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Issue Home October 25, 2006 Site Home

Mary Frances Culnane Receives Recognition
Foundation Accepted Into PATH Program
Wal-Mart Donates To Flood Cleanup
Sea Scouts Elect New Quarterdeck
PARSE Update
County Chapter PASR Meets

Mary Frances Culnane Receives Recognition

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) is poised to start construction of two new ferry boats that have been designed for exceptional safety, comfort, and environmental sensitivity. WTA’s Engineering Manager, Mary Frances Culnane, directed much of this pioneering effort and is being recognized for her leadership in the marine industry by the Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineers (SNAME). Ms. Culnane was recently selected as the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Lauren S. McCready Award. This award recognizes graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) who are members of SNAME, who have made significant technical achievements in the marine industry, or who have contributed organizational or managerial support to making such technical achievements possible. The award was presented at the SNAME annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL on October 13. The award is named for RADM Lauren S. McCready, longtime head of the Engineering Department at Kings Point.

Upon graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Ms. Culnane served on oil tankers for almost ten years, becoming the first female Chief Engineer in the Merchant Marines. She was recently tapped to serve on the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Security Advisory Committee, established by Congress to advise the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security on maritime security and policy matters.

Ms. Culnane is the daughter of Mary Stapleton, Lanesboro.

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Foundation Accepted Into PATH Program

The Community Foundation of Susquehanna & Wyoming Counties has recently been accepted into the Partners for Access to Higher Education Program (PATH) administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). This program provides matching funds that have the potential to double the awards provided by Community Foundation college scholarships for local high school graduates. To be eligible for PATH matching grants, Foundation scholarship recipients must be a Pennsylvania state grant recipient, be in the process of requesting a federal student loan, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled at least half-time in a Pennsylvania state grant approved, postsecondary institution.

There are approximately thirty agencies in Pennsylvania approved to administer this program. The Community Foundation is proud to now be among them, and is pleased to offer this service to local students. In June of 2006 The Foundation granted 20 awards from 13 scholarship funds. Currently it is poised to grant 31 awards from 23 scholarship funds, and fully expects that number to increase by June of 2007. Furthermore, to help increase the assistance to scholarship recipients, friends and alumni may contribute tax-deductible donations to any of The Community Foundation’s scholarships at any time. The Foundation has formed affiliate foundations with seven of the school districts in its service area. These affiliations enable it to work closely with the districts regarding college scholarships, alumni programs, and other funding projects. For more information about The Community Foundation and its various projects please visit its web site at

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Wal-Mart Donates To Flood Cleanup

On Wednesday, October 4, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. presented a $15,000 check to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission (NTRPDC) to help fund a project to remove flood debris from area waterways in the Northern Tier Region.

Representatives involved in a flood clean up project for the Northern Tier Region gather to receive a check presented to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Wal-Mart representative James Davis, Senior Manager, Public Affairs for Pennsylvania presented the check to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission. "Wal-Mart believes strongly in being a store of the community and we are eager to financially support efforts like this by NTRPDC that work to make our communities a safer and better place to live,” said Davis. “Natural disasters are inevitable, the way we prepare and respond to those unfortunate events make all the difference,” he added.

The Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission (NTRPDC) received a $200,000 federal grant to hire crews to remove woody debris from damaged waterways in Bradford, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties. The first crew started in Wyoming County along Sugar Hollow Creek. A second crew started clean up work in Susquehanna County on October 9.

According to Frank Thompson, Deputy Director of the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission, the project is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and the workers must meet eligibility requirements. “Our first priority is to provide work for the individuals who lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently as a result of the flooding, then to those unemployed for other reasons,” said Thompson. Additional workers are being sought in Susquehanna and Bradford Counties. It is a temporary, full-time position paying $10 an hour, with no benefits; however, workers will receive various training. Job applications are available through local CareerLink centers.

“We’re very grateful for Wal-Mart’s generosity; this will help us to continue the program in the rest of our five counties,” said Kevin Abrams. Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming Counties were all declared federal disaster areas after the June flooding. Up to two ten-person crews will work in each county. “Along with Wal-Mart’s donation, we expect to receive more federal grant money to continue the program in the rest of our region,” added Abrams.

The Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission helps foster opportunities for businesses and communities in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming Counties. For more information on the flood clean up program, please contact Frank Thompson toll-free at 888-868-8800 or e-mail

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Sea Scouts Elect New Quarterdeck

After a dress blue uniform inspection of the crew of Sea Scout Ship Northern Star by Skipper Chuck Jaget, the meeting was turned over to Boatswain Ben Fisher to conduct the election of new officers. Daniel Gall was elected the new Boatswain of the Sea Scouts. He holds ordinary seaman rank, has canoed the Delaware River for the past two years and sailed on a 46-foot ketch this summer on Chesapeake Bay. Phil VanCott was elected as the Boatswain Mate, Maria Preston to her third term as Yeoman, Heather Neary is the new Purser, and Trinity Spencer is the new Storekeeper. Past Boatswain Ben Fisher is the Starboard Crew Leader, with Tim Gall serving his third term as Assistant Crew Leader. Our Buglers will again be Josh Neary and David Navickas. Another crew, known as the port crew is being organized as Sea Scout Ship 90 continues to grow in numbers.

Future Sea Scout activities include the 62nd Bridge of Honor on Monday, November 20 at the Sea Scout Hall in New Milford, to present Sea Scout ranks and awards to the crew.

Northeast Regional Sea Scout Training Weekend will take place January 5, 6, and 7 at Camp Round Meadow in the Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. It will include training on the required Sea Scout ranks, officers’ training and a sock hop Saturday evening for the crew.

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PARSE Update

The Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (PARSE), which is an organization made up of retirees from Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties met on October 10 at the Dushore Zion Lutheran Church.

The featured speaker was Senator Roger Madigan, who gave an informative talk on the issues facing the new legislative session of 2007. He said there will be a number of new senators and representatives due to retirements and incumbents who lost their seats in the primary election, as well as those who may lose their seats in the general election in November.

As an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is a topic of importance to state retirees, he said that 34 states have implemented this legislation, and he is favorable to it for Pennsylvania state retirees. He said he realizes that a COLA every four or five years does not keep up with inflation. However, the legislation must ask the following questions before enacting any new legislation. Is it reasonable? How do we pay for it? Can we pay for it without jeopardizing the pension fund or placing a burden on the taxpayers? The organization appreciated his attendance and interest in retirees’ issues.

PARSE legislative chairperson, Jess Bacon and his wife, Norma attended the two-day state governing council meeting at the Radisson Penn Harris Convention Center in Camp Hill, PA on September 17-18. He reported that the main business of the meeting was to decide whether or not the organization should hire a full-time executive director and an administrative assistant. Each PARSE chapter in attendance had two votes; by a nearly two-to-one majority it was decided not to hire these two administrators. However, the current leadership agreed to continue until there is a new vote. The volunteer leadership receives a minimum hourly wage, which was increased by the group. Further studies will continue regarding the need for full-time administrators.

One of the most important issues facing PARSE is membership. In order to have more input on the state level, each chapter needs to add new members. PARSE, Chapter 15 invites all state retirees to attend their meetings to learn about the organization.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, November 14 at the Fairdale Methodist Church, Susquehanna County. To make a reservation or to learn more about the organization, contact Susquehanna County Vice President, John Benio at (570) 278–2380.

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County Chapter PASR Meets

The Susquehanna Chapter of PASR (Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees) met Tuesday, September 19, at the Methodist Church in Montrose. During the meeting the chapter was honored for its 40 years of service to its members, with a citation presented to President Mary Ketterer by Regional President Frank Chopko. The chapter was officially begun in in 1966 and has continued ever since.

Pictured are PASR Regional Director Dr. Frank Chopko and Susquehanna County Chapter President PASR Mary Ketterer.

Along with efforts to better retirees' economic benefits, the chapter is busy with many services to the community, with its Socks for Tots and Teens project, collecting items for the Women's Resource Center, and ringing the bells for the Salvation Army at holiday time. Two members were recognized for their volunteerism: Ruth Roman for her PASR work, and Diane Sheldon for her volunteering at Tyler hospital and her church.

The meeting included a Meet and Greet with various political candidates and lunch.

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