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Focusing In On Shale Gas Issues, Economic Development

June 27th, 2017

Jim Ladlee displays a cutting of Marcellus Shale.

A Penn State Extension representative met with the Potter County Commissioners and their Community Development Director, Jennifer Rossman, for a far-reaching conversation focused on shale gas issues, economic development, community revitalization and related topics. The meeting with Jim Ladlee, assistant director for energy, entrepreneurship and economic/community development, was also an opportunity to express appreciation to long-time PSU Extension District Director Don Tanner, whose retirement takes effect this week. Ladlee has long been active in research and public education related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Although his responsibilities at Penn State Extension have expanded, he remains involved with the university’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. Ladlee agreed to assist Potter County with the relaunch of its Natural Gas Resource Center in the coming weeks.

Don Tanner

Much of the discussion centered on building on current efforts to engage community members in developing strategies for sustained revitalization; reaching out to younger adults to encourage their involvement; improving marketing and hospitality to support tourism; developing long-term community development plans with achievable goals and accountability, and improving communication. Both Ladlee and Tanner discussed PSU Extension’s restructuring, which will result in Potter County being part of a nine-county region that also includes Cameron, McKean, Elk, Clearfield, Jefferson, Clarion, Warren and Elk. Earlier this month, the commissioners met with Tony Siliano, has come aboard in the new position of business operations manager; and Melissa Sankey, the region’s new client relations manager. They also confirmed that Penn State does plan to hire a new water resources educator/assistant to succeed another recent retiree, Jim Clark, who was active with several Potter County organizations, including the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, Water Quality Work Group and Natural Gas Resource Center.

Penn State Extension is housed at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street, sharing the offices there with the Potter County Education Council. While the majority of funding for Extension comes from the state, the Potter County Commissioners support the agency by providing the facility — complete with classrooms, a kitchen and videoconferencing technology — as well as an annual allotment.

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