May. 07, 2024

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The Future is Bright: Wellsboro Students Shine in PennDOT Competition

Last week, three students from Wellsboro Area School District, along with their advisor, traveled to Harrisburg to present their winning regional project in the statewide PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The team of Carter Knowlton, Natalie Cleveland and Ian Hoose, and advisor Francis Novak, did a wonderful job and made our region proud!

Earlier this spring, the team was selected as the PennDOT District 3 winner for the Innovations Challenge. Last week, the winning projects from each PennDOT district were invited to Harrisburg to present their ideas to Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll and a panel of judges to determine the statewide winner.

The PennDOT Innovations Challenge is a statewide competition for high school students from around the Commonwealth to develop creative and strategic solutions to real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge allows students to explore the actual challenges PennDOT and the transportation industry face as well as consider the possibility of working in the industry later in life.

This year’s challenge was to develop an implementable plan for redeveloping a stretch of roadway that, when constructed, separated an existing neighborhood, requiring people and businesses to relocate. Plans were required to address the needs of the community, including accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, connecting the separated neighborhood, allowing for new business development and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic.

The Wellsboro team’s innovation was a highway cap project that unified their fictional town and included a community park, bike lanes and a walking trail.
Big Elm Volunteer Fire Company 75th Year Celebration

Located in Bradford County, the Big Elm Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 serving Jackson, Wells, Rutland townships and Roseville Borough recognized many long-time volunteers and celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary!

It was a very special evening and event for Big Elm only hosts a banquet every five years. The dining hall was packed with the many selfless volunteers and their families. You could not help but feel the presence of loyalty and camaraderie among these volunteers as they congratulated those who have spent countless hours and many years in serving the community through this company.

Above pictured, standing from left to right, are Byron Wright, chief since 1996, and Otto Bean IV, president. Seated, from left to right, are Beverly Smith, 75-year member, Barbara Garrison, 50-year member; and Jeffery Garrison, 50-year member. Not present to receive her citation was Pauline Martin, a 75-year member. In honor of the Big Elm Fire Company’s 75th year, every member present at the banquet received a 75-year anniversary commemorative coin which will never be printed again.

How wonderful it will be to have another 75-year celebration in the future! Big Elm has been striving to increase its volunteers through raising up their very own family in selflessly serving. Chief Wright has two active sons in the company and they are blessed with training some junior members for future life-saving and protecting the needs of the community.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help with your local fire and EMS companies, please reach out to them and learn what opportunities and needs they have for you! We are a people, where connecting and selflessly serving together makes for a stronger community.
Learn More About ‘This is My Quest Inc.’

Earlier this spring, the Wellsboro-based This is My Quest Inc. received an Environmental Excellence Award from the Commonwealth. I sat down with Rose Anna Moore, founder and CEO, for the latest edition of Conversations with Clint to learn more about this great organization. Watch for the video in next week’s Community Connection…and tell your friends to sign up so they don’t miss it!
Help Fight Human Trafficking

The Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and Lantern Rescue are hosting a Human Trafficking Training Seminar to help educate people about this fast-growing crime.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday, June 4, at the Wellsboro Area School District Administration Building Auditorium located at 225 Nichols St., Wellsboro, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The training is intended for public safety professionals, educators, elected officials, health care professionals, caseworkers, church leadership and safety teams, and more.

The training addresses the legal definition of human trafficking, types and methods, international and domestic human trafficking profiles, vulnerabilities and signs of trafficking victims, and more.

Click here to register.
Let’s Get Whole Milk Back in our Schools!

Click here to view video.

The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee voted unanimously this week to advance the Whole Milk in PA Schools Act (House Bill 997), which would help our farmers and our kids by making sure healthy and delicious whole milk is available at school to students who choose to drink it.

Studies have shown a 35% reduction in student milk consumption since the Obama administration forced schools to drop whole and flavored milks from their student breakfast and lunch offerings more than a decade ago. At the same time, the state has lost more than 2,000 dairy farms. Clearly these trends are connected and it’s time we act to turn them around.

The dairy industry is a vital part of our agriculture economy, and dairy milk is a vital source of nutrients, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, for our kids. That’s why this bill received overwhelming, bipartisan support in the House last session, and I am optimistic it will again this year if we are given the opportunity to vote on it.

Watch my comments about the bill above.
House Democrats Continue to Fail on Election Reform

State House majority Democrats again failed to deliver on meaningful election reforms this week. During session Wednesday, the House passed a standalone bill extending pre-canvassing time, which is the time during which county election offices can prepare absentee and mail-in ballots to be tallied.

The majority party, however, continued to turn its back on other popular, meaningful and comprehensive election reform measures that have broad, bipartisan support across the state.

Polling in April showed requiring identification each time a person votes is not only widely supported, but is broadly believed to be a commonsense election reform that will increase confidence in the conduct of Pennsylvania’s elections. Signature verification, according to recent polling, is one of the most universally supported election reforms and mirrors in-person election day practices.

A discharge petition that would force consideration of a voter ID proposal in the House has gained support from half of the chamber’s membership. It’s time to take this important step to help restore confidence in our elections.  
Defending Your Second Amendment Rights

On Tuesday, I joined dozens of my colleagues and Second Amendment advocates at the annual Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally at the state Capitol. It is vital we stand together and remain strong in our defense of this right at all times. Taking legal firearms away from law-abiding citizens will NOT solve the violent crime problem plaguing our country; instead, it will render innocent people helpless to defend themselves and their families.

We were joined at the rally by two excellent guest speakers. Antonia Okafor Cover is director of Women’s Outreach for Gun Owners of America and founder of Empowered 2A. Stephen Willeford is grassroots liaison for Gun Owners of America and is known as “The Barefoot Defender” and the “Good Guy with a Gun” for confronting, trading fire and wounding mass shooter Devin Kelly on Nov. 15, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
New Crime-Fighting Tool for Public

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) recently unveiled PSP Tips, a new way for the public to share information related to active investigations, cold cases, the apprehension of wanted persons or locating missing persons.

PSP Tips includes information about nearly 100 cold case homicides, missing persons and other unsolved crimes. New cases will be added frequently.

Your tip could provide investigators with a long-awaited breakthrough that will finally bring closure and justice for the victims’ families. All information submitted to PSP Tips can be provided anonymously, if desired.

All cases in which PSP requests public assistance can be viewed on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter).

Submit information using the toll-free phone number, 1-800-4PA-TIPS (1-800-472-8477), or online here.
Prevent Lyme: Check for Ticks

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. As you spend time outdoors, it is important to check yourself, loved ones and pets for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.

The first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions outdoors by treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, using insect repellent, and avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass or leaf litter. When you return indoors, check your clothing, gear and pets for ticks; shower as soon as possible after being outdoors; and check your body for ticks, particularly in areas such as under the arms, in and around the ears, back of the knees and other similar areas.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the appearance of a bull’s eye rash, though the rash does not develop in all cases. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache and muscle aches. However, symptoms may progress to arthritic, neurologic and cardiac symptoms if not treated.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the bite of a blacklegged tick or deer tick. If you pull a tick from yourself, a loved one or your pet, you may have it tested to determine if it carries Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. More information about how to get a tick tested at the East Stroudsburg University Tick Lab is available here.  

Learn more about Lyme disease symptoms, treatment and prevention here.
Get FAFSA Help!

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is offering free, virtual, one-on-one assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays during the month of May.

PHEAA recently extended until June 1 the deadline by which students must file the FAFSA with relation to the Pennsylvania State Grant Program.

The virtual assistance is available to the public, including families and high school counselors who need assistance with completing the FAFSA. To schedule a session, call Nancy Harvey at 717-956-8285.

More information is available at