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Issue Home August 19, 2009 Site Home

Red Cross Benefits From Traveler's Tale
Families Complete TAPS Program
St. Martin’s Council Gives To Charities
Golf Tourney Benefits N. M. Area Rotary
Prescription Coverage Can Be Exhausting

4-H Fashion Revue Helds
County 4-Hers Learn Through Experience

Red Cross Benefits From Traveler's Tale

Author John Reynolds signed copies of his book "Out-of-the-Way Places - Green Peas Don't Make Good Soup!" during an evening benefiting the Susq. Co. Chapter of the American Red Cross, on June 20, at the home of Martin and Mary Lee Comey, Montrose. Reynolds' book relates his travels with an army buddy across north-central United States and three Canadian provinces, finding a little of the expected and a lot of the unexpected versions of people and places along the way. The effort raised nearly $750 for the Susquehanna County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Pictured above, Maggie and Jerry Sock chat with author John Reynolds as he signs their copy of "Out-of-the-Way Places... Green Peas Don't Make Good Soup!"

Photo courtesy of Philippa Follert.

"It was John who suggested the proceeds to go a local charity and asked which we preferred," said Mary Lee. "Martin is the treasurer of the county Red Cross... and I used to be on the Red Cross Board in Montclair, N.J. We both know and respect the unfailing assistance the Red Cross provides in all kinds of emergencies. They provide immediate support (beds, blankets, food) when families are displaced by fires or floods or other calamities; their unflagging efforts to provide blood for emergency use by running blood banks is nothing short of heroic. The local chapter has very low administrative costs, provides an array of services (CPR training, Learn to Swim programs, etc.) and struggles to meet basic expenses," Mary Lee Comey said.

Reynolds will hold another book signing from 1 to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Pratt Library Open House, in New Milford, as part of the New Milford Centennial Celebration. Proceeds will benefit the Pratt Library.

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Families Complete TAPS Program
Submitted By Stephnie Thornton

Families from across Susquehanna County are now better prepared to face those first school year jitters, thanks to their participation in a special program called T.A.P.S. or Transition Activities for Parents and Students. The free program was open to those with children starting school for the first time in the fall.

Ten families from five school districts participated in T.A.P.S, which met two times a week for three weeks at Mountain View Elementary School. During each session, children participated in classroom activities with early learning teachers, while their parents met with special facilitators. Parent sessions touched on everything from using home materials as teaching tools to parenting issues such as discipline.

Everything wrapped up July 2 with a picnic that celebrated the successful completion of program. The families were recognized with certificates and the children received bike helmets thanks to the Safe Kids Coalition of Susquehanna County.

T.A.P.S. would not have been possible without the support of all six area school districts in Susquehanna County, including the host location, Mountain View Area School District. Area teachers and parenting experts also took time out of their summer schedules to help.

The program was coordinated through Susquehanna County CARES (Childcare, Agencies, Resources and Educational Services.) The non-profit group is dedicated to enhancing the quality of early education in Susquehanna County. The agency promotes Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children because every child is Pennsylvania’s future. For more information contact CARES at

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St. Martin’s Council Gives To Charities

As outlined in the mission statement of the St. Martin’s Arts Council, one third of all proceeds of its productions is given to local charities. Recently, the organization donated to the four hose companies, serving the Jackson area - Thompson, Susquehanna, New Milford, and Harford.

In the past, the St. Martin’s Players have donated to the Starrucca Bag Ladies, who make quilts for the homeless; St. Mark’s, New Milford, Food Pantry; Angel Food Ministries; St. John’s, Susquehanna, Pro Life Committee; the American Cancer Fund; the Women’s Resource Center of Susquehanna County; and the American Diabetes Association. To aid the flood victims of 2006, the Players donated over $1,000 to the American Red Cross.

Over the past five years, this outreach program of St. Martin of Tours R. C. Church has contributed over $2,600.00 to local charities, thanks to many of the community who have supported its theatrical productions. Look for the next production to be staged in the coming months, as the St. Martin’s Players look forward to further supporting other local charities who serve our communities.

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Golf Tourney Benefits N. M. Area Rotary

The fourth annual New Milford Area Rotary Club Golf Tournament, held July 25 in Windsor, NY, raised nearly $3700 for the service club's ongoing projects.

The teams captained by Dan McLaine and Marty Brown tied for first place, with the chosen team earning four free passes to Conklin Players Club, donated by John Reynolds. The honor of Men's longest drive went to Jaime Frantz, and the Women's longest drive was earned by Cases Pavelski.

The New Milford Area Rotary Club sponsors youth programs in the Blue Ridge, Mountain View and Susquehanna School Districts, including International Youth Exchange, Scholarships, Essay Contests and distribution of dictionaries to all third graders. For more information about New Milford Area Rotary, call Barbara at 756-2133 or John at 465-7174.

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Prescription Coverage Can Be Exhausting
Submitted By Marcella Yasharian, BSST Area Agency on Aging APPRISE Coordinator.

Getting adequate prescription coverage can be an exhausting, frustrating and expensive endeavor. The United States Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have mandated that SHIP, State Health Assistance Program for individuals, locally known as the Pennsylvania Apprise Program, continue outreach to make the public aware of programs designed to help with these expenses to those qualified as eligible.

This year the Medicare premium is $96.40 per individual. That amount did not go up from 2008 to 2009, but may go up in 2010. That is a cost of approximately $1200.00 a year per individual or $2400.00 a year per married couple. In Pennsylvania there is a program that individuals can apply for to have your Medicare Insurance premium paid for by the state or via federal money. Many people are eligible or can become eligible for this benefit. The monthly income limit is $1219 per individual or $1640 per couple, with a cap on savings or cash assets, of $4,000 single or $6,000 per couple. If you feel you are close to but may be over asset or income limits it is advisable to contact the Area Agency on Aging APPRISE program, as there may be plausible ways of becoming eligible.

The Federal and State governments have determined that there are many Medicare beneficiaries that are eligible for this program that have not applied for it and they have given the Area Agency on Aging the challenge of reaching them. These are your tax dollars at work for you.

Once approved to have your Medicare premium paid you are automatically eligible for another program called “The Extra Help Program.” This program assists in paying for your Medicare D prescription premium as well as helps to lower prescription co pays.

Many may not meet the income or asset limits for Medicare Premium Payment Program but can meet the income and asset limits as designed by Congress for the Extra Help Program. These limits are $1353.75 monthly for a single person and $1821.25 a month for a married couple, with much higher resource limits, of $12,510 for a single person and $25,010 for a married couple. You may not qualify to have your Medicare premium paid but the if you qualify for the Extra Help program you then qualify to have your Medicare D premium paid, which will then also automatically lower your prescription co pays. Every individual on Pennsylvania PACE or PACENET, a prescription assistance program, should apply for the “Extra Help Program.”

The Pennsylvania PACE program bases qualification on the previous year’s income. Newly retired individuals usually have a higher income from the previous year then they are receiving in retirement. This often makes them ineligible for PACE or PACENET that first year. Very often simply applying for the “Extra Help” program, which is based on current income, can make a drastic difference in prescription costs as well as assist with the cost of the Medicare D premium.

There are many individuals who are eligible for state’s Healthy Horizon Medical Assistance Program. This has a higher income limit then regular medical assistance program. Many beneficiaries are paying hefty sums for health insurance and prescriptions, on a very meager income, who, in actuality qualify for the Healthy Horizon program.

This is all very confusing and frustrating, but help is be available. For information call the Bradford/Sullivan/ Susquehanna/Tioga County Area Agency on Aging APPRISE program in your county to inquire. An Apprise staff person or volunteer will work with you individually to evaluate your situation to see if you meet eligibility qualifications or if they can assist you in becoming eligible. Staff can also try to explain this very complicated system to you and to advice you on the steps to take when you are nearing retirement age or are disabled and receiving Medicare or if you are in the two year wait period to receive Medicare via a disability. There is trained staff and volunteers to help you compare Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans as well as do Prescription Drug plan comparisons.

In the fall, during open enrollment, November 15 through December 31, the Area Agency on Aging is very busy assisting in these areas and appointments are suggested. APPRISE staff is trained and dedicated in assisting individuals who have encountered problems with their various Medicare and insurance programs. The Area Agency on Aging has accessibility to contacts and knows the procedures necessary to try to solve the various issues.

For assistance or information please feel free to call your local Area on Aging Apprise Program. In Susquehanna County call 1-800-634-3746 or 278-3751.

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4-H Fashion Revue Held
Submitted by Susquehanna County Cooperative Extension

The 2009 Regional 4-H Fashion Revue was held on Monday, June 15, at the Montrose Bible Conference. There were 36 participants from Bradford, Lackawanna, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties, which was an increase from last year.

This year’s winners were: Stephanie Ostir, 1st Place, Junior Wearable Year 3; Audra Everitt, Honorable Mention, Junior Wearable Year 3; Emma Loch, Honorable Mention, Junior Wearable Year 4 and up; Olivia Everitt, Senior Non-Wearable.

Four of the eight seniors selected to go on to State Days were from Susquehanna County, including Jordan Noldy, Hannah Cronk, Elaine Mackey and Theresa Staats.

Those participating were: Amanda Iveson, Sage Gauthier, Piper Gauthier, Stephanie Ostir, Victoria Grace Iveson, Mayana Trescoske, Audra Everitt, Alexa Suchnick, Emma Loch, Olivia Everitt, Hannah Cronk, Zoe Gauthier, Elaine Mackey, Jordan Noldy and Theresa Staats.

The Susquehanna County Cooperative Extension is very proud of all the outstanding 4-H youth who participated in this event. It takes great creativity, perseverance, and dedication to make beautiful garments and non-wearable items. Congratulations to the 15 Susquehanna County youth who participated in the 2009 Regional 4-H Fashion Revue. Pictured above are Susquehanna County 4-Her’s who participated in the 2009 Fashion Revue.

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County 4-Hers Learn Through Experience
Submitted By Michelle Kowalewski, Dairy Ag/Enterprise Educator

Penn State Cooperative Extension in Susquehanna County

The Susquehanna County 4-H Dairy Leaders and Penn State Cooperative Extension in Susquehanna County recently organized a two-day, overnight camp for sixty-two 4-H dairy club members from Susquehanna, Wyoming, and Wayne Counties on Tuesday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 1 at the Harford Fairgrounds. Dairy Camp is a longtime tradition here in Susquehanna County for 4-H members to learn a variety of topics relating to their 4-H dairy projects and to have a little fun too.

The sixty-two 4-H members were divided into teams, all named after famous dairy farms from across the US and Canada - Comestar, Waverly, Arethusa, Palmyra, Indian Acres and Top Acres. Senior 4-H members Bryan Castrogiovanni, Evan Castrogiovanni, Morgan Williams-Clark, Callie Curley, Eric Giangrieco, Abbey Hirkey, Amanda Hirkey, Allison Kiefer, Daisy Matulevich, Abbey Puzo, Carly Sherwood, Jenna Sprout, Trevor Tompkins, Mackey Wright, and Brittany Zebrowski served as team captains to keep 4-Hers organized and to help the camp run smoothly.

4-H members, leaders, and parents had the opportunity to attend a variety of educational workshops on Tuesday to kickoff Dairy Camp. The six workshops included: Exploring the Cow’s Stomach by Dana Empet, Kingsley; Dairy Showmanship presented by Dave and Shelly Jonas, Pleasant Mount; Dairy Fitting lead by Dave Castrogiovanni, Montrose; It’s Fair Time! presented by Michelle Kowalewski, Montrose; Is Your Dairy Heifer in Heat? by Jeremiah Fearnley and Maureen Kane; and Rock n’ Roll Ice Cream by Amanda Zembrzycki, Daisy Matulevich and Callie Curley. Tuesday afternoon the 4-Hers worked with their partners selecting, training, and clipping a dairy heifer for the mock showmanship and fitting contest held on Saturday morning. 4-H members practiced the 4-H slogan, “Learning by Doing” while working hands-on with a dairy heifer to develop their showmanship and fitting skills under the guidance of older members, adults, and leaders who attended the Camp. The animals were graciously provided by the following 4-H families: the Pavelski’s, Goff’s, and Tompkins’.

Other activities held during Dairy Camp included a dairy judging contest, dairy ethics and quality assurance training, scavenger hunt, games and relays, and an ice cream social hosted by the Daisy Matulevich the 2009-10 Susquehanna County Dairy Princess and the Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion Committee.

On Wednesday morning members had to opportunity to show off their talents in the mock showmanship and fitting contest. The showmanship contest was judged by Jessica Sartell, Thompson and the fitting contest was judged by Abby Onyon, New Milford.

Dairy Camp is one of the many 4-H activities offered in Susquehanna County. For more information about the 4-H program in Susquehanna County, please contact Penn State Cooperative Extension at 570-278-1158.

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