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Issue Home April 7, 2010 Site Home

Help Available For Rural Homeowners
Endless Mt. Poultry Association Update

Get Your Deck Ready For The Season
Choosing Childcare


Help Available For Rural Homeowners

USDA Rural Development has loan funds available for very low income homeowners in rural areas.

Loans are available under the Section 504 Program for general repairs to improve or modernize homes, remove health and safety hazards and increase adaptability for households with persons with disabilities. Loans may be made for amounts up to $20,000 for a maximum of 20 years repayment period and at an interest rate of one percent annually. Individuals 62 years or older may qualify for a grant in cases where an individual lacks the financial ability to repay a Section 504 loan.

Further information may be obtained by calling Beatrice Elliott at the USDA Rural Development’s Wyoming Area office at 570-836-5111, ext 119.

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 day care 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

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Endless Mt. Poultry Association Update

The recent meeting of the Endless Mountain Poultry Association was very successful. The group’s upcoming auction will take place at the Harford Fair Grounds, May 22, with doors opening 7 a.m. For more information visit

EMPA’s deepest sympathy goes to the Alesky family. They recently lost Harold, a long time member of EMPA. Harold was born in Harford Twp. to the late Peter and Gertrude Allen Alesky. The group will be in search of a new vice-president if anyone is interested.

The next meeting will be held at Bingham’s Restaurant on April 24 at 3 p.m. New members are welcome!

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Get Your Deck Ready For The Season

(StatePoint) Before family and friends take to your deck or patio for barbecues, parties and other seasonal fun, you need to make sure it's safe and in good shape.

While the outdoors can be terrific for fun and relaxation, the elements can wreak havoc on decks, causing old or unprotected wood to warp, crack and grow mold or mildew. And age, moisture and wind can cause railings, flooring or steps to loosen.

It's time to inspect your deck or patio and get it in shape.

"Now is the perfect time to take advantage of warmer days to inspect and revitalize your deck," says Susan Uram of Olympic Exterior Stains. "And it shouldn't take you that long if you know what to look for and have the right tools and products on hand."

Safety First: Inspect your deck, patio or porch for split or rotting wood, loose railings or handrails, and damaged support beams and planking. Repair any structural damage. Replace or hammer in nails or tighten loose screws, bolts and spindles. You'll also want to check outdoor benches, chairs, tables and planters to make sure they are stable.

Apply Protection: The wood on your deck has many small pores that can fill with water and dirt, causing warping, discoloration and splintering. Mold and mildew also can break down structural integrity. First, give your deck a facelift by cleaning it with a suitable deck cleaner. Then protect it with a high-quality stain, which will penetrate and enhance the beauty of your wood for years. Be sure to choose appropriate deck cleaners and stains, which clean properly and protect against water, mildew, scuffs and UV damage from the sun.

"If you're unsure if it's time to stain or seal your deck, pour a small cup of water on a few horizontal surfaces. If water is absorbed in less than 10 minutes, or if the surface color darkens, it's time to stain or seal," points out Uram.

Beware Of Grills: Everything you put on your deck can affect it. Your grill can drip grease, staining or eroding your deck's finish. Position grills carefully, placing a hard rubber mat beneath them. Also be mindful of welcome mats. They can collect moisture, leading to wood damage. Always dry out mats after it rains, allowing the deck's surface to dry before replacing them.

Complement with Accents: Liven up your deck by using stains with accent colors on railings, spindles, step risers and treads. Get creative with wooden furniture and accessories. Try staining planters or benches with vibrant colors. Experiment and create distinctive looks showcasing your personality.

Nothing beats sitting out on your newly stained deck, soaking in the great outdoors.

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Choosing Childcare

Making the right choice for your most important possession can be a difficult and sometimes scary process. When it comes to choosing childcare for your youngster, there are several things to consider. The early learning program you choose should provide a safe, nurturing environment for your child.

When deciding on childcare, ask yourself some of the following questions: Does the facility provide a safe and stimulating environment? Is there a written illness or emergency plan? Is the program registered or licensed through the Department of Public Welfare? Is it a Keystone STARS facility?

In Pennsylvania, there are four basic types of child care. Many children in Susquehanna County spend time with a relative or neighbor provider. This unregulated type of care is provided by a relative or a neighbor and involves fewer than four children who are not related to the care giver. Families choose this type of care because they feel more comfortable leaving their child with someone they know.

In Susquehanna County, several facilities fall under the “Family Provider” category. Family providers care for up to 6 children who are not related to them. They are registered with the Department of Public Welfare, and often offer flexible schedules and a home-like setting.

Another option for parents is a “Group Home Provider.” Group providers care for up to 12 children who are not related to them. They are certified and inspected by the Department of Public Welfare. Group care also offers a home-like setting.

“Center Based” facilities can provide care for 7 or more children from infancy through school age. Centers are certified by the Department of Public Welfare and inspected annually. Centers are usually open year round and offer planned activities.

Any Family, Group or Center may choose to participate in Pennsylvania’s quality early learning initiative Keystone STARS. The voluntary program gives ‘STAR’ ratings to those child care providers who go beyond the regulations set by the Department of Public Welfare, reaching additional standards in areas ranging from education of staff to the environment for children. The higher the STAR rating, the more performance standards the program has reached.

For more information on choosing the right care for your child, contact Susquehanna County CARES at (570) 465-5040 or CARES’s mission is to enhance the quality of early care and education in Susquehanna County. The group supports Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children, because every child is Pennsylvania’s future.

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