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County Hall Corner 
By Larry Stout
Here Comes the Flood
 

The horrific flooding that occurred in Texas and Florida recently is a grim reminder to residents of Lycoming County that we have a major river flowing along much of our population centers, and it has reaped massive destruction in the past. Ironically, the same river that made possible the lumber boom that literally put Williamsport on the map, has also been a major worry since the city’s founding. Over the past century alone, the river has risen over 20 feet of its height (crest) over 22 times. These are what are considered “moderate” floods, but there have been two major floods, measured by water crests 30 feet and over, occurring in 1936 and 1972. 
Flooding does not just come from the Susquehanna. Lycoming County lies entirely within the Susquehanna River Basin, one of four major drainage basins in Pennsylvania. Over 2,200 miles of streams traverse through Lycoming County, and as recently as 2012 and 2016, severe storms and the resultant flooding caused significant damage to many structures, roads, and bridges. In fact, these events are attributed to $30 million in total property and infrastructure damage.
No one can stop the storms, but it is possible to better prepare for them. One of the first places is the 20-mile-long levee system that protects 40 percent of the $2.7 billion in real estate in the City of Williamsport, Armstrong Township, DuBoistown Borough, South Williamsport Borough, Loyalsock Township, and Old Lycoming Township. The Lycoming County Commissioners recently approved a 50 percent cost sharing toward upgrading and improving this critically important overflow embankment edifice. And continually improve they must, because if the levee were ever to become decertified, as happened at the Natomas Levee near Sacramento, California, the results would be economically devastating to homeowners and businesses.
The county is staying at least one step and maybe even two ahead of possible problems because of Josh Schnitzlein, Lycoming County Hazard Mitigation Planner. Some people think that those who devote themselves to planning are bookish types who hunch over maps and reports all day. Josh is a young man who might appear on the surface to fit that description, but nothing could be further from the truth. He is a member of the Maryland National Guard, and for amusement, he runs in ultra-marathons. (For those unacquainted with the term, it is double and even triple the distance of a plain-ordinary-26.2 mile marathon!) 
A man as strong and smart as Josh Schnitzlein is just the person that Lycoming County needs to look ahead and watch for the worst. He defines his job as seeking to reduce the threat to property, life, and social well being within Lycoming County due to natural disaster. Josh’s approach is not the traditional emergency planning, which is reactive (dealing with ways to deal with a problem after it has happened), but rather to be proactive in hazard planning.
This could involve structural and non-structural solutions. The levee is an example of a structure, but it is obviously quite expense. Schnitzlein works with local, county, state and federal agencies in these big-project areas. But he also works on non-structural efforts on mitigation through better zoning, public awareness, public education, or training local municipal officials on policies and regulation. He suggests that local homeowners who live in flood plains explore every possible option available to them.
For those interested in knowing more, the Lycoming County website is, as always, an incredible resource for information. Start at lyco.org, go to headings at the top and click on “Departments” and from there, go to “Planning and Community Development.” On that page, go to the left column and click on “Hazard Mitigation.” It might have taken a few clicks to get there, but it is worth it, as there is a wealth of information available, especially under the heading “Flood Ready.” That is a good slogan for all of us; we should be “Flood Ready!”



 
Remembering Everybody’s Favorite Honey
By Lou Hunsinger Jr.

Recently, this area lost one its grand ladies, a woman committed to the philanthropic, charitable and social affairs of this area, Charlotte “Honey” Person, wife of John E. Person, Jr. and mother to John III, Mike, Tom and the late Dave Person. She was 98 years old.
It is hard to imagine any projects involved with the civic good of this area during the past 60 or so years that she did not have at least a small hand in.
Her church, Pine Street United Methodist Church, knew her dedicated service, and was a better place because of it.
One of the organizations she was most active in was the Junior League, and for many years you could always count on her to be at the forefront of supporting any of their projects for the betterment of the community.
Her service on the boards of various civic organizations is too long to list, so I won’t try.
But Honey Person was much more than a dry recitation of accomplishments or organizations belonged to, she was a living, breathing person who was genuinely dedicated to the betterment of others and loved, and was loved, by others.
Perhaps the group she lavished the greatest amount of love and devotion on was her own family. She was uncommonly supportive of her children’s, her grandchildren’s and her great-grandchildren's activities.
Seldom was there was a sporting event, a recital or some other activity that she and her husband, "Jack," failed to attend. They could always depend on her loving presence and support at all of these events.
According to her son Mike, no one knows for sure how she got the nickname, “Honey," adding that name goes all the way back to her childhood.
I can only speculate that it was because she had such a sweet, generous and wonderful disposition and that others noticed and were warmed by her uncommon friendliness and generosity.
I don’t think many who knew her would argue with that theory. I don’t think I can find anyone who did not like Honey.
In addition to attending her family’s various activities, Honey was active in the cultural life of the Williamsport area. She subscribed to and was an avid attendee of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and she attended numerous other shows at the Community Arts Center and any other activity of its type in the area.
She and her husband enjoyed attending the Williamsport Crosscutters baseball games. I can attest to this personally, having sat near Jack and Honey for more than 10 seasons at Bowman Field.
They were also devoted attendees at all major Williamsport Area High School sporting events. Honey loved to be where the action was.
She and her husband were also very loyal to friends. When I lost my dear wife, Mary, three years ago, they were wheeled into the viewing by their son Tom and his wife, Marsha. It was probably the most poignant episode of that sad night for me. Even now, I get choked up when I think about it.
When you consider the loss of someone like Honey, you of course are saddened, but her life should be celebrated.
She really did have a wonderful, rich and full life and left a loving and positive impact that will linger long after this sad time of her passing.
I can think of Honey now in her heavenly home having an animated conversation with her beloved son Dave and my Mary, trying to organize the next activity for the civic improvement of heaven.
As Shakespeare wrote and is appropriate for Honey, “Parting is such sweet sorrow."


‘She’s Always Going to Have a Part of Me’
Teacher Aide to Donate Kidney to a Colleague, Friend
 
 

As friends, they’re a perfect match.
They share the same name, same place of employment and — come Thursday — will share in a life-changing experience based on a match discovered at a much deeper level to serve a much higher purpose.
One of them will donate a kidney to the other.
Jenn Gray and Jenn Pick are paraprofessionals at Williamsport Area Middle School, working as teacher aides in the building’s eighth-grade science and world history classrooms.
It’s here the pair met years ago, and the track of their friendship developed.
“We just always hit it off,” said Gray, who is donating one of her kidneys to Pick.
Late last spring, Gray answered a call Pick put out on Facebook in search of a donor, a posting that shocked Gray, as her otherwise taciturn colleague and friend never mentioned the need or the health issue behind it.
The search began about a year ago when Pick qualified for a transplant based on the status of her treatment plan.
Now 35, Pick said when she was 18, doctors discovered she was born with only one kidney, a condition that she’s been able to navigate with medications and a regulated diet, a regiment that has kept dialysis and other complications at bay.
And, of course, her faith, too, which both women credit as the driving force behind the process to qualify Gray as a donor over the last several months.
“If it’s meant to be me, it’s going to happen,” Gray said she remembered thinking when she decided to fill out the application.
“She’s a great person,” Pick said. “Not many people do this. It was such a surprise.”
“I don’t understand why more people don’t do it. She needs one (a kidney),” Gray said, adding, with a laugh, “and I have a spare.”
Few events can draw friends and colleagues closer, but one thing is for certain on both a figurative and literal level: “She’s always going to have a part of me,” Gray said.
The transplant surgery is scheduled for Thursday at Geisinger Medical Center.


‘Socktoberfest’ to Return to Curtin Intermediate
School Community Event Kicks Off Month-Long Benefit for Area Homeless
 

Curtin Intermediate School invites the community back to help “kick it to poverty” from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, for its second SOCKTOBERFEST.
The kickoff event once again will help launch the school’s month-long sock drive to benefit Lycoming County’s homeless.
Better known as #socktober, the movement began four years ago by Kid President and Soul Pancake to help the homeless around the U.S.
The event will include many free activities, such as a bounce house, Sock-er Golf, a bike safety session with an obstacle course, a meet-and-greet with local homeless shelter officials, challenges, yard games and art stations.
The school’s PTO also will sell concessions to help raise funds for the school, with a percentage of its proceeds going to area homeless shelters. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring a new package of socks to receive a voucher toward a food item. 
Last year, the school collected 3,000 pairs of donated socks.


YWCA Northcentral PA Plans to Register Voters
To Celebrate National Holiday
 

On September 26, 2017, Americans will celebrate National Voter Registration Day with a massive 50-state effort to register voters before Election Day this November 7.
The YWCA Northcentral PA is proud to be a National Voter Registration Day partner. On September 26, the YWCA will engage its constituency and community and register voters from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St.
With important local and state elections approaching 2018 primaries months away, every eligible American voter should exercise his or her right to be heard at the ballot box this year and next. National Voter Registration Day is the right place to start by getting registered.
That is why communities across the country are planning to use National Voter Registration Day to increase voter participation.
Thousands of national, state and local organizations and volunteers will be the driving force behind National Voter Registration Day 2017. Partner organizations will coordinate hundreds of National Voter Registration Day events nationwide and leverage #NationalVoterRegistrationDay on all social media platforms to drive attention to voter registration and the midterm elections.
The effort’s website, www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org, provides a listing of National Voter Registration Day events across the country.
Founded in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is designed to create an annual movement when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right — the right to vote. More than two million Americans have registered to vote on this day since the inaugural National Voter Registration Day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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