High county suicide rate draws action by board
Alarmed by startling statistics received that Schuylkill County's suicide rate is higher than the national and state average the county commisisoners adopted a resolution to support, "You Can Be A Life Saver", campaign in action taken at Wednesday's public meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville.
In 2009 the county lost 34 residents ranging in age from 15 to 67 by suicide. The proclamation calls for Schuylkill County Mental Health and Mental Retardation program and the Suicide Prevention Program to join forces with the leaders of the community to increase recognition of warning signs and create an environment where care can be sought and obtained without fear or shame.
Joining the commissioners to deal with the problem were Dan McGrory, county Human Services Administrator; Kay Jones, of Vision; Linda Wagner, coordinator for the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Grant; and Sgt. Steve Stinsky, of the state police force.
Four other proclamations were also adopted by the commissioners as follows:
- Recognizing Emergency Medical Service organization who are on call 24 hours a day to provide life saving care. Jeff Butz, paramedic crew chief and Pat Moran, educational coordinator, accepted the proclamation.
- A proclamation was adopted calling events to the 17th relay for life to be held in Pottsville, ninth relay in Hegins and sixth in Mahanoy City. Accepting the proclamation were Chris Reichert, Pottsvile relay for life manager, and Katie Degler, relay for life in Mahanoy City. People in communities walk around a track for 24 hours to enhance the income of their local American Cancer Society office and to show support for patients who had battled cancer.
- A proclamation was adopted to combat abuse for the elderly with Georgene Fedoriska, executive director of the Office of Senior Service Agency, accepting the proclamation.
- A proclamation was adopted to deal with mental health awreness.
On behalf of the Office of Senior Service the commissioners entered into a fee for service contract with Dr. Carol Miller Schaeffer, Pottsville; Robert Rarick, Tamaqua; and Lamar Schwartz, Tremont; for psychological consultations with Wyomissing Behavior Anaylist firm.
Lakeside Ballroom of Barnesville was hired to cater the retired and senior volunteer program's annual recognition banquet for $2,990.
Purchase of service agreements on behalf of Children and Youth Service Agency were entered with Concern, of Fleetwood, Berks County, to provide mentor foster care at $80 per day, for disabled, $90.02 per day and mother/baby independent living, $121.51 per day.
A contract with Rehabilitation Communities, Harrisburg, for foster care at $61.60 per day and residential at $193,.76 per.
A contract with Yes Academy, Mercer, Mercer County, for residential service at $290.85 per day. Patricia Schmitzius, Mahanoy City and Joette Fox, Pottsville, were appointed to the advisory board for three year terms ending May 16, 2013.
On behalf of Rest Haven Home and Hospital contracts were entered with Nurse Staff Builders, Hazleton, and Elite Staffing Service, Harrisburg, to provide temporary nursing staff.
A contract was entered with Comcast Cable Communications to provide computer services at the courthouse at a cost of $658.25 per month, which will include 16 full featured voice lines and 50 megabyte internet service. The contract is for 36 months.
A public meeting has been scheduled for Friday, May 21, at 10 a.m. at the Career Link Center to get imput on the proposal to seek grant money for providing uninterupted bus service in the county.
Action was taken on personnel matters.
Linda Neidig, Hegins, a correctional officer at the county prison is retiring; William Oliver, Schuylkill Haven, full time housekeeper at Rest Haven Home, is retiring; Barbara Bruen, Schuylkill Haven, full time staff development director at Rest Haven Home has resigned; June Shay, Pottsville, a county caseworker with Children and Youth Service Agency is resigning; Lawrence Lonergan, Pottsville, was hired as a case worker for Children and Youth Services $15. 6468 per hour; Irene V. Diehl, Schuylkill Haven, program analyst with MIS Department is retiring; and Gwen Holdlen, Saint Clair, juvenile probation department, is retiring.
The Schuylkill County Employees Retirement Board met following the commissioners meeting. Controller Melinda Kantner, secretary, reported the market value of the fund has risen at the end of April to $89,372,995.
Commissioner Mantura Gallagher announced the courthouse will be closed next Tuesday for election day and the commissioners will hold a work session on Thursday, May 20, at 10 a.m. The county prison board will also meet that morning following the work session.