Commissioners, Local Govts. Partner For Bridge Funding

May 17th, 2019 Comments off

A work group comprised of the Potter County Commissioners, representatives of the Potter County Association of Township Officials and Potter County Planning Department will convene later this year to review requests for funding to support local bridge repairs. The application process is now open. Townships and boroughs must submit their requests no later than Sept. 26.

Each year, the commissioners invite local governments to apply for a share of the Pa. Act 13 Bridge Improvement Restricted Use Fund received by the county through a state fee on shale gas wells. Under Act 13, county commissioners have the authority to distribute the funds as they see fit, as long as they address at-risk bridges. Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel, together with the County Planning Department, developed a system whereby the money is expended according to an evaluation/ranking framework to address the most critical needs. Several other counties have since adopted the Potter County system as a model.

Under Act 13, Potter County receives $40,000 annually in the Restricted Use Fund. Details can be found on the county website,, under the Planning Department tab. More information is available from Potter County Planning Director Will Hunt at 814-274-8254, ext. 229.

‘Senior Corps’ Connects Volunteers With Opportunities

May 15th, 2019 Comments off

Volunteering is a great way for many older Americans to stay engaged in their communities and make a difference. It opens the door to opportunities, meeting new people, and making new friends. One of the nation’s largest and most recognizable volunteer networks, the Senior Corps, is making a push for participants in Potter County. Also known as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Corps provides the opportunity for people age 55 and older to share their time and talent in a wide variety of volunteer activities. Steve Weeks (right), director of RSVP for Potter, Tioga, Clinton, Lycoming and Northumberland counties, shared details with the Potter County Board of Commissioners (from left) Paul Heimel, Susan Kefover and Doug Morley last week.

“Many retirees and other people 55 and older are eager to serve and give back to their communities,” Weeks explained. “The problem we’re seeing, especially in this part of the state, is that they’re not sure where they might be needed or what they can do to help. Senior Corps bridges that gap, not only for the volunteer, but also for the agency or organization that needs the help.”

Schedules are flexible, Weeks pointed out. Volunteers can choose a location or community project, as well as the number of hours they wish to serve. They receive basic orientation and training, as well as full insurance coverage while serving. Senior Corps members have become a lifeline to many nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and other groups who depend on volunteers to help meet the increased demand for services. Upwards of 140 Potter County residents are now serving through the Senior Corps program. Among organizations that are benefitting is Potter County Habitat for Humanity.

As community needs are identified, Senior Corps responds quickly. Perhaps it’s providing food to hungry neighbors, training unemployed workers, offering support to struggling veterans and military families, or helping a child learn to read. For more information on Senior Corps, contact Steve Weeks in Wellsboro at 570-765-3075.

National Excellence Award For Potter County

May 7th, 2019 Comments off

Committee members (from left) Paul Heimel, Dawn Wooster and Bill Simpson at a veterans’ gravestone restoration demonstration. Wooster and Simpson have left county service and been succeeded on the committee by Danielle Gietler and Michael Pepper.

Potter County was recently notified that it has received a National Excellence Award for the activities of its Veterans Services Committee in 2018. Committee members Paul Heimel, Bill Simpson, Dawn Wooster and Danielle Gietler were cited for pursuing multiple initiatives to serve and honor the county’s military veterans. Judges from the National Association of Counties chose Potter County under the theme, “Our Military Veterans: NEVER FORGET,” according to NACo Public Affairs Coordinator Lindsey Maggard. The award will be presented an NACO’s Annual Conference in July.

Potter County set out to address the gaps in the safety net for the county’s military veterans, while deepening the community’s appreciation of its veterans. It was borne out of a realization that a high proportion of the county’s veterans were not receiving the benefits and services to which they are entitled. Additionally, members of the general populace had not been afforded convenient opportunities to express their appreciation to veterans.

Primary goals were:
• improved veterans’ health care, financial standing and living conditions;
• greater public support and understanding of veterans’ needs;
• restoration of hundreds of veterans’ gravestones;
• a more educated and actively engaged youth population;
• a boost to the economy of Potter County;
• generating support for state/federal policy changes that directly benefit veterans, military service personnel, and their respective families.

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 (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.