Commissioners approve trail bids

Bids awarded for Juniata River Trail project

LEWISTOWN – Following a recommendation by the county’s planning department to reject original bids for the Juniata River Trail project, the Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday approved a revised bid totaling $450,866.76 from Jay Fulkroad and Sons to complete the § mile trail by the end of the summer.

Bill Gomes, director of planning, noted the original bids, from Fulkroad, Glenn O. Hawbaker, Ameron and Mid-State Paving, came in higher than grant money received to pay for the project. “We recommended to re-bid the project and modify some things to get the costs in line,” Gomes said. Fulkraod’s bid was the lowest of the revised bids, which also came from Hawbaker, John Claar and Mid-State Paving.

Gomes said the new bids include paving of the boat launch and parking lot area at Victory Park, where the trail will begin, construction of the § mile 10-foot wide trail, benches, storm water management and lighting at the parking lot.

Funding for the project comes in the form of two grants totaling $480,000. They were awarded by the State Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Natural Resources, according to Gomes.

In other business Thursday, Gomes presented an update on the Mill Road Intersection Improvement Project and sought permission to apply for a state ARLE Grant to help pay for at least two recommendations: ramp safety improvements at Electric Avenue and Mill Road turning movements (restricted left-turns). Those improvements are estimated to cost $219,762. Gomes said Derry Township has agreed to contribute $5,000 and the county donating $10,000 plus in-kind services should the grant application be successful. “This is a start,” Gomes said. “We have come up with these proposals and we’d like to see them go through.”

Also on Thursday, the commissioners adopted a number of proclamations honoring events and people from a wide variety of areas.

Commissioner Stephen Dunkle, himself a 4-H member in his childhood, read a proclamation recognizing the important contributions provided by 4-H volunteers throughout the county.

“The Mifflin County 4-H Program Development Committee, as a part of Penn State Extension, shares a mission to provide local youth with opportunities to be a member of the 4-H program and youth endeavors,” Dunkle read from the proclamation. “The 4-H mission is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society.”

On hand to accept the proclamation were numerous 4-H volunteers and leaders.

A second proclamation was adopted to designate the week of May 20-26 as “Emergency Medical Services Week” which thanked the many paid and volunteer emergency responders that serve the residents of Mifflin County.

“The members of emergency medical services teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Commissioner Kevin Kodish read from the proclamation. “Access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury. Emergency medical services has grown to fill a gap by providing important out of hospital care, including preventive medicine, follow-up care, and access to telemedicine.”

Mark Wolfgang, regional education coordinator with the Seven Mountains Emergency Medical Services Council, said currently there are 168 active providers serving Mifflin County. He said last year responders answered more than 11,000 calls for service locally. “These are folks who are diligently working in a system that is continuously changing and evolving,” Wolfgane noted.

A third proclamation, dealing with substance abuse and mental health problems, was adopted designating May 13 – 19 as “National Prevention Week.”

Commissioner Rob Postal, reading from the proclamation, noted drug and alcohol, as well as mental health issues, can be prevented by utilizing simple daily acts of prevention, including helping a friend make positive choices or supporting a family member in need, which can lead to healthier lives.

“Through National Prevention Week,” Postal said, “people become more aware and able to recognize the signs of mental health and substance abuse disorders. We call upon our community to observe this week with compelling programs and events that support this year’s theme, ‘Action Toady, Healthier Tomorrow.'”

A fourth proclamation was held to commemorate a horrible day in Mifflin County 50 years ago (June 1, 1968) when three young volunteer firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty after responding to a silo fire at the Dairyland complex in Reedsville.

The proclamation, dubbed “A Day of Hope,” recognized the service of those lost that day, 17 year-old Johnny Wilson, 18 year-old Richard White, and 19 year-old Jack Hopple, by honoring surviving family members and fire fighters who were on the scene that fateful day.

Bob Barlett, chief of the Lewistown Fire Company, noted, “That was the darkest day in the history of the Lewistown Fire Company. These brave young men gave their lives that day in a explosion. The following Tuesday, two were buried on what was to be their graduation day. I just want to say that 50 years later, the Lewistown Fire Department has not forgotten.”

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

¯ Approved implementation of a mortgage and promissory note system for the county’s single family, housing rehabilitation program to easier comply with SEDA-COG standard operating procedures.

¯ Approved an offer of $300 for a parcel, located in Lewistown Borough, that is currently in repository for unsold properties.

¯ Approved a request for exoneration of 2018 county real estate taxes in the amount of $114.33 for a parcel in Granville Township where a mobile home was sold and removed from the property.

¯ Refunded a portion of 2011 through 2016 real estate taxes in the amount of $2,115.62 for a parcel in Menno Township where a house was removed in 1997.

¯ Approved the transfer of Dana Parson from deed and per capita clerk in the assessment office to legal secretary in the district attorney’s office effective May 25.

¯ Approved the promotion of Paula Himes from legal secretary to paralegal in the district attorney’s office effective June 4.

¯ Approved the appointment of Alexis Kibe as an intern in the district attorney’s office effective May 21.