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Issue Home October 28, 2009 Site Home

More Qualify For Foster Grandparent Program
Community Foundation Provides Scholarships
Nicholson Association Spearheads Campaign
PARSE Update
PASR Awards Region III Scholarship
Blue Ridge Goes Pink
Beta Rho Chapter Initiates Members
Rotary Honors Agnes Jones
Team Work Pays Off On Susky’s Main St
Prevent Spread Of Swine Flu
Gary Gray Receives Excellence Award
Meeting Attracts Large Audience

More Qualify For Foster Grandparent Program

What do you get when you put a Foster Grandparent and a child together? You get a bond where smiles of confidence grow into success. Many children in local schools, head starts and day care programs benefit by having an on-site grandparent through the Foster Grandparent Program administered by the Area Agency on Aging. Through the one-on-one mentoring, Foster Grandparents build self esteem and social skills, help children improve academically and enhance their emotional well-being.

Kids aren't the only ones to benefit through the Foster Grandparent Program. Foster Grandparents receive a monetary stipend for participating which does not affect any other income eligible program individuals may qualify for. Foster Grandparents also receive paid holidays, paid personal days, and reimbursement for travel to assigned site and trainings. The greatest benefit is the enjoyment working with children and knowing that you have made a difference in their lives. Grandparents participating in the program report the opportunity to participate has given new meaning to their life and they feel needed.

Individuals interested in the Foster Grandparent Program need to be 55 years of age or older, meet income eligibility guidelines (single person annual household - $21,660, 2 person annual household - $29,140), pass a physical exam, criminal background clearances and ability to serve a minimum of 15 hours/week.

For more information on the Foster Grandparent Program, contact the Area Agency on Aging at (570) 265-6121 or 1-800-982-4346 (toll free). The Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging and federally funded by the Corporation for National Community Services. The Foster Grandparent Program is a member agency of the Bradford County United Way.

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Community Foundation Provides Scholarships

The Community Foundation of Susquehanna & Wyoming Counties has recently helped 71 local students attend career and technology training by providing almost $16,000 in full scholarships to the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center for the 2009-2010 school year.

Students from Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Lackawanna Trail, Montrose Area, Mountain View, Susquehanna Community, and Tunkhannock Area High Schools learn building and automotive trades, food service skills, health care technologies, business education and cosmetology practices at SCCTC, as well as obtain required licenses. The Community Foundation has established Affiliate School District Foundations with all of these seven school districts, and these SCCTC Scholarships are one component of the work accomplished on behalf of the local schools. Since 2003 more than 325 students have received over $65,000 in tuition assistance to attend the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center, making it one of the Community Foundation’s more successful school programs.

“With the help of the Community Foundation, hundreds of students have been able to learn the proper skills needed for a successful future. We can not thank them enough,” said Dr. Alice M. Davis, Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center Administrative Director.

The SCCTC scholarships come through the Community Foundation’s K-12 Scholarship program, and funding has been provided by First Liberty Bank & Trust, Frontier Communications, Northeast PA Telephone Co., Peoples National Bank, and Storeroom Solutions. Businesses that enroll in the state’s Education Improvement Tax Credit Program can offset their Pennsylvania tax liability by donating to local educational scholarships in either Pre-Kindergarten or K-12 categories, and by supporting curriculum enhancement projects in the local schools. Providing these scholarships for students from both Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties is only one component of The Community Foundation’s objective of providing assistance to families and non-profit organizations in the region, and all are thanked for their participation in this program.

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Nicholson Association Spearheads Campaign

The Nicholson Heritage Association is spearheading an effort to request the United States Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp for the 100th anniversary of the Nicholson Bridge, and is calling for support from the community and the region. The Nicholson Bridge, also known as the Tunkhannock Viaduct, was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad (D.L.&W.) in 1912 and was completed, dedicated and ready for use on November 6, 1915. This massive reinforced concrete bridge will celebrate its centennial in November 2015.

“The Heritage Association would love to signify the historic centennial anniversary of one the greatest engineering marvels of the modern world,” explains Marion Sweet, Chair of the Nicholson Heritage Association. “A commemorative stamp is a great way to recognize this design and construction marvel of national importance.”

The Association has garnered more than six hundred and fifty letters so far from supporters that include the Canadian Pacific Railway, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Steamtown National Historic Site, Erie Lackawanna Historical Society, U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S. Representative Chris Carney, State Senator Lisa Baker, State Representative Sandy Major and the Wyoming County Commissioners. Moreover, the Nicholson Heritage Association is continuing to collect letters of support to be sent to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, and is asking support of those interested in submitting a letter. A sample letter can be downloaded from the Association’s recently created Web site, which can be hand-signed directly or used as a template for writing your own letter of support. Once completed, dated and signed, please send letter to the Nicholson Heritage Association at P.O. Box 496, Nicholson, PA 18446.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and former President Theodore Roosevelt were among the many people that came to view this one of a kind bridge. This remarkable construction and engineering feat of its time was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1977 due to its national architectural, engineering and transportation significance. In addition, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) designated the bridge as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark earlier in 1975 due to its significant contribution to the development of the United States and to the profession of civil engineering. As of 2008, only 244 landmarks in the world received this designation.

Besides the campaign for the commemorative stamp, the Association meets regularly to discuss upcoming projects that include the recently created Web site, sign placement at the Route 11 scenic stop, a new Christmas ornament and the 100th anniversary celebration of the Nicholson Bridge. For continual updates, please visit

The Nicholson Heritage Association was established in 1989 as a non-profit organization in anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the construction completion of the Nicholson Bridge, also known as the Tunkhannock Viaduct. The Nicholson Heritage Association is dedicated to the historical preservation of Nicholson, Pennsylvania, a small rural town nestled in Wyoming County and the Endless Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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PARSE Update
Submitted By Cynthia P. Sims

The Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees, Endless Mountains, Chapter 15, met on October 3 at the Elk Lake American Legion, Susquehanna County. Sullivan Co. Vice President Paul St. Germaine, who attended the annual PARSE state meeting in Camp Hill on September 14 and 15, gave an excellent report. He said that there is concern about the low PARSE membership. Currently there are 17,413 members statewide out of approximately 104,000 retires. Suggestions are requested to recruit new members. He also spoke of other retiree issues, such as the new health insurance program and the effort to obtain an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). He asked that all retirees write their legislators, asking for support of Bill 1970.

Members Anne Madden and Priscilla Lingenfelter, who attended regional meetings on the Retired Employees Health Program (REHP) Medicare Health Care Changes effective January 1, 2010, advised the membership on information they received about the two plans that will be available. Retirees may choose either Geisinger HMO or Aetna PPO.

Northeast Region Vice President Tom O’Neill also reported on the state PARSE meeting. He said that William Barrett was elected the new president; all the other officers remain the same. He complimented St. Germaine, Madden and Lingenfelter on their excellent reports on the above items.

Additional information about the new health insurance program and other retirement issues can be learned by attending PARSE meetings and joining the organization. The next meeting will be held on November 10 at the Zion Lutheran Church. To make reservations, contact President Jesse Bacon at 570-265-9784 or Susquehanna Co. Vice President John Benio at 570-278-2380.

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PASR Awards Region III Scholarship
Submitted By Mary Ketterer

Albert Lyons, III, a senior majoring in history and secondary education at Misericordia University, is the 2009 recipient of the PASR (Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees) Region III Scholarship. The award was presented by Mary Ketterer, Region III Education Support Chairperson, October 20, at the fall Regional meeting at St. Mary's Center, Scranton.

Albert, the son of Al and Laurie Lyons, is a Wyoming Area High School graduate, where he was very active in school activities while holding down a full time job. Mr. Lyons hopes to share the ideals with which he was raised with his future students, believing “teaching isn’t about gaining wealth or having summers off; it’s about giving back to the next generation.”

The Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees includes all school employees, having no other agenda than to support their interests.

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Blue Ridge Goes Pink
Submitted By Jackie Lynch

Blue Ridge teachers and staff participated again this year in Lee National Denim Day on October 2. A total of 102 people participated, raising $525 for the Women's Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). Lee National Denim Day is a one day fundraiser that raises money for breast cancer research. Blue Ridge teachers and staff made donations of at least $5 and wore denim and pink to show unity and support for this cause that has touched the lives of many in the Blue Ridge family.

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Beta Rho Chapter Initiates Members

Three area teachers were honored with membership into the Beta Rho Chapter of the Delta Kappa Society International at the October meeting. Cheryl Kerr and her daughter-in-law, Aileen Kerr, both from Montrose, are teachers in the Mountain View and Montrose School Districts respectively. Marilyn Prehm from Tunkhannock is recently retired from the Wyalusing School District. Dreyer Hall in Montrose was the setting for the meeting. President Susan Lee conducted the business meeting, at which time she announced the exchange of books to support the State Project, Ethiopia Reads. Through this project the state organization has raised over $12,000 to build a library in Ethiopia. Other informational items presented included the new logo for the Society, the fact that many new and updated brochures are available from headquarters in Austin, Texas, and the state president’s theme for this biennium is “Start from the Heart - Rekindle the Passion.

Pictured above (l-r): New Beta Rho initiates Marilyn Prehm of Tunkhannock and Aileen Kerr and Cheryl Kerr, both of Montrose.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional honor society for women educators with more than 115, 000 members. Established in 16 member countries around the world, the Society defines its mission as promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

Following dinner, a lovely candle-light initiation ceremony was conducted by Second Vice President and Membership Chairman, Ann Way. President Sue Lee, Agnes Massacesi and Cindy Reynolds also participated in the ceremony. Each of the new initiates received her key pin from her sponsor and was presented with a lovely single red rose, which symbolizes friendship, loyalty and helpfulness in the Society.

Presently the Beta Rho Chapter, along with the sixty-three other chapters from across the state, are planning and raising funds to host the NE Regional Conference in Hershey in July, 2011. The Society offers more leadership training opportunities for women educators than any other professional organization. These include scholarships for both active and retired members, stipends for educational projects, and online courses for professional growth. The next Beta Rho Chapter meeting will be at the Religious Education Center in Montrose on December 5, and will feature a holiday theme.

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Rotary Honors Agnes Jones

Agnes Jones was the first female member of the New Milford Area Rotary Club and a past president of the organization. She passed away on October 11, after a life of dedication to her family, workplace and community. New Milford Area Rotary awards a scholarship to one girl in the Blue Ridge School District each year, and it will be known as the Agnes Jones Scholarship beginning in 2010.

Agnes was retired after 39 years as the president and chief executive officer of Grange National Bank of Susquehanna County in New Milford. She was a member of several banking industry organizations and represented the Keystone State on the American Bankers Association Community Bank Board. She was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County, and lent her expertise to Friends of Susquehanna County and the Endless Mountains Theater Company. She also played organ at New Milford United Methodist Church for many years.

Rotary member Barbara Hill commented, "I worked with Agnes on Rotary projects after I became a member in 1992. She was our president from 1996 through 1997, and was one of our Paul Harris Fellows. She did a lot for Rotary."

The club gives an annual scholarship to a boy at Blue Ridge as well, and that will be named for Robert Kerr, also a past president of New Milford Area Rotary Club.

The New Milford Area Rotary Club meets at 5 p.m., on the first Thursday of the month, and at noon on the second, third and fourth Wednesday of the month at Green Gables Restaurant. New members are always welcome. Call John Reynolds at 465-7174 or Barbara Hill at 756-2133.

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Team Work Pays Off On Susky’s Main St

By working together, members of the Susquehanna Community Development Association, business owner Don DeWitt and community helpers were able to transform this abandon lot on Main St. to a small community garden. Work began after French’s Auto moved the greenhouse to this new location so that flowers could be started for the downtown area. Volunteers spent many hours clearing the lot and laying pathways. Crushed stone and top soil was purchased. Sandy Schell made and donated a decorative stepping stone while Don DeWitt spent the summer adding plants and flowers to make this downtown spot a pretty place to visit. Pictured (l-r) above: Frank Schmidt, Darlene Slocum, SCDA Co-Chair, and Don DeWitt.

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The first annual Susquehanna Community School Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) holiday wreath sale was a success thanks to the students, parents, teachers and faculty. Wreaths will be available for pickup at the elementary school on December 5. Hailey Buchanan is the elementary school winner of a gift card for selling the most wreaths. Luke Falletta and Mike Frye are the high school winners of gift cards for selling the most wreaths.

The next monthly meeting is Tuesday, November 3 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Upcoming activities include the second 4th, 5th and 6th grade dance on Friday, November 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Admission will include pizza, refreshments, and prizes. The Harvest Festival in the Elementary School gymnasium will be held on November 14.

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Prevent Spread Of Swine Flu
By Dr. Stephen Ostroff

Acting Physician General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The new school year is well underway, and as expected, so are more cases of novel A/H1N1 in schools around the state. Wherever children come together, there are opportunities to spread this flu virus. But you - parents, students and school staff members - can help reduce the spread of this disease.

The Department of Health strongly recommends children with influenza-like illness stay home until 24 hours after their fever leaves without the use of fever reducing medication. The same applies to teachers and staff. When you are sick, the best place to be is home.

We encourage parents to plan in advance in case their children have to stay home from school or their child’s school closes for a period of time. Talk to your employer now about whether or not you’re allowed to work from home or whether you have sick time that can be used.

As the Acting Physician General, I also strongly recommend that you vaccinate your children against seasonal flu and as the novel A/H1N1 vaccine now begins to become available, your child should receive this vaccine too. Vaccines do not guarantee they won’t get the flu, but they are the best preventive measure available.

Symptoms of the new influenza virus are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include sudden fever and cough with muscle aches, fatigue and lack of appetite. Many people with this infection also have runny nose, sore throat and watery eyes, and some also have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Always remember the flu is contagious to others. So, in addition to staying home when you are sick, other ways to avoid spreading illness include:

1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.

2. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

3. Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

4. Keep frequently used surfaces clean.

5. Stay at home if you are sick.

6. When the H1N1 vaccination becomes available, talk with your health care provider about you and your child getting one.

If all of us do our part and practice these simple steps, we can help lessen the severity of pandemic influenza this season in the commonwealth.

You can learn more about preventing the spread of the novel H1N1 virus by calling toll free at 1-877-PA-HEALTH or by visiting

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Gary Gray Receives Excellence Award

NEPA Community Health Center (NEPA) is proud to announce the selection of Gary Gray as a recipient of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) 2009 APEX Board Excellence and Service Award.

The APEX Awards - awards to recognize excellence in primary care - were distributed by PACHC at an Awards Luncheon on October 7 as part of the PACHC Annual Conference & Clinical Summit, held this year in State College, PA.

The Board Excellence and Service award is presented to an individual who promotes the organization’s mission in the community; demonstrates leadership related to policy setting and organizational priorities; has a minimum of two year of service in an official board capacity; and is a member in good standing.

Gray has tirelessly devoted himself to NEPA (formerly Barnes-Kasson Health Center) since 2002. He served as Board President during a critical time of change and strife, and his unshaken belief in NEPA for the past seven years has been invaluable.

“We are very fortunate to have Gary as part of our organization and congratulate him on this prestigious award, “ stated Terese DeLaPlaine, Executive Director of NEPA. NEPA is a federally qualified health center (FQHC), treating all regardless of ability to pay. Currently, NEPA operates three medical offices in Susquehanna, PA, Hallstead, PA, and Kingsley, PA.

The Pennsylvania APEX Awards, established in 2009, are designed to recognize the outstanding efforts of the dedicated individuals who work in and for Pennsylvania’s community health centers.

Other winners of APEX Awards were also recognized in the categories of Career Achievement, Customer Service Excellence, Innovation, Outstanding Primary Care Clinician, and the Carolyn G. Baxter Lifetime Achievement Award. A full list of the winners is available by contacting PACHC at (717) 761-6443.

The Pennsylvania Association of Health Centers is the state primary care association representing Federally Qualified Health Centers and other like-mission providers located in underserved areas throughout the Commonwealth. There are approximately 200 community health center sites in 36 health systems throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Meeting Attracts Large Audience

About 128 people attended a September meeting in Forest City presented by the environmental group Wayne/Susquehanna R.E.S.C.U.E. to learn more about the effects of gas drilling on water from three speakers - Craig Lobins and Jennifer Means from the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Oil and Gas Management Division, and Bryan Swistock, Water Resource Extension Specialist, from the Penn State Cooperative.

Craig Lobins, DEP Northwest Regional Manager for the Oil and Gas Program, whose office is responsible for issuing gas drilling permits for 27 counties, including Wayne and Susquehanna counties, drove 333 miles from his Meadville office to give an in-depth presentation of the process of issuing permits. The amount of permit applications has increased 25% every year for the last 5 years so their office is really busy. The yearly increase might subside a bit as the price of gas decreases.

The process to get a permit, Lobins explained, begins with the gas company’s getting an erosion and sediment plan and then a water management plan for the millions of gallons of water needed to frack the shale layers and then to dispose of the water that is discharged from the well. The treatment of wastewater is probably the biggest challenge. Neither the fracking liquid nor the wastewater should ever come into contact with the groundwater table. Additional permits must be issued from either the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC, that particular river drainage or from the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC,, 609-883-9522). Since the DRBC has postponed the hearing for the Cutrone site on the West Branch of the Delaware River for a permit for Chesapeake Appalachia to withdraw one million gallons of water a day for 30 days over the course of 5 years, there is still time for informed citizens to post their concerns. A chapter 105 encroachment permit is needed for access roads that cross wetlands. Any dams need to be permitted. Either Penn Dot or local townships need to grant occupancy permits for road or highway entry.

Gas wells must be at least 100 feet from streams and wetlands greater than an acre, 200 feet from an existing building or water well without giving written consent. Contact Mr. Lobins at 814-332-6860 or for more information.

Jennifer Means, the Regional Manager of the Northcentral Office of Oil and Gas Management, from the new Williamsport office, deals with all water management issues, including wastewater disposal and is responsible for monitoring and compliance of gas wells, including inspections. With the rapid rate of increased gas leasing, the development of the new technology of fracking, and the monitoring of waste water treatment, there is much for the new staff to accomplish. There are only 4 inspectors and still unfilled vacancies in the department. Contact Ms. Means at 570-327-3667 or

Bryan Swistosk’s presentation focused on the pollutants in the waste fluids and strategies homeowners can use to protect their drinking water supply in areas where drilling activity is occurring. Swistock first explained that PA is the second highest state in the amount of private water wells after Michigan and at least 40% of all water wells fail at least one safe drinking water standards. Alaska and Pennsylvania are the only two states with no safety requirements for well water. So it is up to the landowners to do more to protect their water supply from contaminants in their everyday lives by doing simple things like keeping all possible pollutants like pesticides, fertilizers, domestic animals, manure, etc. away from their well heads for a radius of at least 100 feet and making sure the well head cap is sanitary.

“Marcellus shale drilling is a recent thing, and we need more time to research what the effects will be,” he said. He stated that there were 400 Marcellus drilling sites begun last year and that the number has risen to about 1,200 so far this year. By year’s end, the number should be around 1,600. Testing the water supply for property within 1000 feet of a gas well is the responsibility of the gas company. Landowners should require a copy of the water test as part of their lease. Whether or not the land is in a lease anyone with property near a gas well site should test the water supply before any gas drilling is done and then again within 6 months after completion of the well.

Although it would be extremely expensive to test for all the possible pollutants from the fracking process, there are some indicators that can be tested. First, a test for total dissolved solids (TDS), barium and chloride, which would cost about a $100.00, would be a great indicator of problems. A fairly simple test for TDS can be made with a TDS meter, which can be purchased online for about $50.00. For example, recent sample tests from Northeast PA where there has been little fracking, contain low to non-existent barium, chloride or TDS. In comparison, water testing in McKean County, which has had heavy gas drilling, has very high levels of these pollutants.

Depending on the level of concern and how much the landowner can afford, the next more comprehensive test would be for methane, iron, manganese, total organic carbon, and turbidity. A certified water lab can be found through the local Penn State Cooperative. It is very important to stipulate water protection measures such as setback distances, seismic testing, water testing, waste fluid handling, in any gas well lease for the landowner. Contact Mr. Swistock at 814-863-0194 or for more information on water testing and other water related issues.

There was a wealth of information to be shared. After nearly two hours of presentations, there were still lots of questions from the audience with the meeting ending at 10:30 p.m. One questioner asked if it was not known what chemicals were in the drilling fluid, how could a treatment plant operator be sure that the chemicals were safely removed. This is a very complex issue which necessitates that all landowners become as informed as possible. Government officials will act according to our interests if we let those concerns be known. A petition to Senator Casey (Co-sponsor) and Senator Specter, and Congressman Carney to enact the Frac Act was signed by 79 people in the audience. The frac act (S.1215 and HR 2766) would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act and require public disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing fluids. A copy of that petition will be on the website:

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