LEWISTOWN - In an effort to recognize the importance of the white cane as a tool for independence and a symbol of equal access for blind and visually impaired individuals, the Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday adopted a proclamation designating Oct. 15 as "White Cane Day."
"The blind and visually impaired shall have the same rights as all persons to the full use of streets, highways, sidewalks, public buildings and other places," Commissioner Mark Sunderland read from the proclamation.
The proclamation added the primary problem with blindness is the public's lack of knowledge and misunderstanding regarding the abilities of blind and visually impaired people.
On hand to accept the proclamation was Fred McKinley, vice-chairman of the board of NuVisions Center in Lewistown. McKinley is also a past district governor for Lions Clubs in central Pennsylvania, an organization that dedicates a great deal of time and money working on behalf of the visually impaired.
McKinley said the public is invited to an awareness event, scheduled for noon on Oct. 15 on the steps of the historic courthouse in Lewistown.
"We're going to have members of area Lions clubs on hand at the four corners of Monument Square to hand out small white pretzels with a red bottom to signify the white cane," McKinley said. "There will be a short story read on how the white cane was developed and the commissioners will be on hand to read today's proclamation."
Sunderland said the purpose of the proclamation is to "give our support for the full involvement of blind and visually impaired in the social and economic life in Mifflin County."
In other business Thursday, the commissioners:
Accepted a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding grant for a two-year period in the amount of $35,030. The grant, coming from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, will be used for the county's crime victim services department to hire a part-time employee to enhance the department's services, according to Jami Glick, crime victim services coordinator.
Approved a renewal agreement with PrimeCare Medical Inc. of Harrisburg to provide health care services for all persons committed to the care, custody and control of the Mifflin County Correctional Facility from Sept. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014 at a cost of $4,593.20 per month.
Approved purchase of service agreements for use, if needed by Children & Youth with Glen Mills Schools, Concordville; The Children's Aid Society of Franklin County, Chambersburg; and Wardell & Associates Inc., Bellefonte.
Approved liquid fuels allocations for Union Township in the amount of $9,363.52, and Lewistown Borough in the amount of $14,354.82.
Tabled an offer of $401 for a parcel that is currently in repository for unsold properties.
Approved a purchase of service agreement with Attorney Robert Ferguson for representation in Adult Treatment Court from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014 in the amount of $812.50 per month.
Approved a purchase of service agreement with Attorney Mark Remy as the District Attorney's representative in Adult Treatment Court from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014 in the amount of $1,645.83 per month.
Approved a purchase of service agreement with Daryl J. Treaster for cleaning services at the office of Magisterial District Judge Tammy Hunter in the amount of $180 per month.
Accepted a grant from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for fiscal year 2013 in the amount of $77,130 to be used to reimburse the county for salaries in the 911 Center.
Approved the hiring of Casey O'Dell as a county caseworker in the Children & Youth department effective Oct. 7.
Approved the hiring of Kyle Tudor as a county caseworker in the Children & Youth department effective Oct. 7.