Archive for October, 2019

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.

Public Demonstrations Of New Voting Machines Scheduled

October 8th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Director of Elections Sandy Lewis reminds residents that new voting machines will be in use for the Nov. 5 Municipal Election. More election information is available on the website, (click on Departments/Elections). Members of the public can stop at the Elections/Voter Registration Office in the Gunzburger Building to become familiar with the new machines during regular business hours. They can also attend a public demonstration of the machines at the Gunzburger Building front conference room from 6-8 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Federal and state funding have covered a portion of the machines’ price tag, which is upwards of $400,000. After soliciting proposals from state-certified vendors, the Potter County Commissioners purchased the machines and related software and services from Election Systems and Software (ES&S). All Pennsylvania counties must have in place certified voting machines that electronically record each vote and generate a paper ballot as an added level of security. The new machines are expected to last for about ten years, if regulations and changing technology do not require them to be updated sooner.

County Hires New Community Development Director

October 1st, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Commissioners have hired Ellen Russell as community development director. She succeeds Jennifer Rossman, who resigned in July to accept a position with Visit Potter/Tioga. Russell is the daughter of Steve and Nila Gerner of Coudersport and is married to Garrett Russell, a physician assistant at UPMC Cole. She holds a masters of business administration degree from Clarion University and was most recently employed as an office manager at UPMC Cole.

Russell will be responsible for administering the county’s annual federal Community Development Block Grant and supporting community initiatives across the county that are geared toward economic development, job creation, strengthening of aesthetic and cultural resources, population retention and other priorities in the county’s Comprehensive Plan. She’ll report directly to the county commissioners and work closely with the planning department as well as borough and township governments and community leaders. Russell said she is looking forward to developing countywide and regional partnerships to achieve her office’s goals. She can be reached at 814-274-8290, extension 209, or at