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December 09, 2016
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Wayne 4-H is PA’s second largest

The Wayne 4-H leaders in front are Cindy Motichka, left, Laura Mayeski and Jo Ann Bates. Behind them are Wayne Commissioners Jonathan Fritz, left, Wendell Kay and Brian Smith.
TRR photo by David Hulse

Although he’s a former 4-H’er himself, Wayne County Commissioners Chair Brian Smith admitted on October 10 that he didn’t know that the county’s 4-H program had grown to be Pennsylvania’s second largest.

The information came up as Wayne 4-H volunteers Cindy Motichka, Laura Mayeski and Jo Ann Bates appeared at the commissioners’ meeting to receive a proclamation naming the week of October 6 to 12 as 4-H Week in Wayne County.

Smith recalled his 4-H efforts, noting that he raised grand champion capons two or three years in a row, rode horses and has the trophies to prove it.

“The kids do inspire me,” Laura Mayeski, program assistant and volunteer 4-H leader said. An active team council, including those 13 years and older, is involved with event planning for the program’s 400-plus participants, she said.

On the grassroots level, “My kid wouldn’t have 12 goats if he weren’t in 4-H,” Bethany volunteer 4-H leader Jo Ann Bates said.

Smith congratulated the volunteers for a good job, saying 4-H provides the best education aside from the public schools. Commissioner Wendell Kay said 4-H has the largest enrollment of any outside school activity, even including sports. “The numbers are great, as is the opportunity to learn and interact. A lot of people contribute their time and talent supporting an organization that is a cause for optimism.”

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz said 4-H celebrates Wayne County’s strong agricultural culture and demonstrates all the work that goes into it.

The 4-H program, open to youth between the ages of five and 19, is nationwide and led by state land-grant universities in cooperation with local extension offices.

In other business, the commissioners approved two grant applications from the county office of emergency management: first for a PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) grant of $59,783 to assist with emergency management salaries, and second for $8,320 in PEMA funding for training of a Citizens Corps, a federal program created by President George W. Bush following 9/11, which could be called to supplement regular fire and ambulance volunteers during emergencies.

The commissioners approved a supplemental agreement for additional construction costs on the $1,591,000 Keen’s Bridge Project, which has been some two years in the planning.

The commissioners accepted a $3,675 PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant to fund a central booking location for the county’s municipal police departments. They approved the promotions of Forrest Mohn, at the emergency communication center; Michelle Valinski at the Behavior and Development Program/Early Intervention program (B&DP/EI); and Maureen Allen at the transportation office.

They also approved the hiring of: Susan Panaway and Robert Miller at B&DP/EI, Austin O’Malley at Wayne County Drug & Alcohol Services; and the transfer of Joyce Cerar from the Aging office to B&DP/EI.