Potter County Groundwater Study Results Released

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

Results from a historic analysis of the groundwater in Potter County were shared with the public last week. With just one exception, the water quality was found to be pristine. Dan Galeone (standing), hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), detailed the findings to nearly two dozen people attending the public meeting at the Gunzburger Building. A detailed report will soon available on the county website, pottercountypa.net (click on Planning Department).

USGS partnered with the Potter County Board of Commissioners to collect 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 covered the bulk of expenses. Some 47 water wells in strategic locations were sampled. One of the wells, located in Stewardson Township, showed a high content of a radioactive element, which Galeone said was attributable to geological factors, rather than pollution.

Data was assembled and analyzed cumulatively, with the identity of individual well owners protected. Confidential findings from the analysis were provided to each owner. Similar studies have been completed in Clinton, Bradford and Lycoming counties. Plans are being made to extend the regional groundwater assessment to Tioga, McKean and Elk counties.

Also at last week’s meeting, Heather McKean, Penn State Extension water resources educator, discussed steps that well owners can take to protect water quality, More information on the USGS study is available from Dan Galeone (USGS) at 717-730-6952, or Potter County Planning Director Will Hunt at 814-274-8290, extension 229.

Potter County Earns ‘Best In State’ Award For Criminal Justice

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) has been chosen for a Best in State award for its forward-looking strategies being implemented through a partnership consisting of the court system, law enforcement, county administration and the county’s human services agency. In taking top honors in the annual Criminal Justice Best Practices Awards Program, Potter County CJAB was chosen among a field of finalists that also included Bucks and Mercer counties. A panel of judges cited a long list of criminal justice reforms and partnerships that have been pursued in Potter County. The judges concluded, “Potter County CJAB has been diligent in its efforts to create efficiencies that improve the administration of criminal justice within the county. The level of motivation and collaboration among the CJAB members and stakeholders is evidence that Potter County is committed to providing services to the citizens of the county that are efficient, effective and enhance public safety.” The full nomination of the Potter County CJAB can be viewed here

Public Meeting April 26 On Potter County Human Services

April 2nd, 2018 Comments off

humansurrvissesHundreds of people are directly affected by programs offered by Potter County Human Services (PCHS), but few take the opportunity to provide input on how those services are delivered. An Advisory Board that’s in place to accommodate public comments and suggestions will hold its next meeting on Thursday, April 26, at 5:30 pm in the PCHS building at Roulette. PCHS operates programs for victims of alcoholism and other drug abuse, older citizens, the mentally ill, children who are at risk, and the intellectually disabled. Advisory board members are appointed by the Potter County Board of Commissioners. Anyone interested in being considered for appointment to the board should contact the Commissioners Office at 274-8290, extension 207.

During the board’s most recent meeting, attendees were members Sherry Harmon (chair), Linda Swift (vice chair), LeAnne Brodhun, Bob Wicker, Jackie Murray, Norman Weeks and Susan Valentine. Also attending were PCHS staffers Colleen Wilber, Sherry Hoffman and Nila Gerner. Members heard from Sherry Hoffman that she is working with Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson to launch an Elder Abuse Task Force in Potter County. She said the Potter County Area Agency on Aging verified 62 cases of elder abuse in 2017, with neglect, physical abuse and financial exploitation as the leading incidences.

In other business, Colleen Wilber, discussed strategies being developed to deal with the drug epidemic in Potter County, particularly the abuse of heroin and other opiods. Members were also informed that Potter County Human Services will discontinue providing staff support for the Women’s Residential Rehabilitation Center in Harrison Valley on June 30. Northern Tier Children’s Home is now in charge of operating the center. Potter County pays a per-diem fee of $70 for each county resident court-ordered to the center. The facility also services Cameron County women.


New Law Clerk Now Serving In Potter County

March 29th, 2018 Comments off

Attorney Robert Kevin Lavelle has been hired as the new law clerk for Potter County President Judge Stephen Minor (left), succeeding Matthew Metzger, who moved from the area. A Scranton native, Lavelle earned a political science degree from Bloomsburg University and a law degree from Widener University Commonwealth Law School. As law clerk, he assists Judge Minor in research and in the preparation of opinions and orders. Lavelle is also responsible for maintenance of the law library at the courthouse, which is available to the court staff and area lawyers. A separate responsibility of the law clerk in Potter County is the review and processing of no-fault divorce decrees. Hundreds of divorce cases are filed in Potter County by out-of-county law firms, due to the county’s lower fee structure. (Photo courtesy of Endeavor News)

Tough Times For Farmers In Current ‘Down’ Cycle

March 28th, 2018 Comments off

Potter County farmers are facing stiff challenges to remain in business and there are no easy solutions. But conditions do change over time. That was the assessment from Nicole Santangelo Carutis, agronomy educator with Penn State Extension, in a presentation to the Potter County Commissioners on Tuesday. PSU Extension and other agencies continue to work with the farming community to help its members endure the current conditions, with the expectation that profitability will eventually improve.

Dairy farmers have been especially hard-hit, Carutis said. Three more dairy operators in Potter County have gone out of business over the past three years and a fourth will soon pull out. The amount of milk yield per cow has risen to record levels, which has created an oversupply in many areas. Potter County farmers are handicapped by the expense of getting milk to the larger consumer markets. Some have responded to the marginal dairy economy by expanding into livestock and crops, for which start-up costs are not as high as dairying.

The situation is brighter when it comes to crops, Carutis pointed out. Production per-acre has risen as a result of many factors. She added that, despite current challenges, commodity prices and agricultural trends tend to be cyclical. Potter County has some inherent advantages for agriculture, including adequate precipitation. Historically, local farmers have shown their resourcefulness in times of trouble. In the long run, agriculture in its broadest sense — which includes forest production — will continue to be Potter County’s biggest industry.

Potter County 4-H Programs Still Going Strong

March 28th, 2018 Comments off

Programs being provided by Penn State Extension, supporting farming, youth development, environmental protection and other aspects of rural living, were paraded in front of Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover this week at the Potter County Education Center. Here, Toby Neal, 4-H educator, details programs operated year-round to educate young people, help them explore areas of interest and possible careers, and develop social skills and leadership. There are 13 active clubs in Potter County with a total membership of roughly 180, Neal said. Nearly three dozen adults are involved as leaders. The commissioners also heard from Nicole Carutis, agriculture; Heather McKean, water resources; and Kathy Mitchell, master gardening and environmental/conservation education. Additionally, they learned details of activities that have been launched to control invasive species in the region.