September 30, 2020 Press Release Governor Tom Wolf today praised the recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence for 2019 and thanked all state employees for their dedication to public service.“Today, we are recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments of commonwealth employees in service to their fellow Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Wolf. “They have demonstrated innovation, work ethic, self-sacrifice, and compassion for others at the highest levels. The positive impacts of their efforts will be felt for many years to come.”“The Governor’s Awards for Excellence celebrate the best among us as state employees,” said Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome. “I want to congratulate all of our nominees for their exceptional contributions.”Twenty-one state agencies submitted a total of 124 nominations prepared by their employees, with five individual and six group nominations selected as winners for this year’s awards.Corporal Adam Kirk – Pennsylvania State PoliceFor extraordinary bravery and sacrifice in the line of duty. Corporal Kirk was shot in the chest while conducting a welfare check at a residence in Tioga County in December 2019. Despite being severely wounded, Corporal Kirk and two Troopers maintained a perimeter outside the residence until back up and medical assistance arrived, preventing the assailant from fleeing and possibly harming others.Troop A Community Enforcement Team – Pennsylvania State PoliceTrooper Anthony Arbaczewski, Corporal John Isoldi, and Trooper Zachary Del SordoFor conceiving and developing new tactics to combat the opioid crisis and keep illegal guns and weapons out of communities. By proactively cultivating investigative leads and building relationships with other law enforcement agencies, the team has been instrumental in multiple homicide investigations, fugitive apprehensions, and heroin/fentanyl seizures.Greene County Fire Recovery Team – PennDOTWilliam Baird, William Gipe, Christopher Inman, Tamie Kiger, Timothy Mankey, Ryan Medvitz, Terrence Pearsall, Jack Rice, Tammy Tedesco, and Leslie WynnAfter a fire destroyed their offices and maintenance garage, the team mobilized to quickly resume operations from alternate locations and plan for the construction of a new facility, all while continuing to serve the traveling public.Sarah Baker – PennDOTFor leading the effort to make REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and photo ID cards available to Pennsylvanians. She made sure PennDOT’s program complied with applicable laws and regulations, coordinated the construction of five new driver’s license centers, contributed to the design of IT infrastructure to support the program, and conducted extensive research to provide an optimal customer experience.Unemployment Compensation Chat Service Team – Department of Labor and IndustryCharles Ballard, Geoffrey Lanning, Garrett Malick, Ryan Miscavige, Jerrie Lee Moyer, Wendy Peters, Richard Plesnarski, Jennifer Poorman, and Shawn PriceFor developing, testing, and implementing a live chat feature to serve Pennsylvanians contacting unemployment compensation service centers, allowing staff to provide better customer service to claimants, expedite claims processing, and reduce call volumes. Since its launch in July 2019, the chat feature has hosted more than 300,000 UC Live Chats with claimants.Community HealthChoices Team – Department of Human ServicesWilmarie Gonzalez, Jennifer Hale, Michael Hale, Randolph Nolen, Daniel Sharar, Jill Vovakes, and Kristen WiermanFor leading the largest phase of implementation of Community HealthChoices, a program for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities. Their carefully planned coordination and communication with participants, stakeholders, advocates, local officials, and managed care organizations, as well as health care, home care, and long-term care providers, resulted in a successful roll out with no disruptions in care or services.Patient Advocacy Program Team – Department of Health and Office of AdministrationCraig Costigan, Colleen DiVittore, John Krahel, Stanley Murzynski (OA), Tamara Seiler, Jared Shinabery, and Carrie Thomas GoetzFor establishing the Patient Advocacy Program within the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to assist patients who lose access to care due to the arrest of a provider, surrender of a DEA license, or closure of a clinic. They have provided rapid response for 11 events affecting large patient populations and direct outreach to over 1,060 individuals. They also disseminate alerts to counties when there is an unusually high numbers of drug overdoses.Adam Overmiller – Department of HealthFor developing an innovative geographic information system mapping tool that captures and shares data on the languages people speak. The tool can target communications tailored to populations that lack proficiency in English, allowing agencies to improve their outreach and achieve better outcomes for all Pennsylvanians.Ruffed Grouse Preservation Team – Pennsylvania Game CommissionScott Bearer, Robert Blystone, Jeremy Diehl, David Gustafson, Clayton Lutz, Timothy Hoppe, Daniel Jones, and Lisa WilliamsFor pioneering new strategies to restore habitats essential to the reversal of declining populations of Pennsylvania’s state bird, which has been devastated by the West Nile Virus. By identifying areas capable of supporting ruffed grouse that are also at low risk for the virus, the commission is better able to target its habitat restoration efforts where they are most likely to be successful.Daniel McIntyre – Department of CorrectionsFor implementing multiple innovations in corrections, parole, and reentry. They include using virtual reality technology to help juvenile offenders reentering society after lengthy sentences, working with mentally ill and hospice inmates, and training staff. He also led the use of GPS for low-level drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration or community corrections centers (CCCs) and created job placement and transportation services for reentrants residing at CCCs.Tyler Banas – Department of AgricultureFor stepping in to assist when a non-profit responsible for providing food access to 1.3 million low income Pennsylvanians in Southeastern Pennsylvania suddenly went out of business. Tyler helped the new provider get up to speed with its responsibilities as a distributor, as well as the proper handling of perishable items, all while fulfilling his regular job duties. Governor Wolf Honors 49 State Employees for Excellence in Public Service SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
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Thank you for your input. +26 Vote up Vote down Big D · 210 weeks ago It wasn’t too many years ago when there was an opportunity for the packing plant to expand their operations and the city council pushed them away. With that, the employment increase and the increased revenues from employees spending their wages went West to Harper. We want our children to stay local and for people to buy local…..well we need to open to expansion and not just if it fits our personal fancy. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago -10 Vote up Vote down guest · 210 weeks ago That packing plant is an eye sore and it smells. I was out there yesterday talking to someone in the parking lot of the Chinese place. The smell was awful and the number of flies buzzing around was disgusting. I’ve driven from the packing plant to the round-a-bout and seen a trail of blood on the highway. Very unappealing to say the least. And remember, there’s a crosswalk for the Kennedy School kids to use…streaked with blood from the hauling of hides or whatever from the packing plant. That plant should have never been built so close to town. For you old timers you may recall, when they put that business in it was to be a no-kill plant. That changed. I’m glad they did NOT expand that stinky place. Report Reply +6 Vote up Vote down Chris Hutchens · 210 weeks ago I hope Cowley will include a GED class. Wellington really needs this service. They sponsored the classes that were given at the Senior Center several years ago. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down guest · 210 weeks ago Dynamic Learning Center in Belle Plaine offers FREE GED classes. They are on-line, self-paced and laptop computers are made available to students. Shari Mills can help you enroll – open enrollment any time of the years. Dynamic Learning Center 823 Main St. Belle Plaine, Kansas 67013 Phone: 620-488-5638 Contact Shari Mills @ [email protected] Website: http://bp.getmydiploma.org/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dynamiclearningcenterbp/… Report Reply +3 Vote up Vote down Tired Taxpayer · 210 weeks ago This is a for profit college. Why should it be subsidized with tax money? If it is profitable then they will come to Sumner County without a tax shake down. We are taxed enough already. It’s time this county cut some taxes. Lets try a novel idea of user fees. Pay for the service as you use it instead of forcing someone else to pay your bills. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down SuCo Pride · 210 weeks ago Cowley College is a Kansas Community College, not a for-profit university. Report Reply +8 Vote up Vote down Belle · 210 weeks ago Great advice Phil White! Get informed people…we need Cowley College and this project in order to grow!! Please let our County Commisioners know you want to be heard!!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down Jeff · 210 weeks ago Mr. White: your points are well taken. However, please remember the average resident here has already been drained dry by the city council’s spending beyond our means, law suits, poor real estate transactions, draconian utility increases and a 12 million dollar school security bond. A few of us are still somewhat solvent, but John Q. Wellington is “busted flat in Baton Rouge” – as Janis Joplin would say. The piggy bank is empty, sir. This should (and could) have been done long ago before money was extinct. Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down LEAH SOMMERHOFF · 210 weeks ago So well written Phil, it is a great advance for not only Wellington, but for our County. Not to mention everyone it will serve as a great educational resource! Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments To the Editor:Â Â It is looking like we as Sumner County citizens may be presented with an opportunity to take a step toward fighting our countyâ€™s population decline by welcoming Cowley College and its superb educational opportunities and technical training programs to Wellington!Phil WhiteSure, itâ€™s a step that will cost each of us money, but it is perhaps the best opportunity our community has seen in quite a while.However, before we as taxpayers begin debating whether we can afford to help support such a facility, we owe it to ourselves to learn what is being proposed, what it truly will cost, and what economic benefit Sumner County can realistically expect.Contrary to what seems to be the trend, the answers to these questions are not found on social media or in anonymous comment sections. Theyâ€™re found the old-fashioned way: Visiting in-person with those asking for our support. Thatâ€™s also the best way to ask questions and voice any criticism we may have.We have the opportunity to do exactly that tomorrow,Â Monday, August 1st.Â Cowley College President Dennis Rittle and the Sumner County Economic Development will be hosting two town hall meetings. The meetings will beÂ at 10 a.m.Â andÂ at 6 p.m.Â Both will be in the Wellington High School Auditorium.Please do everything you can to attend one of these meetings so you can ask questions, voice your concerns, and ensure you are armed with direct information as you consider this important decision.Philip B. WhiteWellingtonFollow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter.