Commissioners administrative assistant Linda Stacknick (center) was presented a flag case on Dec. 10 by county detective David Ide (left) and Tunkhannock mayor Stacy Huber, both representing the Tunkhannock Flag Association. Since the Association was formed more than a decade ago, Stacknick has consistently raised the most donations annually to keep up the display of flags in downtown Tunkhannock each spring.
By Rick Hiduk
(Exclusive to EndlessMtnLifestyles.com readers)
During a relatively short meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners on Thursday morning, commissioner Tom Henry took a few moments to share some alarming statistics recently released by the county’s 911 center.
Henry reported that there were 27 overdoses resulting in four deaths and 42 suicide attempts resulting in two deaths in Wyoming County between July and November. Just as concerning was the fact that those attempting suicide ranged in age from 11 to 84.
“We’ve been so focused on the Covid, but I think they’re all directly related,” said Henry. “It’s a scary time. Please look for the warning signs and listen when people need to talk.”
For some, there is a growing sense of detachment caused by the ongoing pandemic that meeting guest Jennifer Spitler, a northeast PA regional representative for Veterans Affairs, echoed. Prior to COVID, she related that she was on the road on a daily basis meeting with veterans, veterans groups, and those who provide services for them. Once the state issued travel restrictions for employees, the face-to-face meetings ended abruptly. Since then, she too has seen a rise in suicides and overdoses among veterans.
Spitler said that she has been work with human resources director Mike Donahue and veterans service officer Jack Hubert to increase awareness of PA Vet Connect, a free service that maintains an inventory of all services available to veterans, including those looking for educational opportunities or facing financial hardships or possible homelessness. Interested readers can log on to https://www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs/VetConnect/Pages/VetConnect.aspx to learn more.
Housing Needs Addressed
According to commissioner Ernie King, the Wyoming County Bridge Housing Opportunities Committee met recently to discuss progress on a housing project in Nicholson that has stalled several times. The project will move forward, King noted, after the committee gets approval of its plans from the PA DCED.
At the same meeting, it was noted that there are several units currently available at apartment houses managed by the Housing Opportunities Committee in Lake Winola and Factoryville, and there is currently nobody on the waiting list. “They are very nice units,” King remarked, adding that interested parties can contact him at the courthouse or call the Wyoming County Housing & Redevelopment Authority.
COVID Testing Underway
The commissioners reported that a coronavirus testing center had been set up the previous evening at the Wyoming County Emergency Operations Center and that free testing would be offered through Monday, Dec. 14, beginning at 9 am each day. “If you want to be tested, it’s a quick and easy way to have it done,” said Henry. (More details can be found here: http://www.endlessmtnlifestyles.com/details-for-covid-testing-in-wyoming-county-released/)
Budget Available for Inspection
The commissioners posted their proposed budget for 2021 on their new website yesterday. The balance of expected revenue and expenditures comes out to $16,014,720, with some of the biggest expenditures being the Corrections department at $2,537,055; the Communications Center at $1,353,773; Adult Probation at $1,055,465; and debt service at $1,016,853. Last year’s budget was just over $15 million. Commissioner Rick Wilbur noted that there will be no increase in taxes to support the budget. The public has 20 days to inspect the document, which can be found online at www.wycopa.org or by emailing email@example.com.
Other Matters of Interest
The commissioners modified the 2016 and 2017 DCED budgets to carry over funds so they are available for a water hookup project in Mehoopany.
They approved and signed a letter of support for the expansion of Endless Mountains Extended Care, a drug treatment facility on Lithia Valley Road. According to commissioner Henry, one of the changes at the facility will be a doctor on the staff.
The commissioners accepted the resignation of Laurie Pedley with regret. She last served as an administrative assistant in the Planning Department, but Pedley also worked in the commissioners and tax claims office for different periods of time between 1975 and ’80 and 2004 and ’20.
Lastly, the board congratulated Jenna Morningstar, a student in Mr. Moss’s class at Wyalusing Valley Elementary School as the winner of the commissioners ant-drug poster contest. Jenna will receive $100, and her poster will be exhibited at the courthouse. To see her entry, click on the link below.
The next meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners will be held virtually on Tuesday, Dec. 22.