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County Hall Corner 
By Larry Stout
It’s the Intern’s Turn

At the regular Commissioner’s Meeting on June 1st of this year, a young man who looked to be in his late teens or early twenties, sat alone in the second row of the conference room dressed sharply with a tie and a nice professional attire. To be honest, there are generally only two types of people who show up at these meetings. One group is comprised of county employees, usually management, who are there to make requests or clarify their activities with the county commissioners. The second group is the general public who are usually there to express their displeasure with one thing or another. What was unusual with this young man is that he did not seem to fit in either category.
Toward the end of the meeting, Commissioner Mirabito solved the mystery by introducing Ian Perry, who was just starting a summer internship with the county commissioners. Now that he has had two months under his belt, I believed it would be a good time to get his opinions of our local county government.
Ian’s opinion is worth hearing. Growing up in Old Lycoming Township, he has four highly motivated older brothers, and they helped him to excel. Graduating with honors from Williamsport High School in 2015, Ian considered attending Yale University but went one better by choosing the #1 liberal arts college in America according to U.S. News and World Report’s college ranking, Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was impressed by their high rankings, but also by the relatively smaller size and their excellent Political Science department.
Ian’s hope is to work in some form of government, hopefully at a national level. He is not just preparing by taking this internship, he even has a double major in both Political Science and Arabic language. It would not be a surprise to see Ian Perry as the chief of staff for a congressman or senator some day, and who knows, maybe even a President of the United States. (Ian is not counting that out, by the way).
Ian was able to secure the internship through Commissioner Mirabito, as he was one who had acknowledged Ian when he was a finalist for a national achievement award in high school and had even worked on Rick Mirabito’s campaign for re-election for state representative in 2014.
With so little life experience, Ian was not sure exactly what to expect when he began to work with the county commissioners. His first observation was just how busy and involved the commissioners are in the work of the county. He states that there is a level of dedication that truly surprised him. Ian has continually been impressed by how hard the three men work in gathering as much information as possible, even before going to their various meetings. They are prepared but they also listen, and in more than one instance he has seen how they have changed their opinions when presented with convincing facts.
Yet, as much as Ian is impressed with the commissioner board, he is even more impressed with the county department officials, especially those in management positions. It begins with Marci Hessert, Administrative Manager for Lycoming County Board of Commissioners. Ian notes that Marci seems to know, “everything about everything.” Actually, this is not much of an exaggeration. Marci Hessert’s responsibilities are to coordinate with all the various county departments, the outside agencies that interact with the county, and even the general public. She prepares the agenda, keeps the minutes, and processes contracts at the Commissioner level. Ian is not the first person to discover that when any question needs an answer, Marci is a good place to start.
But she is not alone. Ian has been continually impressed at the number of county officials who are being recognized for twenty, thirty, and even forty years of service to the county. And they are not just filling a seat either, as Ian has learned first hand, they are extremely knowledgeable in every area of their field. He observes that these county officials work hard, very hard, and take pride in what they do.
Ian Perry has done more than watch — the commissioners have utilized his expertise as well. Commissioner Tony Mussare has found that Ian has been a valuable resource in researching critical information on constituents’ concerns. Commissioner Jack McKernan notes how Ian has been included as part of the “team” as they met with various county departments and even traveled with the commissioners to Schuylkill County to discuss budget issues. Commissioner Rick Mirabito, of course, has known Ian for some time. He sees a leader in the making. He states, “It is clear that he reads and thinks about issues affecting our citizens’ lives.”
Ian Perry is a shining example of the old adage, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Ian Perry has been a good one for himself as an intern, but also a good one for the county as a helpful servant. He is just nineteen years old, but young men such as him give us all hope for the future.

Low Income Housing Community Receives a Community Garden

A local low-income housing community planted vegetables and flowers in their new community garden.
The new community garden is located at the corner of Second and Locust streets at the Williamsport NSA Housing Community. Local non-profit Our Towns 2010 with the support of the Heart of Williamsport solicited donations and constructed 7 raised beds. The gardens will provide vegetables and fruit for the community.
A celebration was held on Thursday evening, July 27th, which included planting vegetables and flowers. The project was conceived this past February in response to the closing of the Weis store on West Third Street, and the need for a source of fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, a significant number of residents who depended on the Weis store do not have cars to transport groceries from Wegmans or other grocery stores.
The planning for the project included taking plans to the residents and receiving their feedback, which triggered a major change to the garden plan. Our Towns had hoped to have the garden completed in May to allow spring planning, but it took longer than anticipated to complete planning gather donations for the project.
The project got a major boost when the Pennsylvania Humanities Council offered a micro-seed grant, Your Building Center agreed to donate the lumber for the raised beds and Fort Muncy Garden Center donated the soil. The garden is still an ongoing project with fund raising for a picnic table and sturdy metal tool shed. The owner of the low-income community, Williamsport NSA Associates, is constructing a wood fence around garden.
The crops planted are for a fall harvest, but everything is place for a full season of vegetables and fruit next year. Fresh Food Lyco will be providing education for the residents in gardening and food preparation. They will assist the residents with starting their own seedlings next winter.
While Our Towns has been known for projects in downtown Williamsport like the Inspiration Lycoming Mural, this was their first project in Williamsport’s residential neighborhoods. It is Our Towns desire that the residents will spend more time outdoors maintaining the garden and interact with other residents, which will foster a feeling of belonging to a community.
People wishing to contribute to the project can send donations to Our Towns 2010, Box 171, Williamsport PA 17703.

How to Keep Your Pet Cool in the Heat
Courtesy of the Lycoming County SPCA

It is officially the "Dog Days of Summer", and while that may bring visions of lazy afternoons and lemonade, it can also mean days of high heat and humidity. This weather can be particularly taxing on our furry friends, especially since they can't sweat to keep cool. Here are our Top 10 tips for beating the Dog Day heat!
Keep your home cool. If you are not able to turn on the AC, open the windows and turn a fan on. Additionally, you can offer your pet a wet towel to lie on, or even a cooling vest or mat. 
Keep your pet hydrated. Different pets mind the heat more than others, especially if they have a darker coat or are on the chubby side. Be sure to have a plentiful supply of water available. Adding ice cubes to your pet's water can help him cool down faster, as well.
Let your dog check the weather. To help your pet understand why he is being cooped up all day, let him venture outside a little. Instinctually, your pet will sense that it is too hot for a long walk. He may even turn around and head right back inside.
Exercise early in the morning and late at night. Time your walks for when the temperature is the lowest.
Dogs cool from the bottom up. Make sure to spray your dog's paws and stomach, and not just the top of him. A wet towel or cooling mat can help a lot in this regard, as well. 
Check the pavement. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog's paw pads. Try walking on the grass instead.
Offer shade and a spot to dig. Trees are better than doghouses for offering shade because they allow for more airflow. While outside, dogs, in particular, like to dig in the dirt. If possible, find a shady spot where your pooch can dig to his heart's content.
Watch for signs of dehydration. An overheated dog will drool excessively. He will become lethargic and have bloodshot eyes. If you lift the skin, it will take longer than normal to fall back into place. If you notice these signs, cool and hydrate your pet right away, and call your vet with any concerns.
Keep vaccines and meds up to date. The parvovirus loves to spread in hot weather. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are also out and about, carrying potential risks such as tapeworms, Lyme disease, and heartworms.
Use the Dog Days as an excuse to swim more! Get out and have a blast exploring and swimming with your furry best friend.

STEM Camp at Jersey Shore High School
Students in both camps used their engineering skills to build solar ovens to cook and then enjoy yummy s'mores.

The Jersey Shore Area School District hosted KSEA’s STEM Camp for students entering grades four through nine. The NASA curriculums were divided into two groups, grades 4-5 and grades 6-9. Students spent the week being active learners, working as scientists and engineers practicing hands-on inquiry, project and problem-based learning through NASA’s Beginning Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) engineering design process. The week’s topics included design challenges involving engineering, aeronautics, rocketry, robotics, and earth and space science. The week gave students a unique opportunity to use problem-solving skills to design, build, test, and redesign their ideas.
The camp was held at Jersey Shore Area High School. 185 students attended the free camp that was funded by the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania with a grant awarded from the Roscoe M. and Edith M. Wolf Fund. The camp was visited by one of Lonza's chemical engineers Brad Sutliff for a Chemistry Chelamity Presentation and by Lock Haven University's chairperson of chemistry Dr. Kevin Range. Kevin Harris from Williamsport Area High School and KSEA also provided a blast with his rocket launch assistance and demonstration during our parent showcase on Friday.
The Keystone STEM Education Alliance (KSEA), a 501 C3 organization, was created to provide and support quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional development and student programs in Central Pennsylvania school districts. Teachers from area school districts formed KSEA. STEM education is critical to the future growth of the United States in an increasingly global market. The number of Americans entering STEM fields has declined while the number of jobs requiring STEM training has grown. This need, along with dwindling funding, spurred the formation of KSEA.
The KSEA board is comprised of David Morgan, Ed. D, Project Coordinator and President, Kevin Harris, Vice President and Williamsport Area High School science teacher, Jodi English, Treasurer and Jersey Shore Area High School Math teacher, Edie Shull, Ed. D., Secretary, and Muncy Jr./Sr High School Science teacher, John Tamblin, Ed. D., East Lycoming School District high school science teacher, Desmond Shaffer, Board member and Milton Area School District Elementary Science Teacher.

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