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Game Commission backs off on deer harvesting in Portage Vol. 114 No. 6
Thursday, February 8, 2018
By Ron Portash
of Mainline Newspapers
The Pennsylvania Game Commission held an open house meeting at Portage Area High School Jan. 31 to get its message out about chronic wasting disease in deer. The meeting was in response to the possibility that the Game Commission would need harvest up to 40 deer in the Martindale Area, including the Portage Municipal Authority’s watershed area to check for the disease. The Game Commission representatives explained that they have reconsidered the need to step in and kill the necessary deer to check for the appearance of chronic wasting disease. A Game Commission contractor picked up a deer killed along Puritan Road near the CambriaBlair County line in the summer of 2015. That deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
Portage Township supervisor Benny Selapack (left) talks with Game Commission southwest regional director Thomas Fazi about the chronic wasting disease infecting the deer population and the ways to eliminate the disease at on open house held by the Game Commission on Jan. 31 at Portage Area High School. Photo by Ron Portash.
Students to be featured at SAMA By Joshua Byers and Ron Portash
of Mainline Newspapers
The 20th annual student art exhibit at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art will open Feb. 24 and runs through April 7 at the Loretto location on the campus of St. Francis University. Student artwork from schools in Bedford, Cambria, and Somerset counties will be on exhibit at the Loretto location during the “Artists of the 21st Century” exhibit. The exhibit is open to schools that participate in SAMA’s Arts-in-Education or Artist-inResidence programs. Schools from the Mainline area that have submitted student artwork for the exhibit include Blacklick Valley Junior-Senior High School; Cambria Elementary School; Cambria Heights elementary and high schools; Forest Hills elemen-
tary and junior-senior high schools; Jackson Elementary School; Penn Cambria primary, middle, and high schools; Portage Area Elementary School; and St. Michael School of Loretto. An opening reception for the student artists and public will be held Feb. 24 from 1-4 p.m. at the SAMA-Loretto location. Blacklick Valley art teacher Grace Farabaugh said having her students featured in the SAMA event is big. She recognized the importance of giving these students the chance to have others view their work. “This opportunity is crucial in the development of our students’ self-esteem and for the continuation of the art programs at any district,” Farabaugh said. “When students display their artwork for others to see, they can take pride in their work and deepen their love for the sub-
ject. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity in our area.” North of Blacklick, at Cambria Heights High School, art teacher Kady Manifest said the department is submitting three creations this year, each an individual project. She said the students put a lot of effort into their pieces. “It isn’t often that the kids get to see their work displayed in a professional manner. Matting and framing the work takes it to the next level and really lets students see just how good their work is,” Manifest said. “SAMA gives these students an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have.” Portage Area Elementary School will have 21 individual student exhibits and two group projects represented at the museum. The group projects
Jennifer Stombaugh stated that there were a lot of good female voices this year, so “Sister Act”
was chosen as the best production to highlight that talent. “Sister Act” has been per-
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That is the only positive test of the disease in Cambria County. Representatives from the Game Commission, including southwest regional director Tom Fazi and biologist supervisor Samara Trusso, attended the Portage Municipal Authority meeting Jan. 4 to seek permission to bait and kill deer on watershed land above the Martindale reservoir. The Game Commission representatives were met by several local hunters at the meeting who opposed their plan. The local hunters, including Tony Girard, Ryan Herman, and Mike Jubina, voiced a loud opinion that the deer population in the area could not sustain a reduction in numbers outside normal hunting activities. The hunters indicated that the deer population was sparse to begin with and taking an additional 40 deer out of season would decimate the population.
At the municipal authority meeting, the Game Commission representatives said a public meeting would be held Jan. 31. No action was taken by the municipal authority. At the open house Jan. 31, the Game Commission set up five stations to educate those attending about chronic wasting disease and nearly a dozen Game Commission officers were on hand to answer questions from those concerned about the deer sampling proposed by the commission. Fazi explained that in response to the concerns of the hunters in the area, the Game Commission would not need to harvest the 40 deer but would rely “on its best wildlife management tool: the hunters.” Fazi said drop boxes would be placed in Portage Township in Cambria County and in Juniata SEE DEER, PAGE 3A
Game Commission officer Seth Mesoras speaks to Dave Miorelli about the plan to control deer infected with chronic wasting disease at the Game Commission’s open house at Portage Area High School Jan. 31. Photo by Ron Portash.
Forest Hills Drama Club to produce ‘Sister Act’ Feb. 15-17 By Ron Portash
of Mainline Newspapers
Forest Hills Junior-Senior High School Drama Club is putting on an ambitious musical production Feb. 15-17 in the school’s auditorium. Based on the 1992 hit film of the same name, “Sister Act” is a funfilled musical into which the drama club students have put their hearts, souls, and voices. Drama club advisor Melissa Livermore explained that the drama club puts on a musical every two or three years to highlight the students’ wide range of talent. Musical advisor
The Forest Hills Drama Club. Submitted photo.
SEE ART, PAGE 5A
formed on and off Broadway since 2006 and continues in production in professional the-
atre groups around to world to this day. The story is based on SEE DRAMA, PAGE 4A