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Northumberland County Fair opens today

ROCKEFELLER TOWNSHIP — The Northumberland County Fair, which kicks off this afternoon and runs through Saturday, will feature a farmers triathlon, food, live entertainment, fireworks and more.

Held at Tall Cedars Grove, 538 Seven Points Road, off Route 890, the 20th annual affair is designed to bring families together to share the historic traditions of the agricultural community. Admission and parking are free.

Today (Farmers Day)

The fair opens at 3 p.m. today. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the fifth annual garden tractor pull will be held. Judging of fruit, flowers and vegetable exhibits and baking contest entries will also take place. The sale of baked goods begins at 7 p.m.

Thursday (Senior Citizens Day)

Kimbo and Bryan will perform a mix of originals and covers from 5 to 7 p.m. The Midlife Cowboys take the stage at 7 p.m. to perform cowboy classics with a “toe tappin’ bluesy flair.”

Back this year is the mutton busting event at 7 p.m. Judging of all remaining fair exhibits will also take place Thursday. The Farm Animal Educational Exhibit will be open to the public too.

Friday (Kids Day)

The fair opens at 3 p.m. and will feature a performance by Jim McClincy from 5 to 6 p.m. The “singing mailman” will have guests crooning along to his mix of bluegrass, classic country, folk, gospel and soft-rock music.

The beef cattle show will start at 5 p.m. A pet costume contest and parade begins at 6:30 p.m., with registration a half-hour earlier.

At 7 p.m, a pedal tractor pull will commence, which is part of the farmers’ triathlon. The triathlon also includes bale throwing and bale stacking contests. The contests are open to everyone.

Entertainment for Friday night will be Donald Benjamin at 7:30 p.m. The multiple award-winning songwriter is touring nationally, while promoting his current single, “I Choose the Whiskey.”

Saturday (Family Day)

For its final day, the fair kicks off at 9 a.m. with a horse show featuring riding demonstrations and competitions.

Frank Wicher and Chris Trasatti will perform country music “with a twist of roadhouse” from 11 a.m. to noon. At 1 p.m., Bonnie and Mason Wicher will bring their own version of country music. Grand Junction hits the stage at 3:30 p.m. to play an eclectic blend of western Americana.

From 6 to 7 p.m., KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner, an independent-recording artist, will bring her most-recent music project, which is dedicated to farmers and those who love the country life.

Nate Myers and The Aces, led by vocalist Nate Myers with his harmonica, will create a loose and casual atmosphere from 7 to 9 p.m. while playing many forms of American music, such as blues, funk, hip hop, rockabilly and country.

The rabbit and guinea pig show gets underway at noon. The American Dairy Goat Association-sanctioned dairy goat show begins at 1 p.m., followed by adult showmanship. The farmer triathlon will continue with bale throwing and stacking at 5 p.m. and pedal tractor pulling at 6 p.m.

The fair will close with a fireworks display at about 9 p.m.

History

The original concept for the Northumberland County Fair came from the County Cooperative Extension Committee in the late 1990s, when a concern was expressed that funding for youth programs, more specifically 4-H, might be in jeopardy.

An idea was brought forward to hold a county fair that would provide an exhibition venue for 4-H and contribute financial support to the program.

All events and times are subject to change. For more information, go to www.northumberlandcountyfair.com or the event’s Facebook page.


ROB NAYLOR/STAFF PHOTO  

Miles Reidinger, 6, enjoys the swingset at the city’s Arch Street Playground, along with his father, Matt Reidinger, late Tuesday evening.


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Line Mountain initiates new mental health program for elementary ages

MANDATA — Line Mountain School District has indicated that it plans to focus on identifying student mental health issues as a key initiative for the upcoming school year. The district is implementing a new behavioral health program known as Community School-Based Behavioral Health (CSBBH) for the elementary grades, along with the hiring of a new mental health position for grades five through 12.

Superintendent Dave Campbell said it is a necessity to have another resource available at school in order to help students cope with a number of growing mental health issues related to the changing cultural landscape. The issues identified include:

• Added pressures and social stigmas from learning more at an early grade.

• The emphasis placed on PSSA testing

• A sharp increase in the number of students who have encountered a traumatic experience such as mental or physical abuse or witnessing traumatic events.

• Drugs and alcohol.

Total enrollment at the district for 2019-20 stands at 1,101 students — up three from last year's total of 1,098.

Elementary school

The primary goal of the proactive behavioral health program program at Line Mountain Elementary will be one of prevention by having mental health professionals available to speak with students and help them stay on track in the early stages of their development when, experts say, the issues are typically more manageable.

The K through four program will be directed by Joshua Burns and is scheduled to kick off the week of Sept. 16.

This year’s elementary class has a total enrollment of 384 students as follows: Kindergarten, 73; first grade, 84; second grade, 66; third grade, 86; fourth grade, 75.

Kindergarten enrollment is down 16 students from last year's total of 89.

An open house for the elementary school will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4.

"Our outdoor movie night will be held at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. The movie nights are a joint venture between the Line Mountain Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Trevorton Recreation Committee," said elementary Principal Jeanne Menko.

Middle/High School

According to Campbell, 12 applicants have been selected for interviews for the middle/high school's new mental health position. Interviews are scheduled from next Tuesday through Thursday.

A second round of interviews, if necessary, will be held Sept. 4-5, with a hire date of Tuesday, Sept. 24.

This year’s middle/high school class has a total enrollment of 716 students as follows: fifth grade, 70; sixth grade, 100; seventh grade, 81; eighth grade, 94; ninth grade, 94; 10th grade, 89; 11th grade, 100; 12th grade, 88.


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MCA ready to go back to school today

MOUNT CARMEL — The Mount Carmel Area School District has been hard at work over the summer improving the grounds and facilities to get ready for students to go back school today for the 2019-20 school year.

One of the big upgrades is the installation of a metal detector at the elementary school. One was installed in the junior/senior high school last school year and was viewed as a success by the administration.

Superintendent Bernard Stellar said last year went “extremely well” with no problems.

“The students and staff adapted nicely to protocol,” he said.

A community school safety information meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3 in the elementary library, during which safety initiatives at the school will be discussed and parents can offer their input.

Property improvements

Three big projects were undertaken by the district this summer, including renovation of the pool and repaving of the parking lots and driveways at the junior/senior high school.

Stellar said renovations were done to the elevator in the junior/senior high school as well. The elevator had been in its original state from 1977 and is ready for use today.

Dress code update

A big change for students this year is the updating of the district’s dress code policy that was approved in July in a 6-1 vote. General guidelines now prohibit various items such as hooded shirts, leggings, yoga pants, sweatpants, flip flops, hats and bandanas.

Clothing donations that comply with the dress code will be accepted during “Meet the Teacher” nights from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: Fifth and sixth grades, Wednesday, Aug. 28; third grade, Tuesday, Sept. 10; fourth grade, Sept. 11; second grade, Sept. 17; and first grade, Sept. 24.

All students will receive a free breakfast and lunch this year through the Community Eligibility Provision. Stellar said the economically disadvantaged population in the district qualifies the school for the program.

Students get one complete meal for breakfast and lunch. Any extras or a la carte items may be purchased at the students’ expense

“It’s an excellent initiative,” Stellar said. “We can ensure at least some nutrition is being met on a daily basis and we’re very happy and proud that this is happening at our school.”

Curriculum

New staff will be welcoming students back to Mount Carmel Area this year. They include Kerri Molesevich, elementary school counselor; Kacy Lewis, junior/senior high physical education; Michael Tanney, social studies; Kristen Florio, fourth-grade math teacher; Mark Schlegel, junior/senior high school science; Andrew Monger, alternative education; Thomas Dulsky, kindergarten teacher; David Brown, seventh- and eighth-grade English language arts; Kelly Lesko and Kayla Gordon.

Junior high school Principal Pete Cheddar said a United Way afterschool program will continue for the second year, thanks to funding from the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way. The program has expanded to include fifth through eighth grades and has moved from two to three days a week.

Cheddar also said the district’s “Tornado Buddy Bag” program has been fully funded for the 2019-20 school year. The district now has 50 bags going home every Friday to students, and any money received going forward will allow for increasing the number of students in the program.

Nicole Edmondson, director of special education, said the elementary had inclusion classrooms last school year that co-taught classes in kindergarten, first and second grades. This year, the department expanded that to the seventh and eighth grades for English language arts and math courses.

Beginning this year, all graduating seniors will be required to have a job shadowing experience that can be completed at any time throughout their high school career. More information is available in the guidance office for students.

A kindergarten through sixth-grade emotional learning curriculum will take place every morning, during which students will have “Tornado Talk.” The first 30 minutes of each school day will be devoted to developing social skills, morning group and greeting the day on a positive note.


SUBMITTED PHOTO 

Stever throws some heat during a Baseball Youth All American game Saturday in Salisbury, Maryland.


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Shamokin Area among highest paying districts for charter/cyber schools

COAL TOWNSHIP — Shamokin Area was the fourth highest paying school district in the state to fund charter/cyber schools in the 2017-18 school year.

Administrators and board members are frustrated over the ever-increasing costs and are seeking to influence state legislators to reform how charter/cyber schools are funded.

During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Chris Venna once again pointed out how the district pays significant money toward the operation of such schools.

He said $1.8 billion was spent by Pennsylvania school districts to fund charter/cyber schools in 2017-18, with Shamokin Area paying the fourth highest amount.

Board directors Charles Shuey and Erick Anderson concurred with Venna.

“Charter/cyber schools are costing us a fortune,” Shuey said.

Anderson said a lot of the funding involving charter/cyber schools is going to other states.

Venna, Shuey and Anderson encouraged the public to contact their state legislators to take measures to reform the funding.

In other business, longtime board member Robert Getchey made a motion to put a freeze on spending throughout the district starting Oct. 1 and through May 31, 2020, to prevent the district from suffering financial distress.

Getchey’s motion, which was seconded by Anderson, allowed the district to accept grant money during the spending freeze.

But before a vote was taken on the motion, board member Jeff Kashner made a subsidiary motion to table the matter for further study, which passed 9-0.

In explaining his motion, Getchey said, “We need to keep our head above water before we sink. The well is running really dry. I don’t want to see layoffs like we had before.”

Getchey, who noted many school districts are suffering financially, said the district is experiencing a lack of tax money and can’t afford to continue to spend money at its current rate.

A previous board once implemented a spending freeze, said Getchey, who is leaving the board in December after 20 years of service.

In other business, the board accepted a proposal from First National Bank to perform banking services for the district.

Voting to approve the proposal were Getchey, Shuey, Anderson, Kashner, Steve Cook, President Brian Persing, Edward Griffiths and Laura Scandle. Melissa Hovenstine, who serves as vice president of M&T Bank in Shamokin, abstained on the vote and did not participate in the board’s executive session in which the banking services were discussed.

Dave Petrovich, director of maintenance, commended his staff, inmates from the state Department of Corrections and college students for doing a great job in the summer preparing the facilities and grounds for the new school year that begins Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Petrovich said the district employs many skilled maintenance and custodial personnel who save the district significant money by conducting much of the work in-house.

The board approved the following curriculum: Accounting principles and technology I, information systems and computer programming, ELA-K-6, business law and revised courses for biology I and AP biology.

Directors revised the 2019-20 school calendar by changing June 8, 9 and 10, 2020, to Act 80 days.

Dr. Wayne Miller was reappointed as football team physician at a stipend of $50 per game. He also will conduct PIAA sports physicals at $20 per physical.

Miller and Dr. Duane Donmoyer, of the Miller-Donmoyer Family Health Center, were appointed school physicians at an annual salary of $2,500 each, plus $4.75 for each mandated physical.

Dr. Ernest L. Steinhart was appointed school dental examiner at a rate of $1.50 per dental exam.

The board agreed to pay $18,925 to Rob’s General Contracting to replace and/or repair the roof on the locker rooms at Kemp Memorial Stadium.

Under personnel, the board hired Kayla Huntington and Elizabeth Kapushinski as special education teachers at a salary of $38,500 apiece, plus benefits.

Directors accepted the resignations of special education teacher Jeffrey Rooney, school nurse Mallory Klingerman, assistant girls soccer coach Courtney Becker and head junior high boys soccer coach Joe Redd.

The board removed from employment groundskeeper/maintenance worker Todd Johnson, retroactive to July 22.

Numerous music instructors, advisers for student activities and clubs, coaches, school bus and van drivers, security personnel and athletic employees including ticket sellers and takers, judges, clock operators, timers and scorers, announcers, camera personnel and statisticians were approved.


Warner Bros. Pictures  

Nell Williams, Aaron Phagura and Viveik Kalra in “Blinded by the Light,” which follows Javed (Kalra) as he uses Bruce Springsteen’s music to shape his outlook on life.