Anyone with memories of Specialist Stiles, photographs or other materials that might be helpful is asked to contact Commissioner Paul Heimel by phone at 814-274-8290, Ext. 203; or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Potter County Honor Guard will accord full military honors during the ceremony. Rep. Martin Causer and Sen. Joe Scarnati will be among the guest speakers. Further program details will be announced. Organizers are hoping for a large turnout to participate in this long-overdue memorial to a fallen soldier.
Central Grange in Sweden Valley is hosting “Meet the Candidates” on Saturday, April 18, to allow voters to meet and hear those men and women who are seeking countywide offices in this year’s election cycle. After a social time with refreshments at 6:30 pm, each Republican or Democratic candidate will be introduced and invited to speak briefly and answer questions starting at 7. Invitations have been extended to the five candidates for county commissioner, four for sheriff, three for treasurer, five for the three county auditor positions, and one each for register and recorder and prothonotary.
Potter County Habitat for Humanity moved a groundbreaking ceremony for its next home construction project inside the Shinglehouse Firehall Thursday due to rainy weather, but that did nothing to dampen spirits. Soon, construction will get underway at an empty lot at the corner of Academy and Lincoln streets in Shinglehouse. A dilapidated home was razed and the site is being prepared for construction of the local chapter’s ninth home. Dustin and Trista Fetzer and family are partnering with Habitat for Humanity as owners of the new home. Volunteers willing to help with construction and other responsibilities are encouraged to contact Board President Dick Myers at 910-279-7412. Eventually, the organization will be building a home in Austin, and it’s also looking at sites in Genesee and Ulysses for future projects. Shown at the ceremonial groundbreaking are: Dustin and Trista Fetzer; Howard Rhodes, coordinator of the Clarion Mission Team that will be volunteering at the construction site in June; and Habitat’s Dick Myers. Among speakers expressing appreciation to Habitat volunteers were Shinglehouse Mayor Bonnie Hunt, Potter County Commissioners Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel, Mitch DeLong from Gas Field Specialists, and Mike Filer from Tri-County REC.