Archive for October, 2019

Supporting Employment Opportunities For Disabled

October 30th, 2019 Comments off

The Potter County Commissioners recognized the importance of supporting employment opportunities for the disabled during their biweekly business meeting. Commissioners Doug Morley and Paul Heimel heard a presentation from representatives of Employment Support Services at Dickinson Center Inc. and passed a proclamation in support of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Marsha Dippold, program director, pointed out that the abrupt loss of federal funding to operate the program has made it more challenging for Dickinson to meet all of the needs in the region. Just one in five disabled adults is actively employed, she pointed out. With support services and adaptations, the disabled can bring special talents and services to many workplaces. This, in turn, reduces the demand on social services. More information is available at 814-594-7093. Shown from left with the proclamation are Sunday Gledhill (Dickinson), Commissioners Doug Morley and Paul Heimel, and Marsha Dippold. (Photo by Halie Kines, Potter Leader-Enterprise).

PSU Extension Role Expands To Families, Healthy Living

October 18th, 2019 Comments off

Food safety, family development and healthy living are among the Penn State Extension services that are touching many lives in Potter County. During Local Government Day, senior educator Robin Kuleck explained how the agency has evolved to meet twenty-first century needs and support families and communities. She encouraged those present to help spread awareness of the services, which range from senior fitness training and nutrition education, to home-food preservation and state-mandated food safety training for restaurants. Kuleck also reported on outreach efforts to engage area schools in support of “adulting” (instilling money management and other life skills) and other services. Educational programs are also being developed for those whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease.

Attendees also heard from Gloria Wilson, Extension’s new master gardener program coordinator, and from 4-H educator Toby Neal. He reported that membership in the youth development program has risen by about 20 to approximately 200. Some three dozen teen and adult volunteers are also involved.

Neal pointed out that 70 percent of the 4-H members in Potter County are involved in the animal education programs with focuses on beef and dairy cows, rabbits, horses, sheep, poultry, goats and swine. Several 4-Hers have scored successes at the regional level and beyond in competitive horse shows.

Water Quality Protection Is Ongoing Challenge

October 16th, 2019 Comments off

Water quality is a top priority in Potter County, headwaters for three of the largest river systems in the Northeast. One of the members of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group, Penn State Extension water resources educator Danielle Rhea, was among the presenters during last week’s Potter County Local Government Day. It’s an annual gathering hosted by PSU Extension leaders and educators to keep public officials apprised of the organization’s broad range of services. Rhea reviewed the resources that Extension provides in five critical areas — drinking water quality, watershed management, stormwater management, agricultural use of water resources, and pond management.

She pointed out the challenges presented for residential water quality management in Pennsylvania, the only state with no construction standards or testing requirements for privately owned wells and springs. Exposure to contaminants in drinking water is among the leading causes of multiple health problems. Some 68 percent of Potter County’s homes are serviced by private water supplies. In terms of surface water quality challenges, Rhea pointed out that stormwater runoff is the leading source of pollutants entering streams and rivers. Penn State offers help to farmers, well/spring owners and others who are interested in protecting water quality. She can be reached at or 814-849-7361, extension 504.

Farmers Responding To Challenges By Adapting

October 13th, 2019 Comments off

With family farms and dairy operations declining in Potter County, Penn State Extension agronomy educator Nicole Santangelo finds herself as busy as ever. She was among the presenters during last week’s Potter County Local Government Day. It’s an annual gathering hosted by PSU Extension leaders and educators to keep public officials apprised of the organization’s broad range of services and their impact on the citizenry. Santangelo’s presentation touched on a number of steps being taken to help the county’s number one industry to adapt to challenges that range from poor economics and changes in consumers’ habits, to marketing obstacles and a growing wave of consolidation.

She said some agriculturalists have been evolving to “contract farming,” resulting in potatoes, organic corn and other crops being produced for specific buyers. One contract has been signed to lease farmland for solar energy collectors, Santangelo added. She has also been investigating alternative crops that could be profitable to local farmers, from soybeans, carrots and mint, to cucumbers and hemp — although producers might encounter challenges getting the products to market. Meanwhile, Penn State Extension is helping farmers with pest management, crop research, soil testing, cover crops, livestock management and many other topics.