Commissioners adopt a variety of proclamations

LEWISTOWN – Proclamations were the order of the day at Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County Commissioners. Proclamations included recognizing the importance of library services, child abuse prevention and congratulating a number of local Boy Scouts for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

The first proclamation was in recognition of National Library Week, which is being celebrated April 13-19 throughout the country.

“Libraries change lives in their communities,” Commissioner Otis Riden read from the proclamation. “Librarians work to meet the changing needs of their communities, including providing resources for everyone and bringing services outside of library walls. Libraries bring together community members to enrich and shape the community and address local issues.”

The proclamation went on to say libraries offer important programs to meet community needs, and urged area residents to take advantage of the resources available at the Mifflin County Library.

On hand to accept the proclamation were Mifflin County Library Executive Director Dr. Molly Kinney, Maddy Thompson of the Friends of the Library and library board members Margaret Zook and Sandy Dedmon.

In commenting on the importance of libraries, Riden noted, “The library provides a lot of needed services. They’ve made great improvements with technology. If you get a chance, I would tell everybody to make a visit to the library. It always helps to read.”

Another proclamation was adopted in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Children are the future of our community and county,” Riden said. “It is the responsibility of every adult who comes in contact with a child to protect that child’s right to a safe and nurturing childhood.”

The proclamation noted that in 2013, Mifflin County Children & Youth investigated more than 100 cases of suspected child abuse and 20 children were determined to be victims of abuse. It also stated Children & Youth Services received almost 1,000 reports concerning the welfare of children living in Mifflin County last year.

“Mifflin County has dedicated officials and organizations who work daily to counter the problem of child abuse and maltreatment and to help families obtain the assistance they need,” Riden said. “Our communities are strong when all citizens become aware of child abuse prevention and become involved in supporting parents to raise their children in a safe and nurturing environment. Successful child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships among families, social service agencies, schools, religious and civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community.”

On hand to accept the proclamation were the administrator and assistant administrator of Mifflin County CYS, Mackenzie Seiler and Nicole Patkalitsky.

In other business Thursday, five members of Boy Scout Troop 4, sponsored by the Lewistown Presbyterian Church, were honored for their attainment of the rank of Eagle Scout. They included: Myron David Milliken, whose Eagle Scout project was to construct a gazebo at the Mifflin County Library; Skylar Matthew Bennage, whose project was to repair and renovate the Shawnee Archers indoor shooting range; Elijah Malcome Parks, whose project was to build a 20-foot-by-48-foot pavilion at the Grace United Methodist Church; Quinn Jeffrey Nichols, whose project was to build a monument at the Lewistown Train Station for the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society; and Michael Robert Weaver, whose project was to repair and paint the bleachers, picnic tables, concession stand and equipment shed at the Belltown Babe Ruth baseball field for the Decatur Athletic Association.

Following the proclamation ceremony, Commissioner Kevin Kodish noted, “Considering the minute number nationally of boys reaching the level of Eagle Scout, to have five from right here in Mifflin County speaks volumes.”

Riden added, “It’s a great honor and privilege to meet these young gentlemen. It’s great to see we have such great young citizens and they are to be congratulated.”

During the public comment period Thursday, area resident Sherry Bollinger questioned the commissioners on the availability to review agenda items prior to the scheduled meeting. She pointed out that only three items were on the agenda at the commissioners’ April 3 workshop meeting and noted the state civil services commission says agenda items must be available for public viewing one week prior to the meeting.

“We have a long-standing policy that that any additions (to the agenda) must be submitted by the Tuesday before the (voting) meeting,” Riden said.

When asked if the additions are posted anywhere, Riden noted, “No, we do not post it. Residents are welcome to come in here and check on Tuesday afternoon, preferably after dinnertime.”

Bollinger also questioned a reported CYS deficiency regarding child adoptions in the county. When asked for specifics on the matter, Seiler, the CYS administrator, noted that she cannot comment on the deficiency or any adoption procedures due to confidentiality issues.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

Approved a user agreement for 2014 with Burnham United Methodist Church for use as a polling place.

Accepted a juvenile probation patrols grant in the amount of $10,000.

Accepted an offer of $1 for a parcel located in Decatur Township that is currently in repository for unsold properties. Riden noted the parcel in question involves a trailer that has been abandoned and needs to be torn down.

Approved purchase of service agreements for use, if needed, by Children & Youth with Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County and the Law Firm of Baker & Clark of Mifflintown.

Approved the hiring of Cortney Terry, a student at Lock Haven University, as an unpaid intern for CYS, effective May 12 through June 30.