The Wyoming County Commissioners on Tuesday acknowledged the retirement of John Jennings as executive director of the Wyoming County Housing Authority.
In a letter dated Dec. 21 to the Housing Authority, Jennings explained that he was retiring because he wishes to spend more time with his wife. Jennings was appointed as assistant executive director by the Housing Authority in 1999, and was later promoted to executive director, serving until his resignation.
The commissioners were also informed by the Housing Authority that Danielle Powell has been appointed the new executive director. Powell previously served as the Housing Authority’s assistant executive director.
When the meeting began, Commissioner Tom Henry informed the public that Commissioner Judy Mead would be attending via a conference call. Mead explained over the telephone that she recently broke her wrist in a fall, and has to spend time at home convalescing.
Henry said that Commissioner Ron Williams was absent because of a doctor’s appointment.
During the meeting of the Wyoming County Prison Board, Warden Kenneth Repsher reported that three prisoners are now being housed in facilities outside the county - two less than what was reported last month. According to figures provided by Repsher, Wyoming County paid out $6,875 to board prisoners in November. Figures for December are unavailable at this time, but warden said he believes the cost will be less.
The warden also reported that a bid is pending for a company to fix the showers at the jail. All 10 showers are getting old, and it is feared water may soon leak down into the basement. The warden said he has been informed the showers can either all be fixed at the same time - which will take one to two days - or one unit at a time to minimize disruption at the jail.
Judge Russell Shurtleff inquired about the status of the jail’s control panel, which is in the process of being replaced.
Henry explained that the process is still on-going, and is expected to be completed within 30 to 90 days. The panel - which allows the opening and locking of individual cells from a central source - needs to be replaced because it is wearing out, and parts are no longer available. Henry said if the panel does fail before it can be replaced, guards will still be able to unlock the cells with keys.
Later, Henry reported during the commissioners’ meeting that an Opioid kick-off meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, at the county’s Emergency Management Agency. The meeting will be coordinated by Director of Human Services Mike Donahue, and is being held to help local agencies coordinate efforts to deal with the opioid crisis, Henry explained.
The commissioners also issued a proclamation, announcing that the ‘One County, Two Books, Two Movies’ event will again be held this year in Wyoming County.
The event is being sponsored by Wyoming County, the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater, and the Tunkhannock Library. Also participating is the Just One More Page book store in Tunkhannock. The event is to give people an opportunity to enjoy reading and discuss Stephen King’s ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Body,’ two novellas in his book ‘Different Seasons.’
Part of the celebration will include the Dietrich with a kickoff on Jan. 24, and hosting the films ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Stand by Me’ based on the King novellas - on Feb. 14 and 28. A discussion of the novellas, by facilitator Bill Chapla, will be held a the library on Feb. 7, 21, and March 7.
Lynnelle M. Welch, director of the Community Planning Office, reported that communities have until March to apply for up to $5,000 in grant money from the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The money comes from the Act 13 severance fees, and is specifically earmarked to be used for communities to support and develop non-profit outdoor recreational and conservation programs.