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Teaser for 11-20-19



dbyers / Submitted 

Harmony Fair Board donates to local food pantries

Harmony Fair Board donates to local food pantries

Frenchville man gets 30-60 years in jail

Dennis Paul Hudgens, 69, of Frenchville, who was convicted of possession of child pornography, was sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in state prison yesterday at Special Sentencing Court held at the Clearfield County Courthouse.

He will also be required to follow all reporting requirements under Megan’s Law.

Last August, a jury of six men and six women deliberated less than 20 minutes before finding Hudgens guilty of 100 counts of child pornography.

Hudgens was found in possession of an SD card and a laptop computer that contained more than 4,500 images and 450 videos of child pornography, many of which contained images of children being sexually assaulted.

According to testimony at trial, a state police investigator in Harrisburg discovered someone was sharing child pornography at a computer located at 509 Keewayden Rd. in Covington Township and notified regional state police authorities.

A search warrant was obtained and it was discovered Hudgens, who was living in a tent in the back yard of the residence, and Anthony James Terrizzi, 56, of Frenchville, had thousands of images and videos of child pornography on their computers.

Hudgens also had a SD card in his pocket containing thousands of images and hundreds of videos of child pornography.

It was also discovered Terrizzi sexually assaulted a local 10-year-old girl and took photographs and videos of him assaulting the girl, which were also found on Hudgens’ computer and SD card.

Terrizzi was charged for child pornography and sexual assault of a child, accepted a guilty plea and last month was sentenced to serve 70 to 120 years in state prison by Judge Cherry.

Mo Valley board to consider additional gym, cafeteria

In January, Moshannon Valley School Board will hear a formal presentation on a proposed project to add a second elementary gymnasium and a dedicated elementary cafeteria.

At Monday’s directors meeting, Superintendent Dr. John Zesiger reviewed the project’s goals and objectives with board members. He said both the gym and the elementary cafeteria are currently utilized for many purposes. He noted difficulty in scheduling events at certain times of the year and extra work created for the custodial staff who are called on to tear down and set up tables.

He said the project would provide a second gym for district athletic events and practices, a full-size space for elementary physical education classes and additional athletic and meeting spaces to increase community involvement. A new cafeteria would serve as a permanent space for students to eat and an upgrade would mean better service for students, Dr. Zesiger said.

A feasibility study performed by the district’s architect KTH Architects Inc., DuBois for the project created three options for the work, expected to cost between $1.5 and $3 million depending on the option selected. Dr. Zesiger told the board Monday, of the three choices, he likes the second option because it would be the least disruptive to the elementary school schedule.

The proposal would add a new structure to house a second gym and the new cafeteria to the elementary wing beside the existing kitchen.

“If the structure is built on the side it wouldn’t impact the existing building. Work on the gymnasium could get under way while school is in session and the cafeteria work could be done over the summer, and ideally we would start the new school year with it,” Dr. Zesiger said.

If the board votes on an option in January, a tentative timeline for the new structure is design work that would begin in March with bid specifications being completed by June. The project would be advertised in August and bids awarded in September. Construction would begin in November and be completed by August 2021 in time for the 2021-22 school year.

The board gave authorization to Dr. Zesiger and Business Manager Elsie Harchak to begin researching financing options for the project and report back at the board’s Monday, Jan. 20 meeting.

County Controller objects to 911 leadership change

Clearfield County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve changes to the leadership role at the county’s 911 center despite a strong objection by the county controller.

Noting a steadily increasing volume of calls to the county’s emergency management department and a boost in associated administrative duties, commissioners at Tuesday’s Clearfield County Salary Board meeting approved the proposed changes.

Effective Monday, Nov. 25, there will no longer be a county director of EMA/911 and a deputy director of planning/EMA. Instead, there will be a separation of duties by creating both a director of 911 and a director of EMA and collapsing the position of the director of EMA/911. The deputy director of planning/EMA will be effective Thursday, Nov. 21.

The commissioners released a prepared statement about the changes.

“We are making these changes in recognition of the importance of both 911 and emergency management to communities and citizens of Clearfield County. We want to stress the vital role our 911 dispatchers play as they serve 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, including holidays. We are putting in place a 911 management team to oversee an experienced telecommunications staff that will serve residents at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, calling for help in life-threatening situations. Additionally we believe, this new alignment of the management team, both 911 and EMA, will work effectively with all emergency responders and law enforcement to meet their needs.”

The commissioners reported that, at the Tuesday, Nov. 26 meeting, they will consider naming Dave McClure Director of 911. He will be responsible to manage all staff associated with the 911 center. McClure will also be responsible to manage all radio communications equipment, the 911 center, the center’s grounds and to serve as the county’s representative on the Northwest Regional Taskforce. He will also be the liaison between Clearfield County 911 and the fire departments, emergency responders and police.

For a number of years, McClure served as a 911 dispatcher before moving into the emergency management team during the 2000s, eventually serving as both deputy director and the director of EMA/911 for 14 months. McClure left county employment to work in the natural gas industry for several years prior to his return to employment at Clearfield County 911, the commissioners said.

Jeremy Ruffner will continue working in his current position as 911 coordinator and Kylie Collins, 911 quality assurance. They will work under McClure’s supervision.

The county’s emergency management division will be reorganized to have two staff positions. The commissioners are appointing Joe Bigar as EMA director and Scott Mignot will retain his current position of EMA deputy director of operations and training. The EMA director of planning position is being eliminated with Bigar assuming all duties and responsibilities currently assigned to the planning position.

The salary board set the salary for both the director of 911 and the director of EMA at $46,000 annually, effective Tuesday.

County Controller Tom Adamson opposed all action taken by the salary board.

“There’s a saying if its not broken, don’t fix it. The current management format was in place years before I got here. It has worked well.”

He said creating a new position would create an additional cash flow hardship for the county by increasing wages and benefits associated with the new position.

“There has been no problems to warrant such a drastic change,” he told the salary board.

Harmony students organize Operation Christmas Child drive

WESTOVER — Students at Harmony Area School District are joining with many throughout Clearfield County in spreading joy through Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child.

Recently, a drive was held at both the elementary and high school to collect items needed to fill shoeboxes including hygiene items, toys and school supplies.

According to information provided by Samaritan’s Purse, the organization hopes to reach 11 million children in locations in more than 160 countries and territories throughout the world.

It expects nearly 13,000 shoeboxes to come from the local area and items from Harmony Area School District are filling more than 40 boxes included in that count. Since 1993, OCC has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes.

Locally, shoeboxes are being collected Monday, Nov. 18 through Monday, Nov. 25. Boxes are brought to drop-off points where they are prepared to be sent out for processing.

Although a drive has been held at Harmony Area Elementary School for several years, sophomores Macy Hughes and Marissa Brothers thought their fellow classmates would also enjoy participating.

“We brought the idea to school,” Hughes said, adding they showed a video explaining how the program works and items that are needed. Hughes and Brothers said their families pack shoeboxes each year through their churches. “We just go out to (local stores) and have a good time finding items we hope they would like,” Hughes said.

Brothers said her family also enjoys working on filling shoeboxes and finding just the right items to fill them.

Both said they find giving to others to be a rewarding experience and hope fellow students have a similar feeling about the project.

“We just thought we could initiate Harmony students in the Christmas spirit,” Hughes said.

Macy’s mother, Sherry Hughes said, “I just want to give a great big thank you to Harmony Area School District in helping to make Christmas for more than 40 kids. Also to anyone that made a donation of funds to defray the shipping costs. I also want to thank the administration and staff for allowing us to host a drive here at Harmony.”

Civic leaders tout support of Curwensville community at annual dinner

CURWENSVILLE — Members of Curwensville On the Go discussed the accomplishments of several community service clubs at its annual dinner held Monday night at Curwensville Community Center.

COG is an organization made up of the four service clubs — Curwensville Business and Professional Women’s Club, Curwensville Lions Club, Curwensville Rotary Club and GFWC Curwensville Woman’s Club. The purpose of COG is to join together to do major service projects for the Curwensville Area.

A representative from each club informed those in attendance of the many projects that benefited the Curwensville community in the past year.

Rotarian Bill Williams, who is also COG president, discussed his group’s local and international projects, including the Rotary Club’s international mission to eradicate polio from the world. Locally, Rotary funds the borough’s Christmas lights, conducts an annual Dictionary project where all third graders at Curwensville Elementary receive their own dictionary, two blood screenings per year, the annual Wine Walk held in town, and a chicken barbecue held on the final day of Curwensville Days every year.

Sandy Bowery of BPW discussed how her organization supports 16 organizations including Rescue Hose & Ladder Vol. Fire Co. and the local library. This year, the club also supported a domestic violence education program which is also the state program for BPW.

Rhonda Sheeder of GFWC Curwensville Woman’s Club said her club is 35 members strong. The club co-sponsors an annual 5K race during Curwensville Days, holds various projects including scholarships to Curwensville High School seniors, and donates to the local food pantry. Additionally, the club conducts a “Birthday Bag” program where it provides birthday items for children whose families utilize the local food pantry. This past year the club gave out about 100 bags. Also assisting children was the club’s St. Jude Red Wagon Program, where it helped purchase red wagons for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

J. Duane Test spoke on behalf of the Lions Club. He spoke about how the club gave out the Melvin Jones Award and also discussed its support of the Leader Dog program for those who are blind. Additionally, the club helps provide reading glasses and hearing aids for those in need.

Test, who has been operating the Curwensville Community Center for more than 15 years, said a campaign drive letter is being distributed, requesting financial help from the community to keep the building in operation.

“I know everyone just helped with the renovations,” Test said, “but I’d like to squeeze some more money out of you.”

Dee Holland of the Curwensville Regional Development Corporation and chairwoman of the Irvin Park C.A.R.E. project, presented a program about Irvin Park and future plans.

In 2020, the park is planning an “Art in the Park” event on Jan. 10, plans to construct more pavilions, add an ice skating rink in the winter, and offer winter activities such as sled riding and cross country skiing.

One of the projects that Holland touted was the recent playground improvements to add adaptive playground equipment. The equipment will allow children with special needs be included with other children in playtime at the park.

Holland focused on the three phases of the park that are in the works — but in still need of funding.

“I have been so thankful for the community’s support and their outpouring of help,” Holland said of the funds raised to assist with the purchase of the costly equipment. She said she is continuing to apply for grants in an effort to raise the funds needed to bring the project into Phases 2 and 3.