Drug Overdose awareness day Luminary ceremony

Luminaries will light the path to the Elk County Courthouse gazebo on August 31 for Drug Overdose awareness day for the Messengers Supporting Recovery/Mecca-Mann event much like the Compassionate Friends Worldwide ceremony that is held in Ridgway and across the world every December 7

ELK COUNTY--The Elk County Commissioners held their second meeting of August on Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m. in the Courthouse Annex on Center Street in Ridgway. 
Patrick E. Straub, who prefers the name "Pat," was unanimously appointed to the Chief Clerk of Elk County following the departure of Seth Higgins, who has begun his own consulting firm specializing in Municipal and County matters in Pennsylvania. 
Appointed by the Board of Commissioners, the Chief Clerk manages county business, and Open Record Requests subject to the Right to Know Policy. The office of the Chief Clerk is also responsible for keeping records of all administrative offices, filing papers and proceedings, and attesting to all documents authorized by the Commissioners. The Chief Clerk also has the general power to administer oaths/affirmations for the Commissioners. Finally, the Chief Clerk is also responsible for overseeing the Commissioner's accounts and coordinates meetings involving the Board of Commissioners. And, as Chief Clerk Seth Higgins found out, is the one responsible for changing all of the clocks in the Courthouse Annex during the spring and summer "Daylight Saving Time." 
In more Cheif Clek News, Lee A. Neureiter, former Elk County Chief Clerk before being elected to the office of  Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, and  Clerk of Orphans' Court, spoke to the commissioners in favor of Elk County entering into a contract with GovOS/Kofile for their accounts. GovOS/Kofile software allows municipal agencies to digitize forms, go paperless, and change the way citizens experience local government. Elk County has used GovOS for several years but did not renew the contract last year because an outside firm has purchased the company, and its long-term availability was in question.  That is no longer the case, so  Neureiter explained that agreeing to a three-year contract will give Elk County the ability to transform paperwork into online services that reduce processing time, improve transparency, eliminate errors, and ensure that government business runs smoothly. In addition, the new software will allow for long-term data storage backups to be held "offsite" in the case of an emergency or data corruption so that the County can better address the issues of Cyber-Security that have become so prevalent in recent years. The Commissioners unanimously approved the contract.
The Commissioners appointed Kathy McClelland to the position of Fair Housing Officer. McClelland will be responsible for accepting, reporting, and working to resolve any issues regarding housing discrimination in Elk County. 
As part of the overall presentation of the CYS/JPO Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget, Nancy Baker, Director Elk County Children and Youth Services, was on hand to answer any questions pertaining to the budget. She reported that while initially down in 2020, reports of child abuse in Elk County substantially increased over the past year, mostly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commissioners commended Baker and all of her staff for their extraordinary work over the past year keeping Elk County children safe in a turbulent environment. 
In other CYS news, the Commissioners approved a contract renewal with Pentz Run Youth Service, a residential program for at-risk and disadvantaged youth in DuBois. 
In a contract renewal, Assistant District Attorney Beau Grove was appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for children in the CYS system. The purpose of a guardian ad litem is to focus on the children's best interest and the needs they currently have. In the scenario with abuse, it is relatively obvious why the courts would want to appoint a competent adult to represent the child, who may not be able to speak up on their own behalf. In situations involving divorce or juvenile delinquency, when the courts determine that the child may need extra services or if they worry that there aren’t adequate supports in place for the child, the assignment of a guardian ad litem can help ensure that the child receives all necessary consideration and protections.
Elk County has once again selected the Northern Tier Community Action Corporation (NTCAC) to lead The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. USDA provides 100% American-grown USDA Foods and administrative funds to states to operate TEFAP. Northern Tier provides food to Elk & Cameron Food Banks provide food boxes to low-income families. Food Items are obtained through local donations and from funds and commodities provided by The Emergency Food Assistance Program, State Food Purchase Program, and the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The Commissioners thanked them and all the local volunteers in communities across Elk County for their work that proved essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioners also approved an Elk County Courthouse Lawn request from Patty Green of Messengers Supporting Recovery for an August 31 Luminary service recognizing Drug Overdose Awareness Day. Green and her MOMS group will partner with the Mecca-Mann mission for this event as both groups seek to raise awareness of the drug overdose epidemic sweeping the nation, including Elk County. More details will be released closer to the event date. 
The next meeting of the Elk County Commissioners will take place on September 7, beginning at 10 a.m. in conference room #2 of the Elk County Courthouse Annex at 300 Center Street in Ridgway. The meeting is open for public attendance in person or through the Zoom platform, with the meeting room listed on the Elk County website (co.elk.pa.us) the day before the meeting. 

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