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County Hall Corner 
By Larry Stout
Fired Up

Dave Santo, executive director for the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), expressed his astonishment in his opening comments at the Fire Service and Local Government Symposium on the uniqueness of Lycoming County. Here it was, July 15th, a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning and over 60 local government officials and fire service officers were meeting together at the Trade and Transit Center in Williamsport for four hours to discuss better cooperation between local governments and the fire companies that service their areas. Mr. Santo noted that he knew of no other county in the state that had organized such an event.
Executive Director Santo knew what he was talking about. At the PSATS state conference held recently, the tension between fire companies and local municipalities was one of the top topics discussed. Throughout Pennsylvania, there are enormous difficulties in balancing the necessity of providing residents with adequate fire and emergency services with the increasing costs and difficulty in delivering these services by local fire and emergency companies.
To the credit of the county commissioners, and Rick Mirabito in particular who took the lead, the decision was made early this year to examine how the county itself could help facilitate better relationships, transparency, and trust between local municipal governments and the fire companies/emergency services that serve them. John Yingling, Lycoming County Director of Public Safety, designed the symposium and served as moderator. Besides Mr. Santo from PSATS, Mike McGrady from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, and George Stapleton, from the PA State Fire Academy, made presentations from their respective organizations perspective.
Many questions were taken from the participants by these experts, and as the symposium progressed, there was a growing sense of optimism that began to emerge. In a spot survey with various government and fire officials after the event, many were coming away with some hope that substantive change could emerge with the ideas that were presented. According to Mr. Yingling, the county is planning a follow-up meeting in the fall with the township/borough officials and the respective fire companies, which will try to build on concepts that were initially given at the symposium.
However, there is another component that should be considered, and that is the general public. Much of the pressure being felt by emergency services, which is then passed on to local municipalities comes from the way the public views 911. As patients are discharged from the hospital much earlier than they were in the past, it puts demands on family members to provide extended care for their family members recovering from their hospital stay. But, these family members often have jobs and responsibilities that do not allow them to provide 24//7 observation. So when Aunt Sally falls down at home, or Grandpa took the wrong meds, or some other preventable event — they call 911. Emergency medical services have become the de facto extended care giver.
In addition, the public believes 911 is the one-stop call for any or all problems. An elderly man sees a dog in his yard and doesn’t like it, so he calls 911. A mother cannot get her son to go to bed, so she calls 911. The stories would be humorous if they would not be so time consuming for the emergency call center. Mr. Yingling noted that nearly three out of four calls to 911 in our county are NOT emergencies.
These are not the only reasons why John Q. Public is a big part of why there is a growing problem in providing adequate emergency service. Even the condition of homes is becoming more and more of an issue. Hoarding seems to be more prevalent than it has been in the past, and getting in the home of a hoarder is not just a challenge to the EMS workers, but even a threat to their own safety.
And this does not even begin to discuss the strain that the opioid epidemic has placed on these providers. The emergence of synthetic drugs are so powerful that even touching an individual can transfer the drug’s effects.
So, as the elected officials sit down with the fire and emergency providers to try to find the best way forward, it is not just their problem to solve. The public must see that everyone has a stake in this matter. When we call 911, we are placing a demand on the system that has wide implications in time and expense. So, if the public is not cooperating, all the hard work being done by their elected officials and local emergency responders might be like taking one step forward and then having to take one step back. The problem with this two-step is that it shows movement, but it does not get us anywhere... and that is the problem.




Bottles & Brews V
To be Held at Taber Museum
 

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society will be holding ‘Bottles & Brews V’ on Friday, August 11, 2017, from 7pm until 10pm. The event is quickly becoming a tradition within Lycoming County and serves as a fundraiser for the Lycoming County Historical Society. Attendees will be able to taste a number of craft beers and wines from the area and sample the product of several regional and national brew masters and vintners. Tickets are $35 per person and are in limited supply. Members of the Lycoming County Historical Society receive a $5 discount on each ticket prior to August 1. Tickets are available at the Taber Museum and may be obtained during operational hours and also through PayPal from our website at www.tabermuseum.org.
Participating in the event will be a number of brewing companies including Old Forge, Rivertowne, Founders, Straub, Yuengling, Funk, Doc G’s, Boom City and Sobel’s, arranged through the cooperative efforts of major partner Mid-State Beverage Company. Professional craft brewers and vintners will include the Bullfrog Brewery, and Riepstine’s Pub. A number of amateur craft beer brewers of the Billtown Brewers Guild will be present that evening as well as vintners ECM Cellars and Fife and Drum Winery. Alabaster Coffee Roasters will also be present. The Peter Herdic House Restaurant, Moon & Raven Public House, Erb’s Catering, Tony’s Deli, Chef Hosch & Ann Catering and Wegmans will provide a portion of the foods for the evening. The entire museum will be open for touring that evening. ‘Buckets of Cheer,’ featuring beautifully crafted handmade wooden buckets, will be raffled off during the evening.
The Taber Museum is located at 858 West Fourth Street, Williamsport. Ample parking is available behind the building or on the street.
For further information about our programming, please visit our website at www.tabermuseum.org or telephone us at 570.326.3326.


2017-2018 WASD Open House Schedule Announced

The Williamsport Area School District has announced the dates for its annual round of open houses to kick off the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
This year’s open house schedule is listed below in order by date:
Williamsport Area Middle School will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.
Intermediate schools will be held on Aug. 23. Curtin Intermediate School’s open house is scheduled for all grades from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. At Lycoming Valley Intermediate School, fourth grade open house is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and fifth and sixth grades from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Primary schools (Cochran, Hepburn-Lycoming, Jackson and Stevens) will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 24.
Williamsport Area High School will host an open house for incoming freshmen and new students from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 24. An open house for all students is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 30.
Attending an open house is a great way for students and families to see their building, learn more about grade level programs and opportunities, and meet faculty and staff.

 
 
 
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