Board proclaims public safety telecommunications week

MIFFLINTOWN – Less than 24 hours after two bombs exploded near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, the Juniata County Commissioners met to proclaim April 14 to 20 National Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Juniata County.

Commissioner Jeffrey Zimmerman opened the public meeting with a moment of silence to remember those affected by the blasts.

“I can’t help but thinking it’s a bit ironic,” he said about the proclamation waiting for approval.

Commissioner Teresa O’Neal said the position of emergency services and first responders is not often realized before an emergency occurs.

“The importance of that does not hit until you’re the one who has to pick up the phone,” she said.

Proclamation No. 2013-2 recognizes the prompt response of police officers, firefighters and paramedics that is critical to the protection of life and preservation of property. According to the proclamation, the safety of first responders is dependent upon the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who call the Juniata County communications center.

The proclamation states that telecommunicators in Juniata County have contributed substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and treatment of patients. The recognition week honors men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep local citizens safe, the proclamation states.

“It’s a job in the background until it’s absolutely critical for public safety,” Commissioner Robert Reynolds said.

During the meeting, the board also recognized two employees for length of service to the county. Zimmerman said Helen Henry and Steven Manbeck served 70 or more combined years in Juniata County. Henry is scheduled to retire April 19 from her position as Juniata County Children and Youth director, and Manbeck announced his resignation as public defender in early January.

“It’s been a joy,” Manbeck said about his time serving as public defender.

Henry thanked the commissioners for their collaboration and support over the years.

Also during the meeting, the board entertained a presentation by Cindy Williams, representative of Juniata Valley Bank, regarding the Richard J. and Lela A. Nestler College Scholarship Fund.

The annual net income from the trust is given to one recipient from Juniata High School and one recipient from East Juniata High School for the purpose of college education, Williams said. According to an informational document about the fund, the student from each public high school with the highest combined Scholastic Aptitude Test scores shall receive the scholarship. In the event that two or more students from each high school have identical scores, criteria has been established to break the tie.

Williams said applications are available at Juniata County high school guidance offices, the Juniata Valley Bank Trust and Investment division and on the Juniata County website. Applicants must apply for the scholarship by May 1.

In other new business, the commissioners:

Approved tax exonerations for Delaware, Greenwood and Monroe townships.

Reviewed the Juniata County Adult and Juvenile Probation Department March 2013 monthly report, prepared by Michelle A Beaver, chief probation officer.

Reviewed March 2013 field assessment totals, submitted by Jeff Haines, chief assessor.

Reviewed the Juniata County Children and Youth and Probation Expenditures report for Jan. 1 to March 31, submitted by Henry.

Ratified the public defender agreement between the Juniata County Board of Commissioners and Nancy S. Searer.

Approved a liquid fuels fund allocation of $50,000 for 2013.

Approved a supplemental engineering agreement between Juniata County and Wilson Consulting Group PC, submitted by Dave Bardell, planning director.

Approved the execution of the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant agreement, submitted by Allen Weaver, emergency services director.

Ratified hazardous materials check No. 1,115 in the amount of $37.24 to Wex Bank for fuel.

Approved checks Nos. 37,323 through 37,378 in the amount of $62,185.70.