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Family Farm Enters Preservation Program
The PA Agricultural Land Preservation Easement Purchase Program of Susquehanna County, which is administered by the Susquehanna County Conservation District, has purchased the development rights on the Jonathan and Charlene Bunnell Farm located in Auburn Township. A perpetual easement placed on this property helps preserve the rural nature of the township and contributes to maintaining a critical agriculture mass in the area. The Bunnell farm is the 27th farm purchased in Susquehanna County, bringing the total acres preserved to 5,711.
Pictured (l-r) above: back - MaryAnn Warren, County Commissioner representative to the Ag Preservation Board; Eleanor Kurosky, member Ag Preservation Board; Michael Gathany, Susquehanna Co. Solicitor; Jim Garner, Conservation District Manager; Ain Welmon, USDA-NRCS District Conservationist; Ted Place, Chairman Ag Preservation Board; seated - Abbey Detwiler, Charlene Bunnell, Emma Detwiler and Jonathan Bunnell.
The 148 acre Bunnell farm has been in the family for 175 years and is currently operated by Jonathan Bunnell with help from his sister Charlene. The farm averages 51 milking animals and raises their own replacement heifers. Crops on the farm include silage corn, grass hay and oats.
An agricultural conservation easement is a legal restriction on land development that limits the use of land to agricultural purposes. The application period runs from November 15 through January 15 each year. Applications are ranked according to soil quality, development potential, farmland potential and clustering potential. The highest ranking farm is considered for purchase first. The farm is then appraised to determine the easement value.
Foster Grandparents Participate In MLK Day
TOWANDA, PA - The Foster Grandparent Program consists of local income eligible volunteers ages 55 and older. Foster Grandparent volunteers serve day care centers, head start centers, schools and more.
Volunteers not only serve the youth in our community, they also participate in Martin Luther King Day of Service. Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. This is a "day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service is a part of the President's national call to service initiative called United We Serve. It asks Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
Each year as a part of the MLK Day of Service the Foster Grandparents from Bradford/Sullivan Counties, Susquehanna County and Tioga County come together with the Ugly Quilts organization to create sleeping bags for the homeless. If you would like to donate items or help create sleeping bags please call the Foster Grandparent Program at 1-800-982-5356.
For more information on the Foster Grandparent Program and other Area Agency on Aging services please call 1-800-982-4346 or visit the Agency’s website at www.aaaseniors.org.
This year give your friends and family the perfect gift, the gift of giving. Show them you care by making a donation to the United Way of Susquehanna County in their honor.
For every gift you make in honor of your friends and family, we will send the recipient a holiday greeting from you to notify them of your generous gift. Gifts of $50 or more will include a Live United t-shirt to your loved one.
Gifts will be placed in United Way of Susquehanna County’s Endowment Fund, where they will help ensure a good quality of life for everyone during this holiday season and in the future.
To make your gift today please visit www.UnitedWayOfSusquehannaCounty.org. For more information about making a gift or the United Way please call, (570) 465-3868.
Publication Addresses Water Withdrawals
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Cooperative Extension has released an updated version of a publication that addresses the rapidly changing topic of water withdrawals for Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
Originally published in September 2009, "Water Withdrawals for Development of Marcellus Shale Gas in Pennsylvania" reflects the latest Marcellus-related regulatory changes enacted by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Water is a critical component in the process of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. Public policies for managing and protecting water resources are common concerns of Pennsylvania residents, according to a water-policy expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
"Development of the Marcellus Shale could have major economic and environmental effects for Pennsylvanians and residents of neighboring states," said Charles Abdalla, professor of agricultural and environmental economics. "Individuals, businesses and communities will be affected well into the future as this energy resource is fully developed.
"Citizens need to become aware of their stake in water-resource issues and policies and effectively participate in public policy-making," he said. "Public policies for water management and protection will be improved if the affected parties - which include almost everyone - are well-informed about likely impacts and take advantage of opportunities to participate in decisions."
Seeking to engage residents, landowners, federal and state agency personnel, environmental organizations, economic development groups and others, the publication discusses the fast-evolving issues and public policies related to water resources and Marcellus Shale gas exploration.
While adequate supplies of water are one of several essential inputs needed to extract gas from the shale, wastewater is an output from the process that must be treated or disposed of properly.
"Through this publication, we hope to increase the public's understanding of water use and management related to Marcellus Shale gas development and help people understand how and where they can offer input into public decisions about water use and wastewater treatment," said Abdalla, the publication's lead author.
"Now is the time for people to learn about and help shape public policies that will guide development of the Marcellus Shale," he said. "These policies will play a large part in determining the economic well-being and quality of life for residents of the commonwealth for a long time - perhaps generations - to come."
Funding for the updated publication comes from the Pennsylvania Water Center at Penn State. To obtain a free copy, contact the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Publication Distribution Center, The Pennsylvania State University, 112 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802-2602; telephone: 814-865-6713; fax: 814-863-5560; e-mail: AgPubsDist@psu.edu.
The publication is the latest in a series initiated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Cooperative Extension to address issues related to Marcellus Shale gas exploration and development. Other publications in the series, along with related webinars, presentations and events, can be viewed at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas.
Resources To Gauge Older Drivers’ Safety
Harrisburg - With the number of crashes involving older drivers on the rise in Pennsylvania, the departments of Transportation and Insurance remind residents that it’s essential for older drivers and their family members to speak openly about what they’ll do when it is time to hang up the keys for safety’s sake.
“It’s a conversation that most people are not anxious to have, but striking the right balance between safety on our roadways and the mobility of older drivers is a very important subject,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “Driving is a privilege; however, the loss of that privilege can be devastating for an older driver who is not prepared to accept the change.”
To highlight National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, Dec. 5-11, the departments urge motorists of all ages to assess and sharpen their driving skills.
Approximately 16-percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.7 million licensed drivers are 65 and older; state data center statistics indicate the number will increase 21 percent by 2020. In 2009, there were more than 16,700 crashes involving a driver 65 and older, resulting in 276 fatalities. This represents 14-percent of the total crashes in Pennsylvania and 22-percent of the fatalities, an increase from previous years.
Although every person ages differently, aging typically brings certain physical, visual and cognitive changes - sometimes subtle - that could impair an older person’s ability to drive safely. Older drivers and their families need to work together to identify potential issues that may affect driving, outline courses of action to assist the older driver, and plan for when it’s time to hang up the keys.
Signs that can indicate it may be time to limit or stop driving altogether include: feeling uncomfortable, fearful or nervous when driving; unexplained dents/scrapes on the car, fences, mailboxes or garage doors; frequently getting lost and frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing); slower response times, particularly to unexpected situations; difficulty paying attention to signs or staying in the lane of traffic; and trouble judging gaps at intersections or highway entrance/exit ramps.
For additional warning signs, safety tips and to download the “Talking with Older Drivers” publication, developed by PennDOT and the Department of Aging, visit PennDOT’s highway safety website, www.DriveSafePA.org, and select the “Mature Driver” link under the Traffic Safety Information Center.
To help older residents assess their ability to drive safely, several free online tools, such as “Roadwise Review,” are available to measure functional driving abilities shown to identify collision risks among older drivers. These self-assessment tools and other resources for older drivers are available at www.seniordrivers.org.
Older drivers can sharpen their driving skills by taking an approved driver improvement course, which may also qualify them for insurance savings.
“Insurance companies recognize that drivers face unique challenges as they get older, and reward those who take the initiative to minimize risk by enrolling in approved driver training courses,” said acting Insurance Commissioner Robert L. Pratter. “Pennsylvania law requires insurance companies to provide at least a five-percent premium discount when policyholders 55 or older have successfully completed an approved driver improvement course.”
Courses are offered statewide and fees vary. A list of organizations offering courses is available at www.DriveSafePA.org, under the “Mature Driver” link. Individuals must take an approved driver improvement course every three years to remain eligible for the discount and may be disqualified if involved in a chargeable crash, convicted of a moving violation or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, which may include prescribed medications.
PennDOT has two programs to help strike the balance between safety and mobility. Under the Medical Reporting Program, the law requires medical professionals to report to PennDOT any person age 15 or older who has been diagnosed with a condition that may impair their ability to drive safely, which could lead to a restricted license or a recall of the driving privilege. In addition, each month PennDOT randomly selects 1,900 drivers over the age of 45 to undergo physical and vision exams at the time of license renewal, and if the results suggest a need, the individual may be required to complete a driver’s exam.
PennDOT also receives reports from law enforcement, and concerned family members and friends, which triggers a review process and possible further exams.
Whether through necessity or mutual agreement with family members, the transition from longtime motorist is a major life change for older Pennsylvanians. PennDOT offers assistance through the Shared-Ride Program, available in every county, and free public transportation for senior citizens. More information is available at www.PAcommutes.com.
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