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Campaign underway to support troops, dogs

4-H Dog Club begin drive for military and K-9 soldiers

LEWISTOWN – A donation drive to support military troops and K-9 soldiers is underway in the area.

During Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County Commissioners, representatives of the Mifflin County 4-H Dog Club, sponsor of the drive, said the purpose of the drive is to collect items to be sent to military personnel and their partner K-9 soldiers. Also on hand for the announcement was five-year old Piper, a German Shepherd, from the dog club.

Items being sought for human soldiers consist of personal hygiene materials, wet wipes, disposable razors, chap sticks, toothbrushes, magazines, books, as well as DVDs and CDs. For the K-9 soldiers, dog bowls, toys, eye drops, ear wash, K-9 shampoo, grooming tools and doggie treats are among the items being requested.

A drop-box will be located in the treasurer’s office of the Mifflin County Courthouse through August 15. Items can also be dropped off at the Penn State Extension office or to the green building at the Mifflin County 4-H Youth Fair at the Youth Park in Reedsville.

In other business Thursday, Bill Gomes, director of planning, presented a brief update on the progress being made from the Mifflin County Internet Committee.

“We’ve come a long way in discussions on improving internet service in the county,” Gomes said. He also reported on the results of a county-wide survey that was recently completed, noting that at least 50 percent of respondents indicated they would like to see improved internet service. “A third of the people were satisfied but there was still a slight majority not satisfied with their service,” he commented. “That’s important because a year ago we did not have this information.”

Gomes said the survey had a return rate of 28 percent. “That was not quite as high as we would have liked, but it is acceptable,” he added.

A separate survey that was sent to businesses only was also conducted. Gomes said the committee received a little over 100 responses and most were satisfied with their current internet service. “One thing they were concerned about,” he continued, “was future use. All of this information will help us as we continue to develop a feasibility study.”

Also on Thursday, Allison Fisher of the Mifflin-Juniata Human Services Department, and Darla Rickert, a specialist with the Family Assistance Center, a multi-county agency partnering with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, were on hand to announce a new food assistance program targeted at current service members and veterans.

Dubbed “Military Share,” the program will distribute food items to current and past military members on Friday, Aug. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lewistown Armory. Rickert noted that in central Pennsylvania alone, nearly 26 percent of households receiving food assistance have at least one military member who has served or is currently serving in the military. Separate from other food assistance programs, Military Share is designed to provide fresh, nutritious foods for families of veterans or current members who apply for the assistance.

Interested families or individuals must pre-register by contacting Rickert by phone at (717) 769-9671 or e-mail at darla.f.rickert.ctr@mail.mil before Aug. 9.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

¯ Approved a request to enter into negotiations with the engineering firm of C.S. Davidson of Gettysburg to serve as engineer for Brown Township’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded projects. James Lettiere, community development administrator, said a total of seven requests for qualifications were received and C.S. Davidson scored the highest on a ranking system.

¯ Approved a sub-recipient agreement between the county, Brown Township and the Municipal Authority of Lewistown for a water line extension project on Woodland and East Back Mountain Roads in Brown Township. Lettiere said the project will hook five homes that have been experiencing well problems to municipal water service at a cost of $36,900, to be paid for through 2014 and 2015 CDBG funds.

¯ Approved an amendment to the LSI telephone agreement to include 21 fax lines from the current Mifflin County Courthouse phone vendor to the new phone vendor.

¯ Approved an agreement with Comcast to provide telephone, fax and internet service to the office of Magisterial District Judge Kent Smith’s office in Reedsville.

¯ Approved purchase of service agreements for use, if needed, by Children & Youth with John Neblett of Camp Hill and Halbruner, Hatch & Guise LLP of Camp Hill.

¯ Approved an application for county aid from Derry Township in the amount of $8,892.05.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Ally Shaw as homeless assistance case manager effective Aug. 18.

¯ Approved the promotion of Stacey Leach from from caseworker II to caseworker III in the Children & Youth Department.

¯ Approved the promotion of MacKenzie Veet from caseworker I to caseworker II in the Children & Youth Department.

¯ Approved the transfer of April Ritzman from conference officer to enforcement officer in the Domestic Relations office.

¯ Accepted the resignation of of Katie Chilcote, caseworker in the Children & Youth Department, effective July 28.

¯ Accepted the retirement of George Welsh, confidential clerk in the commissioners’ office, effective Aug. 11.

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