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The Susquehanna County Library has purchased a subscription to the website RLStore.com, a gas drilling information site, for use at the four county library locations. The site is updated daily with new permits and other information, and has a list of permits and active wells in each township with locations. A map of each township shows wells that have been drilled. This information is available from DEP and other sources, but is compiled in a clear way for quick access. Susquehanna County and 19 others are covered. To access the site, you must be logged on to the library's network (on a library computer or using the free WiFi) and using the Firefox Internet browser. To use it at home, you would need to subscribe yourself. For more information, visit www.susqcolibrary.org or contact Systems Librarian Hilary Caws-Elwitt at 570-278-1881.
The Baconeers 4-H Livestock Club held their April 24 meeting at Ross Feeds Mill in Hop Bottom. During the club’s meeting, old and new business was discussed. Members voted and agreed on purchasing navy blue polo shirts, to be worn during the Harford Fair. The shirts will be paid for using the club’s general funds. In addition, the club voted to hold the July family picnic at Knoebel’s Amusement Park. The meeting concluded with a discussion of fundraising, and community service. Members were reminded of our May 22 meeting, at the Harford Fair grounds, starting at 2 p.m.
After the adjournment, the Baconeers were offered a tour of the Ross Feed Mill facilities. Members learned about all the ingredients used in hog feed, the proportions used, and how they are mixed. Everyone gathered as the feed was weighed, bagged, and the bags sewed shut. We were also educated about the importance of proper feeding, and management of our project animals. Rob, manager of Ross Feeds, also stressed the importance of water, and making sure that our animals have plenty of it for good growth and overall health.
To complete the afternoon’s activities, all 16 members in attendance, were given a free 50lb bag of grower hog feed, courtesy of Ross Feeds! This was truly a generous and thoughtful end to an educational and informative afternoon.
Baconeer’s 4-H Club genuinely appreciates the benevolence of Ross Feeds Inc., and would like to formally thank them for being such strong supporters of the 4-H program. Throughout the years, not only has Ross Feeds produced quality feed that many 4-H members rely on to nourish their project animals, but they have also been returning buyers at the livestock auction held during the Harford Fair.
The Baconeer’s would like to remind everyone how important it is that our area businesses support 4-H. It really does take a community willing to invest in 4-H, and its members to make the best better.
HARRISBURG - State Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) stood with her colleagues in the House to unveil a set of proposals that identify revenue sources to help balance the budget without the need for additional taxes.
"Pennsylvania is currently facing a $2 billion budget deficit, and earlier this week the governor proposed to raise taxes in order to fill the hole," said Major. "What we are proposing is what many private companies do - streamline operations and cut waste. Our common sense proposals are designed to increase government efficiencies so as to save taxpayer dollars that can then be redirected to help solve the budget deficit."
The Democrat budget proposal, originally introduced by Gov. Ed Rendell in February, spends $29 billion, an increase in spending of more than $1 billon over the current year's enacted budget. Revenues are $1 billion less than anticipated with two months yet to be collected. According to economists, state revenue collections are not expected to recoup the losses this year.
In an effort to avoid tax increases on an already struggling citizenry, Reps. John Bear (R-Lancaster) and Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) over the past several months have met with government officials, financial executives, business leaders and consultants to develop new or enhanced non-tax revenues for General Fund use. Their findings have the potential to generate nearly $1 billion in new revenues for the Commonwealth - without any additional or new taxes.
The proposals outlines at the press conference include:
Expanded Use of Purchase Card (P-cards): Make P-Cards, similar to debit cards, the primary method of payment for all goods and services purchased in Pennsylvania. Revenue potential/cost savings: $62 million to $219 million annually.
Feasibility of processing other state's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments: Pennsylvania began processing its own SSI payments in 2003, the only state to process SSI payments in-house, saving $35 million. There are nine other states that pay the Social Security Administration more than $300 million to process SSI payments. Revenue potential/cost savings: $80 million to $120 million annually.
Correcting Tax Refund Errors: The Department of Revenue sends out two million refunds annually with a 10 percent to 12 percent error rate. Reduce the error rate. Revenue potential/cost savings: $50 million annually.
Improve State Vehicle Fleet Management: Reduce the state auto fleet by one-third; require state employees to use rental vehicles for trips more than 100 miles. Revenue potential/cost savings: $36 million annually.
Eliminate Medicaid Eligibility Errors: Establishing an Income Eligibility Verification System would cut the error rate, which is as high as 14 percent according to the state auditor general, and as low as 4 percent according to the Department of Public Welfare. Revenue potential/cost savings: $320 million to $1 billion annually.
Improve Unclaimed Property Law Compliance: Property deemed forfeited is not being reported as it should. Revenue potential/cost savings: $50 million to $80 million annually.
Streamline Sales Tax Collection/Internet Sales Tax: By adopting the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Voluntary Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, Pennsylvania has the chance to collect some of the more than $300 million in uncollected taxes from such online companies as Amazon.com and Overstock.com that do not collect sales taxes. Revenue potential/cost savings: $21 million (based on historical 3 percent compliance).
The total potential revenue generated if these proposals are implemented range from $587 million to $1.56 billion.
"I strongly believe that before government asks for one more dime from its taxpayers, it needs to first look to money already in the system that can be better managed and more effectively used," said Major. "The proposals outlined can be instituted right away without the need for legislative action. These are the types of ideas and out-of-the-box thinking we need in order to creatively solve our budget issues."
This past April 26, students from the Ivory Coast came to America through Horizons du Monde, a non-profit organization headquartered in Paris, France. The students worked for 2 years raising money and studying English in preparation for their trip. In addition, the students had to meet rigorous academic standards to participate in the journey and were required to submit daily homework recording their activities which is posted on their school blog.
While in Susquehanna County they were able to visit the Courthouse, Recycling Center, The County Jail, Montrose High School, The Lackawanna Coal mines, shopping in Vestal NY and a day in NYC. Students were placed individually in host families’ homes and were required to practice their English while experiencing daily home life with an American family.
“It was a great experience for everyone who had the opportunity to meet our student, Jean Francois,” stated Robin Waldowski, one of the host parents. “Jean Francois is a typical teenager interested in many of the same things as American kids - rap music, sports (especially soccer which they call football), and girls. They were all extremely polite and respectful and we feel blessed to have had this opportunity to meet them and practice speaking the French language.”
Interestingly, the Ivory Coast students felt the American high schools were a lot easier than their high school which requires attendance from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with 3 hours of homework every evening. They are also required to complete projects at the school on weekends. “We have to take school very seriously or we will not succeed. We do not have a lot of free time; everyone strives to do their ultimate best, it is very competitive but in a good way.”
This summer Horizons du Monde will be sending another group of students to Susquehanna County from the countryside of France. If anyone is interested in being a host family please contact Julanne Skinner, Susquehanna County Coordinator @ 278-2195.
On May 8, Dr. Assem Akram spoke to over 90 people at Montrose High School on “Afghanistan - Yesterday and Today,” an event hosted by the Montrose Area Adult School World Affairs Forum series. Dr. Akram, who currently lectures on Afghanistan at the American University in Washington, was a member of the resistance during the Soviet occupation of the country (1979 to 89). He writes in three languages, and has authored a comprehensive history of the war as well as two books of fiction.
Dr. Akram (pictured above) was introduced by John Reynolds, a member of the World Affairs Forum committee, who said, "even after 9/11, most Americans still do not know a lot about the Afghan country and people, and we're very fortunate to have Dr. Akram here tonight."
"The Afghanistan story is difficult to explain and it takes time for outsiders to become familiar with the Afghan people," Akram said. It is a country of many ethnic groups, the largest being Pashtun and Tajik, and it is this ethnicity more so than religion (the country is 80% Sunni) that creates divisions. That makes for a complex place where many wars start, and they generally don't end well. Yet, Dr. Akram held out hope, saying, "though it's a complicated ethnic puzzle, it’s not impossible to piece together. It's been done in the past and can be done again."
Akram detailed the history of the country, including three Anglo/Afghan conflicts. The reign of the last Afghan King, Zahir Shah, 1933-73, was the most stable time in recent history. He instigated reforms and a democratic constitution was put in place in 1964, ushering in a "golden age," when the political system was allowed to function. In 1973, Shah was ousted by his cousin and former prime minister, Mohammed Daoud, who took the helm until 1978, when he and his family were assassinated in a communist coup. A year later, the country was invaded by the Soviet Union, an occupation lasting until 1989. The Mujahideen who fought the Soviets took control for a few turbulent years, until the Taliban took control in 1996. Though they were welcomed at first, their brutality brought on renewed resistance from the Northern Alliance. until the U.S. ousted the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.
Relations with Pakistan have been difficult, largely because of a border established by the British which bisected the homeland of the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Afghans have never recognized this boundary and lay claim to a substantial portion of Pakistan, so it has been in Pakistan’s interest to keep Afghanistan from becoming too powerful
The country faces many problems. Eighty percent of its citizens are illiterate and poor, the birth and death rates are both very high, and after 30 years of war, the infrastructure is simply inadequate to serve the people. Dr. Akram said these statistics mean the International community must take the conveying of the right kind of message to the Afghan people very seriously. "Leadership is crucial," he said. "With no set political system, whoever gets leadership has lots of power. They can distribute possessions, work, money, everything the population needs," Akram said.
Akram knows the current president Hamid Karzai, having worked with him during the Soviet opposition. "Karzhai is a savvy politician," Akram said. "But it is frustrating, because he is a poor manager. Nothing gets done. It is all about him." He blames the international community for not forcing Karzai to plan for the future - by becoming democratic.
Akram says the current move by the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan is completely understandable. "After 10 years of war, fatigue sets in. The U.S. and its allies are focusing on a way to get out." It is costing the U.S. one million dollars per soldier per year, while an Afghan soldier costs his country $1,000 per year. American casualties are at 1,000, and Afghan civilian deaths hover around 15,000.
What they must leave in their wake, Akram says, is a country worthy the respect of its people. "If the Afghan government and military do not have the respect of the population, they will not serve them well," he said. Akram stated the International community can help by keeping borders secure, but insisted Afghanistan must provide the security at home.
"The International community must focus not on leading the country, but on supporting the country's leaders by encouraging infrastructure, and providing a sense of unity and security," he said. "The Afghan government should be told, 'Do your job!'"
In closing Akram said, "I believe it is a question of redefining goals. For Afghanistan to stand on its own, it must, most importantly, uphold the rule of law. It must provide services to its people. It cannot harbor terrorism, and must play a positive role in the region and in the international arena."
The Montrose Adult School thanked Montrose Area High School for the use of its facility for the evening and the assistance of technology director Craig Owens. More information about the Montrose Adult School and plans for the fall schedule may be found at www.montroseadultschool.org.
Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is recommending graduating college students begin preparing for life after school, including developing a budget and researching options for repaying their student loans.
Federal student loan borrowers traditionally have a six-month grace period following graduation before their loan repayments begin. The grace period allows them time to secure employment and become financially stable prior to beginning monthly loan repayment.
“For graduates entering the workforce, now is the time for them to establish a solid financial-footing,” said Representative William Adolph, Jr., Chairman of the PHEAA Board. “Recent graduates need to develop a game-plan that allows them to cover all of their financial responsibilities, including repayment of any student loan debt they may have incurred during their college years.”
Borrowers should contact their student loan servicer if they have questions about the various repayment options which may be available to them, then choose the best option for their individual circumstances.
Deferments and forbearance may be available to borrowers who are unable to make their monthly payments. Details on deferring repayment are provided on their Master Promissory Note (MPN) and borrowers should contact their loan servicer to discuss their options as soon as they determine their inability to make payments.
“Many graduates will be facing a challenging employment environment which makes it more important than ever to plan ahead for their federal student loan repayment,” noted Senator Sean Logan, Vice Chairman of the PHEAA Board. “Graduates need to be aware that defaulting on their student loans can have serious consequences but that there are flexible options available to them to help avoid defaulting on their repayment responsibilities.”
PHEAA recommends that recent graduates who are in their six-month grace period:
Keep track of the date that their first student loan payment is due to avoid late fees. The six-month grace period begins when a student graduates or their enrollment status drops below half-time (typically less than six credits).
Consider which repayment option best suits their situation by contacting their loan servicer.
Limit credit card spending to avoid unmanageable debt levels.
Set a monthly budget and stick to it.
Maintain a favorable credit score by making payments on time.
Enroll in automatic debit program which make sure payments are made on time and could save money.
Notify their lender and loan servicer of any changes to address or phone number.
During their student loan exit counseling, graduating students with private or alternative loans should have been provided repayment information for each of their private loans. If borrowers have remaining questions concerning their private loans, they should contact their financial aid administrator, lender or loan servicer.
PHEAA’s free debt management website, YouCanDealWithIt.com, offers a comprehensive guide to decisions and situations that recent college graduates will encounter such as money management, student loan repayment information and options, living on a budget, the benefits and dangers of credit cards, and online student loan repayment tools and checklists.
The Sons of The American Legion was created in 1932 as an organized program withinthe American Legion. The S.A.L. is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States military.
The S.A.L has made a donation to the Susquehanna Parks and Rec. for the addition of new equipment to be installed at the Frank J. Reddon Park on Prospect St. in Susquehanna.
Ron Dubas accepting check from S.A.L. member Al Cuevas.
The Sons have also donated to the Community Foundation of Susquehanna & Wyoming Counties in support of the Edwards/Napolitano Memorial Music Scholarship. This Scholarship is for a student who exhibits exceptional musical talent in vocal or instrumental performance who will attend college.
The Sons will also be providing the Marty Wood Memorial Leadership Award. This award is given to a Susquehanna High School Senior who has demonstrated leadership in community, community service, and promoted the development of young children of our school.
Following is a public service announcement submitted by Sheriff Lance Benedict from Susquehanna County Law Enforcement Agencies.
Be cautious. As the weather warms, the potential for scams and fraudulent activities increases. Each year, a few Susquehanna County residents are victimized by common and scam artists posing as legitimate businessmen.
Be aware. These criminals do not discriminate - they choose victims without regard to sex, age or race. They are good at what they do - deceiving you into giving them your hard earned money with the promises to perform work that will never be completed or even done.
Be smart. There is no way to give you a comprehensive list of the potential scams that you may encounter, but you need to be cautious when dealing with people you do not know. If a stranger comes to your door soliciting business, you need to use caution and be very careful.
Never give out your personal information. Under no circumstances should you give your personal information to any stranger without first verifying that the person is running a legitimate business. You should always request local references and then check those references before proceeding with any business relationship.
Never give large sums of money prior to work being performed. You need to avoid giving large sums of money for any contractual services before those services are actually performed.
Report suspicious activity immediately to a law enforcement entity. If you have any encounter with a stranger soliciting business that leaves you feeling suspicious, please report it to law enforcement immediately.
On April 28 a banquet was held at Dreyer Hall to celebrate years of dedication exhibited by the 4-H leaders within Susquehanna County. Year after year, these leaders take the initiative to volunteer their time advising youth in our community.
The evening began with dinner, where the theme of “4-H Through the Decades” was introduced. Shortly after, the program kicked off with a skit put on by Susquehanna 4-H County Council, and advanced with leader awards. Leaders were being recognized with one, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, and forty years of service to the 4-H program.
4-H Leaders were honored at the annual 4-H Leader’s Banquet.
First year leaders being recognized were Kelli Agler, Jeanette Brainard, Heather Charles, Charlie Clark, Linda Cole-Koloski, Lindsey Escandel, RoseAnn Escandel, Andrew Granick, Maureen Kane, Nate Oleniacz, Charles Rosengrant, Theresa Shelp, Pamela Shiffner, Renee Stalter, Richard Stalter, Laura Swetter, Phil Titus, Eileen Traver, Tammy Wilkes, and Carron Wood.
Leaders being awarded with five years of service were Will Harvatine, Cindy Tompkins, Floyd VanWinkle, Jr., and Julie Walker. Leaders with ten years of service were LouAnn Kiefer, Heidi Stephens-Pavelski, Martha Peterka, and Richard Stewart, Jr.
Danny Hoover and Steve VanKuren were recognized with 15 years of service to the 4-H program. Twenty year leaders include Valerie Aldrich and Phil Beardslee. Juliet Loch has been dedicated to youth for 25 years, Millie Booth for 30, and Lorraine Lauer for an outstanding 40 years!
Throughout the presentation of awards, intervals were obtained by the County Council to talk about different opportunities in 4-H, such as One Day camp, Camp Brule, and State 4-H Achievement Days. They also had an opportunity to spell out the acronym LEADER: love, effort, amazing, distinguished, embracing, and responsible. These are words best suited to describe the qualities of a 4-H leader.
The night concluded with words from LouAnn Kiefer about E-data and the Blue Ribbon Club award, and adjournment by Michelle Kowalewski was followed by yet another skit performed by Susquehanna 4-H County Council.
In brief, it was a well organized and amusing event that properly acknowledged the commitment demonstrated by leaders in Susquehanna County to the 4-H youth program.
The Montrose Chapter DAR is proud to announce that Regent Marleta Birchard Shadduck of Warren Center was elected Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution (PSSDAR) at the 113th State Conference in Pittsburg, PA.
Regent Marleta Birchard Shadduck, newly elected Treasurer of PSSDAR.
Regent Shadduck has served DAR tirelessly for eight years including: PSSDAR Conference Badge Chairman - 2007 in Scranton; Montrose Chapter Treasurer 2004-2007; Montrose Chapter Regent 2007-2010; and will serve as Montrose Chapter Treasurer 2010-2013.
Mrs. Shadduck has held the position of President of the Bradford County Council of Republican Women. She was a bookkeeper for First City National Bank and is the current tax collector for Warren Township.
The PA DAR State Conference is held each year to conduct the business of the organization by celebrating the accomplishments of each individual chapter, each individual state chairman, and each state officer. It is a time for members across the state to be with friends. Workshops are offered. Each chapter and state officer is asked to give an annual report of activities. Guests are invited. The location of the state conference varies from year to year, being held in the western, central, and eastern parts of the state every three years.
Tractor Supply Company’s National Paper Clover Campaign was a huge success at the Montrose store, located on Route 706. Store manager John Hamel reported, “our store ranked fifth in the northeast for the number of clovers sold during the campaign’s three week period.” In the northeast, 110 stores participated by selling 4-H paper clovers at the checkout counter which are hung in the store’s main entrance. All proceeds from the clover campaign go directly to the 4-H program; 60 percent of the proceeds stay locally for the Susquehanna County program and 40 percent goes directly to the National 4-H Council.
Susquehanna County 4-H members pictured with a 4-H Leader and representatives from Montrose Tractor Supply.
During the campaign various 4-H clubs were invited to do fundraisers at the store. The Susquehanna County 4-H County Council held a bake sale on Saturday, April 3 to benefit the newly formed group of teen members in the county. Proceeds from the bake sale will be used to support activities of County Council members.
Recently, members and leaders of the 4-H County Council stopped by the Montrose Tractor Supply Store to personally thank store employees for their efforts in the supporting the local program and the clover campaign so strongly.
Forest City Regional High School seniors went above and beyond with their senior project, Adopt A Cemetery. This is the 6th Adopt A Cemetery which Deb Giddings and Bruce Stephens have organized. Keith Smith and Jason Elliot worked last year in cleaning the abandoned Burdick cemetery. They did many hours of work with the help of family and friends, completed their part of the project last year, and handed in their report receiving a very good grade.
Although their part ended there, they didn't stop until the project was complete. They donated many more hours to finish the cemetery this year with the help of 51 other volunteers. Over 600 man hours were involved with this project, including members of the Burdick Family; 5 volunteer organizations - Elk Mountain VFW Post 8488, American Legion Albert Crane Post 221, The American Legion Riders Post 665, the Red Cross, and the Clifford Historical Society; and 6 businesses - DG's Bar, Wolfe Well Drilling, J&C Granite & Bronze Co., Franceski Lumber and Kerl's Ice.
The Clifford Historical Society provided lunch and donated some of the materials needed to repair many of the graves. A brief history of the Burdick family was read to enlighten all of how the family became a mainstay in the Clifford area. A sign is being commissioned, and in the near future there will be a prayer and dedication ceremony.
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