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.