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Commissioners celebrate Extension’s 100th anniversary

Penn State Extension milestone recognized with proclamation

MIFFLINTOWN – Penn State Extension has been serving residents of Juniata County since May of 1918 and on Tuesday, the Juniata County Commissioners adopted a proclamation recognizing the service for its 100th anniversary.

Several representatives of Penn State Extension were on hand to give brief descriptions of the programs they head, including Jeff Hackenberg, client relationship manager, who noted, “We are really here to celebrate a partnership that has lasted 100 years. We feel that is something to be proud of and is made possible through the support of the county and people dedicated to learning.”

Hackenberg continued, “Penn State Extension has been providing meaningful programs to residents of Juniata County for 100 years now and we’re looking forward to making it even better in the future.”

One of the ways to make it better, Hackenberg noted, was the recent addition of Adriana Murillo-Williams, newly hired agronomy educator, who said she is available to assist those invested in agriculture. Murillo-Williams said she is based in the Centre County Extension Office and is available to assist there and in Juniata and Mifflin Counties. Also, Hackenberg reported Extension is in the process of narrowing down a list of candidates to fill a newly created horticulture education specialist position and will return to introduce the successful individual at a future commissioners meeting.

Teresa Ellinger, who heads 4-H programs in Juniata and Mifflin Counties, said enrollment this year is steady when compared to previous years and encouraged any area youth interested to join in the fun.

Curt Houtz, an educator in the Master Gardener Program, was also on hand Tuesday and noted, “We will be having a plant sale and composting class this coming Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Mifflin County Airport and we encourage everyone to come out and see what we do.”

Prior to adopting the proclamation, Commissioner Alice Gray said, “We thank all of you for what you do for residents of our county.”

In other business Tuesday, Vince Giordano, director of the Juniata County Library, was joined by Jorge Flores de Valgaz, to announce the 2018 Festival in the Park, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Myers Park in Mifflintown.

Giordano said the festival was first organized by de Valgaz more than 10 years ago and said it is a great outreach opportunity. He said the festival brings together neighbors from diverse backgrounds through food, music and various family activities. “Now, community groups, such as the library, Head Start, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, St. Jude’s Catholic Church, the Juniata County Workforce Center, Migrant Education Program and others have joined Jorge in this effort,” Giordano added.

De Valgaz noted the festival will bring together numerous non-profit organizations presenting information to the community. “We encourage other businesses to join us, de Valgaz stated. “We hope to continue to grow this event.”

Speaking to de Valgaz, Gray noted, “I’d like to thank you for investing in your community. It takes a lot of work to do this. You’re giving to the community and we appreciate that.”

In other business, the commissioners:

–Adopted a resolution providing Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) benefits for a 59-acre parcel in Fermanagh Township. Commissioner Mark Partner said KOEZ designation abates certain taxes for a period of 10 years to assist businesses getting started. “This has been done before and been very successful,” Partner added.

–Rescinded a previous motion to reallocate Federal Fiscal Year 2013 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) administrative funds to the Port Royal Third and Fourth Street pump station project to reflect a change in the date funds must be expended to Oct. 31.

–Approved the Federal Year 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) contract in the amount of $219,288 for water and sewer projects in Oakland Mills and Walnut.

–Reminded the public that a delinquent taxpayer notice will be published the week of May 13 and said the deadline to pay back taxes and avoid being listed is this Friday.

–Reminded the public that the Port Royal polling place has been moved from the Port Royal Community Building on Fourth Street to the Port Royal Borough Municipal Building on East Eighth Street effective for the May 15 General Primary Election.

–Announced that because of election day, there will be no commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 15.

–Approved payment of bills in the amount of $222,359.63.

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