Commissioners recognize emergency service personnel

MIFFLINTOWN – Next week is dedicated to recognizing those who provide life-saving care to the residents of Juniata County.

During a meeting held Tuesday in Mifflintown, the county commissioners proclaimed May 18 to 24 as Emergency Medical Services Week.

“Access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury,” Commissioner Jeffrey Zimmerman, read from the proclamation. “It is appropriate to recognize the value and the accomplishments of emergency medical services providers by designating Emergency Medical Services week.”

Commissioner Teresa O’Neal said individuals who work in the field participate in many hours of specializing training and continuing education. She encouraged the public to support fund drives for volunteer services and asked that young people step forward to help.

“It is a service that our constituents don’t give a lot of thought to until they have to pick up the phone,” she said.

Commissioner Robert Reynolds thanked representatives present at the meeting for their help during his own family’s crisis.

On behalf of the board, Zimmerman said the work of emergency medical service teams is “genuinely appreciated.”

“‘Thank you’ doesn’t convey enough,” he said.

Also during the meeting, Chris Wysocki, administrator for Juniata Valley Behavioral and Developmental Services, reported that the agency has little to no excess funding for the current fiscal year. He said the agency handled a few minor emergencies this year, but has been faced with no major emergencies for two years.

“In terms of next fiscal year, it’s looking pretty scary,” he said.

Wysocki said funding has been cut for 10 years. If the agency sees a significant decrease again this year, he said it will have no choice but to eliminate programs and services.

While general funding remains vulnerable at this point in time, Wysocki said the tri-county program has received two significant grants. A wellness grant for $3,000 is being utilized to promote wellness for mental illness in Juniata, Mifflin and Huntingdon counties. The “Mental Health Matters” grant has provided $10,000 toward suicide prevention. Wysocki said the community soon will see billboards erected with information about when and who to contact during personal crisis.

In other new business, the board:

Reviewed April 2014 reports, as listed: Summary of Collections – Fines and Costs, submitted by Barbara M. Lyter, magisterial district judge; Summary of Collections – Fines and Costs, submitted by Jacqueline T. Leister, magisterial district judge; and the Children and Youth Statistical Report, submitted by Penni Abram, Children and Youth director.

Approved the maintenance agreement between Juniata County and CenturyLink to continue maintenance on the 9-1-1 phone equipment. The motion was recommended by Allen Weaver, director of emergency medical services. The agreement is in effect through April 30, 2015.

Approved the guaranteed space agreement between Juniata County and Central Counties Youth Center, submitted by Robyn Ventresca, children and youth fiscal assistant. The agreement is in effect through June 30.

Approved tax exonerations for Monroe Township.

Approved checks Nos. 40,207 through 40,253 in the amount of $25,229.86.