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Issue Home April 12, 2005 Site Home

Mural Installed At Welcome Center
Search Begins For County Dairy Princess
C.A.S.U.A.L. Day
Engagement Announced Williams - Less

Rep. Major Encourages PCC Participation
Consumers Urged To Enroll In Program

Fraud Prevention Tips For Area Seniors
Pickett Appointed To Advisory Committee
PNB Declares Dividends

Program Develops Rural Leaders
USDA RD Offering Home Mortgages


Mural Installed At Welcome Center

Great Bend – On Wednesday, muralist Murrie Gayman completed installation of a barnwood mural at the new I-81 Welcome Center being constructed in Great Bend, Susquehanna County.

The new visitors’ center, which has been anticipated for years, is expected to open this spring, and when it does, visitors will be greeted by this mural, which is hanging in the reception area.

Mr. Gayman worked with the EMVB and its Board of Directors, and used pictures and postcards of landmarks and scenery from throughout the four-county Endless Mountains region in developing the scenes depicted in the mural.

The mural is constructed out of recycled barnwood and was hand-cut and painted by Mr. Gayman.

The barnwood for the mural was donated by Sandy Conklin, owner of Conklin’s Barnwood, in Susquehanna.

“This is an exciting day for the entire Endless Mountains region,” said Amy Gruzesky, EMVB executive director. “We have been waiting a long time for this welcome center to come to Susquehanna County and now that it’s here, we anticipate that it will pique the interest of travelers who stop here and hopefully encourage them to spend more time in the Endless Mountains.

“The mural is simply fantastic and something that I believe will leave a very good and lasting impression on everyone who sees it,” she added. “I believe it will catch the eye of every traveler who passes through here.”

The Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau represents Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

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Search Begins For County Dairy Princess

Once again, Susquehanna County is seeking candidates to serve as County Dairy Princess. Single young ladies between the age of 16-24 from a dairy background or with an interest in the dairy industry may want to consider devoting a year of their time to help further the interests of the dairy industry.

Qualification to be a Dairy Princess candidate includes being at least one of the following. A daughter of a dairy farmer or dairy farm employee, or someone employed in a dairy related industry, or be in a 4-H club and own at least two dairy animals as a 4-H project, or have served for a full year as a Dairy Maid or Dairy Ambassador. A dairy princess candidate must be at least 16 years old by July 1 and not over 24 years old by December 31 of the current year.

Current Susquehanna County Dairy Princess Amanda Zembrzycki promotes dairy products at one of her many promotions by serving cheese and crackers and handing out dairy related brochures.

Girls 10 years old and older are invited to serve as a Dairy Maid or Dairy Ambassador. This program is a complimentary program, which functions within the county to assist the Dairy Princess in carrying out her duties and to educate and train future princess candidates and promoters.

Princess candidates, Dairy Maids and Ambassadors must have a sincere desire to promote dairy products, be a milk drinker and be a user of REAL dairy products.

Girls involved in this program develop or improve skills in public speaking, leadership, public relations, journalism and self-confidence, as well as marketing and organization skills. These young ladies travel around the county making public appearances promoting the dairy industry.

Dairy promotions include festival and parade participation, appearances at schools, churches and stores promoting milk and dairy products as well as at restaurants, sports events, and club and association meetings. Girls do radio spots and write news articles. Many promotions are done at the Harford Fair and at 4-H activities.

Anyone with interest in dairy promotion or with questions about the Dairy Princess, Dairy Ambassador and Dairy Maid program can contact Evie Goff (278-1212 or 278-1158), or Mary Puzo (278-4704). The deadline to become part of the 2005/2006 Dairy Promotion program in Susquehanna County is May 1.

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C.A.S.U.A.L. Day

In a resolution passed at the Commissioners' meeting, the Susquehanna County Commissioners officially designated March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and March 30, 2005 as "C.A.S.U.A.L. Day" in Susquehanna County in memory of Helen Phillips, who fought a courageous battle against colon cancer and died in the summer of 2002. The resolution encourages all citizens of the County to recognize and support this effort, and other efforts of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute.

C.A.S.U.A.L. (Colon Cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives) is a program to raise awareness about colon cancer in Northeast Pennsylvania and the importance of screening and early detection. Pictured above, (l-r) are: Commissioner Mary Ann Warren, Commissioner Roberta Kelly, Meghan Trichilo – Community Outreach Coordinator at the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Commissioner Jeffrey Loomis, and Harry Phillips.

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Engagement Announced Williams - Less

David and Rebecca Williams of Hallstead, PA, announce the engagement of their daughter Megan Ann Williams to Mitchell Thomas Less of Clarks Summit, PA.

The future bridegroom is the son of Thomas and Nancy Less of Watkins, Iowa.

Miss Williams is a graduate of Blue Ridge High School, New Milford, PA, and is a May candidate for graduation from Wilkes University in Elementary Education and Secondary Education, English.

Mr. Less is a graduate of Benton Community High School, Benton, IA. and Alvernia College. He is an American History instructor and basketball coach for the Blue Ridge School District, New Milford, PA.

A July, 2005 wedding is planned.

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Rep. Major Encourages PCC Participation

HARRISBURG-Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) encourages residents to participate in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps program in order to promote preservation and education within the Commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Conservation Corps (PCC) is a statewide organization that offers work experience, job training and educational opportunities to the state's young adults who complete conservation, recreation, and historical preservation projects on Pennsylvania's public lands.

The mission of the PCC is to develop workplace skills, life skills, and self-confidence and teach the values of citizenship. The program is committed to a comprehensive approach that fosters a spirit of teamwork and the concept of individual empowerment through community service projects.

Corps members are Pennsylvania residents between 18 and 25 years of age. The members are offered an initial one-year term of service that can be extended an additional six to 12 months. The members earn minimum wage for the first six months, but receive a 10 percent increase after six months on the job.

At the completion of their one-year term of service, members receive a cash bonus of $1,000 and may qualify for an educational award of $4,725. Many learn valuable life experience during their service with the PCC and attend college for the first time or re-enter school. The Pennsylvania Conservation Corps is a great way for young people to earn money for their education while helping to beautify Pennsylvania.

Since its founding in 1984, more than 13,000 young Pennsylvanians have served. The corps members gain work experience while completing substantial and needed projects. The PCC also allows a mentoring program, which allows corps members with at least eight months experience to work a few hours each week for a business or craftsman in their community.

Nearly half of all participants in the mentoring program have moved to full-time positions at their mentoring locations.

More than 1,000 projects have been completed in urban, suburban and rural areas of Pennsylvania. Projects include: The improvement of 100 miles of streams, 4,800 acres of wildlife habitat and 21,000 acres of forest lands. The construction or renovation of 663 picnic areas, 590 cabins and 8,800 miles of trails. The rehabilitation of 301 historical buildings.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps, write to 1304 Labor and Industry Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Or call (717) 783-6385 or 1-888-577-4722. Or e-mail

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Consumers Urged To Enroll In Program

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging encourages consumers to take advantage of a free prescription drug benefit offering $600 worth of generic medications to residents of any age who are low income, disabled and without health insurance coverage.

The drug benefit, which is administered by the Department’s PACE prescription program, is part of a 2004 settlement between the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, 19 other states and Medco Health Solutions Inc., the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits manager.

According state prosecutors, the settlement resolved claims that Medco violated the states’ unfair trade practices laws. The firm allegedly persuaded doctors to switch patients to different medications on the basis that it would save money, but did not always pass the savings on to individual patients or their health plans.

Under the settlement, Medco agreed to provide the states with funds to assist consumers with their prescription drug costs. Pennsylvania's share was $1.8 million to be used to defray medication costs for approximately 3,000 residents. To date, fewer than 1,000 residents have applied.

Consumers who wish to enroll in the benefit should contact the PACE Clearinghouse at 1-800-955-0989, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who qualify will receive $600 worth of generic drug medications for use through April, 2006.

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Fraud Prevention Tips For Area Seniors

The B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Abuse Awareness Project, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, is focusing on the problem of financial exploitation of older citizens.

Here are some tips for Seniors on how to avoid becoming the victim of financial exploitation or fraud:

Never sign anything under pressure from anyone, including family. You should always be given the options of getting more information, consulting others, or having more time to think about whether you should sign something. Never sign anything unless you fully understand and agree to all provisions in a document or paper.

Don’t hire a stranger without interviewing him/her and carefully checking references.

Never pay money up front, especially for a job which has not been completed.

Never give out personal information like your Social Security Number, your credit card number, or your bank account number under any circumstances over the phone. Never give this information out at all unless you have initiated the contact, you’re sure you know who the contact is and how to reach them, and you understand why the personal information is being requested.

Be sure to consult an attorney about legal options, including making arrangements for a Durable Power of Attorney.

If you have a concern that you may be a victim of financial exploitation or fraud, contact your local police. Consumer complaints should be filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.

For more information in the counties of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Tioga, call the B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-982-4346.

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Pickett Appointed To Advisory Committee

HARRISBURG – Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) has been named by House Speaker John M. Perzel (R-Philadelphia) to the Associates Advisory Committee of the Council of State Governments (CSG).

"I am honored to be named to this important body by Speaker Perzel," Pickett said. "The Associates Advisory Committee recommends opportunities for members of the private sector to meet with legislators, exchange information on cutting-edge issues, and identify key policy and legislative trends that can help the private and public sectors, as well as individual states," Pickett explained.

The CSG Associates Advisory Committee is comprised of public and private representatives who assist the organization in identifying and recruiting potential associate members, provide advice on development and marketing techniques for the program, and make recommendations to the CSG executive committee for promising new public and private partnership opportunities.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to broaden my knowledge base, and gather new ideas for the 110th District and for Pennsylvania. Serving on this committee will widen my scope to benefit the Commonwealth and our nation as a whole," Pickett said.

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PNB Declares Dividends

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Peoples National Bank, the Board of Directors has declared a special cash dividend of $1.00 per share. This dividend will be paid on May 2, 2005 (the bank opened for business on May 1, 1905) to shareholders of record on April 15, 2005. President and CEO, Jack Ord, stated that the Board felt a special dividend was appropriate to thank shareholders for their support of the Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, Peoples National Bank. The amount of $1.00, or 100 cents, is significant in that it represents the 100 years that the Bank has been in existence.

The Board of Directors also declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.19 (nineteen cents) per share. This dividend will be paid on May 16, 2005 to shareholders of record on April 29, 2005.

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Program Develops Rural Leaders

Harrisburg – Senator Roger Madigan (R-23) is encouraging rural Commonwealth residents interested in becoming community leaders to advance their education and experience through a state-sponsored leadership program.

The Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program (RULE) is a two-year program designed to develop community leaders through courses focusing on exploring solutions to local, regional and state issues.

Madigan said the RULE program explores issues that face smaller communities such as water quality, land use, economic development planning and healthcare and human services. The courses also improve analytical skills, leadership skill, interpersonal skills and understanding of the roles of government and business.

“Rural communities constantly face challenges and see opportunities for growth,” said Madigan. “Those communities need leaders to face those challenges and capitalize on those opportunities. That’s where the RULE program comes into play.”

Enrollment is open to anyone with a desire to be a community leader. There are no occupational or educational prerequisites.

The RULE program is jointly supported by Penn State University and a grant from the Pennsylvania State Legislature, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services. Individual participants, sponsoring organizations and private and public contributors also support RULE.

For additional information, visit RULE’s web site at Individuals can also download an application, request an application by mail, refer a candidate and search for alumni through the site.

Completed application packages will be accepted between now and July 15, 2005.

If you are interested in receiving more information, please call Tara Stine at 814-863-4679 or email her at RULE XI commences in November 2005.

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USDA RD Offering Home Mortgages

USDA Rural Development offers a subsidized government program designed to assist low-income, creditworthy families and individuals in purchasing or building homes in rural areas.

To qualify, applicants must be under the low-income limit for the county in which they live (80% of median income), have an acceptable credit history, and meet certain debt to income ratios. The current interest rate is 5.625% fixed (33 years). No down payment is required, and funds for repairs (and sometimes closing costs) may be included in the loan. The unique feature about USDA Rural Development mortgages is that the payments may be subsidized, or reduced, based on the applicant’s income.

Call the Wyoming Local Office at (570) 836–4157, ext. 4, for more information. You may be pre-qualified over the telephone, if you supply your annual gross household income and monthly debt payments. Deductions to the annual gross income are made for the number of children in the household, child care expenses and persons with disabilities.

USDA Rural Development does not compete with other lenders. In fact, USDA Rural Development will participate in a joint loan where another lender contributes part of the money as a first mortgage, and USDA Rural Development contributes the balance of funds as a second mortgage.

USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and communities. USDA Rural Development programs include funding for daycare centers, fire trucks and other community facility projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; and loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs. For more information on the programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237–2299 or visit its website at

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