County Seeks Volunteers For PCHS Advisory Boards

December 25th, 2021 Comments off

Potter County Human Services (PCHS) offers opportunities for public input on its many programs through dedicated advisory boards. Clients and their family members or caregivers, as well as community representatives, are encouraged to participate. All board meetings are open to the public. PCHS operates programs for victims of alcoholism and other drug abuse, older citizens, the mentally ill, children who are at risk, the intellectually disabled and those who are homeless or otherwise disadvantaged. Volunteer advisory board members are appointed by the Potter County Board of Commissioners. Anyone interested in being considered for appointment to any of the boards should contact the Commissioners Office at 274-8290, extension 207.

One group of volunteers holds quarterly meetings to provide input on operations of PCHS. Directors of the county agency depend on the Potter County Human Services Advisory Board in determining program priorities and other issues.

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Advisory Board serves in a consulting role to PCHS in the delivery of prevention and treatment programs. The field has been changing dramatically in recent times with a growing methamphetamine epidemic, the abuse of prescription drugs, and heroin addiction. At the same time, misinformation that diminishes the potential negative effects of marijuana use has rapidly spread as part of policy debates over issues such as legalization and medical applications. Alcohol abuse and tobacco addiction also take a toll among county residents. Next year’s AOTD meetings will be held by conference call at noon on the second Friday of each month. To participate, call PCHS at 814-544-7315 for dial-in instructions.

An Area Agency on Aging Advisory Board offers input to administrators of programs and services for older county residents, ranging from senior centers and home-delivered meals to in-home care and assistance with Medicare. Board meetings are held by conference call and scheduled for 10 am on Jan. 11, March 8, May 10, July 12, Sept. 13 and Nov. 8. To participate, call PCHS at 814-544-7315 for dial-in instructions.

County Renews ‘Reverse-911’ Contract For 2022

December 19th, 2021 Comments off

Potter County has signed up for another year of service from a notification system that provides the public with important alerts and time-sensitive messages on tornadoes, floods, or other emergencies. At last week’s business meeting, Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel renewed a contract with OnSolve, the company that provides the “CodeRED Reverse-911 System.” Cost for another year of service is $4,360.

CodeRED sends early warnings using phone calls, email, social media sites and text messaging. Residents of Potter County are encouraged to visit and click on the CodeRED logo to enroll their contact information. There is no fee. Additional information is also available at 274-8900, extension 501.

New Assistant District Attorney Begins Service

November 4th, 2021 Comments off

Potter County has a new assistant district attorney. He is Edward V. Reeves, who has relocated to the county after operating a private legal practice for many years in southeastern Pennsylvania. Reeves succeeds McKean County resident Kord Kinney in the part-time position, working for District Attorney Andy Watson. The office is also staffed by County Detective Jacob Rothermel, Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Anita Mead and administrative personnel Emily Robinson, Sarah Chapell and Katrina Croke.

Reeves (left) earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University. He was awarded his law degree by Temple University. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 1992.

“I am looking forward to having meaningful involvement in Potter County’s criminal justice system and working closely with District Attorney Watson,” Reeves said. He added that he has familiarized himself with the county’s system and recent reforms, such as pre-trial diversion and specialty courts in place for criminal cases involving offenders with addiction or mental health issues. “I have a lot of admiration for the way the criminal justice system operates here and I look forward to being a part of it,” Reeves said.

He became familiar with Potter County as a child and has frequently visited to enjoy the outdoor attractions, including the International Dark Sky Preserve at Cherry Springs State Park.

Banner At County Building Honors Local War Casualty

October 12th, 2021 Comments off

A banner at the front entrance of the F. W. Gunzburger County Office Building memorializes U.S. Army Specialist Mike Franklin, who lost his life in the Global War on Terrorism. It was originally hung in downtown Harrisburg, through a partnership of a local civic organization and the American Gold Star Mothers. The banner was donated to the county by SPC Franklin’s parents, Tina and Bill Franklin, when they moved to Arizona.

More than 16 years have passed since the Coudersport soldier lost his life when an improvised explosive device detonated near his screening area in Ramadi, Iraq. SPC Franklin, who was a month shy of his 23rd birthday, was not scheduled to be on duty during that shift on March 7, 2005. But he unselfishly agreed to stand in to help a friend. The checkpoint he was patrolling was established to trap guerrilla fighters through a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Similar operations were taking place in other towns in western Iraq, which was seeing heavy guerrilla fighting. A car had stalled and couldn’t be restarted. Just as Franklin and another soldier were about to begin searching the vehicle, the bomb was detonated by a remote-control device.

After her son’s death, Tina Franklin became involved with the work of Gold Star Mothers, an organization of those who have lost a son or daughter in battle. She has made multiple trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to visit injured service members. Tina and Bill Franklin suggest that those wishing to honor military personnel who have fallen in war consider service to others through community organizations, churches or government agencies.

One In Seven Potter County Residents ‘Food Insecure’

September 21st, 2021 Comments off

Food banks across Potter County have all seen a surge in demand, much of it attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the county commissioners paused to honor those people who have kept the food pantry shelves stocked. In observance of Hunger Action Month, the board welcomed Ryan Prater (shown), community engagement associate with the Central Pa. Food Bank, to its Sept. 9 meeting. The commissioners also approved a proclamation to draw attention to the issues of hunger and food insecurity.

Prater thanked the staffers and volunteers who serve at the county’s food banks. He pointed out that about 14 percent of Potter County’s residents are “food insecure,” defined as lacking reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Central Pa. Food Bank is a conduit for government funds that provide food to agencies in 27 counties. Among its partners are area school districts.

Prater said his organization recently began offering Farm to Agency Resource Market (FARM) grants, connecting local farms directly to food banks so that they can expand their inventory of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products and protein. He also called for public support of the federal government’s Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs, whose funding is in limbo during budget consolidation negotiations in Congress.

Conservation District Success Stories Celebrated

September 7th, 2021 Comments off

Roads are being improved, headwater streams protected, and coal mine pollution abated as a result of work that’s dutifully performed — with little or no fanfare — by county conservation districts. Last week, directors of these low-profile agencies whose impact stretches far and wide showcased some of their success stories in Potter and Cameron counties. About a dozen elected officials and other guests joined conservation district managers and technicians on a daylong field trip.

In Potter County, the group traveled to two project sites on Southwoods Road in Homer and Sylvania townships. Conservation District Manager Jason Childs (left) explained that over a period of four years, the Conservation District upgraded a 4.7-mile section of the road to reduce sediment loads flowing into the Southwoods Branch, and to keep the road passable for residents, seasonal property owners, tourists, school buses and emergency vehicles. Price tag was nearly $684,000. In Sylvania Township, an eroding 70-foot vertical bank had collapsed, reducing Southwoods Road to one lane threatening to close the road entirely. Some 264 tons of limestone and other materials were used to stabilize the bank and improve the stream and its habitat. Cost was $175,000.

One stop in Cameron County was at an acid mine drainage treatment project in Cameron County’s Sterling Run watershed. Deep coal mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s and surface mining that followed had badly fouled the headwaters, killing all aquatic life. Cameron County Conservation District has installed “passive treatment systems,” neutralizing aluminum and iron levels. Affected waters are now Class A Wild Trout Streams. Also in Cameron County, the group observed a streambank stabilization project along the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek. That 450-foot section had been severely eroded. A modified mudsill cribwall was installed to stabilize the bank and improve fish habitat. The Conservation District partnered with the Western Pa. Conservancy to plant a five-acre riparian buffer that includes trees, shrubs and live stakes.