Archive

Archive for April, 2021

Potter County Criminal Justice Panel Sets 2021 Priorities

April 15th, 2021 Comments off

crimjusticePotter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) members unanimously adopted their 2021 strategic plan last week. It’s a detailed document that identifies the issues, challenges, priorities and steps that will be taken as the many elements of the county’s criminal justice system work together to improve outcomes. CJAB officers are: Judge Stephen Minor, chair; District Judge Kari McCleaft, vice chair; and Colleen Wilber, Potter County Human Services, facilitator. Overall goals in the CJAB action plan for the new year include:

  • Continued work on a Pretrial Diversion Program for Potter County and development of more comprehensive re-entry services for inmates being released from the county jail.
  • Partnering with the National Data-Driven Justice Initiative to measure effectiveness and outcomes of criminal justice strategies, better inform decision-makers, and improve information sharing.
  • Education and investigation into Medication-Assisted Treatment,],
  • Transitional/half-way housing for offenders along with an increased focus on skills training and employment needs.
  • Partnering with the National Stepping Up Initiative to improve the handling of cases involving criminal offenders with identified mental health issues.

THURSDAY Update: Case Counts Rebound Despite Vaccine

April 15th, 2021 Comments off

Northcentral Pennsylvania and the southern tier of Western New York are experiencing an increase in daily COVID-19 coronavirus cases. There were 345 more confirmed cases in area counties between Monday and Wednesday. Three of those cases and one more COVID-related death were reported in Potter County, where the total case count since the virus was detected is 1,015 with 23 known COVID-related fatalities. Other county case counts over the last 48 hours were as follows: Tioga County, 18 more cases and one more death; Clinton, 61 cases; McKean, 62 cases; Lycoming, 134 cases and two deaths; Cameron, two cases; Allegany County, N.Y., 12 cases and one death; and Cattaraugus County, N.Y., 53 cases and one death.

Three testing sites for the virus remain available in Coudersport. In addition to the testing available at UPMC Cole for physician-referred patients, tests are also being administered at Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy (visit the website here or call 1-800-635-8611 to complete an eligibility assessment) and Rite Aid Pharmacy (visit the website here or call 814-274-0439).

Vaccines are gradually arriving at state-approved dispensaries. Entering Wednesday, 2,561 Potter County residents — roughly 20 percent of the adult population — have received the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine. Some 1,834 have been fully immunized, an increase of 18 over the past 48 hours, and 727 partially immunized. Most of those who have been vaccinated are front-line health care providers, residents of skilled care homes, emergency responders, residents 65 and older, and others with underlying health conditions that increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. Eligibility criteria have since expanded to include younger adults.

UPMC Cole offers two options for residents to use in setting up appointments for vaccinations. One is a telephone hotline, 814-274-5460. The other is an online resource, vaccine.upmc.com. Rite Aid pharmacies continue to book appointments as supplies become available. To access the online reservation form, click here. Pa. Dept. of Health offers an online Vaccine Provider Map, accessible here, to assist eligible residents with scheduling their shots directly with a provider.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic April 21 For Veterans, Spouses

April 13th, 2021 Comments off

Potter County Veterans Affairs Director Michael Pepper has announced that the Bath (N.Y.) VA Medical Center will bring a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccination clinic to American Legion Post 192 in Coudersport on Wednesday, April 21, from 10 am to 2 pm. The Moderna vaccine will be administered to military veterans, their spouses and their caregivers. Appointments are being scheduled at 607-664-4626. Director Pepper said it is important that those planning to attend make an appointment. The number of vaccines being made available for the clinic is based on the number of appointments scheduled, with a limited additional supply available for potential walk-ins. VA hopes that no veteran, his/her spouse or caregiver will have to be turned away.

Deadline Thursday For Hospitality Business COVID Grants

April 13th, 2021 Comments off

Time is running out for owners of restaurants, motels and other hospitality businesses to qualify for federal funds to compensate them for revenue losses and pay eligible operating expenses due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Application deadline is Thursday, April 15. Potter County was awarded a $190,000 federal grant to support qualifying businesses. Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel contracted with the Ridgway-based Northcentral Pa. Planning and Development Commission to administer the Hospitality Industry Recovery Program.

Owners of lodging and dining establishments must have been in operation as of Feb. 15, 2020, continue to operate, and have a demonstrated adverse economic impact due to the pandemic to qualify. Funds cannot be used to cover the same operating expenses that were claimed in the federal CARES Act in 2020 or similar relief programs. Potter County business owners seeking more information should go to the county website, pottercountypa.net, and access the Community Development section under the Departments tab. Information is also available online at http://www.ncentral.com/.

Some State Business Restrictions Are Now Lifted

April 4th, 2021 Comments off

Pennsylvania has lifted some restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, and is increasing some gathering limits. Restaurants may resume bar service; alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food; the curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will be lifted; and indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75 percent for those restaurants that are currently self-certified and those that undergo the self-certification process. That involves agreeing to comply with public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements. Those restaurants that do not self-certify may raise capacity to 50 percent. Outdoor dining, curbside pick-up and takeout are still encouraged. Requirements such as mask-wearing, and social distancing, including six feet between diners, also still apply. Capacity for other businesses also will be increased, including 75 percent occupancy for personal services facilities, gyms and entertainment facilities such as theaters and malls. Revised limits for indoor events allow for 25 percent of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. New limits for outdoor events allow for 50 percent of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the six-foot physical distancing requirement.

Pennsylvania has also reduced the six-foot social distancing rule for students in many schools to three feet and lessened the length of time schools must close after COVID-19 outbreaks. The shift in school guidance comes as more Pennsylvania schools eye a return to more in-person classes.

Gov. Tom Wolf cautioned that mask-wearing, social distancing and business adherence to safety orders are still imperative: “We’ve come so far and now is not the time to stop the safety measures we have in place to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. Keep wearing a mask, social distancing and, please, get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”

Help Available Through Local COVID Grant Programs

April 4th, 2021 Comments off

Renters, owners of restaurants and lodging establishments, and other small businesses may be eligible for financial assistance to help compensate them for financial losses attributable to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic through recent federal programs.

First, Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have designated the county’s Human Services agency to administer a federal grant received to help those who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay for rent and utilities. Those who can demonstrate a loss of income due to the pandemic are encouraged to apply. 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 may be found here. Those seeking more information can contact Jim Kockler or Kara Amidon at 814-544-7315.

Second, Potter County has been awarded a $187,000 federal grant to support businesses in the hospitality industry that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners have contracted with the Ridgway-based Northcentral Pa. Planning and Development Commission to administer the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). Grants are targeted to compensate for revenue losses and pay eligible operating expenses due to the pandemic. Owners of lodging and dining establishments must have been in operation as of Feb. 15, 2020, continue to operate, and have a demonstrated adverse economic impact due to the pandemic to qualify for funding. Funding is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds cannot be used to cover the same operating expenses that were claimed in the federal CARES Act in 2020 or similar relief programs. Grants will be awarded in increments of $5,000 up to a maximum of $25,000. Applications are being accepted until April 15. Potter County business owners seeking more information should go to the county website, pottercountypa.net, and access the Community Development section under the Departments tab. Information is also available online at http://www.ncentral.com/.

Third, low-cost, flexible financing is available to qualifying Potter County businesses through a federal government program designed to lessen the economic burden of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Low-interest, flexible loans are available to support business revitalization and growth, enhance workplace safety, strengthen supply chains and sustain/create jobs. Projects can include:
  • Real estate acquisition (construction & renovations are not eligible)
  • Machinery & equipment
  • Working capital
  • Installation/implementation of CDC-recommended safety measures
  • Technology
More information is available from Jennifer Hibbard at 814-773-3162, ext. 3049; jhibbard@ncentral.com. Details can also be found online here.