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Portage Area High School library receives grant for digital expansion Vol. 112 No. 48

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Area High School Library received a $3,000 grant to increase the size and accessibility of its digital library. The grant came from the Great Library Pledge that was started by best-selling author James Patterson in 2015 to save school

Portage, Pa.

libraries. Patterson began the Great Library Pledge with nearly $2 million of his own money last year, and another $1.75 million this year. The grant program is administrated through the Scholastic Reading Club. With the ever-increasing demands on school budgets, school libraries are one of the first targets for budget cuts,

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according to Portage High School librarian Jay Shuck. According to a statement issued by Patterson announcing the grants, “I’ve made it my mission to underscore the vital role reading plays in the children’s lives, and the need to sustain school libraries is at the heart of that mission.” SEE DIGITAL, PAGE 5A

Braving the cold

Bundled up against the cold, Judy Trudgen (left), Amy Johnson, and Paula Johnson get their singing voices warmed up to take part in the South Fork Park light-up ceremony. Photo by Ron Portash.

WinterFest to begin Dec. 9 By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

South Fork light-up night

South Fork’s light-up celebration was held on Nov. 27 at the park. The crowd sings Christmas carols around the town’s community tree in the middle of the park. Photo by Ron Portash.

School staff members recognized

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Two members of the Portage Area School District were recently announced as winners of the Lauretta Woodson Recognition Award. The purpose of the Lauretta Woodson Recognition Program is to honor one educator and one support professional for doing an outstanding job within a district or school. Each year, the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) selects one teacher and one support professional in each of its local chapters for the Lauretta Woodson Award. According to the PARS website, “Lauretta Woodson was a teacher educator who was instrumental in helping the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees to become one of the leading organizations to promote the work of dedicated and passionate public school employees. Dr.

The holiday spirit will descend on the community of Portage beginning Friday, Dec. 9, with the start of WinterFest. The annual festival to open the holiday season in Portage officially begins on Friday with the lighting of the community tree on Main Street at 6:30 p.m. There will be the sleigh rides after the tree lighting. There are several activities that begin before the official lighting ceremonies. These include a weekend-long craft show at the fire hall, the annual book sale at the Station Museum, and the

FH Regional Alliance reviews DCNR grants By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Portage Area School District employees received a recognition award from the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees. District custodian Mary Louise Elchin and high school librarian Jay Shuck received the 2016 Lauretta Woodson Award in recognition of their unselfish dedication and exemplary service to their school district. Photo by Ron Portash.

Lauretta Woodson was a teacher, a professor, and an education activist. She wanted outstanding educators and support professionals to be recognized. The purpose of the Lauretta Woodson

Recognition Program is to counter the bad publicity that public education sometimes receives.” Mary Louise Elchin and Jay Shuck received the 2016 SEE AWARDS, PAGE 9A

new-to-you sale at Hammers Street Church of God. The WinterFest Committee is attempting to put together a new attraction. As the Main Street community tree grows, the WinterFest Committee wants parents and grandparents to be able to record their children’s growth along with that of the tree. If time and weather permit, the committee will install a snowman or Christmas figure next to the tree. On the figure will be measurement markings, so a photo can be taken every year of the children marking their growth along the growth of the tree.

The members of the Forest Hills Regional Alliance met with Jay Schreibman, recreation and conservation adviser for the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), on Wednesday, Nov. 23. With nearly 20 members and a few past members from the seven municipalities involved in the regional alliance in attendance, executive director Dave Knepper stated, “It shows you care, so many of you, on such short notice, on the day before Thanksgiving.” The DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation builds connections between the citizens and the outdoors through recreation enhancement, natural resources conservation, and community revitalization efforts. Schreibman has been in the area for three days meeting


with various municipalities and agencies and talking about grant programs available for recreation and conservation in the area. Schreibman explained to the alliance members that it is “good timing for making plans for improvements around your community; grant applications open in January and continue through April.” The grants through DCNR are competitive and available for municipalities, agencies, and commissions within municipalities. Technical assistance is one of the areas that Schreibman stressed. The DCNR can provide assistance in park development or rehabilitation of an existing park. In addition, as part of future strategic planning, Schreibman stated, “DCNR can assist in park planning and land acquisition for future projects.” These grants fall under the SEE DCNR, PAGE 3A

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