WESTOVER — Harmony Area school students have been taking a hands-on approach to science experiments this week during a visit by the mobile Agriculture Educational Science Lab to the school district.
The 40-foot traveling science lab is one of five that visits school districts throughout Pennsylvania. It allows students to conduct scientific experiments with an emphasis on farms, foods, fiber and the environment, with emphasis on the state’s primary commodities.
The curriculum taught in the lab meets state Department of Education standards for science, technology, environment and ecology. The lab is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, a division of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The purpose of the lab is to provide students with an enjoyable opportunity to learn about agriculture by actively participating in the lesson.
The lab provides all equipment and supplies needed for the lesson. Teacher Cathy Vorisek, who travels with the lab, said each of the mobile labs has a different theme. The one visiting Harmony this week focuses on careers. On the walls of the lab are colorful displays with information about students’ likes and connectable careers in agriculture.
Students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade have or will visit the lab this week.
On Wednesday, students learned about “The Colorful Bean.” As part of the lesson, students tested the differences between crayons made with petroleum products and those crafted from soybeans and worked to formulate a hypothesis about which crayon was better for the environment.
Each also had an opportunity to assist in making a crayon from soybean oil that they could take with them.
Principal Doug Martz said, “The mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab has been a fantastic program for Harmony students. They are really enjoying the levels of creativity and outside-the-box lesson plans that have been going on there. I’m very impressed with the fun and learning we’ve seen in the mobile classroom. I would like to commend elementary teacher Sherry Hughes, as well as her entire family, for the involvement they have had in bringing this program to Harmony. She has been working with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the mobile lab all year long and has worked extremely hard in putting together a great schedule with their organizers. The entire administration would also like to thank the local 4-H organization for their efforts in fundraising for this event.”
Hughes, who helped to coordinate the lab’s visit at Harmony, is also a leader for the Harmony 4-H Club and invited her club to assist students visiting the lab.
She thanked those who assisted with the visit.
“Thank you to the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Harmony 4-H Club, the Harmony Grange Fair Board, T.H. Port-A-Johns, and Rosebud Mining Co. for sponsoring the Agricultural Lab’s visit to Harmony.”
HARRISBURG — State Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield/Elk, is announcing that 2020 will be his final year in the State House. With just under a year remaining in the current legislative session, Gabler is informing his constituents that he will not seek to serve beyond the current term.
“Serving the people of the 75th District over the past 11 years has been a humbling experience and a true honor,” Gabler said. “I cannot express enough how grateful I am to my constituents who have placed their trust in me to be their representative and voice in Harrisburg.”
Gabler added, “I promised myself, my family and my constituents that I would not spend an entire career as a state representative. As a husband and a father to two young children, I recognize now is the right time to pursue new opportunities.”
Gabler has served Elk County and portions of Clearfield County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2008. During that time, he has been a member of the following House committees: Appropriations, Children and Youth, Environmental Resources and Energy, Finance, Game and Fisheries, Policy, Rules, and State Government. He also currently serves as a deputy whip for the majority caucus.
During Gabler’s first term, he delivered on his promise to stop the proposal to toll Interstate 80, a plan that would have sent local revenues to fund road projects in other parts of the state. Traveling to Washington, D.C., in late 2009 and testifying in front of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Gabler argued that the tolling plan violated federal law. In 2010, the FHWA’s decision on the matter reflected Gabler’s reasoning in rejecting the tolling plan, ensuring the future economic viability of employers and communities along the Interstate 80 corridor.
Additionally, Gabler has authored several bills that have been signed into law, including:
“Looking back, I am exceptionally pleased with what we have accomplished over the past 11 years,” Gabler said. “From authoring the state’s first act that will reduce the debt handed to future generations, to championing legislation on behalf of industries important to our local economy and jobs, and serving as a determined voice for our veterans and first responders, I will always take pride in knowing that these initiatives have made Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.”
Gabler intends to continue working on important legislation for the remainder of his time in office.
“I am still working to complete a number of proposals on behalf of my constituents, including legislation currently in the Senate to keep our students safe as they travel to school, and a bill containing my amendment to expand the State Fire Commissioner’s grant program for fire and EMS Companies,” he added. “Additionally, I continue to collaborate with State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego on another proposal to make volunteer firefighter training more user-friendly and more readily accessible to those who wish to serve.”
Finally, Gabler addressed his upcoming responsibilities in the state budget process.
“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I look forward to the important work in front of me to ensure that the 2020-21 state budget is a responsible plan on behalf of Pennsylvania’s taxpayers. I am proud of my track record in holding the line on taxes and keeping Pennsylvania competitive, and I pledge to keep that work front and center until my last day in the General Assembly.”
Questions about this or any state-related matter may be directed to Gabler’s DuBois office at 375-4688, his St. Marys office at 781-6301 or his Clearfield office at 765-0593.
FLINTON — A declined request for an indoor soccer group was further explained at Tuesday night’s Glendale School Board meeting.
Nikki Spanik told the board she was requesting gym time for indoor soccer to be played at the school and that she had been turned down before for what she was told were “safety concerns.” Spanik then showed board members and administrators pictures of their current practice facility at the Rembrandt Sportsman Club in St. Benedict.
“Where we are practicing, it’s surrounded by flat screen TVs and it’s at a bar ... with low ceilings,” Spanik said.
Spanik said her point of sharing photos of the current facility was to show that nothing has been broken.
However, board members stated that safety concerns was not the sole reason as to why the request was originally declined, but rather gym availability was a big factor as well.
Board member Gary Walstrom said that if there was gym time on Sundays — which was the day set in the request — a maintenance staff member must be on grounds as per the district policy.
“So anytime you were here, we’d have to pay someone to come in,” Walstrom said. “That was one of the things (for denial).”
Spanik said she’s coached the team for about five years now and it includes students from Glendale and Cambria Heights.
“The heart that these kids have is just insane,” Spanik said. “And I had the opportunity to do indoor (soccer) ... I would love to get them in, even if it’s just for a little bit, to practice. They want to put in the time and effort. They’re great kids so I’m going to try my hardest to get them in for anything.”
Walstrom said they’ve been told that the gym schedule is quite full with district-related teams taking up slots.
Spanik asked if the board’s stance could eventually change.
“I would be willing to take an hour every other week — as long as I get these kids in there,” Spanik said.
Board member Kay Stiver asked if Spanik’s team is a recreation group or if it is affiliated with the district. Spanik said it’s not a district team but that it involves district kids.
“The priority comes to the groups that are organized in the district,” Stiver said. “So to me, it’s similar to a gymnastics club or a traveling team or similar to the dance school where when you asked for that permission — and sometimes it attaches some fees to it because they’re private groups. We’re looking at the district’s schedule first and then that would be secondary. That’s where I’m at personally.”