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Penn State Extension re-structuring complete

Client relationship manager on hand to explain changes

MIFFLINTOWN — A major re-structuring of personnel and services within the Penn State Extension system is complete and during Tuesday’s meeting of the Juniata County Commissioners, the client relationship manager serving the area was on hand to explain how the changes work.

Jeff Hackenberg is a regional client relationship manager serving Juniata, Mifflin, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset Counties.

“Structural changes have been implemented throughout the state,” Heckenberg said. “In the past there were district directors each serving two counties. But because those directors were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the offices they were limited in the amount of time being spent in the community.”

Hackenberg said the new structure consists of an operations manager and a client relationship position that each oversee an eight county region. “I cover eight counties, including Juniata and Mifflin,” Hackenberg noted. “Now we can be more focused on our duties of being more involved with different organizations throughout the communities. My job is to go out and connect with people in all sorts of areas: government, agriculture, conservation districts, education, economic development, business organizations and community service organizations. We want these groups to know what services we have available and to make sure they are easier to access.”

In Juniata County, Hackenberg said those interested in learning more about services offered by Penn State can contact the local extension office or himself at the Martinsville office by calling (814) 409-7977 or e-mailing juh714@psu.edu.

In other business Tuesday, Mike Hannon, executive director of the Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Commission, spoke briefly on a new form of drug-related training that he would like to see become available in Juniata County.

“Children & Youth in Mifflin County held a training on dealing with crystal meth yesterday,” Hannon reported. “I don’t know if anyone from Juniata County was present for that but that’s something we can provide free of charge.”

Hannon said the ongoing heroin problem certainly hasn’t abated. In addition to those problems, he says crystal meth production and use is on the rise as well.

“We’re starting to see more and more of it,” he said. “And with the lack of law enforcement, Juniata County is becoming an easier place to do that sort of thing. It’s getting to the point where someone can carry everything they need to mix up crystal meth in a book bag. I think this (training) would help here.”

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:

¯ Acting as salary board, approved an annual salary of $21,500 for the assistant district attorney position that is currently unfilled.

¯ Ratified the use of County Records Improvement funds to purchase office start-up electronic equipment for the newly created GIS department at a maximum cost of $4,409.95.

¯ Approved the hiring of Brenda Taylor as a part-time deputy treasurer with wages and benefits determined as per the current bargaining unit contract.

¯ Ratified the following Juniata County Hazardous Materials checks: $280 to Com Pros Inc. for radio removal from a vehicle; and $69.28 to Wex Bank for the purchase of fuel.

¯ Approved the 2017 State Homeland Security Grant Program grant agreement as submitted by Emergency Management Director Allen Weaver.

¯ Approved spending authority for the GIS Department for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year.

¯ Approved payment of bills in the amount of $178,181.48.

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