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County Gearing Up For Census; Jobs Available

April 22nd, 2019 Comments off

With the U.S. Census Bureau moving closer to launching its 2020 count, the agency is beginning to add staff all across the country. Census liaisons for Potter County are Commissioner Paul Heimel and Will Hunt and Deb Ostrom from the Planning Department. They report that there will be part-time job opportunities to conduct field work and door-to-door assessments. Anyone interested in potential employment as a manager, crew leader, clerk, census representative or field agent can find information as well as apply for positions online at census.gov. More information is also by calling toll-free 1-855-562-2020.

As the county’s population continues to fall, local officials say it is important that everyone complete the census survey when it is received. Census numbers have a direct effect on grants as well as government representation. Data are used to distribute more than 50 programs, including support for education, transportation, health and human services, housing, criminal justice, employment services, farming and environmental protection. For each uncounted citizen, a county will lose an estimated $10,000 in federal benefits during the decade.

“Our county’s population began falling from a modern-day high in 2002 and the mid-term census reports confirm additional declines,” said the local liaisons. “The economic impact of an undercount in 2020 would hit us even harder.”

The Planning Department is working with township and borough officials to support an accurate result from the census. Planning staff has also drawn in the county Emergency Management and Assessment offices to identify new homes and verify mailing addresses. Questionnaires have been reduced from 10 pages to 10 questions. Forms will be mailed to area residents in early 2020. Census-takers’ non-response follow-ups begin in May 2020.

County Veterans Service Committee Has Busy Agenda

April 22nd, 2019 Comments off

Potter County’s Veterans Service Committee met last week. Attending were Michael Pepper, county director of veterans’ affairs; Berwyn Calcote (Ulysses); Kerry Ehrensberger (Austin); Ted Parsell (Coudersport); Mitch DeLong and Dan Antonioli (Shinglehouse); and Danielle Gietler (volunteer).

Director Pepper discussed options to better publicize local veterans’ posts activities, such as the news media and the county’s Military Veterans of Potter County page on Facebook. On a related note, publication of a quarterly newsletter, Potter County Veterans News, has resumed. Commissioner Paul Heimel produces the newsletter and welcomes submissions.

Director Pepper said that transportation for military veterans is a major need. He is communicating with Potter County Human Services to determine if services or other assistance might be available.

Danielle Gietler spoke about the county’s Veterans’ Discount Program. She was asked to distribute lists of businesses that offer the discount to each veterans’ service post. A system of distributing ID cards to veterans through the local posts will also be investigated.

Members reviewed options for holding a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Dinner later this year, tentatively in October. Funding may be available from a Veterans Trust Fund grant obtained by the commissioners last year. Each post is being asked to gather a tally of likely attendees, consisting of a Vietnam War Era veteran and one guest each.

Members also discussed inviting representatives from the LEEK Preserve in Oswayo and Trout Unlimited/Project Healing Waters to designate a representative to serve on the committee.

Potter County Libraries’ Expanded Services Spotlighted

April 10th, 2019 Comments off

Representatives from two local libraries attended this week’s meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners to share details on their expanded services as part of National Library Week, which continues through April 13. Teri McDowell (Coudersport) and Shelley Jones (Genesee) discussed the growing importance of libraries in literacy, education, youth development and other services. Their libraries are among those that offer free internet access, which has allowed those with no other means of connecting to tap into the web. Both of the library representatives expressed their appreciation the commissioners for mini-grants they’ve received from the county to help pay for programming geared toward youth programs and other special services not covered in their operating budgets. Shown from left are Commissioner Susan Kefover, Teri McDowell, Commissioner Paul Heimel, Shelley Jones and Commissioner Doug Morley.

Potter County Veterans Newsletter Available

March 31st, 2019 Comments off

Latest edition of Potter County Veterans News, the newsletter for and about veterans produced by the county’s department of veterans affairs, is now available online at pottercountypa.net (click on Veterans Affairs Department tab). Copies will soon be available the Gunzburger Building. Among features of the 1st Quarter 2019 edition are:

  • Restructured Potter County Veterans Service Committee holds first meeting.
  • Veterans Resources/Job Fair scheduled April 9.
  • Shattering myths surrounding veterans’ services.
  • American Legion Post 192 honors local couple.
  • Centennial celebration for the American Legion.
  • Scammers collecting on behalf of bogus veterans’ charities.
  • How you can support Pennsylvania’s veterans.

County Reaffirms Commitment To Fair Housing Regulations

March 26th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County recently reaffirmed its commitment to comply with the Fair Housing Act, a federal act that prohibits discrimination by those selling or renting residences. Legal notices have appeared in newspapers to make this commitment a matter of record, but the public might remain unclear on what it entails. It roots date back to the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act and a subsequent state measure of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

Under the federal act, it is unlawful to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or handicap (disability). Some examples include refusing to rent or sell, setting different terms and conditions, providing deceptive information on housing availability, advertising to preferred people groups, interfering with a potential buyer’s or renter’s rights through intimidation or coercion, and insisting on unreasonable restrictions when it comes to modifications or accommodations.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination based on age and ancestry, use of guide or support animals because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals.

Those who wish to report potential violations are advised to contact:  Douglas Morley, Potter County Fair Housing Officer, Gunzburger Building, 1 North Main Street, Coudersport PA 16915. Phone: 814-274-9290. TTY: 711. Email: dmorley@pottercountypa.net.

 

Conservation District Looks Back On Busy Year

March 25th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Conservation District’s annual legislative luncheon at the Susquehannock Lodge included an overview of the agency’s many works across the county, as well as a discussion of state government issues affecting rural counties. Potter County has the distinction of launching the first conservation district in the state. PCCD received a Pa. Governor’s Excellence Award last year for one of its environmental stewardship projects. Among those attending the luncheon were, from left: Earl Brown (PCCD), Rep. Martin Causer, Andrew Mickey (PCCD), Jared Dickerson (PCCD), Chuck Dillon (representing Sen. Joe Scarnati), Commissioner Doug Morley, Brenda Shambaugh (executive director of the Pa. Conservation Districts Assn.), Commissioner Susan Kefover, Emily Shosh (PCCD), Jason Childs (PCCD), and Glenn Dunn II (PCCD). A summary of the district’s many accomplishments during 2018 can be found here.