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Vets well taken care of

Published July 27. 2012 05:01PM

Carbon County veterans are well taken care of by the county veterans affairs office, officials report.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, discussed a report received from the Office of the Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs. The report was the June monthly claims award report.

Nothstein pointed out that in the report, the county's year-end total was $2,850,206 with an additional $1,789,657 still owed for a combined total of $4,639,863 brought into the county for veterans during the last fiscal year.

He explained that the totals represent benefits that the county veterans affairs office, led by Henry Derosiers, helped obtain for the veterans. Benefits include various disabilities, medical and more.

"This shows that Carbon County is doing an excellent job for the veterans," he said, adding that the report does not include local service organizations American Legion, VFW and AMVETS who also help veterans secure benefits that are available to them.

Nothstein also commended Derosiers for going above and beyond to help the veterans of Carbon County secure these benefits.

In other matters, the board voted to approve the 2012-2013 Medical Assistance Transportation Program tentative allocation in the amount of $1,726,600. The funding comes from a mix of state and federal funds.

Commissioner William O'Gurek explained that the MATP program, which is operated through Carbon County Community Transit and overseen by LANTA, is designed to help people with the access card by providing a free ride to medical appointments.

"This allows people to get to their doctor's appointments," he said.

Over 31,000 rides to doctor appointments were given to the enrolled 515 Carbon County residents between July 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

The commissioners also discussed or acted on the following items:

• Appoint Steven Palmieri of Lehighton as a representative of Blue Mountain Health System on the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

• Approve the Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool Loss Prevention Grant program application in the amount of $10,000 to be used towards the lightning suppression system at the Carbon County Correctional Facility in Nesquehoning.

O'Gurek noted that the grant will cover about 20 percent of the $50,670 bill for the system, which has not yet been installed. The company contracted to complete the installation is Albarell Electric Inc. of Bethlehem, who bid $45,970 for the project. An additional $4,700 was used on engineering and drawing up the specs for the project.

He commended county administrator, Eloise Ahner, who worked with PCoRP and called the grant to the county's attention.

• Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard thanked numerous people for their service at the animal shelter.

He thanked Mr. and Mrs. Richard Haberman of Mahoning, who is donating a tractor trailer full of aluminum cans. The cans will be picked up by Zimmerman Dairy and taken to the scrap yard, where they will be sold for profit.

The money raised from the donation will help offset medical expenses for the animals; as well as operating costs of the shelter.

Gerhard also thanked Linda Pollock of Lehighton, who donated a pallet of canned dog food and several bags of dry dog food.

"We're getting a lot of response and help at the shelter," he said. "We're very grateful for all the volunteers that are coming out."

• Nothstein congratulated Jim Thorpe residents and businesses for their work at being named in the top five in the "Most beautiful" category of the Best of The Road contest. He attended a recent event of the Jim Thorpe Chamber to watch the special episode on the Travel Channel about the top towns in the country.

"I think it says something for Jim Thorpe and Carbon County," Nothstein said.

• O'Gurek pointed out that the board voted to transfer $12,000 into the adult probation program. The money, which is from a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant, allows the county to purchase five more ankle monitoring bracelets and pay for 1,400 days of monitoring service. The bracelets are used in the home electronic monitoring program and aims to keep low-risk offenders, such as DUI offenders, out of the already overcrowded prison and in their homes, but still monitored by the probation office.

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