Juniata County emergency shelters are available in frigid weather

MIFFLINTOWN – With the onset of yet another round of frigid temperatures settled over central Pennsylvania, the Juniata County Commissioners on Tuesday announced several locations throughout the county have been designated as “warm shelter places” that are available for individuals or families experiencing problems staying warm.

“Because of this extreme cold, we need to recognize there are some individuals who may, for whatever reason, not be able to heat their homes adequately,” stated Commissioner Teresa O’Neal, who announced the following locations are available to residents if they should experience difficulties keeping their homes warm:

– Fayette Lions Den, 158 Lions Den Drive, McAlisterville. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 to 7 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The contact person is Victoria Tornambe at 463-3300.

– Four Seasons Senior Center, state Route 35, Mifflintown. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The contact person is Mary Palm at 436-6847.

– McAlisterville Senior Center, 1 Seiber Road, McAlisterville. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The contact person is Lynn Varner at 463-3588.

– Richfield Senior Community Center, 1012 Snyder St., Richfield. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The contact person is Mary Lou Williams at 694-3240.

O’Neal added that should residents experience an emergency loss of heating, they should call 911, which will advise them of the shelters that are available.

Also during Tuesday’s commissioners business meeting, O’Neal released information from the Mifflin-Juniata Human Services Department advising area residents of several cold-weather safety tips.

They include:

– Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. Opening the faucet relieves pressure that builds between the faucet and ice blockage when freezing occurs. Where both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing.

– If you suspect a frozen pipe, don’t take any chances. Call a plumber. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave faucets open until repairs are made. Don’t try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame as this will damage the pipe and may start a building fire.

– When away from the house for an extended period during this type of weather, be careful how much you lower the heat. A lower temperature may save on the heating bill, but there could be a disaster if pipes that normally would be safe freeze and burst.

– Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.

– Install rubber gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls.

– Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicates holes where air leaks into and out of your house.

– Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane windows to reduce drafts, water condensation and frost formation.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

– Approved a purchase of service agreement between the Juniata County Sheriff’s Department with Attorney Ralph A. Germak for solicitor services at an hourly rate of $80 for the period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

– Approved requests for Open Space Legacy Funds for the following municipalities: Greenwood Township ($1,252.23), Mifflintown Borough ($1,899.66), and Spruce Hill Township ($1,692.64). The commissioners also sent back a request from Fermanagh Township in the amount of $5,705.07 to resubmit with a narrative description of the proposed project.

– Approved service agreements between Juniata County Children & Youth Services and the county probation department with Bethany Christian Services of Central PA and Family Care for Children and Youth Inc.

– Approved a purchase of service agreement between Juniata County Children & Youth Services with Josie Souders to provide oral Spanish-language interpretation and translation of written Spanish-language materials at a cost of $40 per hour.

– Approved the hiring of Mandy Noss as a Juniata County Children & Youth Services caseworker effective Feb. 10 at a salary per the current bargaining unit contract.

– Approved an agreement between the county and Mission Critical Partners to conduct a detailed assessment of the regional emergency call handling capabilities as well as applications in use at a cost of $21,000. O’Neal noted the cost of the assessment will be paid for through funds from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association.