FRIDAY Update: Rising COVID Cases Cause Concern

May 20th, 2022 Comments off

COVID-19 coronavirus cases have been rising in Potter County. There have been 75 new cases confirmed among county residents this month (May 1 to May 20), according to the Pa. Dept. of Health. DOH says the trend is troubling because relatively few people are being tested at the same time the virus’s latest variant, BA.2, has gained ground. While public health officials advise that vaccination is the most effective defense against COVID, Potter County’s vaccination rate for those age 6 and older stands at 48 percent, with 1,207 people receiving only an initial dose and 6,151 receiving one of more booster shots. Just three more were vaccinated over the past week. Pennsylvania’s statewide vaccination rate is 85 percent; 68 percent have been fully vaccinated.

UPMC Cole offers the vaccine to eligible individuals at its outpatient offices. Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy in Coudersport administers the vaccine by appointment; call 814-274-8660. Rite Aid pharmacies continue to book appointments. To access the online reservation form, click here. A detailed summary on vaccines from the respected Johns Hopkins Medicine is available here.

Overall there have been 3,292 cases and 92 COVID-related deaths in Potter County. DOH advises those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection to be tested. Among these are fever, chills, muscle pain or body aches, headaches or confusion, difficulty staying awake or waking up, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Testing is available at local pharmacies and at UPMC Cole. At-home test kits can be ordered online at covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

Help Still Available For Rent/Utility Bills

May 20th, 2022 Comments off

Renters affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance. Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have designated the county’s Human Services agency to administer a federal grant to help those who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay for rent and utilities. Applications can be downloaded from a website here. Once an application is complete, a Potter County Human Services case manager will be in touch to offer assistance. To be eligible, a renter household must have one or more individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.

Full eligibility guidelines and additional information is available here. Those seeking more information can contact Jim Kockler or Kara Amidon at 814-544-7315.

Unofficial Potter County Results From Primary Election

May 17th, 2022 Comments off

Following are unofficial Potter County results from the May 17, 2022, Primary Election. Results will remain unofficial until certification by the Canvassing and Computing Board. Write-in vote totals are not included in the unofficial tally.

Republican Primary

United States Senator—Kathy Barnette 1,058, Mehmet Oz 809, George Bochetto 28, Jeff Bartos 214, Dave McCormick 875, Sean Gale 41, Carla Sands 260.

Governor – Lou Barletta 358, Douglas V. Mastriano 1,954, Nche Zama 141, Dave White 146, Melissa Hart 164, Bill McSwain 207, Charlie Gerow 49, Joe Gale 115, Jake Corman 245.

Lieutenant Governor – Clarice Schillinger 253, James Earl Jones 258, Rick Saccone 489, John Brown 145, Chris Frye 177, Jeff Coleman 308, Russ Diamond 100, Carrie Lewis Delrosso 403, Teddy Daniels 901.

Representative in Congress, Pa. 15th District – Glenn GT Thompson (unopposed) 3,050

Representative in General Assembly, 67th District – Robert W. Rossman 904, Martin T. Causer 2,410.

Member of Republican State Committee – Karen C. Cahilly (unopposed) 3,048.

Republican County Chair – Donald P. Kudrick (unopposed) 3,001.

 

Democratic Primary

United States Senator – Alex Khalil 29, Conor Lamb 115, Malcolm Kenyatta 19, John Fetterman 535.

Governor – Josh Shapiro (unopposed) 643

Lieutenant Governor – Austin Davis 468, Ray Sosa 60, Brian Sims 135.

Representative in Congress, Pa. 15th District – no candidate

Representative in General Assembly, 67th District – no candidate

Member of Democratic State Committee – Dennis Goodenough (unopposed) 669

Jail Board Expresses Appreciation To Corrections Officers

May 2nd, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Jail Board expresses its appreciation to the officers of the county jail during National Correctional Officers Week, May 1-7, 2022, During this week, we recognize officers who exemplify professionalism, integrity and strength in the face of a difficult and often dangerous work environment.

Correctional officers have a thankless job, but play a vital role in the criminal justice system. They keep our communities safe. Too often, they are portrayed negatively by the media and Hollywood. We should all work hard to change that narrative. Corrections staff might be hidden behind jail walls, but when their shift is over, many of them are a visible force for good in their communities, whether they’re coaching youth sports, fighting a fire, or otherwise volunteering their time to serve and improve communities.

Since 1984, the first full week of May has been recognized as National Correctional Officers Week. In his proclamation that year, President Ronald Reagan stated, “The important work of Correctional Officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves.” He added that the job continues to grow more complicated and demanding. Correctional workers continue to fulfill the mission with dedication and integrity because public safety far outweighs the risks. And, they do so without any expectation of recognition or praise.

Busy Agenda For Tourist/Recreation Focus Group

April 26th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Tourism and Recreation Focus Group members heard updates on Denton Hill State Park, tourist promotion activities and a homegrown effort to revitalize Main Street in Coudersport during Monday’s bimonthly meeting. A Bureau of State Parks spokesman reported that a revised solicitation for business partners to revitalize Denton Hill State Park into a four-season recreation destination will soon be issued. Contract terms have been revised to cover anywhere from 10 to 35 years; the previous draft agreement was for 10 years. Also, bidders will no longer be required to operate a downhill skiing concession as part of their business plan, although they will be encouraged to do so.

Cori Wagner and Abigail Rossman told focus group members about a series of promotional events they and a handful of other downtown business operators have been holding to bring vibrancy and commerce to the county seat. Most recent of these was a “Wine Walk” involving five Main Street businesses that drew a large turnout. Wagner and Rossman said that although the activities are being organized independently, they have been conferring with Coudersport Borough and a representative of the faltering Coudersport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum administrator Josh Roth reviewed last weekend’s Antique Show and Sawmill Run, which saw a record turnout numbering upwards of 800 people. Roth noted that the museum has added to its staff and is planning new public events. He added that visitor interest has been strong since the museum reopened after closing during the peak of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Colleen Hanson, executive director of Visit Potter-Tioga, reported that interest in the region among tourists has reached a modern-day high, based on several of the agency’s measurements. More than 11 million people saw VPT advertisements on social media during the most recent accounting, and upwards of 5 million clicked a promotional posting to learn more. Requests for the agency’s Visitors Guides is at an all-time high, with upwards of 250 print or digital copies per day being requested.

Candace Hillyard, executive director of the Pennsylvania Route 6 Alliance, pointed out that there are opportunities for businesses to capitalize on the growing popularity of the region as a destination for bicycle enthusiasts. Details on the alliance’s Bike-Friendly Business Program are available here. Hillyard said the organization continues its promotion of a growing “Artisan Trail” pinpointing artists with businesses in close proximity to Rt. 6. The alliance also continues to make its case for State and National Scenic Byway designation for Rt. 6 in Pennsylvania. For details, click here.

Potter County Picked For National Pilot Program

April 24th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County is one of six locations selected nationwide for a yearlong pilot project to create a vibrant arts culture that can support community and economic development. Commissioner Paul Heimel and local musician and educator Arthur Metzger represented the county in the national kickoff for the “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge: Arts & Culture as an Economic Driver” initiative, sponsored by Americans for the Arts. Potter County’s project involves the use of schools, libraries, artisans, local leaders and volunteers to integrate the arts into and tourism marketing and community planning. Last week’s kickoff will be followed by one-on-one tutorials with experts in the field to develop strategic plans. Each of the other five national pilot projects will be working on other strategies that could also benefit Potter County. These include:

  • Greenbriar County, W. Va., using the arts to promote rehabilitation, healing and recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Puna Community, Hawaii, employing the arts to address poverty and strengthen a sense of community and appreciation for the local culture and environment.
  • LaCrosse County, Wisc., integrating the arts with other activities to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on rural communities.
  • Perry County, Ohio, using the arts to deepen appreciation for, and protection of, outdoor recreation and the environment.
  • Van Buren County, Mich., addressing mental illness and physical well-being with the arts, involving the court system, local governments and other partners.