Commissioners encourage vets to record discharge

LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday adopted a proclamation designating November as “Record Your Veterans Discharge Month” to urge all veterans who have not already done so, to record their discharge documents as soon as possible.

“Discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces are entitled and encouraged to record their discharge certificates or any other certification of discharge or release from duty that was issued by the United States government or any state government to those who served with the military,” Commissioner Lisa Nancollas read from the proclamation. “Discharge papers are proof of military service, and can be used to establish eligibility for a variety of benefit purposes including employment, retirement, civil service, financial aid and property tax exemption programs.”

According to the proclamation, the Mifflin County Recorder of Deeds office will provide veterans, their dependents, or others authorized, with certified copies of discharge documents that will be of full force and effort as an original, free of charge, at any time in the future.

On hand to accept the proclamation were World War II veteran Donald Black, of Lewistown, and Mifflin County Register and Recorder Barbara Stringer.

“I would like to thank all the veterans that have served,” Stringer said. “Because of all of the Mifflin County residents that are veterans and have served, we have the freedoms that we do in our county. Please come to my office. We will be glad to record your discharge. It’s free and we will be happy to give certified copies, as many as you need.”

Prior to and after the proclamation ceremony, all three commissioners took time to express their gratitude to all who helped organize, participate, and watch last week’s Veterans Day parade, in downtown Lewistown.

In other business Thursday, Commissioner Stephen Dunkle reported on attending a recent meeting of the Farmland Preservation committee, noting that 21 farms in Mifflin County have been preserved, covering 2,392 acres.

Across the state, Dunkle noted that 5,025 farms, covering 527,000 acres, have been preserved to date.

“Those farms can never be developed,” Dunkle said.

Dunkle also reported on the annual banquet of the Mifflin County Cooperative Extension, noting the office provides services to residents of both Mifflin and Juniata Counties.

Dunkle then listed numerous extension-backed initiatives, including Mifflin and Juniata County 4-H, Small Business and Development, Summer Science and Youth Camp, Health and Science Lab, Clinical Simulation Lab, Horticulture, Poultry and Food Safety.

“Extension serves a broad base of our rural community,” Dunkle said. “It takes commitment both in terms of staffing and people who attend the programs.”

Also during the meetings and events report, Commissioner Kevin Kodish thanked the dozens of individuals who worked the various polling places during the Nov. 8 general election.

“It was a long day for us and a long day for them,” Kodish said. “We appreciate everybody who came out to vote. We know some people had to wait as long as a couple of hours. We’re working on shortening that in the future.”

Nancollas added that voter turnout in Mifflin County was 76 percent.

“That’s double the amount that we usually have,” she said.

Dunkle then singled out Harry Cleaver, of the voter registration office, who was in attendance, thanking him and his staff for the hard work leading up to election day.

“Preparing for a presidential election is a massive responsibility,” Dunkle said. “I would like to thank Harry for a phenomenal job done for this county. We can guarantee you that it (the election) was fair and honest.”

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

¯ Adopted a resolution approving fiscal year 2016 Community Development Block Grant application for Mifflin County for several projects located in Lewistown Borough, Brown Township, Derry Township and Granville Township. The total amount being requested for the county is $622,651;

¯ Approved the residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan for Mifflin County on behalf of Lewistown Borough and Brown, Derry and Granville Townships for possible replacement of unoccupied and vacant low/moderate income dwelling units;

¯ Approved a resolution adopting the minority and women’s business enterprise plan, which promotes the opportunity for full participation by minority and/or women owned business enterprises in all housing and community development programs receiving funds from the Department of Community and Economic Development;

¯ Approved a resolution restating the county’s fair housing policy, which is in place to assist people who feel they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, or familial status;

¯ Approved the appointment of Randy Miller to fill an unexpired term on the Mifflin County Hospital Authority, which expires Dec. 31, 2019;

¯ Approved the Mifflin County Planning and Development agreement to provide planning services to Derry Township for the period Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017, for a lump sum of $1,500;

¯ Approved requests for 2016 Liquid Fuels allocations from Menno Township ($2,912.44) and Wayne Township ($5,052.79);

¯ Approved the following purchase of service agreements for use, if needed, by Children & Youth: Brian “Bo” Baker of Mifflintown, Burnham United Methodist Church Day Care, Robert J. Meachum, MS of Williamsport, Jennifer Johnson, LCSW of State College, Raystown Developmental Services Inc. of Huntingdon, Stuart Cilo of Lewistown, Mary Davis, MD of Lancaster, Project Compass of Milesburg, McClosky Counseling Center of Milesburg, and Diakon Child, Family and Community Ministries of Allentown;

¯ Approved a purchase of service agreement with Katherine Bobeck for fiscal consulting during the 2017 county budget preparations;

¯ Appointed Dunkle as the commissioner member to serve a one-year term on the Mifflin County Conservation District Board of Directors;

¯ Appointed Raymond Snyder of Lewistown to a four-year term on the Mifflin County Conservation District Board of Directors as a farmer member;

¯ Announced the county’s 2017 proposed budget will be put on display

Wednesday, Nov. 23.