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4-H leader, member honored by county

LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County 4-H program took center stage during Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County Commissioners.

The commissioners adopted two proclamations, one honoring a longtime 4-H volunteer, and another recognizing the achievements of a student member.

Tina Goss, a five-year volunteer with the program, was recognized for recently being named the 2018 Pennsylvania 4-H Volunteer of the Year, which was based on her “merits as a leader, a contributing member to the Mifflin County 4-H program, and a caring adult volunteer who leads by a positive example.”

“Mifflin County 4-H and the Mifflin County Board of Commissioners would like to recognize Tina Goss for her tremendous work as a 4-H volunteer and her continuing efforts in supporting the program and providing 4-H members with an experience that will last a lifetime,” Commissioner Kevin Kodish read from the proclamation.

Goss, who was on hand for the presentation, remarked, “I am very humbled by the award. I’m very passionate with what 4-H is about. It’s been very rewarding. I’m happy to give back to 4-H for what they’ve given to my family.”

Also honored Thursday was Mifflin County 4-H Teen Council President Naomi Diehl, who recently dedicated her Christmas break to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the National 4-H Congress, a five-day event that engages high school aged 4-H members in leadership, citizenship, and global awareness. During the event, she participated in state-of-the-art educational workshops and heard from world-renowned speakers and took advantage of the opportunity to network with other 4-H members from across the United States.

“We, the Mifflin County Commissioners, recognize Naomi Diehl for her dedication to the 4-H program and taking advantage of the opportunities for personal and professional growth that the program offers. She represented 4-H in Mifflin County and Pennsylvania proudly,” Commissioner Rob Postal read from the proclamation. Following the proclamation ceremony, Diehl then gave a brief Powerpoint presentation on her experiences at the congress.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners gave conditional approval for a limited topographic survey for Phase 2 of the Juniata River Trail project in the amount of $7,000 with the EADS Group Inc. Bill Gomes, director of planning, said the first phase of the project was completed this past November and now sights are being set on extending the trail further to Blue Juniata Drive. “We would like to continue this effort,” Gomes said, adding that discussions for easement at the Juniata Concrete Plant and the Pennsylvania Fire Academy have been moving forward.

Gomes said the estimated total cost of the project is $597,000 and his office plans to apply for state grants in April and May.

Also on Thursday, Zane Swanger, director of Elections, announced a “Toss Your Hat Into the Ring” seminar planned by the Penn State Extension Service was recently canceled and noted his office plans to go ahead and do the program itself. The event, billed as an educational seminar for those interested in running for local office, will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mifflin County Annex Building, Third Street, Lewistown.

Swanger said core topics of discussion will include election cycle calendar; petitions, filing fees and cross-filing; statements of financial interest; campaign finance reporting; poll watchers; and public voter information and political signs.

Swanger said there is no fee to attend, however, registration is required in advance. To register, visit the elections and voter registration office on the first floor of the Mifflin County Courthouse or call (717) 248-6571 and press option 1.

In other business Thursday, Commissioner Stephen Dunkle reiterated his concerns about the methods used to close three branches of the Mifflin County Library in 2014. During the board’s Jan. 17 meeting, he publicly invited Library Director Dr. Molly Kinney and past library board officers Teddy Snyder and Tom McNabb to attend Thursday’s meeting to explain the methodology, which he said was unfair to the residents in the affected areas: McVeytown, Milroy and Allensville. Those individuals did not attend Thursday’s session.

In other business, the commissioners:

¯ Entered into a contract with the Federal Bureau of Corrections allowing the use of the Mifflin County Correctional Facility to temporarily house federal prisoners who are awaiting sentencing or have been sentenced and are awaiting placement. Warden Josh Garver said these instances are rare, however, in order to be able to house these inmates, a formal agreement is necessary.

¯ Approved an agreement with Infocon of Ebensburg to create a standardized file transfer program for the county’s open guardianships to the state’s Guardianship Tracking System for a one-time set up fee of $250 and $50 per month ongoing.

¯ Approved the promotion of Rebecca Ganoe from assistant tax claim director to tax claim director effective Jan. 21.

¯ Approved the promotion of Merry Bratton from chief assessor to chief assessor/tax services director effective Jan. 21.

¯ Approved the promotion of Kyle Kenepp and Karen Laub from part-time to full-time corrections officers effective Jan. 27.

¯ Accepted the retirement of Brenda Stayrook, children and youth case aide, effective Feb. 1.

¯ Approved the hiring of Tracy Barger as second deputy register and recorder effective Feb. 1.

¯ Approved the hiring of part-time corrections officer Angela Snook effective Feb. 4.

¯ Approved the hiring of James Johnson as law clerk effective March 11.

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