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Archive for March, 2019

New Veterans Service Committee Meets March 18

March 13th, 2019 Comments off

A new Potter County Veterans Service Committee will hold its first meeting at 5 pm on Monday, March 18, at the Gunzburger Building in Coudersport. Mike Pepper, the county’s veterans affairs director, and Danielle Gietler, executive secretary for the board of commissioners, are joined on the committee by representatives from each American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the county.

Its purpose is to advocate for the military veterans of Potter County and advise the Board of Commissioners on veterans’ services. Among projects on the new committee’s agenda is expansion of the county’s veterans discount program. Dozens of Potter County businesses and service providers offer discounts for military veterans. Vets can obtain ID cards from Director Pepper’s office. They can also get a brochure that lists locations where the discounts are offered. Another high priority is an expansion of the veterans gravestone restoration project. The committee will be working to garner support from additional cemetery caretakers, youth groups and volunteers.

Other potential committee goals are a countywide veterans benefits fair; education/training initiatives; workforce placement and retraining for veterans; housing issues; advocacy for veterans, military service members and their families at the statewide and national levels, and a more concerted outreach to veterans.

Workshop On Bicycle Tourism Planned Thursday

March 13th, 2019 Comments off

Area tourist promoters are looking to cash in on the growing popularity of bicycling by steering more pedalers to U.S. Rt. 6 through the center of Potter, McKean and Tioga counties. They’re also working to divert cyclists onto roads and trails that will carry them into other local communities. A free public workshop and luncheon for business operators and community leaders interested in supporting the plan will be held on Thursday, March 14, at the Deane Center in Wellsboro. For details, call 814-435-7706. The Galeton-based Pennsylvania Rt. 6 Alliance is spearheading the plan, following a successful effort to have the highway designated as a U.S. Bike Route last spring. Studies show that cyclists are using Rt. 6, despite safety hazards and the lack of wide berms across much of its expanse through the region. Russ Roca, an expert in bike tourism, will share strategies that his organization, A Path Less Pedaled, has used to help other regions to develop their tourism programs. Roca will provide attendees with clear strategies that can be implemented in a short period.

Countywide Advanced Life Support Services In Jeopardy

March 3rd, 2019 Comments off

Four months after the Potter County Commissioners launched a $4 million upgrade of the countywide 911 emergency communications system, representatives of one of the organizations that provides life-saving medical services sounded an alarm of their own. Bob Cross and Michele Mather from the Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Assn., provider of advanced life support (ALS) for all of Potter County, attended the commissioners’ Feb. 28 meeting in an effort to draw public attention to their plight. Citing a projected $50,000 deficit for the current year and the need for greater support from township and borough governments, Cross and Mather pointed out that ALS service is now in jeopardy. Rising costs for equipment, personnel, training, and overhead have plagued the organization for some time. The solution, they said, is a combination of greater support from local governments and changes in state regulations and policies.

Many people are unaware of the distinction between ALS and basic life support (BLS) services. ALS is rendered by highly trained paramedics who deliver medical care at the scene of emergencies and during transportation to hospitals. In a rural area, the availability of ALS is a life-or-death issue. Ambulance associations operated by volunteer departments throughout the county long ago stepped up to the challenge of providing BLS for every township and borough in Potter County, with support from emergency medical technicians and other volunteers. With the advent of ALS, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital created a paramedic service to complement the basic services provided by the ambulance associations. Hospital administrators eliminated the ALS division due to economics and Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Assn. agreed to fill the gap as a hub for the countywide service. That was based on the premise that financial support from each township and borough, combined with state reimbursement for advanced life support services rendered to low-income patients, would cover the basic costs.

(Above, Bob Cross and Michele Mather describe the plight of ALS services in Potter County to Potter Leader-Enterprise reporter Halie Kines.)