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Star-Courier The

M AI NLI NE newspapers

Vol. 123 No. 32

USPS 044-380

Northern Cambria, Pa.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Since 1893

of Mainline Newspapers

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32 Pages

Prince Gallitzin State Park holds educational talk on local snakes

By Jack Thompson

Ken Smyers and Becky Misko get their kayaks ready for an afternoon on the water at Prince Gallitzin State Park on Sunday, Aug. 4. Photo by Jack Thompson.

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In their continuing series of educational programs, Prince Gallitzin State Park held a short class on the snakes of Pennsylvania Aug. 2. The class was led by environmental education specialist Tony DeSantis. About 40 residents and guests attended the talk. The program discussed snake biology, their benefits to the ecosystem and how they benefit human populations. Most of the examples centered around snakes present in the state. DeSantis brought an Eastern Garter Snake to allow participants to see a local creature up close. Snakes are a variety of reptile, so they have many of the qualities characteristic to other lizards people may be more familiar with. Reptiles have a backbone, lay eggs and have a notoriously slow metabolism. They are also cold-blooded, meaning they regulate their body temperature using heat from their environment. Besides the qualities of reptiles in general, snakes have a list of their own characteristics. Their most striking characteristic is the serpentine, elongated body that most of us immediately recognize. Their shape requires a staggered placement of duplicate organs like kidneys, and limits snakes to one fullyfunctional lung. Snakes also possess highly-mobile jaws that allow them to eat prey much larger than

their heads, and some species are known for their impressive defensive qualities like venom, rattles and cobra hoods. Cobras are not native to Pa., but we do have several species of poisonous snake. DeSantis noted that Pa. is home to 21 species of snake, with three poisonous species belonging to the pit viper family — the Timber Rattlesnake, the Northern Copperhead and the Eastern Massasauga. DeSantis covered ways to identify and avoid them. Snake bites are actually relatively rare, but can be serious. DeSantis shared a few tips on what to do in case of snake bite, particularly a venomous one. The tips, which came from the Mayo Clinic, are simple. In the case of snake bite, go to the hospital immediately. To avoid more bites and to save time, it is best not to try to catch the snake. The “cut and suck” practice supposedly designed to remove venom is a myth treatment should be handled by professionals at the hospital. DeSantis also had several snake skins, a replica skull and a replica skeleton for attendees to examine. He went on to show examples of some of our more interesting species, like the Eastern Worm Snake that resembles an earthworm, the Black Rat Snake that can reach six feet in length and others. Following the presentation, the attendees went their

Patton Borough Council talks stop light, odds and ends

By Jack Thompson

of Mainline Newspapers

The Patton Borough Council discussed a handful of requests and updates during their routine meeting held July 30. After a public comment addressing a resident’s property concern, the group moved on to handle several requests. The first was a formal request to remove parking on Fourth Avenue in order to remove the “no turn on red” status at the traffic light. The group briefly discussed the possibility, but agreed that the parking was required for a local business.

“It would be convenient for people, but we can’t have local businesses lose clientele for it,” said councilman Dave Pompa. A police officer present also explained how traffic works at the location, stating that “I think that the light is just fine.” The borough denied the request. The group also elected to replace a missing memorial stone at the park. However, after discussion, they also determined that policy will prevent future repairs and replacements for memorial stones in the future. The borough office’s main copy

machine lease agreement expired. The group decided to renew with an upgraded machine. The machine uses a different printing system and should be cheaper to maintain and supply with ink and toner. The cost for the agreement is $3,675 payable to Advanced Office Systems Inc. Other minor repairs to the municipal building were also noted. A vote passed to allow the Highlander Association to close Magee Avenue from 5-11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1, for an event. Recent discussions with PennDOT also led to the purchase of upgraded speed

SEE SNAKES, PAGE 6A

limit signs, as well as other signage in the borough. A vote also passed to work with PennDOT on their Agility program. Water line flushing was set to begin in the days following the meeting, and it was reported that new meters and parts were ordered. The group will also be seeking new water operators, sewer operators and meter readers. After discussing a few other odds and ends, the group moved into executive session to discuss legal and real estate matters. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. in the borough building.

County receives funds for voting machines

By Kristin Baudoux

of Mainline Newspapers

Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (second from left) presents a check for $138,288.86 to be used toward new voting machines in Cambria County. Accepting the check are county commissioners (from left) Mark Wissinger, Tom Chernisky and B.J. Smith. Photo by Kristin Baudoux.

As part of the effort to make the electoral process more accurate, acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar presented a check for $138,288.86 to the Cambria County Commissioners to be used toward the purchase of new voting machines for the upcoming municipal election this November. The push for new voting machines comes from the Department of State. In April 2018, all Pennsylvania counties were required to purchase new voting machines that “provide a paper record and meet 21stcentury standards of security, auditability and accessibility.” Each county is required to have the machines in place for the 2020 General Election. “I can’t tell you how much the voters will appreciate it,” Boockvar said. To receive these funds, the commissioners, at their June 13 meeting, approved the county application and agreement for Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant funds with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State. The money comes from the federal government to upgrade voting machines. The commonwealth’s share of these federal funds is about $13.4 million. The commonwealth then contributed an additional 5 percent match or $673,808 from state funds. The commissioners had already purchased the machines and paid a down payment of about $400,000. The funds received will be applied to the remaining balance. President commissioner Tom Chernisky said he was happy that Cambria County is “ahead of the curve” in purchasing the machines ahead of time. “The integrity of voting is very important in Cambria County.” Commissioner B.J. Smith agreed and was pleased to announce that SEE VOTING, PAGE 3A

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