The Wyoming County Commissioners were informed on Tuesday of a major effort played by the Factoryville Fire Company to provide food and shelter to 51 people stranded on Friday due to the winter storm.
In a report on the efforts of volunteers and other personnel during the storm, Emergency Management Coordinator Gene Dziak told the commissioners that displaced traffic on Interstate 81 was directed to Route 11. A Greyhound bus with 51 college students broke down on Tunnel Hill. The students had to wait in the bus for three hours, Dziak said, until the Factoryville Fire Department was able to put them up at its new fire hall.
Dziak praised the department for its efforts, saying the new fire hall had plenty of room to accommodate the passengers. All the passengers were eventually moved to a motel in Clarks Summit, until a Greyhound provided a replacement bus on Sunday.
Volunteers from Factoryville and other local fire departments were called out to cover various areas during the storm. Dziak had high praise for the volunteers, saying they were called out early and stayed out until around 11:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Red Cross was also instrumental in setting up and running emergency shelters during the storm, he said.
Later in the meeting, the commissioners voted to set up a separate checking account to hold the money the county will be receiving from a Community Development Block Grant to buyout flood damaged buildings located in Meshoppen.
Commissioner Tom Henry said they are taking the action, because they want to be certain the money remains separate from all other funds used by the county.
In other business, the commissioners issued a proclamation, declaring March 29 as Colon Cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives Day. According to the proclamation, incidents and mortality rates in some areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania are 15 percent higher than the national average. The proclamation recognizes the efforts of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute in providing community and patient services in the fight against cancer. Karen Saunders, president of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, thanked the commissioners for their support.
Henry also recognized the efforts of Linda Stacknick, administrative assistant at the courthouse, for her efforts in raising money for the institute. Saunders raised more than $1,000 last year through the sale of tee shirts and other items, Henry said, and it is hoped she will again reach the same goal this year.
The commissioners also issued a proclamation, declaring March ‘Pennsylvania 811 Safe Digging Month.’ People who plan construction or excavation projects are urged to called 811 to make certain the work will not damage underground utility lines or other similar services.
The commissioners voted to approve a waiver, allowing Keystone College to apply for a grant from the state’s Criminal Justice Department. As explained by Commissioner Judy Mead, by law only municipalities can normally apply for the grant. But by signing the waiver, Keystone can apply directly for the grant, which will be used for its new juvenile justice program.