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PHILIPSBURG — It’s that time of year once again, as kids and adults of all ages will trek to downtown Philipsburg and take part in Halloween festivities this Saturday afternoon as part of its Fall Fest.

Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation and Philipsburg Borough Councilwoman Faith Maguire said the big draw is the Halloween Parade, slated to start at 2 p.m. Saturday on Front Street.

“Registration is outside the VFW at 1:30 p.m.,” Maguire said.

This year’s added twist involves a pet parade.

“We do have pet prizes also,” Maguire said.

People participating this year in the parade — aside from those in costume — include Jazzercise, Mo Valley Paranormal, local fire companies and more.

Once the parade is finished, Maguire said children will be able to go trick-or-treating at participating downtown businesses.

“There will be signs to point (trick-or-treaters) and there will be big pumpkins in the windows of those that are participating,” Maguire said.

The day will cap off with the PRC giving away a shed at 4 p.m., as Maguire said chances to win are still being sold.

“You can still buy tickets right up until 4 p.m.,” Maguire said.

Hope Fire Company will once again be giving out hot dogs and hot chocolate. Booths will also be set up, as Maguire said one of them will be representatives of the borough’s upcoming dog park, as they are doing a basket raffle to raise funds for its creation.

“Any non-profit is able to set up a booth,” Maguire said.

Maguire said she’s hoping for much better weather this year than last year’s event, which was rainy and dreary. However, there was still a decent turnout.

“Last year in the pouring down rain, we had 74 kids show up and we gave out 100 hot dogs,” Maguire said.

Regardless of what the weather brings, Maguire said she’s excited to see families from Philipsburg and other nearby areas taking part in the fun festivities the day will bring.

“We’re looking forward to another year of exciting things in the downtown,” Maguire said.

Online voting set for Paint the Plow program

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation northcentral region invites the public to vote on eight plows decorated by high school students as part of the “Paint the Plow” program.

“Paint the Plow” is a statewide outreach aimed at promoting winter driving safety and fostering appreciation for high school art programs and student creativity.

Earlier this year, PennDOT invited high school students across the nine counties of District 2 to paint plow blades based on the statewide theme “Don’t Rush in Ice and Slush.” The theme was chosen to highlight the importance of taking precautions before traveling in wintry weather. Allowing for extra travel time helps drivers arrive to their destinations safely.

Students from Bellefonte High School in Centre County, Cameron County High School, Central Mountain High School and Sugar Valley Rural Charter School in Clinton County, Coudersport High School in Potter County, and Clearfield Alliance Christian School, DuBois Central Catholic High School, and Harmony High School in Clearfield County all participated this year in District 2’s competition. District 2 serves Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties.

A new voting format has been introduced for the 2019 “Paint the Plow” program. Members of the public can vote for their favorite plow through the PennDOT website at www.penndot.gov/District2 by clicking on the “Paint the Plow” icon.

Voters will be taken to a survey site where they can pick their favorite plow. The plow photo that receives the most votes between today and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 27 will be deemed the “Fan Favorite.”

Schools and participants are encouraged to share the link to the contest to promote voting. PennDOT will also post the pictures on Facebook in the album labeled 2019 Paint the Plow – District 2, however responses on social media will not count toward the voting totals this year.

The plows have been on display in their home counties — most at PennDOT’s County Maintenance offices. During the winter weather season, the blades will be used to maintain area roadways. Along with the “Fan Favorite” award, the blades are also eligible for the “Judges’ Pick” honor that will be determined by a panel of judges.

Last call for Brady Township sewer lateral assistance

LUTHERSBURG — Staff from the Clearfield County Planning & Community Development Office will be at the Brady Township building located at 3906 Shamokin Trail, Luthersburg, on Oct. 24, 2019 from noon until 2 p.m. Appointments will be scheduled; however, walk-ins are welcome.

Interested residents can contact the office to schedule an appointment and applications for funding will be completed on site. This is the final announcement as the program will commence Nov. 15.

The Lateral Program provides assistance to connect to the new Brady Township sewer line, from the mainline, installation of grinder pump and connection to your sanitary plumbing just outside of your home. If you own your home and meet the income guidelines, you may qualify. For more information, contact Lisa Kovalick at 765-5149.

Pompeo, Graham back Trump approach to Turkey’s Syrian incursion

WASHINGTON (TNS) — Secretary of State Michael Pompeo led the defenders of President Donald Trump’s handling of Turkey’s incursion into Syria, saying Sunday that a cease-fire is holding and that U.S. goals in the Middle East are being met despite criticism allies are being betrayed.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a recent sharp critic of Trump’s Syria policy, also came around, saying the president was “thinking out of the box.” Earlier in the month Graham suggested Trump’s withdrawal from northern Syria made him want to vomit.

Pompeo said he received a report Sunday morning of “relatively little” fighting along the Syrian border after he and Vice President Mike Pence brokered a temporary cease-fire with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara last week. He insisted U.S. interests, including preventing ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in the region and a resurgence of the Islamic State, or ISIS, are being served.

“I’m very confident that this administration’s efforts to crush ISIS will continue,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Parallel universeBut New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and others on the Sunday morning political shows called the administration’s actions a mistake that abandons the Kurds and other allies while bolstering Russia’s position in the Middle East.

“I think the secretary lives in a parallel, alternative universe,” Menendez said on ABC.

Former Army General David Petraeus said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the U.S. has abandoned its Syrian Kurdish partners and called the U.S. actions “a grave, strategic mistake.”

“This does not end an endless war,” he said. “It probably prolongs it.”

Critics say Trump gave Erdogan a green light to attack American-allied Kurdish militias, risking a resurgence of the Islamic State and a slaughter of the Kurds, when he pulled U.S. troops out of Syria.

Policy by tweetThe president often makes policy on the fly, said Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful. “What President Trump does is wake up in the morning and have a phone call or maybe a tweet and completely change years or even decades of U.S. policy, surprising his own generals and country,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party this year, said Trump knew what Turkey was going to do and can’t justify his response now.

“You don’t wait ‘till after withdrawing the troops to make a plan to go pressure Turkey to ease up and then call for a cease-fire,” Amash said on ‘Meet the Press.” “I think it’s very difficult to put it all back together.”

Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning that the cease-fire is “holding up very nicely,” citing U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper — whom he called “Mark Esperanto” before correcting the spelling after almost two hours.

Esper said U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State to prevent is resurgence, the Associated Press reported.

Graham, who’s been a harsh critic of Trump’s Syria actions, said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that he spoke with the president this weekend and now sees a “historic” result possible in Syria that protects oil interests.

“President Trump is thinking outside the box,” Graham said. “I think we can end Syria successfully.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in Jordan this weekend, leading bipartisan talks about Turkey’s incursion into Syria.

‘Kangaroo court’“With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement on Saturday.

Pompeo, meanwhile, rejected accusations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine for political reasons, saying “I never saw that in the decision-making process that I was a part of.”

He also said is “deeply unfair” that state department lawyers are not allowed into depositions that Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been holding in private as part of the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

“This has been unfair in the Nth degree,” Pompeo said. “Adam Schiff ought to be embarrassed by the kangaroo court that he’s running.”

Pompeo declined to answer questions about State Department officials testifying and controversies swirling around Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney. Asked whether he will appear if called by Congress, Pompeo said, “I’ll do everything I’m required to do by law.”

Menendez said Pompeo and the State Department “have done everything humanly possible to impede, to obstruct and not to provide information,” and it’s clear that Trump tried to “extort” Ukraine in what he called the “weaponizing U.S. foreign assistance.”